AI, Facial Recognition in Upcoming Bar Exam
Security data for February ritual includes retina scans, AI flagging of ‘unnatural’ gestures

by Avery Martinez

After holding an in-person bar exam in July that caused uproar from students, law school faculty and attorneys, the February 2021 bar exam will be remotely administered and include some added security tools to safeguard the upcoming exam.

“The use of AI is obviously new to us in this exam process,” Colorado Supreme Court Attorney Regulation Counsel Jessica Yates said, “but AI is used in all kinds of different contexts in similar ways in everyday life.”

In November, the Colorado Supreme Court made the determination to use an online exam amid rising COVID cases and hospitalizations, Yates said. Its decision came months after examinees raised alarms about exposure to an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19 who sat for the in-person bar, a concern that was identified by students and others in the months coming up to the exam dates.

Multiple other states offered remotely administered exams in October. Following those exams, the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which oversees the bar exam, announced that it plans to equate the MBE and provide UBE and MBE transfer services for the both the remote and in-person administrations of the February 2021 bar.

All Colorado applicants will take the test remotely on Feb. 23 and 24. The February bar consists of six multistate essay questions and 200 multistate bar examination questions. The exam consists of eight different sessions administered over two days, each lasting 90 minutes, with 30-minute breaks and a long lunch in between.

Last year, as reported by Bloomberg Law, online exams raised concerns about technology limitations and privacy and the possibility of cheating as nearly 30,000 people took the online October bar, when some examinees reported exams crashed mid-test.

Colorado’s upcoming exam will be administered through ExamSoft, an educational assessment technology company, and its platform Examplify, which includes tools to provide ID verification through facial recognition, audio and visual recording, human proctor reviews and mock exams to prepare testers for the process, according to the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel’s FAQs on the upcoming exam.


This complete article appears in the Jan. 18 issue of Law Week Colorado. To read other articles from that issue, order a copy online. Subscribers can request a digital PDF of the issue.