Tag Archives: lawyers

Tales from The Bar Exam

I have always prided myself on my test preparation and test taking abilities.   Not just knowing the material, but the little things that help with preparedness, like getting on a sleep schedule that coincides with the testing hours, eating brain and energy foods, avoiding things that cause stress, dressing in comfortable clothes, mapping out and timing the route to the test location, even listening to Mozart!   Then there’s the superstitions:   I firmly believe that sleeping with books under my pillow or next to my bed helps.  I don’t care what anyone thinks about that.  I believe it.

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Crash: If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you ARE! And you should know that!    – Bull Durham

The bar exam is one  pretty big test, at least two full days, depending on your state.  Accordingly, one must be prepared and ironically, having graduated from law school has little to do with being prepared for the bar exam.    There is a period of two and a half months of bar exam study  for would be lawyers.    In my infinite arrogance, I decided that unlike EVERYONE else, I would not pay for and take the bar exam prep course.   My thoughts were, it is stressful to be around anxious pre-lawyers all day,  the course itself is ridiculously expensive.  Plus, what do the courses do?  They give out materials, go over them, teach and practice test taking strategies and offer  practice tests.  I can do this myself, I thought.    I have always (until now . . . but I digress . . .)  been extremely disciplined.  I credit my musical training for this.   I don’t need a class to give me daily study structure.   I can, all by myself, put myself on a study and practice test schedule, every day for eight hours a day, plus a couple more hours at night.    I truly thought I would do better by myself.  I had never taken a prep course for any of the other standardized tests I’d taken, why start now?  Plus, I  resented the way in which the companies that sponsor these bar prep courses (not law schools) profited from the insecurities of pre-lawyers.   These companies know that we have to pass the test and we would do almost anything to pass the test.   No one wants the embarrassment of failing. No one wants to take it more than once.   One Tweeter @CriticalA aptly noted:  “”I’d rather suck Satan’s d*ck than take the bar exam again.”    That pretty much sums it up.

So partly out of arrogance, taking a stand against corporate greed, and, well,  I had no money, I decided:   No, I’m not going to do it.  I will buy the books, but I will not take the course.

Not one other person I knew made that choice. Not one.

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But it was all good.  I did put myself on a schedule.  I never missed a day of studying, except for the Rat In My House incident, all went well.   I felt prepared, ready.   Mine was a two-day test.  The first multiple choice, the second essay.  If  the test taker  scores high enough on the first day, the second day is less important, so most of the prep courses and study focused on the first day of testing.  I prepared for both.

As planned, a week before the test I put myself on test schedule for sleeping and eating.   I was well rested.  I actually felt good.  I had passed my practice exams well within the allotted time.  I was ready.  Nervous, but ready.

Day One

On test day, I successfully avoided my stressors, got a good seat.  And . . . go!!!!

At some point during the exam, however, I apparently decided that it was time to take a nap.  

 

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A nap!!!!  I freaking fell asleep.

I fell asleep on the bar exam.

I freaking fell asleep on the bar exam. 

There was no reason for this.    I was well rested, nourished.  All I can think is that my mind had been so focused on getting ready, that when the day finally came, my brain said — “Okay, I’m done now, right?” and checked out.

I don’t know how long I was out.  I woke up with about a half hour left and a lot more than a half hour of questions to answer.

I wanted to die. 

 I finished when they called time, but not with well thought out answers and with no time to spare.  I’d always had time to spare in my practice tests.  But then again during my practice tests — I WAS AWAKE!!!!!!!

CRAP!!!!!!

According to my finely tuned text taking strategies and rigid rules,  I must not discuss this monumental blunder with anyone.  I would only go home, eat, rest and sleep in order to be ready for Day Two.  Because  I FELL ASLEEP  on Day One, Day Two became much more important.

I put myself in denial and robotically followed my plan.  I spoke to no one, except my husband, only out of necessity.

Day Two 

I always liked  law school essay tests, but since I HAD FALLEN ASLEEP on the previous day’s multiple choice test, I had to do more than “like” these essays on Day Two.  I had to ace them.

Pursuant my test taking techniques,  I scanned the essay questions.   There was one that I absolutely did not know that answer to.  I would still answer it, of course, but it would take some reasoning.  No need to panic.  And as I recall there was another that was a bit difficult as well, but at least I knew the answer, though the reasoning might be tricky.  I did what has always worked for me, I knocked out the easiest ones first, to reserve time for the harder ones later.

In the end, I finished in time, actually with a little time to spare, proofread my answers and tried to put the whole experience behind me.

On the way home, however, I realized —-  to my horror:

I’d answered the one question I was initially concerned about but I’d  FORGOTTEN  TO GO BACK AND ANSWER THE OTHER ONE!!!

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I HAD NOT ANSWERED ONE OF THE REQUIRED ESSAY QUESTIONS ON THE BAR EXAM!!!!!!!!!!!

For the second time in two days, I wanted to die.

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Let’s  recap, shall we?  I didn’t take the bar exam prep course that everyone else took,  I fell asleep on Day One of testing, and I simply neglected to answer a full essay question on Day Two.

It wasn’t good.  Not good at all.

And now the wait . . .

If you don’t know,  there is a four-month delay between the date the exam is taken and when the results are published. It was a long-ass four months. By this time,  I was working for a federal judge. My co-clerk was a snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge. 

The  results day came, finally. This was before discovering your fate could be accomplished alone, via the Internet and without human contact.  The snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge  and I decided that instead of participating in the law clerk tradition of  walking to the county courthouse to publicly read the results,  we would call the designated a hot line at the State Bar.  Good.  For the reasons above, I had convinced myself I had failed. I figured that receiving the inevitable news over the phone would limit the witnesses to my embarrassment to just one: the snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge. That would hurt my ego, but it would be better than  public humiliation followed by  the long walk of shame back to my desk — and my judge.

Snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge and I  called the hotline.  He entered his identification number and got word of  his Passing  score.  He  handed  the phone to me.

My head was spinning:  Why was I so arrogant?  Why didn’t I take the course like EVERYBODY ELSE? Why did I fall asleep? Why did I decide part of the exam was optional? Why can’t I just lay down and die???????  I  entered  in my identification number, waited, then  . . .

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I PASSED!!!!!

Despite it all, I had passed.  I had passed.  I had passed.  Damn, I must have done something good.

(Yes, I see the typo in the image text, my apologies, it’ll have to do for now.)

Just Me With . . . the ability to say . . . I passed the bar exam in my sleep.

And here’s a bonus, much to the utter shock and dismay of  my  snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge  co-clerk, not only had I passed, but my numerical score was . . . wait for it  . . . higher than his.   (I didn’t say a word, on the outside.)

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And  here’s yet another  bonus.  Years later, I ran into my  snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge co-clerk, who actually gained some humility over the years and apologized to me for his arrogance (which is beyond the scope of this post).   Then he started telling me how busy he and his wife were:

Him:   “You’ll never believe it!  I have twin girls!  Yeah, it’s crazy!”

Me:    “Really?  Twin girls, huh?  Wow.   Crazy.   So . . . you  have . . .  just . . . the one  . . . set of twin girls?” .  . .    wait for it . . .   “I have two.”

We had a good old laugh about that.

Him:  “You always manage to one up  me, don’t you?  I guess I’d better just shut up.”

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See:

A Rat In My House  – Unscheduled study break …

My Law School Crush

Another Embarrassing Moment, Another Crush

My Law School Crush

Damn Facebook.  I hate it.  All the happy posts piss me off.  Having photos of me (especially unflattering or ones that reveal my age) posted and tagged pisses me off.   Having to connect with relatives I don’t usually talk to (sometimes) pisses me off.   I mean now I have my mother asking me if I saw a cousin’s graduation pictures on Facebook?  Ugh.

Then there’s the Ex, his fiancée, and their crap all over the net.   Soon it’ll be his wedding pictures, complete with group pictures of  my kids with the bride and groom and his and her family,  all dolled up for his big day.  Ugh.

And of course,  there was the accidental discovery that my Ex’s fiancée and I dated the same guy,  information gained via Facebook.  See Mutual Friend, Part I and Mutual Friend, Part II.

Yeah, I’m kinda sick of Facebook.

But for professional and familial reasons, I keep my  non-anonymous Facebook account.  I do not link it to my Twitter or blog.   I check into Facebook much less, rarely post, and took down all personal pictures.   I check in primarily so that I can un-tag photos and respond to messages from the people who still insist on communicating with me via Facebook.

On my weekly check-in last week, I had a friend request from a law school colleague.  The last time I talked to this woman years ago, she lit into me about some dispute regarding a club we belonged to, so I hung up on her.   I don’t like to be yelled at.

Question:  Why is she  “friending” me on Facebook?

Answer:  Because it’s Facebook.

I kept her dangling for a while,  but since my account is so impersonal now, I thought, what the hell, I’ll accept her friend request.  It might help in a future job search if she knows people.

Well, my connection to her led to seeing a profile of a man I had a secret crush on in law school. We’ll call him LawBoy.

LawBoy and I sat next to each other every day, front and center.   He held my seat for me if I was running late.   He was married, so was I.  We studied together, some.  Talked on breaks or in the library, just a little.   I thought he was one of the nicest guys I’d met in a long time.  Smart, funny, and so not full of himself.   He was really down to earth, quite unlike many of my fellow law students.   I used to love the way he smiled when talking about his wife.  We didn’t hang out at night or anything.   There was never anything inappropriate about our friendship.  But I admit now that I was secretly holding the married lady’s crush on him.

Lucy always had a crush on Schroeder

A few years after law school,  I ran into him in an office building where I was working.   So we decided to have lunch, as lawyers do, just to catch up, see what our specialties were, if we could refer business . . . etc.    He was always so attentive to my real love, music, as his father was also a musician, still gigging,  even at his  advanced age.    LawBoy and I  were both still married at this meeting, and now we had kids to talk about.  It was quite an enjoyable lunch.

I don’t do alumni events, or lawyerly functions, and I haven’t worked downtown in a while — since all the madness (literally).   So I hadn’t seen or heard from him since that lunch, years ago.

But when I accepted that woman’s friend request  and viewed her page — there was LawBoy, on Facebook, a friend of a “friend.”  He looked pretty much the same, still had that nice boyish smile.  Now he’s a partner in a law firm.  Not too shabby.  More importantly,  his relationship status is  listed as . . .  SEPARATED. 

Whoa.

This time I sent the Friend Request.   No message attached.

He accepted my request, immediately (she adds with a grin) and messaged that he was glad to reconnect, asked about my music and said that he hoped he could see me play sometime.

(Shhh. Don’t tell anybody, but I smiled and giggled  a bit.)

LawBoy remembered me . . . and my music.  Aw.  

I responded in kind, telling him I’d let him know when things came up.  (smiling still)

I perused (stalked) his profile a bit and saw that he seemed very active and well-rounded.  He does go to the law related networking events that I avoid like the plague (but he’d have to,  still being  in practice and all)  and is outdoorsy.   Although I love to be outside, I’m not the rafting, hiking, marathoning, camping type.  (But we can work that out . . .  I digress . . . )

I have no plans or fantasizes of hooking up with my law school crush (well, maybe a few fantasizes, but no concrete plans).  On paper, we are as different as night and day.  I’m not even sure how comfortable he’d be dating outside of his race and religion.

Former Episcopalian Princess Charlotte at her Jewish Wedding, Sex and The City

But I could pull a Charlotte from Sex and the City . . . (“I’m  Jew now” . . . ) yes?   Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.   A little. Whatever.  It could happen.

Oh well.  Odds are  this will not be a fulfillment of a long-lost and unstated love between two law school buddies  — like in the book and movie, “Something Borrowed.”   No,  romantic stories like that and me? — well, no.

“Something Borrowed “

Still, that  one word on his profile, “Separated,”  haunts me.   I don’t state my relationship status on Facebook.  It’s a personal policy of mine.  And I doubt that he would have heard of my change in status from others since we don’t travel in the same circles,  but . . .  I’m not married anymore —- if anyone’s interested . . .

Regardless, I gotta say, it is nice to feel free, feel a crush and not be married this time, even if I never, ever do a thing about it.

Just Me With . . . my freedom, and still with a little crush on LawBoy, who is now separated.   And, FYI, if he ever found this post, I would be completely mortified.

See also: Another Embarrassing Moment, Another Crush