Bar Exams

post bar travel scaled back.jpgNow that aspiring lawyers have taken the bar exam, they can relax and try to forget about it until the fall, when results come in. One way of relieving stress is “the bar trip”: a post-bar exam vacation to an exotic locale, for sun, surf, or snow, depending on one’s travel preferences.
The bar trip — the last hurrah before immersion into the grim realities of law firm life — is a tradition among law grads. But we’re hearing that the recession may be interfering with the tradition this year. With Biglaw start dates pushed back, and talk of lower salaries running rampant, law grads may be feeling less celebratory this year.
Purely anecdotally, law grads have told us that they’re scaling back. They’re not going on extravagant bar trips, and in some cases, not going on bar trips at all.
Are we only friends with fiscally conservative types, or is this actually a trend this year? Are you thinking of a “staycation,” or are you still planning a trip around the world?
If you’re traveling, please tell us where you’re heading and for how long. If you are heading out of the country, we hope you’ll be sure to spend some time in internet cafes checking out the latest ATL news.
Earlier: Post-Bar Travel: Open Thread

MPRE.jpgYesterday some of you sat for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). It seems to us that there’s not much to say about the test, but several readers have requested coverage. Like this one:

I walked out of the exam with little confidence. Maybe you can provide an open forum for people to express their thoughts on the test, or for past takers to provide insight on scoring / how many people they know that failed.

Well that’s cheery, isn’t it? Here is the requested open thread. Please do not reprint entire questions from the test in the comments.
Another MPRE taker’s tale — from the great state of Iowa, where people actually seem optimistic about the state of the legal job market — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “So What Did You Think of the MPRE? Open Thread”

Breaking Free of the Bar.JPGIf you just finished your state bar exam today, Above the Law is here for you. If you finished the bar yesterday, immediately went to a purveyor of alcohol, and are just waking up now with a midget stripper in your bed, welcome back.
No matter how badly you think you did on your bar exam, trust me, you did better than Carlos Enrique Gomez-Alvarez. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

A Utah immigration attorney and four of his employees accused in a visa fraud scheme on Wednesday entered not guilty pleas to the crimes. …
Carlos Enrique Gomez-Alvarez, arrested in New York while taking the bar exam in Buffalo, also entered a not guilty plea in New York on Wednesday and is expected to be transported to Utah this week.

Arrested while taking the bar exam? That’s got to add up to a galactic fail.
After the jump, check out some tips on what to do next.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bar Exam Open Thread: Breaking Free of the Bar”

Javits Convention Center Leak.jpgToday’s big bar exam news is that the ancient and decrepit Jacob Javits Convention Center sprung a leak. A tipster reports the news from Manhattan:

In the middle of the afternoon session, the ceiling started to leak and it appeared that it required a few students to relocate. It was somewhat noisy and created a bit of a scene for a while.

How did the bar finish up in other parts of the country? How was the first day of the bar for those of you in states that run the exam on Wednesday and Thursday?

For those of you lucky enough to be done with the exam, you’ve earned yourself a well deserved drink (or twelve).

Celebrate tonight. Tomorrow, you’ll have to get back to preparing to be a practicing attorney. That has very little to do with the exam you just finished.

Congratulations to all the test takers.

WARNING: Please do NOT discuss actual questions or topics from today’s bar exam in this thread. We will delete your comment and ban you from commenting if we see it, and we will NOT FIGHT anybody who subpoenas us to obtain your IP address.

You can talk about whether you found the exam easy or hard or somewhere in between. But please, nothing about the substance of the exams today. Thank you.

One Day More of Bar Exam.JPGTomorrow we’ll discover what our God in heaven has in store,
One more dawn,
One more day,
One day more!
[FN1]
All day, I’ve been asking my hippocampus to produce one clear memory about what I did between day one and day two of the bar exam. All I came up with was the momentary feeling of depression that overtook me when I found out I passed that November. I remember that passing meant that I had to go back to whatever donkey, doc review work I was doing.
In any event, I have nothing helpful to say about what you should do between the day one and day two of the bar exam. Maybe a glass of wine and a musical about a failed French revolution? Maybe some commenters can share some helpful hints?
The most positive thing is that this entire bar experience is almost done. For most of you, tomorrow will be the last time you have to worry about this stuff. And maybe one day you too will have no earthly idea about what you did in between the days of the bar exam.
WARNING: Please do NOT discuss actual questions or topics from today’s bar exam in this thread. We will delete your comment and ban you from commenting if we see it, and we will NOT FIGHT anybody who subpoenas us to obtain your IP address.
You can talk about whether you found the exam easy or hard or somewhere in between. But please, nothing about the substance of the exams today. Thank you.
[FN1] Unless, say, you’re taking the bar in a state with a three-day exam, or in two different states. In which case, enjoy the ordeal.

wurtzel book cover.gifYesterday we heard from legal ethics experts about whether Elizabeth Wurtzel’s referring to herself as a “lawyer,” despite not having passed the bar yet, could get her in trouble. The two we consulted, Professors Steven Lubet and Stephen Gillers, did not see it as a big deal.
There’s an interesting follow-up over at Gawker, which obtained the following comment from La Wurtzel herself:

This is my understanding: if you graduate from law school/receive a JD, you are a lawyer; if you are licensed, you are an attorney. That’s what I’ve always been told.

Not too many nice things to say about the Bar Exam. Every year, some very gifted people fail it (Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Sullivan of Stanford Law School)–and every year, a lot of real idiots pass it. Hard to know what to make of that ;-)

Regarding Wurtzel’s understanding of the difference between the terms “lawyer” and “attorney,” other folks have been told that too. See the comments to this post from last year on the subject.
But there is disagreement. Read more, and take a READER POLL, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Elizabeth Wurtzel Calling Herself a ‘Lawyer’: A Reader Poll”

man smoking marijuana joint ganja bud.jpgI hope you all enjoyed your bar exam day one morning session. For your lunch break, I have a real-life legal question I just picked up off of the street, standing in front of the Breaking Media offices in Nolita:

You are standing outside your office on a crowded street. Construction workers, residents, and even some clergymen regularly pass by. While smoking a cigarette and minding your own business, a local walks by and asks you for a light. You are about to comply with the request, but the object the local presses to his lips does not appear to be a store-bought cigarette; rather, it appears to be a joint.

You sheepishly ask, “Is that a hand-rolled cigarette?” The local replies “Naw man, it’s the good s***. You wanna hit?”

You shake your head “no,” then scan the street for police officers, but all you see are six-foot blonds entering the casting agency next to your building. Eventually, the local asks again for your lighter.

Should you give it to him? Why or why not? Could you be subject to criminal liability for doing so?

I’m interested to hear what you think. Check back here later — this post will be updated — for my solution.
UPDATE on my solution, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bar Exam Open Thread: Day One Break Question”

Good Luck on the Bar Exam.JPGHere are some last-minute tips for those of you taking the bar exam this week:

1. Get a good night’s sleep.

2. Set out your clothes for tomorrow, and everything else you’ll need for the exam, before you go to bed.

3. Relax; don’t dwell on the bar exam horror stories. They’ll just freak you out. So many things lie beyond your control — e.g., earthquakes — so there’s no sense in worrying about them.

For more helpful hints, see the Young Lawyers Blog. You’ll do great!
Bar Exam: A Recollection [Young Lawyers Blog]
Bar Exam Horror Stories [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]
Earlier: Last Weekend Before the Bar Exam: Open Thread

California State Bar.JPGOver the weekend, the California state bar website was down. It’s a pretty big system glitch to have on the weekend before the bar exam, as this tipster explains:

Considering past exams and answers, as well as testing center information is on there, I’m sure lots of people are freaking out. Clear sign of incompetence on the Bar’s part here in not addressing the problem at all.

The site was still inactive when we woke up this morning on the east coast. But now, as most of California is getting into gear, the site is back up.
Cram away, left coasters. The bar will be over soon, and you’ll be able to go back to surfing and eating seaweed or whatever.
The State Bar of California [California.gov]
Earlier: Last Weekend Before the Bar Exam: Open Thread

Panic button.JPGSo. There’s this thing called the bar exam taking place next week. (Exact dates vary by jurisdiction.)
As bar exam candidates enter the home stretch, they exhibit a wide range of emotions. Some are cool as cucumbers, so confident of passage that they spend bar review classes making origami creatures. Others are panicky, hot messes (literally — like the folks who had to sprint down smoke-filled stairwells during the NYU library fire earlier this week).
Does anyone sitting for the bar have last-minute requests for advice? Do any veterans have wisdom to impart? What’s the most effective way to study — or relax — over the next 72 hours or so?
Comments are open. You know what to do.
Earlier: Ahhhhhhhh. The Bar Exam! And a Fire!
Prior ATL coverage of the bar exam (scroll down)

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