No, not a cheesy, law school related “99 red balloons” farse. That is, in fact, the number of yellow highlighters I currently own. Ahh… the life of a law student. In other students’ defenses though, I am
slightly very addicted to buying school supplies. Should have been a teacher so I had least had an excuse/reimbursement. I do have a theory as to why I have so many yellow highlighters, though: I like using different color highlighters (ask anyone in any of my first year classes: I had one color for the parties, one for the procedural history, one for the issue, one for the holding, and one for the dicta) and actually prefer to NOT use yellow because I have TERRIBLE eyes and the other, brighter colors are easier for me to see. However, when you buy a pack of multi-colored highlighters, there are ALWAYS more yellow ones than anything else! And that’s how I ended up with thirty-one yellow highlighters.
Anywho, the bar exam is now two weeks from tomorrow and I can feel freak-out mode coming on. I can also feel sickness coming on. The right side of my throat has been hurting for a couple days now so I am nearing a Vitamin C overdose (if that’s even possible), attempting to fight off the impending sickness. I have now started taking my outlines with me everywhere. I was listening to criminal law mp3s while “relaxing” with a bubble bath the other day and my flashcards went with us to Texas last weekend. My husband even had to move my book off of his side of the bed last night because I fell asleep studying. That being said, I am actually still sleeping, which I’m sure will be given up next week.
While watching one of the online lectures for a class I hadn’t taken in law school (because it wasn’t even offered!! Stupid TSU), I was being a good little student and comparing the lecture and bar notes to the outline and came to a wonderful realization. They are nearly the same thing! AKA, no more sitting in front of the computer for HOURS on end watching boring, old law professors ramble on. There are some differences, but it is mostly minor details that are normally in the outline, just maybe not laid out quite as straightforward as 1, 2, 3. My studying has now taken a turn from frantically attempting to get all the notes down to a rather leisurely highlighting of the outlines. This relieved some SERIOUS pressure! The outlines we are given have the outline on one page and a diagram on the opposite, showing how everything sort of fits in together.
I’m moving rather quickly through all of the essay subjects… mostly because these are subjects that I already took in law school so I understand all the concepts already, this is just a review. And, in a 30 minute essay you can’t really get all too in depth into the law. So I’m kind of going for the “review the basics and hope I can bs my way into a passing grade” approach to these essays. It worked in law school, so come October, we’ll see how it works on the bar.
APPLYING TO TAKE THE BAR EXAM
One thing I forgot to mention in my bar exam explanation post was the actual process you have to go through to be allowed to take the bar exam. Yeah, you actually have to apply to take the exam and may not be allowed to even though you’ve graduated from law school. The bar exam application is not something that can be done in half an hour. Again, states differ in their requirements, I can only explain what I had to do for Colorado. First off, all states require you to pass a moral character examination. For me, this included listing three references from anywhere I lived since I was 18, three attorney references and, in addition to a bunch of other information, any criminal actions, including any minor traffic violations such as that speeding ticket I got a few years back… Luckily, I was already in law school when I got the ticket and knew that I’d need all the information for my bar application so I filed the ticket away for safe keeping and knew exactly where it was when I needed to enter all of the information. Basically, the bar examiners want your life story on paper.
Also, you have to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) sometime before you are sworn in as a licensed attorney. Most people take it in their second year, some in their third. This is not required by all states and each state differs in what the minimum passing score is. The majority of states require 85. This, again, is a scaled score so it varies by test difficulty and intelligence of everyone else taking the exam. It is offered three times a year, March, August, and November, normally on the first Saturday. It is not a particularly difficult exam, however, some of the questions are absolutely ridiculous and off the wall. Things that fall into the MPRE’s jurisdiction are things such as fee splitting arrangements between attorneys, referrals, representation of adverse parties and the naming of your law firm. Yes, what you can and cannot name your law firm is considered a professional responsibility issue. Okay, sure.
I waited until the last minute to do my bar exam application for two reasons: 1) I’m a horrible procrastinator and 2) since I just got married in April and the late deadline was June 1, I was hoping that I could get my name changed before I sent in the application so that I could take the bar exam in my new name. Well, #2 didn’t happen thanks to our WONDERFUL postal service losing our marriage license, and I ended up submitting my application on May 31. Because I waited until the last minute, I was terrified that they were going to look even harder at my application and find something wrong and deny my application. Then what would I do?! Well, my relief came last week in the form of a letter saying that my application had been accepted and I would be receiving my admission tickets within the next couple weeks. (Insert HUGE sigh of relief!)
I also finally downloaded the ExamSoft software needed to take the exam. The actual bar exam files are downloaded onto my computer. Eek! Thank goodness I am able to type the essay part of my exam! My hand would hate me if I actually had to write all that, plus I can organize my thoughts MUCH better when I can copy and paste as needed!