3L Bad Idea: Skipping the July Bar

3ls framed
bar exams framedMid-February is the time when some 3Ls begin contemplating a bad idea: skipping the July bar. Banish that thought and sign up.

Three good excuses for skipping a July bar

  1.         Donating a kidney.
  2.         Having a baby.
  3.         Caring for family members in crisis.

Two not-so-good excuses for skipping a July bar

  •  I don’t know where I will practice.
  •  I’m tired of studying/I need a break.
  •  I don’t know where I will practice.

Where will I practice?

If you don’t know where you will practice, sign up for the least expensive bar that you can find or the bar exam that many of your classmates are taking.You will never care more about Torts and Contracts than you will just after graduation. Taking the bar with your law school pals allows you to wink at your pals when someone from another law school is clueless about something that you all learned in ConLaw. Thank your first year profs.

Read the ABA Section on Legal Education & Admission to the Bar’s extremely helpful and detailed Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission [for your year] . Some bar examiners allow you to apply multi-state scores from a recent bar exam, although you may be required to have been admitted.

Check each state’s bar examiner website for changes made since the Comp Guide for your years was published.

Note: This recommendation also applies to trailing spouse/partners of professionals whose locations in September after graduation are as-yet-unknown.

Major push-back

“It’s a waste of time and money to take a bar exam for a place where I might not practice.”

If you take and pass a July bar, you will be a lawyer by November or December of that year. If you wait to take and pass a February bar, you probably won’t be admitted until May following your graduation, half a year behind your class. Should you fail a February bar and take and pass the next July bar, you will be a year behind your class in your attorney job search, possibly unable to call yourself a lawyer for two years. What will you do in the meantime?

Interview issue: 20 seconds or 20 minutes?

Prospective employers expect that you will have taken and passed the first bar exam after your graduation, and you will be quizzed closely about anything that is out of pattern. The unarguable kidney-childbirth-family-care explanation takes 20 seconds; anything else may take more of your 20-minute screening interview than you can afford to waste.

I am tired of studying/I need a break.

Having chosen to become a lawyer, you have signed up for lifelong learning. If you really need a break, take it after the bar exam. Enjoy that time, because it may be the last long vacation that you have for a very long time.


About susangainen

Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian. Abstract Painter. Writer. Teacher. Explorer.
This entry was posted in 3L, Bar Study and Bar Exams, Final exams, Professionalism, Working Smart and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *