The Bar Exam is Awful

I would like to just complain a little bit about being a lawyer. Or, more accurately, about the process of becoming a lawyer.

1. The Bar Exam

This is the most grueling test you will ever encounter. In New York, there are over twenty topics tested (somewhere between 23 and 26, depending on how you divide the topics). You have to know them all perfectly, but you may not even get questions on some topics, or worse yet, the question will be buried so far under all the other material that you can’t identify it as a question. There are prep courses that cost anywhere from $1500 to $3500 and span 8 full weeks of 10 hour days. The bar examiners basically expect that you will be taking one of these courses. Don’t have a couple thousand dollars to drop? Don’t have the luxury of spending 10 hours a day studying (god forbid you have to work or take care of children while you are preparing for the bar)? Too bad, you’re basically screwed.

2. Limited Reciprocity

Worse than the exam itself, I would say, are the licensing requirements. Some states have zero reciprocity with other states, meaning, if you ever want to practice in, say, New Jersey or California, you would have to take that bar exam in order to get your license. And taking the bar exam is not fun. See number 1.

3. Limited Testing

The bar examine is given only in February and July. Twice a year. If you miss a deadline for your test date, you have to wait a whole six months to take it. And there are A LOT of deadlines. And A LOT of paperwork. Registering for the exam is almost as hard as taking the exam.

And then there’s me. I took the New York bar in July, and passed! Yay me. Well, then I got a job in New Jersey, but see, I never took the New Jersey bar because I was silly and assumed I would get a job in New York. Tsk Tsk. Well, now I’m stuck working and studying for the New Jersey bar, which is awful. But the worst part is, I don’t really feel like I can complain too much to my lawyer friends. See, because the bar is only given twice a year, the assumption is that everybody who graduates law school in May will take the bar in July. If you fail, you will take it in February. Therefore, the unspoken assumption is that every recent graduate taking the exam in February is doing so because he failed July. BUT I DIDN’T FAIL. I just didn’t take the exam at all. But without going into my whole work history, I can’t just throw the fact that I’m taking the bar soon into conversation, because of all the unspoken assumptions. So I suffer in silence, whine to the people who already know about my situation, and occasionally blog about it.

Now back to studying.