Harvard Law Grad Who Flunked Bar Exam Twice Sues Over Lost Job

Tamara Wyche says the N.Y. Board of Law Examiners didn't give her the proper accommodations for her disabilities.

A Harvard Law alum is suing the New York State Board of Law Examiners after she failed the bar exam twice, which she says caused her to lose a high-salaried position at top-tier firm Ropes & Gray.

Tamara Wyche, who graduated Harvard Law in 2013, claims the board violated the Americans With Disabilities Act when it refused to provide her with the special accommodations she requested. Wyche says she suffers from depression and anxiety, as well as cognitive difficulties stemming from a 2009 accident in which her all-terrain vehicle toppled over a cliff.

Wyche, 29, of Brooklyn, requested 50 percent extra time, a private testing room, and stop-clock breaks for her first crack at the bar exam. She says she supplied the board with letters from doctors, as well as Harvard, confirming she had previously been given accommodations for her diagnosed conditions.

The board denied Wyche’s requests, but later provider her with stop-clock breaks and a smaller testing room, alongside others who requested similar accommodations. Wyche says she suffered panic attacks in both her first and second attempts, after which she claims she lost a lucrative job offer from Ropes & Gray.

“We get hundreds of requests a year and we grant hundreds of requests. Our board is very sensitive to the needs of the disabled, and we’re proud of our track record in providing accommodations,” board executive director John McAlary told Law.com.

Wyche has passed the bar exam on her third try in February 2015, but claims no firm will hire her on a permanent, full-time basis upon learning she twice flunked.

“Indeed, Ms. Wyche has been told by multiple people involved in law firm hiring to tell potential employers she failed because she did not study enough rather than disclose that she sought and did not receive necessary accommodations,” her complaint reads.