Denver Bar Association
May 2000
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Bar Exam Duel Aug. 4


Irate calls, faxes, letters and e-mails were among the fallout from Craig Eley's bar exam re-take article in the April Docket, when he reported Colorado lawyers must now take a bar exam every ten years to maintain their licenses. Fortunately the article was a spoof.

Craig apologized for any sleepless nights his article may have caused.

In his defense, he did put a few clues in the article, designed to tip readers off. For example, Craig quoted the imaginary Brian Dubin as saying a number of disparaging things about John Moye. Considering John's sterling reputation, Craig felt readers would instantly know the article was a sham. He also picked a target for these remarks whom he knew had a sense of humor, and who would probably not sue the Denver Bar Association for defamation.

For his part, John was amused at the references to his alleged lack of competence. He was gratified to receive many calls from friends and former courtroom foes who were appalled that anyone could suggest that John's skills were limited to sipping chianti and banging out piano tunes. They volunteered to be witnesses for him, or break some heads if need be.

This outpouring of support convinced John that he and Craig had a moral obligation to set an example for "older" members of the bar who were outraged and a little terrified at the prospect of taking another bar exam.

He has, therefore, challenged Craig to a public oral bar exam shoot-out on Friday, August 4 at high noon. The duel will be held on semi-neutral territory—the large classroom in the Continuing Legal Education offices on the third floor, 1900 Grant St.

Craig has accepted the challenge, assuming (a la the Ramseys) that certain details can be worked out. He notes he has not taken a bar exam in over a quarter of a century, while John is a renowned teacher of bar refresher courses nationwide. He insists no questions concerning commercial law (John's primary area of practice) be permitted. John countered that questions about Craig's specialty, worker's compensation must be excluded as well. The Board of Law Examiners confirmed they would be hard pressed to even find a bar exam question about worker's compensation.

Craig whined that the bar-exam-down be held during a Docket committee meeting, so he will have supporters to cheer him on and shout out answers. John has consented, but has reserved the right to have committee members questioned – they were, after all, unindicted co-conspirators in the publication of the offending article.

John has asked that the event be open to all spectators, and that the results be made public. Craig has reluctantly agreed, but says he must have a couple of "life-lines," such as the right to call a DU law professor or dean to help him with a tough question. "If I'm going down," Craig threatened, "I'm taking someone with me!"

The questions will be taken from old bar exams, and it is hoped an official from the examiner's office will be present to ask questions and insure a fair contest. John promises a good show for all who wish to attend, pledging to "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee."

Not only that, he intends to flaunt his many talents by sipping chianti before, after and during the fray. He may even bring a piano.

No reservations are needed for the debacle.


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