Brandy Mai, a third year law student at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota, discusses strategizing and coordinating diploma privilege efforts...
Please scream inside your hearts.
This request by a Japanese theme park to its visitors has become the mantra of 2020. COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns across the globe, earthquakes, historic wildfires, civil unrest, NASA prediction of an asteroid the day before Election Day, presidential candidate bitten by a bat, tarantulas and locusts, murder hornets, aggressive rats, alcoholic killer monkeys . . . and an “unsurvivable” Category 4 hurricane at the time of this writing . . . has put such a burden on people, families, and communities.
Emergency managers are tired. We’ve had years of training on resilience and preparing for long disaster responses, but nothing could have prepared us for 2020. Our saving grace in disaster response is helping one another, combining resources, and archiving information.
If we’re tired, it’s no doubt that others are exhausted, including this year’s bar exam applicants. I empathize so much with this year’s applicants. They’ve been in a long game of disaster and hypervigilance, with no training for such a response. Even though they’ve been dealing with bar exam debacles for months, there is still a long road ahead. To best prepare for the remainder of the journey, and allow everyone to rest fully once it’s over, I offer ways to help one another, combine resources, and streamline their incredible efforts for impact, efficiency, and posterity.
- Gather and collaborate with diploma privilege advocates in other states.
- Share files in a central cloud location, with subfolders by state. Redact as needed. Basically, merge all the documents and photos everyone has into a central repository. Set phones and computers to automate into this location.
- Automate this cloud location to back up to several locations.
- Use the following identifiers in your file names: state, date of action referenced in the file, explanation of what the file shows, keywords that make it searchable later (e.g., FLORIDA_July xyz 2020_email received from xyz about abc)
- Automate social media accounts to archive and save all your social media postings about the topic. Save those in the shared file (such as a Zapier account that saves all tweets to a spreadsheet).
- If you are running a diploma privilege or bar exam website, consider a plugin that pulls in all #diplomaprivilege hashtags (not just the ones from your own account, pull from everywhere). Code your site, or find a plugin, to pull from those folders in the shared cloud location, like a carousel or feed.
- Set a battle rhythm and mail merge auto-process for sending, receiving, and archiving FOIA requests.
- Share and collaborate on spreadsheets with email addresses, twitter handles, and contact information of those you’ve contacted about this topic. Add columns for name, agency/org, contact info, state, twitter handles, and categories (such as media, congressional rep, senator, law dean, etc) for easy sorting later.
- Share and collaborate on spreadsheets for media coverage. Add columns for publication/outlet, reporter’s name, contact info, and state.
- Delegate. Have applicants in each state send a cloud folder of their info to one repository. The state repository could then share those into a larger collaborative folder at a regional or national level.
For all the failures of technology during #barpocalypse, I encourage this year’s applicants to use technology to your advantage. To achieve maximum impact in your states and on the broader bar exam issues, use the technology to help one another and make the data collection easier. Amplify your voice while automating the processes.
It’s a long road ahead with unknown changes, so I advise this year’s applicants to follow the emergency manager’s style: rely on one another, combine resources, and archive everything into a central location in case it’s needed in court one day.
JURIST carries extended coverage of Bars Exams in the Pandemic.
Brandy Mai is a career communications professional who specializes in crisis and disaster communications. As a certified emergency manager and POST Instructor, she is equipped to both manage disasters and teach public safety professionals how to coordinate information efficiently and effectively during preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts.
Her education includes military public affairs training at the Defense Information School, a bachelor of journalism from Northwestern State University, graduate coursework in strategic communications from Purdue University, and currently a 3L at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
Professional successes include a statewide Top 40 Under 40 award in Georgia for her public relations work with veteran nonprofits, contributions on an Emmy Award-winning project, placing an employer on the Inc. 5000 “fastest growing company” list due to her digital marketing efforts, and student bar election as cohort representative (twice) and rep to the ABA.
Suggested citation: Brandy Mai, Collaborate, Automate to Amplify Bar Exam Efforts & Preserve For the Record, JURIST – Student Commentary, September 2, 2020, https://www.jurist.org/commentary/2020/09/brandy-mai-collaborate-automate-diploma-privilege/.
This article was prepared for publication by Brianna Bell, a JURIST Staff Editor. Please direct any questions or comments to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opinions expressed in JURIST Commentary are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff, donors or the University of Pittsburgh.