Bar Exams, Law Schools

Bar Review Diaries: The Bridge Is Out!

Thus far into the Bar Review Diaries, our intrepid columnists have been strangely in sync with each other. Last week, motivation was the hot topic. Another time, it was simply stress.

But I’m not going to lie, this week Mariah, Mike, and Christopher are all over the map. And that’s OK. They don’t plan this stuff together, and nobody’s telling them what to write. (Not even Themis, contrary to what some commenters might believe.)

Without further ado, keep reading for Mariah’s treacherous rural journey, Mike’s advice on screwing with your law school frenemies, and Christopher’s barroom environmental debate….

First, Mariah had an interesting Monday morning:

I am back in Vermont and it’s time to get serious. I am trying to study at the law school library, as opposed to in spurts at the house. But first I have to get to town, which is more than six miles away.

I do not have a car. This is okay, because the hike is filled with Vermonty things like wildflowers and creeks and poison oak and covered bridges and herons and goats and ponies and cows. There is a 30 m.p.h. speed limit sign riddled with bullet holes, probably the result of teenagers, alcohol and hunting season. A little farther is a mailbox with “PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME” scrawled on the side.

Is it weird that I feel bad for the mailbox? It’s not hurting anyone… stupid teenagers.

This morning I was going along happily, singing to the woodland critters, until I reached the penultimate bridge and it was not there. It had been gutted. Only a few beams stretched across the river in its place. I hollered to the construction workers on the other side, asking if I could cross or if they knew of another bridge within a couple miles. They answered no and no.

“Clearly I can’t let you walk across,” one of them said. Then he looked around. “That said, I’m not going to push you off if you try.”

I wandered around, looking for somewhere to wade across, but the river was too deep and moving too fast. I decided to take my chances on the construction site. The men on the other side watched as I scrabbled up onto the rusty beam. ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘worst case scenario? At least I won’t have to take the Bar Exam.’

We’re glad you lived to tell the tale, Mariah. Mike, however, is not outside enjoying nature. He is sitting at home, devising ways to prank his friends:

The only problem with Themis is the lack of interaction between students. With online courses, I avoid the gunners and the weekly freakouts from students with 3.8 GPAs worried they will “fail.” Now that I’m removed from the law school crowd, I miss it. The fear and anxiety from hearing how much better prepared my peers were used to drive me to study. My friends taking Themis miss those feelings too. To help motivate them, I have three easy steps to virtually rouse their anxiety and terror:

1. Facebook Gunning. By now you would think most law students and lawyers would have gotten over gunners. We haven’t. There is nothing more annoying than people trying to sound important by bragging about things that don’t matter. That’s why my last Facebook status update reads, “I got a 47/50 on my last practice MBE, and I took it in a crowded pub while watching the NASCAR Toyota/Save Mart 350. Go Kurt Busch!” If you really want to freak your friends out, post their scores too.

Mike, on behalf of everyone everywhere, I hate you wish I had an excuse to do this.

2. Fake Email Alerts. Remember when New York emailed exam locations to applicants? We crashed the Bar Examiners’ website faster than LulzSec! To recreate that sheer terror for your friends, create a few official-sounding email addresses and send out some “alerts.”

My favorite recent subjects are: “Your application to the New York Bar has been rejected due to a falsehood in your application materials,” and “Your test center location has successfully been changed to Buffalo, NY.” A word of caution: the Bar Examiners might not find this joke funny when assessing your moral character.

All I will say is that I’m not a lawyer, and I see no moral character test in my near future. And I hope my bar-studying friend Alex doesn’t read this because it will blow my cover.

3. Fake Legal Doctrines. Have you heard of “inequitable servitudes”? Neither had I until I spent all weekend trying to figure out what they are. I still don’t get it! See how that works?

If all else fails, meet your friends for a drink and make sure they know how scared you are even though you’re already through 80% of your study materials.

Out west, Christopher also has been getting drinks with friends. He’s using social lubricant to distract himself from studying, and instead think about more important things:

To escape from bar review for a little while, I met up with friends for some drinks. As lawyer-types tend to do, we quickly got into a debate. The subject was the recent legal victory by the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment. It had sued the California Air Resources Board to halt implementation of a cap-and-trade scheme to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in California.

One friend, like many people who hear the news that cap-and-trade has been put on the back burner, was astonished. Why would environmental justice activists want to stop a law to curb emissions?

I said cap-and-trade is a sham. The plaintiffs want very much for California’s climate change law to succeed. They want the state to follow through with real measures to get refineries, power plants, and factories to clean up and make actual reductions in emissions. But cap-and-trade would do the opposite of achieving real emissions reductions in California; it would create tradeable pollution credits that allow companies to keep polluting.

Good point, I guess. I’m just a lowly legal blogger, and I’m no cap-and-trade expert. Moving right along…

In Europe, emissions have actually increased under cap-and-trade due to rampant fraud and the failure to realize promised reductions. The activists have a simple demand: California should comply with the law and make good on its commitment to clean up pollution. The states needs to invest in a green energy economy instead of a scheme that allows polluters to conduct business as usual.

Until we check in next week, hopefully that lively discussion clears Christopher’s head, hopefully Mike’s fake lists don’t land him in real hot water, and hopefully Mariah doesn’t fall down a well or something.

Disclosure: This series is sponsored by Themis, which is an ATL advertiser.

Christopher Danzig is a writer in Oakland, California. He previously covered legal technology for InsideCounsel magazine. Follow Chris on Twitter @chrisdanzig or email him at You can read more of his work at

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