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.

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New City, New Foods

A review of some of the many new products I’ve tried since moving to New York:

  • Banana Snapple: Surprisingly not so good. I love snapple, and I love banana flavored anything, so I thought this would be the perfect drink after I walked four miles to get back home last week (It was better than taking the rush hour subway). It tasted like watered down milk, though. Conclusion: Banana drinks are better left to the milk-based variety.
  • Pretzel M&Ms: Surprisingly good. I had heard these tasted like malt candies, but not at all. I grew up on chocolate covered pretzels, and these are a brightly colored version of that. One complaint, because there always has to be at least one, is that there wasn’t really enough salt for my liking. I’d suggest using a coarser type of salt.
  • Vegan and Kosher prepackaged “chicken” sandwiches from the organic market down the street: Delicious, though I wonder if vegans haven’t had meat for so long that they mislabled the sandwich. It tasted much more like turkey than like chicken.

I really have never eaten as much junk food as I am right now. Perhaps it’s because of the stress of law school, or perhaps it’s emotional eating, but whatever the reason, these junk food manufacturers need to stop making new varieties of food, because I need to stop eating them!

People Actually Like New York?

I think people like their friends. If your friends happen to be in New York, there could be no happier place on earth. If, however, you happen to be a law student who moved to “The City” for the loads of educational and professional opportunities it affords, and in doing so left behind all of your close friends and your boyfriend in Washington, DC., it’s not so great.

Here are some more not so great things about New York:
-It smells like garbage constantly. I think everyday of the week must be garbage pick-up day on my block.
-The water tastes like spit. I have yet to invest in a Brita, but I’ve decided it’s necessary.
-Food is at-least 33% more expensive here. The fact that the average income is higher is of no help to someone paying her way through student loans.
-Walking up several flights of steps on Shabbat is almost a given. I happen to be lucky and live on the 4th floor, the apartment where I ate friday night dinner, however, was on the 9th floor.
-I need to invest in a whole new wardrobe. I knew I was going to have to buy some professional pieces for law school, however, I did not realize I would have to buy what essentially amounts to wedding attire to wear on Shabbat.
-Heels are everyday shoes, flats are lounging around the apartment shoes.
-For some reason, my hair died almost immediately after moving here. I think it’s a depiction of my morale.

Hi, My Name is Beverly, and I’m a Coffaholic.

I know I just posted, but I’m posting again for 3 reasons.

1. I just wrote about hate. I feel morally obligated to balance it out with something I love.
2. I haven’t posted for 2 weeks before today.
3. Coffee Trumps Everything. Period.

I have a coffee addiction. Actually. It’s not the caffeine I’m addicted to, its the coffee itself. I don’t crave coffee because I’ll get headaches if I don’t have it, it’s because I tend to drink coffee when I want to get relaxed, and it has become my comfort drink. Before I have a panic attack, I’ll drink a cup of coffee and usually the panic wanes. It works even better if I buy the coffee at an overpriced coffee bar.

I have a number of reservations about moving to New York City next year, but now I have atleast one reason to look forward to it:

New Yorkers, apparently, take their coffee seriously.

Promiscuous Girl

A recent conversation with a good friend who is, shall we say, much more conservative than I:

Me: I’m moving to New York, and trying to figure out what neighborhood to live in. Where do you live, again?

Friend: Washington Heights

Me: Do you like it?

Friend: It’s a great community of singles and young married couples, I have fun here, I don’t particularly like my roommates but that’s okay, our lease ends in May and I’m looking for a new apartment. Hey, do you need a roommate?

Me: Actually, yes. But I should tell you something. I have a boyfriend who live a couple hours away from NY, he’ll be visiting every so often and I’d want him to stay with me. I don’t know if you’re okay with that, but I just wanted to put everything out in the air.

Friend: Well, I think you know how I feel about that [I do, she would feel extremely uncomfortable]. But, you can always look for someone else who is comfortable with it, and if not, you can try to find a small one bedroom place and just live by yourself.

Me: Well, if everyone there is going to disapprove of my lifestyle, I’m not sure I want to live there.

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. My beef with the Orthodox community. Or atleast, one of many beefs with it.

Side note: Was that correct usage of the term “beef”?

Jewish Stereotypes

It’s an article about sales on 5th Avenue in New York City. Of course the lady pictured is going to be Jewish. Note the tichel on her head. Also, the young teenage girl behind her appears to be a yiddele as well, perhaps a Stern student on break from class.

So I was in Annapolis today…

Instead of outlining my views on what went down, I just want to share some anecdotes.

-I went to Annapolis (was I there in protest or in support, I’m a little unclear. You can see me on this video with the guy with the guitar) with my school’s chapter of ZOA. I arrived a little late, as I had class that I couldn’t miss. When I got there, one of the people I was with asked “where are we?” I looked around, amid the Neturei Karta, Lubavitch, and PLO protesters, and said, “We’re the normal looking ones.”

-One of the people I was with was rather energetic, and extremely passionate about Israel. She handed out stickers with an Israeli flag to everyone she met, including the security gaurds. When she asked one gaurd if he would like a sticker, he said “Sure. Anything for peace, right?” She smiled, nodded, and said “Yup.” As she walked away, she said “Wait. No. No division of Jerusalem. I guess not ‘anything’.”

[This conversation exemplifies what it was that almost held me back from going. I DO support peace, I just don’t think that dividing Jerusalem will accomplish that. My biggest proof is the three or four Palestinian groups protesting the convention. If they aren’t going to be happy with compromise, neither will we.]

-It seems that Annapolis residents don’t really get to see much political action. They’re too far away from DC to go there on a regular basis, and the 2 colleges in Annapolis-St. Johns and the Naval Academy-aren’t exactly known for their large activist population. Everyone was out infront of the conference, protesting their cause of the day. Most of them had something to do with Middle East politics, but in no stretch of the imagination all. One guy was there with a sign that said “Send a piana’ to Havana”. When I asked him what his sign meant, he explained that the trade restrictions with Cuba are such that Americans can only send medicinal aid. Pianos are not included in that category, but he was arguing they should be, because the power of music has been proven to calm patients into a speedier recovery.

-A girl, about my age, started talking to me. She asked where I went to school, and I said “The University of Maryland.” She looked at me and my friends, who were pretty much all dressed in denim skirts and zip up sweatshirts, and asked “What’s the difference between Stern College and the University of Maryland”. Hmmm… Where to start with that one??