Bar Exams

bar exam success good luck.jpg
Today is the first day of the February bar exam. If you’re sitting for the test today, good luck.
Celebrity authoress Elizabeth Wurtzel, a repeat taker, is freaking out. As Wurtzel said last night on Twitter, “I guess I’m taking the bar exam on Tuesday & Wednesday. Anyone with magical, mystical powers who wants to use them on my behalf, please do.”
If it makes you feel better, Lizzie, you’re not alone in your anxiety. Many other aspiring lawyers are losing it on Twitter.
To ATL readers who have passed the bar: Do you have any last-minute tips for today’s victims? Feel free to offer them in the comments.

mike ghaffary barmaxCa one grand iphone app.jpgOver the holiday weekend, reports came pouring into the ATL inbox about the most expensive iPhone app currently on the market. It costs $1,000 and is aimed at legal types, specifically those who want to be lawyers in California. From PCWorld:

BarMax: California Edition, available now in the iPhone’s App Store for $999.99, is a study guide for the California Bar Exam. Harvard lawyers oversaw development of the app, which weighs in at 1 GB and includes outlines, lectures, a study calendar, and real questions and essays from previous exams. The only comparable app available now is from BarBri, but you must be enrolled in the company’s $3000 to $4000 classes to use most of the features.

According to TechCrunch, the man behind the app is Mike Ghaffary, a JD/MBA ’06 Harvard grad. Ghaffary was just recently admitted to the California bar himself, in December 2009.
He says he came up with the BarMax app idea while studying…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Mike Ghaffary, the JD/MBA Behind the $1,000 Bar Exam iPhone App”

MPRE.jpgThe latest Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) results are out. Here at Above the Law, I drew the short straw and have to write something about a test that is given roughly 8,000,000 times a year.
What can one really say about a test that is a little easier than walking and chewing gum? Congratulations to those who passed? Absolutely.
But if you didn’t pass, honestly, what the hell is wrong with you? We’re in the middle of the worst legal economy anybody can remember. I find it chilling to think that some people were flummoxed by simple ethics questions like “can I break my clients’ knee caps if they do not pay me?” Obviously, lawyers in good standing can only break one knee cap per deadbeat client. Breaking both of them will just result in further payment delay.
Then again, with the great mass of humanity flooding law schools right now, testing minimal ethical standards is probably more important than ever. It’s not like we want to let just anybody into the profession. There are not enough jobs to go around as it is.
With that in mind, let’s hope the MPRE starts testing ethical situations that today’s young lawyers are likely to face. How much of your deferral stipend can you use for pot? How long after being fired as a first-year can you continue to bitch about being fired as a first-year?
Times are changing, so should the test.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of the MPRE

Crushing Debt Obligations.jpgI spent all day yesterday trying to summon the rage, trying to figure out a way to trumpet the cause of a sixty-something, recent law school graduate who is still having trouble discharging her student loans in a bankruptcy proceeding. The National Law Journal has the tear-jerking story:

When she graduated four years ago with a law degree at the age of 61, Denise Megan Bronsdon likely did not foresee bankruptcy court in her future. But that’s where she ended up — as a debtor.

The former farmer’s wife, who operated a tractor before going to Southern New England School of Law in 2002, convinced a Massachusetts bankruptcy court in January that repaying the more than $82,000 she owed in student debt would create an undue hardship. However, the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, considering an appeal by the lender, Educational Credit Management Corp., found on Nov. 20 that Bronsdon’s decision not to participate in a loan repayment assistance program should be part of the bankruptcy court’s undue hardship analysis.

If I was half the man I used to be, I’d take a flamethrower to this place. Hoo-Ha!
But the problem with my flamethrower is that I do not know where to point it. I could get angry at the entire system that makes student loans so difficult to discharge through bankruptcy. Or I could get mad at the law school that essentially stole this woman’s money. Or I could get angry at the woman herself — who failed the Wisconsin bar three times.
Oh, I know, let’s get pissy at all of them.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Discharging Law School Debt in Bankruptcy Doesn’t Get Any Easier When You Are Old”

Crushing Debt Obligations.jpgBack in July, we wrote about Robert Bowman, whose application for admission to the New York bar was derailed by debt. A panel of five appellate judges concluded that, in the words of the New York Times, “his student loans were too big, and his efforts to repay them too meager, for him to be a lawyer.
Bowman sought reconsideration of the ruling. His effort was unsuccessful.
Details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update: Debt Still Disqualifying for New York Bar Applicant”

california republic.jpgCalifornian bar takers are hoping to have something to be thankful for next Thursday. They get their bar exam results today at 6 p.m. PST.
Results are available to bar takers tonight and to the general public on Sunday at 6 a.m. PST.
Says one tipster who is not too confident:

California Bar Results come out at 6:00 pm pst today… counting down the hours until I found out I failed….

Releasing results on a Friday is a great idea. It means that the successful can live it up and the not-so-successful can drink themselves into a sad stupor. And everyone can sleep it off on Saturday morning.
Here’s an open thread for those who want a place to comment while chugging.
July 2009 California Bar Examination Pass List [State Bar of California]

Bar exam fail.JPGWe have done a number of open threads on the bar exam as results in various states have been released. Congratulations to all those who passed.
But what about the few, the unhappy few, who did not pass? We know that the pressure was greater than ever this year to pass the bar on the first try. The fear is that people who did not pass the July bar would be summarily shown the door by their law firms. That fear only increases for incoming first-year associates who have been deferred until January and haven’t actually started working yet.
Has the worst-case scenario happened? So far, we have not heard of a firm that decided to fire everybody who didn’t pass the July bar. Do people who failed the bar expect to get one more chance in February? Have the firms communicated at all with those that failed this past bar exam?
It was hard enough for incoming associates to get a job in the first place. Hopefully nobody ruined their employment chances by not passing the bar on their first attempt.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of state bar exams

New York bar exam Texas bar exam.jpgCongratulations to everyone who passed the New York bar exam. To those who did not pass, we wish you good luck if and when you take it again.
As we noted last night, results were scheduled to be made available to exam takers today and to the general public tomorrow. But it seems that the NY bar exam results are already available to all, courtesy of Buffalo Business First. To see whether your law school friends (or enemies) passed (or failed), click here and use the alphabetical dropdown menu.
The next big state set to release its bar exam results: Texas.

[T]he official day for Texas Bar results to come out is tomorrow, but historically (wtf that means) the bar results have come out the Thursday before, which is today.

I realize telling you this probably will result in the more visits to the site and it crashing, but oh well. Law examiners should just state a specific time that results will be posted and stick to that.

Since our last bar exam thread has about 450 comments (and counting), we thought a new open thread might be in order. Here you go. Enjoy.
Names Of People Who Passed NYS Bar Exam [Buffalo Business Journal]
Earlier: New York Bar Exam Results Will Be Posted Tomorrow, New Jersey Goes Up Next Week

New York Statue of Liberty.jpgIt is the most frightening time of the year for prospective lawyers. The New York State Bar Exam results will be posted tomorrow. As other states have posted results, we’ve seen that this year the “pass or you’re fired” feeling is strong.
Here’s the results preview from the New York Board of Law Examiners:

Important Notice for JULY 2009 BAR Exam Takers:
The results from the July 2009 bar examination will be made available to candidates, by e-mail, on November 5, 2009. You must ensure that you can accept emails from There will also be a link on this website to privately view your individual result by mid-day.
A list of the candidates who passed the examination will be made available to the general public on Friday, November 6, 2009.

People who took the bar in New Jersey will have to wait another couple of days:

July 2009 Bar Results – Bar results are expected to be mailed on Monday, November 9, 2009. Results are expected to be posted by Candidate ID number on Monday at 4:00 pm. ID numbers and/or addresses will NOT be given or verified for security reasons.

One piece of advice as you wait for this important information: alcohol is your friend.
Earlier: New York Bar Exam Results Are Up

Sky Mall logo.JPGI was in Georgia yesterday. After speaking to the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers (nice meeting you, we’ll have to do that again), and playing a ridiculous game of telephone trying to keep current with Above the Law (an HLS grad set S&C on fire on a $7,500 dare?), I was looking forward to a relaxing plane flight home.
Some years ago, my wife introduced me to the hilarity of the in-flight Sky Mall magazine. There is perhaps no finer collection of totally useless items. I wasn’t in “ATL-mode,” but this particular gift made me want to violate FAA regulations and post from the runway:

Passing the Bar
The perfect gift for law students
A great gift for law students, both throughout law school and to help prepare them for the Bar Examination. With “Passing the Bar” flashcards, your favorite law student will spend more time studying, in an enjoyable, fun setting. Fun for lawyers too!
The game includes 350 Mulitstate Bar Examination (“MBE”) Cards (featuring legal questions modeled after the MBE), and 100 Justice Cards (featuring celebrity run-ins with the law, movie quotes from notorious and gripping courtroom dramas, outrageous verdicts and alike). Additional game cards (sold separately) includes 450 questions from previous Bar Examinations, released by the NCBE.

Not cool, man. Not cool.
Tipsters weigh in after the jump.

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