Yesterday we wrote about Paulina Bandy, that poor creature who failed the California bar exam thirteen times, before finally passing it on try #14. Her story seems to have freaked out some of you who are sitting for the bar exam later this month next week.
Relax. Take a deep breath. You won’t wind up in a 365-square-foot shack in your mom’s backyard. We think.
Chances are, you will pass. And even if you fail the bar once or twice, you’re still not on your way towards Paulina Bandy-dom.
As it turns out, a number of well-known individuals — some famous for their accomplishments in law, and others for different reasons — didn’t pass the bar on the first (or even second) try.
To get the ball rolling, here’s a short list of a few bar exam failures. Check it out, after the jump.
Try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, and try again. And maybe the 14th time will be the charm!
For those of you freaking out over the bar exam next week, chillax. You will probably pass. If you don’t pass this time, surely you’ll pass the next time. Or the time after that.
You’ll be just fine — as long as your name isn’t “Paulina Bandy.” From the Orange County Register:
Paulina Bandy couldn’t fail the state bar exam again. Not after she failed 13 times before.
Some people complain that we’re elitist. So we apologize for asking: What the hell is UP with this woman?
(Is Paulina Bandy the child of a prominent politician? They seem to be jinxed when it comes to the bar exam.)
If you feel sorry for non-top-tier law school graduates who can’t land good jobs, just think — things could be worse. Much worse:
Paulina Bandy couldn’t fail the state bar exam again. Not after she had spent tens of thousands to attend law school. Not after she put her husband Jon Gomez through the ringer for so many years. Not after the debt she piled up forced her family to move into a 365-square-foot home.
Anywhere outside the island of Manhattan, that’s simply unacceptable.
More discussion, after the jump.
Last week we brought you news of Stephen Dunne, the would-be Massachusetts lawyer who’s suing the state Board of Bar Examiners, claiming that he failed the bar exam because one of the questions violated his First Amendment rights by requiring him to approve of gay marriage.
As was noted here in Non Sequiturs yesterday, another blog reported that Dunne has amended his complaint to reduce damages claim from $9,750,000.00 to $9.75. Dunne told the Boston Herald:
“[t]he lawsuit is not about money … It’s about equity and justice, and I wanted to be very clear about that.”
I plan on hiring America’s #1 Law Firm to help me win this case. Justice is expensive in America, but with your support it can be realized. Litigation expenses, expert witnesses, court costs and legal fees associated with legal research are only a sampling of the costs that must be paid to guarantee victory and protect the faith of the Founding Fathers of this beautiful Country. I humbly solicit your support and will gladly offer an accounting of the funds received by a Tax Attorney/CPA. The majority of donations will be utilized exclusively to fund the incredible expenses of this Federal Lawsuit. This case is about the protection and defense of Christianity.
Stay tuned for word on which lucky shop Dunne considers to be “America’s #1 Law Firm.”
We’ve appended short updates to the original posts. But in case you didn’t see them, here are postscripts to the stories of two Louisiana lawyers with possibly problematic sexual appetites: Senator David Vitter, and recent UGA law grad Philip Pirie.
With respect to Senator Vitter, a source notes:
Check out this NOLA.com post. The owner of the Canal Street brothel in New Orleans came forward to say David Vitter had been a customer. Apparently she decided to speak out because of the bad press he has been getting. She wanted to clear his name because he was not into drugs, not into kinky sex, was nice to the hookers, etc.
With defenders like this, who needs attackers?
With respect to Philip Pilie, a tipster tells us:
“Apparently Philip is still planning on taking the bar Saturday. He was also engaged. Don’t know if it is still on or not.”
Memo to all the recent law school grads studying for the bar exam: July Fourth means it’s crunch time. If you need extra motivation, just think how excruciating it would be to fail. Especially by only 1.134 points!
That’s what happened to Stephen Dunne, who narrowly failed the Massachusetts bar exam and is now suing the Board of Bar Examiners, claiming that one of the questions he missed violated his First Amendment rights because it required him to accept gay marriage. He’s also asking for a cool $9,750,000.
Lavi Soloway has the scoop:
Dunne claims his score of 268.866 on the November 2006 bar exam just missed the passing score of 270 points because he didn’t follow the proscribed format for an unlawful question about gay marriage. Dunne said the question required applicants to “affirmatively accept, support and promote homosexual marriage and homosexual parenting.” Dunne claims the defendants violated his First Amendment right to exercise his religion and violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. He also claims their actions impose illegal state regulations on interstate commerce.
We applaud Dunne’s creativity, but might we suggest that next time he just study a bit harder?
Surely you can pad your score enough that you could draw frowny faces all over the questions that violate your First Amendment rights and still pass!
We love controversies, real or imagined. And this one, based on the volume of email we’ve received about it, is definitely real.
Many ATL readers are in the middle of studying for bar exams right now. And some of those preparing for the New York bar have something to complain about other than the soporific nature of BarBri.
This reader email is representative of others we received:
The New York Board of Law Examiners has instituted a “laptop program,” where applicants interested in taking the exam by laptop can enter a “lottery” to do so. Some win, some don’t.
But don’t you think that’s more than a little unfair, given that (at the very least) laptop applicants get a time advantage? The average speed of someone handwriting is around 30 words per minute; the average typing speed of a typical laptop user is significantly higher.
The BOLE is telling people hey, tough luck, maybe we’ll try to fix it next year. But a lot of people who haven’t handwritten an exam in years are screwed. Meanwhile, you’d think there’d be plenty of available potential test sites with power for computers: conference rooms in hotels, law schools, etc…
Update: As noted in the comments, this policy is not new. Apparently it has been around since at least 2005. But that shouldn’t stop people from bitching about it.
An email message from the BOLE outlining their policy, plus an ATL reader poll, appear after the jump.
An inquiry from a curious reader who will be starting at a Biglaw shop in New York in a few months:
It seems my friends starting work for Latham & Watkins this fall have received stipends (i.e. signing bonuses) of more than $13,000! And I thought I had a good deal when my NY firm was generous enough to offer me a “salary advance” of $10,000 (which I won’t receive for some time)…
I’m wondering if this bar stipend is common among other firms. In other words – how much am I being screwed? My friends in LA will effectively make a base salary of $173,000 their first year! That’s more than most NYC 2nd years! Wondering if you could post something and get to the bottom of this?
Thoughts? Please feel free to describe your firm’s policy on bar stipends / signing bonuses / salary advances in the comments. Or send us information by email (subject line: “Bar Stipend”). Thanks. Update: With respect to Latham specifically, a source advises:
It’s true LW gives a bar stipend that equals one month of salary, but they do NOT give a stub bonus. [For the uninitiated, a "stub bonus" is a year-end or holiday bonus, but prorated to reflect the number of months you spent at a firm in your first year (since you weren't there for all twelve months).]
To say that LW people get more than the NY firms is disingenuous, since a lot of NY law firms give a bonus in December equal to the bar stipend LW gives. I’ve heard that there are some firms that do both – that’d be awesome.
As you may recall (from yesterday’s Morning Docket), Eliot Disner is the McGuireWoods partner who criticized the settlement negotiated by his firm in an antitrust class action against Bar/Bri, the giant bar exam prep company.
Actually, make that “former McGuireWoods partner.” From today’s New York Law Journal:
Mr. Disner, who was a partner in the Los Angeles office of McGuireWoods, said the firm fired him May 23. “I was terminated because [McGuireWoods] said that my work on the BAR/BRI case had hurt the [firm's] reputation,” he said. His concerns about the proposed settlement with West Publishing Corp., which offers BAR/BRI bar review courses nationwide, surfaced in an objection to the class settlement that was filed last week by three lead plaintiffs (NYLJ, May 21)….
A hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real on whether the $49 million settlement will become final is scheduled for June 18. Mr. Disner’s brief, which was not supported by McGuireWoods, argues that the firm ought to press for at least $400 million from West Publishing, as well as for the breakup of BAR/BRI.
We do not recommend following the example of “Spazzed customer,” as related in this anecdote.
(But his description of preparing for the bar exam — “I have to take a really big test, and then I can forget it all” — isn’t half-bad.) Where Lawyers Come From [Overheard in New York]
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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