Bar exam takers report cold conditions inside Cow Palace during 12+ hour test

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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Bar exam takers report cold conditions at Cow Palace during test
Bar exam takers are reporting "quite bad" cold conditions at the Cow Palace in Daly City during their test which lasts more than 12 hours.

DALY CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- After three years of law school and months of preparation, hundreds tried to focus on Wednesday inside Daly City's Cow Palace on day two of the attorney licensing exam.

"You are under so much stress when you are taking this exam," said Nijel Quadri, bar examinee.

Adding to that stress was the unexpected cold temperature at the event center.

Some reported 54 degrees inside. Test taker Nijel Quadri says the facility has heat lamps, but they only help depending on where you are sitting.

"It's a very big auditorium type of room," said Quadri. "Maybe if you are seated closer to those lamps that are up above, you can feel some of the warmth but down in the center, it felt pretty chilly."

MORE: Central California teen becomes youngest to ever pass state bar exam

The two-day exam is split into six and a half hours on day one and six more hours on day two. ABC7 News caught up with several bar examinees during their lunch break. Many soaking up the sun as they gear up for the last leg of the exam.

"Yesterday it was quite bad. It's an unheated place of what appears to be a former barn. You know I was shivering in a flannel and a jacket and whatnot. Kind of ridiculous," said Brenden Bargmann, Bar examinee.

Some jumped in their vehicles to warm up during their breaks. Rae Gaffey's daughter told her it's been hard to concentrate.

"It's cold in there is what I hear. Her fingernails were blue yesterday, she said. It's hard to concentrate when it's so cold. Today - this morning, there were people who had their winter coats," said Gaffey.

In a statement, the State Bar of California said:

"State Bar staff remain in constant communication with Cow Palace facility management, who are on alert to ensure that they can strike the right temperature balance. While yesterday started cold for some applicants at the Cow Palace, by the end of the day yesterday, some applicants found it too warm. On-site staff and facility management are working together to resolve these issues as quickly as possible."

This year, the State Bar moved the test from the Oakland Convention Center to the Cow Palace to save money and consolidate testing locations.

"It's over $2,000 to take the test, plus about that much for the courses and they can't even give us heat," said Bargmann, "Not really conditions that you would expect any type of professional environment to be in and never mind the most important test that we are ever going to take we are spending thousands of dollars."

A Cow Palace staff member said they've made changes to the temperature inside the facility after multiple complaints.

"It felt a little bit warmer today," said Quadri.

The State Bar of California confirmed they will be back at the Oakland Convention Center for the July bar exam, but that doesn't help hundreds taking the test this week.

"Three more hours to go and hopefully it's in the rearview mirror," said Bargmann.

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