Ohio State Moritz College of Law

We only have two weeks left until the test. It’s about that time: our columnists’ brains are fried. They have been studying so long it seems they may have forgotten the most basic of non-lawyerly communication skills.

Let’s check in with Jeanette, Nathan, and Andrew as they compare their lives variously to Groundhog Day, feverishly come up with mnemonic devices, and transliterate show tunes into bar exam songs.

Paging Colonel Kurtz….

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We’ve reached July, and there is less than a month until the test. Does this qualify as the home stretch? How are our esteemed Bar Review Diarists doing?

Well, they are working hard and doing what they can to not lose their minds (as bar review studiers are perhaps wont to do). Let’s check in with Jeanette, Nathan, and Andrew as they continue stumbling through the bar exam desert….

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Are we there yet? Is it almost time to take the test yet? NO. There are still several week to go, and our Bar Review columnists are simultaneously working hard to stay motivated, and also straining to not get frustrated with the ridiculousness that the studying entails.

Let’s check in with Nathan, Jeanette, and Andrew, who are getting advice from strangers, navigating a never-ending parade of graduation parties, and starting to see hallucinations of bar exam questions in real life….

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It seems the main lesson our Bar Review Diarists are learning — other than the crucial information for the bar exam itself, of course — is that studying for the bar sucks. There is so much information, it’s summertime, they just graduated, and studying is the last thing anyone wants to be doing, so it all seems so unfair.

We are learning each week about their myriad procrastination techniques, useful distractions, and mandatory morale boosters. So what do Andrew, Nathan, and Jeanette have for us this week?

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Last time we checked in with our 2012 Bar Review Diarists, they were, how shall we say… BORED. That boredom has given way to further procrastination by way of parties, impromptu travel, and motion picture ideas. The midsummer frantic is still some ways off, but at least Nathan, Jeanette, and Andrew seem to be enjoying themselves this summer, despite bar review pressure.

Let’s see what they’re up to, shall we?

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We have entered June, and most recent law school graduates finished school a few weeks ago. The initial anxious adrenaline rush of receiving your fancy new bar exam study materials has faded, and summer tedium is setting in.

Our Bar Review Diarists are getting a little deeper into their studies. They’re beginning to realize studying for the test isn’t necessarily difficult. It’s largely boring. They are discovering how alluring a pointless shopping trip can be, and they are realizing how long it’s been since they have written anything by hand. In other words, it was kind of a bummer of a week.

Let’s see how Jeanette, Nathan, and Andrew are handling the summertime blues…

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When we last checked in with our Bar Review Diarists, they were just barely finishing exams and getting ready to walk down the graduation aisle. We checked in with them again this week, and weirdly, they all seem to… be enjoying themselves?

Nathan, Jeanette, and Andrew are all having fun so far this summer. They’re going to weddings, hanging out at coffee shops, and drinking at Disneyland. What the hell is going on here? Let’s hope the good times last, despite the test looming on the somewhat distant horizon…

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It’s that time of year again. Graduation, graduation parties, beer, beach parties… and studying for the bar exam. Fun times. That being so, it’s finally time for us to unveil the three winners of the 2012 Bar Review Diaries Contest. Our winners will receive free Themis bar preparation in exchange for providing us with weekly updates on their lives as they study for the bar.

Without further ado, let’s meet Andrew, Jeanette, and Nathan!

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Andrew Sweat

If you know Cleveland Browns rookie free agent Andrew Sweat, please send him this post. Tell him to drop me a line. Let me help this man avoid making what could be the biggest mistake of his life.

Sweat, a linebacker for the Ohio State Buckeyes, went undrafted in last month’s NFL draft. He later signed as a rookie free agent with the Browns. Now, instead of attending camp and trying to make the team, Sweat has decided to give up on his NFL career and attend law school instead.

Not even a very highly ranked law school. More like the Cleveland Browns of law schools.

I can’t know if Sweat’s decision is being partially motivated by all the media attention focused on the long-term health consequences of playing in the NFL. But I’d bet all the money in my pocket that Sweat has not been paying attention to the media coverage of the long-term professional and financial damage that can be done by going to law school…

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We tend to think of the biggest Biglaw firms as “sweatshops,” while we view small firms, midsize or regional firms, or even Am Law 200 firms as “lifestyle” shops. The thought is that the big bad firms that service Wall Street clients will grind you up and spit you out, while somewhat smaller firms will allow you to have a normal life as you pursue your career.

It’s a great story, but it’s not necessarily a true one. Sometimes working at a smaller firm or a regional firm just means the same work with more pressure and less pay. Attorneys at such firms, whether partners or associates, don’t always have the kind of resources that Biglaw attorneys enjoy. There aren’t multiple layers of staffing available to double- or triple-check every document. It’s a lot of stress.

And stress can be just as deleterious to your health when working at a regional firm as it is when you work for a truly huge firm. This week, we’ve been fielding a bunch of reports about an associate who passed away at home after working what some tipsters report as maniac hours at his regional law firm the week before.

It’s a sad story, one that some accuse the law firm of trying to cover up, but it’s another opportunity for us to remind readers to take care of themselves even when work seems overwhelming…

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