Law school graduate gives birth while sitting for the bar exam

A recent law school graduate wasn’t going to let anything stop her from completing the bar exam this month — even childbirth.

Brianna Hill, who has a degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, sat for the first day of the bar exam on Monday, and halfway through, her water broke.

The determined new mom told Above the Law that she went on to deliver her baby that same night — and then sat for the second part of the next test at the hospital the next day. 

Determination! Loyola law school graduate Brianna Hill gave birth in the middle of her bar exam on Monday and finished the test the following day from an empty hospital room where she nursed in between sessions

Determination! Loyola law school graduate Brianna Hill gave birth in the middle of her bar exam on Monday and finished the test the following day from an empty hospital room where she nursed in between sessions

Brianna gave birth to a healthy baby boy Cassius Phillip during her bar exam

Brianna gave birth to a healthy baby boy Cassius Phillip during her bar exam

Brianna certainly didn’t intend for it to go this way, but COVID-19 changed her plans. 

The bar was initially scheduled to take place in July, but it was postponed due to the pandemic.

‘I thought I would only be 28 weeks pregnant when I took the bar, so when it got pushed to October and I was going to be 38 weeks, I joked about taking the test from my hospital bed. Lesson learned!’ she said.

In addition to being pushed back several months, the test was switched from in-person to online, meaning additional anti-cheating measures were put in place. 

For one, test takers have to be seen looking at their screens for the four 90-minute sections spread over two days — so when Brianna started to feel something going on during day one of testing, she didn’t dare get up.

‘I started taking the MPT [Multistate Performance Test] but since we were remote I couldn’t leave view of the camera. As soon as I stood up when I finished, I knew my water had broken,’ she said.

Impressive! She went into labor during the first day, gave birth that night, and completed the second day of testing at the hospital

Impressive! She went into labor during the first day, gave birth that night, and completed the second day of testing at the hospital

‘So I took my break, got myself cleaned up, called my husband, midwife, and mom, cried because I was a little panicked, then sat down to take the MEE [Multistate Essay Exam].’ 

While writing her essays, Brianna started having contractions, but managed to finish the test section through the pain.  

By the time it ended, she was in active labor.  

‘Going into labor really put the bar exam into perspective and made my nerves go away really quickly,’ she said. 

She rushed to West Suburban Hospital in Oakpark, Illinois at 5.30pm, and at 10.10pm, her baby boy Cassius Phillip was born.  

The hardest part over, Brianna was determined to finish the test on the following day. The hospital was happy to help, and put her in an empty room with a do not disturb sign. 

‘I took the rest of the test in there and was even able to nurse the baby in between sessions! Obviously, I really hope I passed but I’m mostly just proud that I pushed through and finished,’ she said. 

Proud mom! Despite her circumstances, Brianna says she's grateful for her support system that saw her through the finish line of her pregnancy and test. She said: 'The midwives and nurses were so invested in helping me not only become a mom but also a lawyer'

Proud mom! Despite her circumstances, Brianna says she’s grateful for her support system that saw her through the finish line of her pregnancy and test. She said: ‘The midwives and nurses were so invested in helping me not only become a mom but also a lawyer’

A view of Loyola University in Chicago above

A view of Loyola University in Chicago above

While Hill hasn’t received her bar exam results yet, she already has a job lined up. 

‘I’m so thankful for the support system I had around me. The midwives and nurses were so invested in helping me not only become a mom but also a lawyer,’ she said to CNN

‘My husband and law school friends provided me with so much encouragement so I could push through the finish line even under less than ideal circumstances. And my family, especially my sister, just kept reminding me how I could do it even when I wasn’t so sure myself.’