Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bar exam: pressure mounting, five weeks to go

This morning I'm sitting in a second-floor classroom at the U of L law school, doing what I do pretty much every morning: preparing for a marathon lecture about the bar exam. For the next three and a half hours, a curly-haired professor from UNC is going to talk about the ins and outs of constitutional law, from privileges and immunities to interstate commerce and the First Amendment. Earlier this week it was a guy from Yale talking about real property. Before that we marched through the laws of evidence, agency, tax, torts, corporations, and contracts. The material for the bar exam is vast, and the preparation seems endless.
The crazy thing is that we haven't even really started. A lawyer friend who lives in my neighborhood says it doesn't really begin until the "twenties" of June. One of the partners at the firm where I work says the go date is July 1, when I'm supposed to go full time on bar prep. So far, preparing for the bar has been not too different from working as a law clerk. Both require the ability to focus on countless mundane details for hours at a time, and then be able to analyze and remember those details weeks later. This weekend we're going to take a practice run at the MBE, a 200-question multiple choice monster that spans six core topics. The other half of the bar consists of 12 essays, each lasting 30 minutes. So far the summer hasn't been too bad. I've been busy at work, handling helping clients in personal injury and mass tort cases, answering discovery, filing lawsuits, and getting ready to start practicing in earnest this fall. But as we get deeper into studying and the real date of the bar exam draws closer, I can feel the pressure mounting. Full-time bar prep for me starts in less than 10 days, and then it's a month-long slog to the finish line. In times like these, I am grateful that there are other things that fill my life --- kids, wife, a house to worry about, lawns to mow, Monday night soccer, cleaning the swimming pool, etc. Diversions keep me sane, even if time for diversions soon will be precious.

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