It is that time of year again. Time for the bar exam. Memories of it send chills up my spine — even though I faced bar exams in a prior century! Two exams, two jurisdictions, two passes. That’s it for me. However, I still have the occasional bar exam nightmare.
Law school graduates all over the country will sit for bar exams on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 25 and 26. Maybe you are one of them, but I doubt it because reading this blog would not be a good use of your precious time right now. There is barely enough time to eat and sleep, and you are lucky if you have a few hours a week to lose yourself in a movie or some mindless task that allows you to breathe easier for just a short time. When did doing laundry become so soothing?
The bar exam is the ultimate right of passage for lawyers, and it is one of the ways that lawyers quality control the profession. It is a necessary evil. Much has been written about whether it is equitable, how it could be redesigned to be more like medical school proficiency exams, and whether law school education should include more practice ready emphasis to make the bar exam unnecessary all together.
But, my money is on the bar exam being around for a very long time. All you can do is prepare for it with the realization that it will have a huge impact on your future. It is a marathon and not a sprint. Pace yourself and do not hit the wall too early.
Most of you who are reading this blog either have the bar exam behind you or ahead of you — but not next week. However, chances are that you know someone who will face this bar exam. So, now is the time to remember your friends. E-mail or text them with a few well-chosen encouraging words. Short and sweet and supportive. Let them know that you have great confidence that, when October rolls around and the test results are reported, their names will be on the pass list.
Just do it. So little can mean so much.
I remember what it was like for my husband. I remember what it was like for me. I remember what it was like for my kids — and for me as their Mom, who worried day and night until the October good news arrived. Not because I did not have faith in them, but because it is winner takes all. Anyone can have a bad day of testing, and I am no fan of zero sum games. But, it is what it is. All you can do is manage it well.
Be there for your friends. When your time comes, you will want them to be there for you.