Once again, summer bar exam week in America is OVER. Thousands of recent law school graduates sat for the bar exam last week and experienced watershed moments as they walked out of the exam venue on the last day. Watershed because their lives as lawyers will never be the same.
Best case, they passed — and the majority of them will. Worst case, they have this unsavory experience behind them and now know the ropes. Even if some of them have to retake it, they never will be bar exam novices again. That may not provide much solace, but the truth is that the legal profession is laden with many excellent lawyers who did not pass the bar exam the first time.
The bar exam is THE right of passage for most lawyers — save those lucky few Diploma Privilege grads — but it also is a total bear of an exam. The content is challenging, of course, but it is the nightmare stories from test takers that are chilling. Especially from women. Issues of menstruation, onset of labor pains, infant nursing nightmares, and more. And other issues like technology failures, clueless exam monitors, and emergency shutdowns which have plagued test takers over time. Stuff happens (I cleaned that up!), but most of those who sit for the bar exam are successful on the first or second try. Keep the faith. All of you dealt with law school for three years, and you can deal with this.
So, NOW, give yourself a break. Take some time off and enjoy life. Do not debrief every moment of the exam and rethink every response. Just chill. The time will come soon enough when you will leap into that first job at a law firm or in another legal space, and the pressure will be great. It always is. Paperwork galore, confusing billing systems, new colleagues, and even lunch options — they all can be stressful. And you will handle it all better if you have taken time for yourself first.
Become a beach bum. Take a cross-country bike tour. Binge watch your favorites. Learn to sky dive. Or just hang out with friends and family and give them the benefit of your best and most attentive self. They deserve it, and so do you.
I will be back on this blog in September, rested after time with my own family and friends and ready to engage about what may interest you. Until then, relax and be cool.