Pandemic, COVID-19, exams, law school, virtual


In 2020, toward the end of the spring semester, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted life across the globe. Institutions, including law schools, felt the widespread effects of this public health crisis. Law schools were forced to move entire curriculums online in record time and consider how they were going to administer final exams. There is no precedent or manual for how to do this successfully. Law school exams are inherently stressful events in a law student’s career because their performance on the exam inordinately influences their grades and class rankings. Typically, law students are already on edge during final exams without the reality of a global pandemic, but, as the United States became overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, universities sent students, faculty, and staff home to finish the semester online and were left with a myriad of issues to address. This article discusses the pivot to flexibility that one law school had to make under emergency conditions and with limited resources. It describes the planning process, discusses the exam building process and administration process, and explores some of the lessons learned from the law school’s experience with exams while also suggesting how to move forward in an uncertain world.