Nick's Journal
Ad 2:
2009-06-18 08:57:08 (UTC)

The Bar

it's 1:45 am. my head hurts (sinuses) and my eyes are
bleary (and not just from allergies). i've been staring at
fine-printed black letter law for the better part of the
day. 12 hours to be exact.

The Bar. what horrors. The Bar is a test of "minimum
competency." It is designed to make sure that, if someone
is going to hold themselves out as an attorney in the fair
state of X, they are going to damn well at least know what
the elements of trespass or fraud are. A lot of people
malign the bar, i hate it for how it is done. it's
maniacal. 2 weeks after you finish your final exams and are
"done" with law school you are told to learn 27 different
areas of law, the majority of which you are seeing for the
first time. this has to be done over two months. that is a
shit-ton of memorizing.

minimum competency, allow me to continue my streak of calvin
& hobbes quotes. there's one where calvin is protesting his
grade of a 75% in the class. he says, "Miss Wormwood, I
protest this 'C' grade! That's saying I only did an
'average' job! I got 75% of the answers correct, and in
today's society, doing something 75% right is outstanding!
If government and industry were 75% competent, we'd be
ecstatic! I won't stand for this artificial standard of
performance! I demand an 'A' for this kind of work!"

And so it should be for the bar. 70% is what you need to
pass, and we are ecstatic for you. the thing is...i just
can't see how that's done. i just got back my latest
practice test and did dismally on it. i can't even begin to
say how discouraged and overwhelmed i feel right now. i
literally study every day for at least 8 to 10, sometimes 12

and i don't mean "employee 8 hour days." for those of you
who are saying, "welcome to real life college boy," think
again. here is what my "real life employment" consisted of:
check email, get coffee, do half hours work, talk to
coworkers, do 15 mins work, lunch, etc. we do maybe 4 hours
of true actual work a day. but i'm talking about a true 8
hour day, nose to the books.

ugh, my head hurts, i think the nyquil is kicking in though.
anyhow. there has never been much to make me regret going
to law school, but the fact that my career hinges on a test
that seems so insurmountable at this very moment just makes
me cringe of my decision. but it's doable, there are
attorneys out there who i don't know how they passed, but
they did. i know it's a horrible way to look at it, but
there's hope there.

and really, for those who malign the bar. sure, i'll grant
you that it's archaic, that it was better suited for a time
of monopolies on law resources. that is inherently
unrealistic (when are you ever really going to have to state
and issue, rule and analysis without a case book handy?).
but on the other hand, it is just one more test to show that
you are competent. and as a good friend of mine said, who
just passed the bar, "people hate on the bar because they
say it's all about memorization, sure, i'll give you that,
but at some point pure memorization turns into me, you go through 2 months of 8 to 10
hours a day memorizing things and it sticks to you...for life."

and with that ominous voice ringing in my head i will go to
bed, with the hopeful consolation that i have recorded here,
in this great airing of anonymous ailments, what is my low
point in this ordeal known as the bar.