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How hard is the bar exam?

Not a lawyer, but have several lawyer friends who nearly went insane studying for it. A few had to take it several times. WTF?

by Anonymousreply 5404/21/2013

How well did they do on their LSAT? I have a friend who passed both easily the first time. He did absolutely nothing but study for the LSAT the year before he took it, and was able to take a good amount prior to the bar exam.

by Anonymousreply 204/17/2013

Yes it all depends on the state.

California is very hard. Others not as hard although some states are making it harder because the legal job market is so shitty and they want fewer lawyers.

by Anonymousreply 304/17/2013

It's really really really hard

by Anonymousreply 404/17/2013

My friend took the NY Bar.

by Anonymousreply 504/17/2013

In California, 60% of first time bar exam takers pass.

But at any given exam, the pass rate is around 40-50%, which is very low compared to other states.

by Anonymousreply 604/17/2013

California is pretty hard.

by Anonymousreply 704/18/2013

It's not really that hard. Just a lot of memorization. Flash cards help but once you know one drink in each family you can pretty much build on that and it becomes pretty easy.

by Anonymousreply 804/18/2013

See, my nightmare is that I'm wrongly accused of murder and I'm given a court-appointed attorney, and it turns out to be someone like R8.

by Anonymousreply 904/18/2013

A law degree is about as useful as a vestigial tail these days!

by Anonymousreply 1004/18/2013

Hard, even in the easiest state. California is the hardest; New York comes in second.

Just to get through law school, you have to study pretty hard. At some point you realize the bar can ask you about anything you've studied in the past three years, as well as stuff you've never covered. And, if you fail, all the studying you've done for three years is for naught. Sweet fucking Christ! During law school you might have thought you couldn't study any harder than you already were. But for the bar exam, you study even harder.

by Anonymousreply 1104/18/2013

I passed.

by Anonymousreply 1304/18/2013

Washington was easy, but now they're adopting the multistate crap, which is about taking the test rather than demonstrating a grasp of substantive law and legal reasoning. The pass rate will drop but it doesn't mean those who pass know anything.

AK is known for a difficult exam. Perhaps R1 means AR.

by Anonymousreply 1504/18/2013

If you have to ask you can't pass it.

by Anonymousreply 1604/18/2013

It is 2 or 3 full days of hundreds of challenging multiple choice questions on one day, multiple multi-issued essays on another day and a combination of both on the 3rd day, with some states calling that the "practical" portion of the exam. In NY it is still only 2 days but a lot of people will go take a nearby state (NJ or CT) on the 3rd day. It's exhausting and complex but certainly passable. I think statistics show that there is a group of approximately 10% of people who haven't passed by the 3rd time and consistently attempt to take it over and over. I knew a guy who graduated from a top law school who failed 3 times and never bothered to take it again. I studied for it like it was a full time job and passed it the first time, like 60+% of the people who took it when I did...

by Anonymousreply 1704/18/2013

It also depends on where one goes to law school. If you take the exam in the same state where you studied law, your law school may well have concentrated in part on prep for the exam to the extent of learning the state rules which frequently appear on the exam in a variety of practice areas. Having that background and having those rules reinforced in bar review courses - which almost everyone takes - is solid prep for the bar. If you take the exam in, for example, New York state having gone to law school in another state, you are therefore at some disadvantage. But it certainly doesn't make it easy.

The LSAT has some predictive reliability of scholastic aptitude for learning legal rules, so of course their may be some overlap in how well one does on the LSAT and the bar, but that overlap is limited. The LSAT tests for general aptitude in logic, comprehension, application of rules to facts, etc.; the bar tests for actual knowledge of legal rules. Both favor those who succeed on standardized tests which in itself is a pedagogical factor. But the skill sets are very different.

by Anonymousreply 1804/18/2013

Are you still allowed to 'read for the bar' and not go to school?

Some states used to allow that.

by Anonymousreply 1904/18/2013

Graduates from the top law schools usually have little difficulty, provided that they take a cram course lasting several weeks. A legal education there has little direct application to the bar exam.

Lower-tier law schools "teach to the exam" pretty much from the day their students enter.

by Anonymousreply 2004/18/2013

Star Jones passed it, so it can't be that difficult.

by Anonymousreply 2204/18/2013

Some break their asses passing it.

by Anonymousreply 2304/18/2013

R20, you're about 60% correct. Law students at any high-ranked school should be easily able to handle the multistate bar; it covers the basic curricula nearly every law school, good and bad, offers, particularly to first-year students. It's the other stuff that gives people problems, particularly if they didn't attend law school within a state or region where knowledge of a certain facet of the law has a uniquely high level of necessity. The NY bar is a bitch in large part because it has so many questions related to securities law, for instance; a lot of law schools don't ever cover the area. The TX bar is easier, but on the flip side has a whole section on oil & gas law, which few students outside of Texas study.

In any event, taking Barbri or some other type of bar prep course right after you graduate is de rigueur even for HLS types; it's unusual to fail the bar, even in NY, if you take the class and actually study for the bar properly.

by Anonymousreply 2404/18/2013

I think JFK Jr. failed the bar exam three or four times. I don't know if he ever passed it although I assume he did.

by Anonymousreply 2504/18/2013

I tole ya we was smart.

by Anonymousreply 2604/18/2013

R24 has it exactly right. The multistate exam really is not particularly hard and covers the core law school courses (IIRC: torts, property, evidence, criminal law, civil procedure, and contracts). The essays trip people up because they cover a very broad range of topics ranging from wills and trusts to community property law (in California) or tax (NY).

Good law schools teach you how to think about the law. Bar/bri and other test prep courses are necessary because they teach you the techniques you need to pass the exam. A reasonably intelligent law student who takes the review course and devotes the necessary study time should be able to manage.

by Anonymousreply 2704/18/2013

r26, I'm guessing the Kansas bar exam involves blocks and a crayon.

by Anonymousreply 2804/18/2013

LMAO @ R28. I bet law school students who take the Kansas bar will pass as long as their anti-abortion picket sign contains less than 3 spelling mistakes.

by Anonymousreply 2904/18/2013

Ooops, I meant "fewer than 3 spelling mistakes."

Be easy on me, Grammar Trolls.

by Anonymousreply 3004/18/2013

The multistate portion is a multiple choice where, after a complicated fact pattern you are asked to chose the "best" answer. Often, there is no clearly right answer.

This is what it's like:

The capital of the United States is:

A) New York

B) Philadelphia

C) Richmond, VA

D) Langley VA

by Anonymousreply 3104/18/2013

A (if the test was written in 1789-1790)

B (if the test was written between 1790-1800)

by Anonymousreply 3204/18/2013

It's about as easy as you'd expect a 12 hour exam to be.

by Anonymousreply 3304/18/2013

R25, he passed on the third try.

by Anonymousreply 3404/18/2013

Here's an actual multistate bar exam question:

Current national statistics show a dramatic increase in the number of elementary and secondary school students bringing controlled substances (drugs) to school for personal use or distribution to others. In response, Congress enacted a statute requiring each state legislature to enact a state law that makes it a state crime for any person to possess, use, or distribute, within 1,000 feet of any elementary or secondary school, any controlled substance that has previously been transported in interstate commerce and that is not possessed, used, or distributed pursuant to a proper physician’s prescription. This federal statute is (A)tunconstitutional, because Congress has no authority to require a state legislature to enact any specified legislation. (B)tunconstitutional, because the possession, use, or distribution, in close proximity to a school, of a controlled substance that has previously been transported in interstate commerce does not have a sufficiently close nexus to such commerce to justify its regulation by Congress. (C)tconstitutional, because it contains a jurisdictional provision that will ensure, on a case-by-case basis, that any particular controlled substance subject to the terms of this statute will, in fact, affect interstate commerce. (D)tconstitutional, because Congress possesses broad authority under both the general welfare clause and the commerce clause to regulate any activities affecting education that also have, in inseverable aggregates, a substantial effect on interstate commerce.

by Anonymousreply 3504/18/2013

I'm getting hard just thinking about it.

by Anonymousreply 3604/18/2013

I passed it on the first try in CA and PA. If you take the Bar Bri course, study full time for 3 to 4 months, went to an ABA law school, and kept your life drama free for those three to four months you will most likely pass on your first try. If you went to a non ABA school or are taking it in a different state than where your school was located, it might be a little harder but is still doable.

by Anonymousreply 3704/18/2013

I studied with BarBri and outlines for six weeks and passed. It depends on which bar you take.

by Anonymousreply 3804/18/2013

Amongst lawyers the New York Bar exam is considered to be one of the world's easier bar exams, partly because the information needed for it is well-packaged and commoditised. It is fairly common for lawyers qualified in their own country to take the New York bar as an additional CV item. I know a few who have done so without difficulty, and they are by no means intellectual giants.

by Anonymousreply 3904/19/2013

California, New York, DC. Those should be three most difficult to pass and if you do, virgin assholes should present themselves to you, pre-lubed.

by Anonymousreply 4004/19/2013

[quote]See, my nightmare is that I'm wrongly accused of murder and I'm given a court-appointed attorney, and it turns out to be someone like [R8].

And my nightmare is that I’m stuck in a comedy club sitting next to r9.

Anyway, chances are that having someone with r8’s keen observational instinct and sharp sense of distortion would be very favorable to the defense of an oblivious ditz like r9 in any court.

by Anonymousreply 4104/19/2013

Harvey Levin passed the bar in his home state of California on the first try. Gave up licence because of television obligations.

by Anonymousreply 4204/19/2013

But whatever his other faults, Harvey Levin doesn't seem stupid or lazy.

by Anonymousreply 4304/19/2013

Currently , the US law schools are graduating over 30% more lawyers than there are jobs. Even tier one law grads are having problems finding employment. The average debt load upon graduation is over 100,000 or more. Law schools are popping up all over as they are cheap to open and huge money makers. There is a surplus of about 3,901 licensed attorneys that can't get jobs. The schools are assholes for letting any doofus that can fog a mirror into their programs since the students have big juicy loans to cover the exorbitant fees. Some ate stuck in basements doing doc review for 25.00 an hour and those are the lucky ones.

by Anonymousreply 4404/19/2013

Like OMG, is it hard! I had to cancel invites to parties and had to hire a tutor, but whatevs. I even got into Harvard Law on one try! Jealous bitches?

by Anonymousreply 4504/19/2013

JFK jr failed the NY bar exam twice.

He also wasn't very smart to get caught flying his plane at dark since he didn't know how to read the instruments.

by Anonymousreply 4604/19/2013

And Stanford Dean Kathleen Sullivan failed the California bar when she went into private practice a few years ago. That's hardly an indictment of her intelligence; it more reflects her failure to devote the adequate time to study to refamiliarize herself with the legal principles she's long since forgotten and will never use again.

Some people are also good test takers. I finished each 3-hour session of the multistate in 2 hours, both when I took the exam in Illinois and in California, and I passed both on the first try. By contrast, a classmate of mine (Yale undergrad, Northwestern law) failed the California bar twice, despite being an extremely smart and insightful woman. She just does not test well.

by Anonymousreply 4704/19/2013

[quote]Amongst lawyers the New York Bar exam is considered to be one of the world's easier bar exams, partly because the information needed for it is well-packaged and commoditised. It is fairly common for lawyers qualified in their own country to take the New York bar as an additional CV item. I know a few who have done so without difficulty, and they are by no means intellectual giants.

That's an odd statement since a third of the people fail, the third highest fail rate in the US (behind California and DC). And in California, you don't have to have attended law school to take the bar exam, so the fail rate is heightened.

by Anonymousreply 4804/19/2013

[quote]And in California, you don't have to have attended law school to take the bar exam, so the fail rate is heightened.

I *very* seriously doubt that many people who haven't attended law school, period, take the bar. Masochism only goes so far.

by Anonymousreply 4904/19/2013

Sorry-- I may have got that wrong. The point is that California does not require people to have attended an accredited law school to take the exam and there are many unaccredited schools. The state has 54 law schools, only 21 or which are ABA accredited. In comparison, New York has 15, Florida has 12 and Texas has 9--all accredited.

by Anonymousreply 5004/20/2013

R35, I passed Ny on my first try, and I'm going with (c).

Yes? No?

When I graduated from law school (outside NY) there was a persistent rumor about the NY Bar Exam that if you scored high enough on the multi-state/multiple choice, you were passed without any scoring of the essays.

I took Bieber review, not BarBri, and saved money and time by doing so.

by Anonymousreply 5104/20/2013

I took BarBri and passed NY and NJ at the same time.

I spent the first month of the two I had off studying goofing off. I would pretend to study but didn't concentrate. It got so bad that I would reward myself for actually working at it for 5 minutes at a time.

Then I took the practice exam and did terribly. Scared the shit out of me. I studied well for the second month and was well prepared by the time of the exam that it seemed easy to me.

You have to do the work. You have to do as many problems as possible or else you won't pass. You can't go into it thinking you're so smart that you'll rock it. There's a system to it and once you master it, you'll pass.

by Anonymousreply 5204/21/2013

Associate attorney is the unhappiest job in America, survey says

Long work days and billable-hour pressures are well-known in the legal world. Now a jobs website is taking notice in a new list of the top 10 unhappiest jobs in America.

Associate attorney is No. 1, making it the unhappiest job, Forbes reports in a story noted by Above the Law. Legal assistant is No. 7 on the unhappiest jobs list, compiled by the jobs website CareerBliss.

Heidi Golledge, chief executive of CareerBliss, told Forbes why associates are so unhappy. “In many cases, law firms are conducted in a structured environment that is heavily centered on billable hours. It may take several years for an associate attorney to rise to the rank of partner,” Golledge said. “People in this position rated the way they work and the rewards they receive lower than any other industry.”

CareerBliss based its list on reviews completed by more than 65,000 employees last year. The employees rated key factors that affect happiness on the job, including work-life balance, relationships with bosses and co-workers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and control over daily work.

The top five unhappiest jobs are:

1) Associate attorney

2) Customer service associate

3) Clerk

4) Registered nurse

5) Teacher

The top five happiest jobs are:

1) Real estate agent

2) Senior quality assurance engineer

3) Senior sales representative

4) Construction superintendent

5) Senior applications designer

Says Above the Law: “If you’re interested in being happier, it’s worth noting that in some jurisdictions, your admission to the bar allows you to seamlessly transfer to the happiest position in the survey: ‘Real Estate Agent.’ So get out there and start selling lawyerly lairs instead of trying to live in them.”

by Anonymousreply 5304/21/2013

I'm a belieber after reading R51's post!

by Anonymousreply 5404/21/2013
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