Apple Shortcuts Cut Off for Bar Exams

By William Vogeler, Esq. on February 02, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Hey, want a shortcut to use on the bar exam? Of course, not! That would be cheating, wouldn't it?

If you are having this dialogue with yourself, don't worry. It's not the end of the world to think about a better way to take the bar exam.

However, it is the end of the shortcuts on MacBook's "Touch Bar" for the bar exam. In California, New York, and Colorado, bar examiners have banned the function. Other states will likely follow.

Fear of Cheating?

While bar associations have not explained specifically the issue with the "Touch Bar," they say it could give test-takers "an unfair advantage." The problem, they say, is the computer's predictive text function.

For non-Apple consumers, it's the same technology that fills in words on your phone when you text. You know, the one that sometimes types embarrassing words you did not intend to send to your friends?

If you are still engaged in this introspective dialogue, you might ask yourself, "How could that annoying and sometimes self-defeating tech feature give test-takers an unfair advantage?" It's auto-correct for spelling, isn't it?

You might also ask, is it fair that some people get to write their exam answers using dictation devices? Or is it fair that some test-takers can type 120 words-a-minute compared to your 60-words-a-minute? Just saying ...

Fear of Technology?

Actually, I'm not here to answer such questions. However, I am here to offer an answer to the Touch Bar ban.

The bar people say it's too easy to cheat with the technology. They don't explain how, but here it is: you can program predictive text phrases into your device. Phrases like the elements of defamation, etc.

If you don't have a MacBook, you can try it on your phone. First, go to settings, then ... No, I'm not gonna tell you how to cheat and neither will the bar examiners. They just cut off the short-cuts at the door.

It's OK. After you pass the exam you will be able to use predictive text for all kinds of legal drafting. In the not-so-distant future, computers will take over more tasks than simply providing predictive legal phrases. With voice-enabled, interactive responses, pretty soon you will be able to get legal advice from a toaster.

Maybe send a robot to take the test for you? Better ask Siri or Google.

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