Friday, November 19, 2010

And it looks like the legacy continues ...


It seems I should have been a Cubs fan.  I'll get it next year.

The good news is that in the weeks before the July exam I was shown what I was doing wrong by a couple of very smart people who know what they're talking about.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to make the required changes to my approach. 

It's not the end of the world.  It's the beginning of another project. 

Hanging in there, I am.


Anonymous said...

Like a cubs fan, will root you on till you pass!!!

Anonymous said...

So sorry, GP! You will get that license! Change your mind set and you get over that bar!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, you are an inspiration to us all.

Rooting for ya! said...

We're with you until you slay this dragon. We believe in you!

Anonymous said...

If you spent 23 years in IT, then you know that there are many failures on the way to ultimate success. Do not give up. I admire your courage and hope that you will take what you have learned in this setback to perfect your approach. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

The bar exam is designed to show you can spot the issues. I took it 8 times (I think) but never did pass, but my husband was relieved. He said I was too nice to be a lawyer. I think he meant it as a compliment. Keep trying--good luck.

Anonymous said...

Did you check your "Admission Status" checker -- is it 'unavailable' still for everyone?

Anonymous said...

Keep working hard! The Lord will bless you! Hopefully youve gotten some good advice for next time. The best I can give is to be extremely rigorous on IRAC including to the point of actually having a separate paragraph for each I, R, A, C and ensuring that you stick to each religiously. Even to the point of saying "the issue here is", "the rule for this situation is" etc. Obviously gotta spot as many issues as possible but if you type (dont handwrite!) and are rigorous about the formulaic legal writing, youll be successful next time!

Anonymous said...

GP, I've been reading your blog ever since I started law school and every year I've been hoping that the results are different. I have since graduated from law school and passed the bar and have a great position at a place I love.

You are still plugging away at the bar.

I know I will get crap for this but I think you should stop listening to the people who tell you to keep plugging away. I think you should stop paying people for courses when it seems like it isn't helping and people are living off your failure to pass the bar.

Take a step back. Maybe don't register for this next bar. Go back to basics.

First, why do you want to do it. Be real with yourself. If you're doing it because you love it, that's one thing. If you're doing it because that's just the goal you've always had, then maybe you need to figure out your motivation for doing this. Then use that motivation to figure out what is wrong.

Next, take all your scores showing you what your failures are and dissect it. In other words, what are you really terrible at?

If it's the MBE, you need to memorize your law better. Can you honestly say you can spit out almost every element to every claim out of 90% of the Barbri materials? If you can't, then you haven't done your job. If you think you can, then write out mini essays for EVERY SINGLE MBE. If you can do it under 2.5 mins each, then you're on the right track.

If it's the essays, why are you doing so terribly at them? Is it the organization? Or your understanding of the law? I memorized the MBE law according to how I would answer hypothetical essay questions. When I got the essay question, everything came out. If you have the organizational stuff down, you are already close to passing because they don't care about your conclusion. They have 90 seconds to read your essay, so you basically have to focus on the intro, the conclusion, and the headings. Chances are they won't even read your analysis.

But if they do, are you writing clearly? Meaning, can I read and understand your essay in 90 seconds. Can a 16 year old understand your essay in five minutes? If not, you failed. Work on it until you can do that. Brevity is the soul of wit. My answers on the bar were just heading, rule, 1 sentence of analysis. That's it. If it is your writing, you better fine tune it now. I can guarantee you if your writing isn't good enough to get your past the bar, it isn't good enough to get you a job. If you hang up your own shingle, poor writing will probably contribute to you losing cases and clients.

Is it the P/T? Maybe you need to learn how to organize things right away.

Is it maintaining consistent timing? If that's the case, then that means you don't know your stuff as well as you should. Go back to memorizing stuff.

It sucks for me to see this for the 10th time because I'm rooting for you. I just can't believe that you can keep failing unless you're doing the same things over and over again. Maybe I am wrong, but I don't think it will hurt to really audit yourself to figure out what is wrong. I don't think you have forever to keep on throwing darts blindly in the hope that one will hit the bullseye. If you don't have the memorization, reading, organizational or writing skills to pass the bar, chances are no one will think you have the skills either as an attorney at their firm or organization, or as your client. Maybe failing the bar is a good thing because it is a sign you need to keep working harder at IMPROVING, not just working harder.

Please take time off and stop just plugging away at this. Think about it and have a plan. I really want the next one to be the last one. If not, then maybe you need to consider whether you want to keep on doing this.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I am so bummed you didn't pass.
Keep working toward that goal and don't give up!

Anonymous said...

Your measure and disposition are impressive. You can tell more by the way a person handles setbacks than successes, and this blog speaks well.

Pammie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think we would all be better off if we had the kick ass attitude that pooh bear has, go kick some ass pooh bear!

Anonymous said...

honestly, move on. get licensed in an another state...or find a different profession. i wish you good luck, but seriously - it's not worth spending this much time trying to just get in the door.

kris said...

I still don't understand why you're so opposed to taking a sitting or two break? What is wrong with taking time out to regroup?

It just seems you're in a 6 monthly cycle of beating yourself up. Why not be kind to yourself and give your mind, body and spirit a break - and some time to recover - before you launch into your next marathon?

As before, the best advice I ever received re my repeated just missing of the bar was from marianne williamson. She led a prayer - "...where Kris gives herself time to pass the Bar".

That time, for me, included taking time out and setting aside more time to study that I thought I needed. It was enough to put my fat ass over the top.

Now I am a legal aid lawyer and have no money, but that is a high class problem at your stage.

Otherwise GP, there comes a point where you are beating yourself up. And to be honest, that's what it looks like you're doing.

Where is the shame in taking a sitting or two out to regroup and give your brains a break on the beach? Where?

Anonymous said...

I wish you the best of luck. If this is your dream don't give up. At the same time, if this is not your dream I have to agree with some of the posts above. Take February off and regroup then decide if this is really what you want to do. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

To one of the anonymous posters from above: You seemed to correlate passage of the CA bar to the ability to be a good attorney. Here is the disagreement. Why is it so many attorneys licensed in other states cannot pass it in CA? Are you suggesting that when they come to CA, their legal writing and analysis go out the window? Don't delude yourself. CA attorneys are no better than the rest of the country.

The grading system is weird. Furthermore, if you think being able to make your argument to someone who looks at your essay maybe 90 seconds, somehow means that if you don't do it--you won't make it is simply false. If we were to throw something together in one hour (like the exam), quite often what you would get is a malpractice claim.

So, for whatever reason, it is hard to pass in CA. Simply because you passed does not make it a spectacular barometer of everyone else's legal skills.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, GP. I was so pulling for you. I want to tell you what my husband told me:

(1) To all of the people telling you to give up, you want this bad enough to take the bar over and over. It's your goal. Don't let others sway your confidence.

(2) The more you take the bar, as long as you address your problems and correct them, the more chance you have of passing.

You can do it, GP! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog since I started studying for the bar back in may (it was my first time). I also did not pass this july. With that said, however, I wanted to let you know that you really are inspiring. Your dedication to this just shows how committed and determined you are-- and I think that speaks more than anything. I am rooting for you as I know you will get it!!!

Anonymous said...

I started reading you last January, studying for my 1st exam last Feb. Didn't pass that one. Then I started studying for the July exam. Found out yesterday I didn't pass that one either.

I've been a litigation paralegal for 15 years, and have had my work read by state and federal judges at the trial and appellate court levels, and have won motions and appeals at each, and am in integral part of the team of attorneys I work with.

I learned the practice of law the old fashioned way, in an office working with attorneys, and working under their supervision. I'd hold my legal reasoning and writing abilities up against any attorney who has practiced law for as long as I've been in the business.

No one will ever tell me I do not have the skills to practice based on the fact I don't yet hold a license. But you can be damn sure I will work like hell to get one.

You've invested time and money in pursuing your goal--as I have with mine. Don't stop until you've reached it. Keep going, GP. You are inspirational, and only a failure when you quit the game.

Anonymous said...


First-time passer (as of 21 hours ago) here.

First, I wish you the best of luck in February. As others have said in these comments, your determination and optimism is inspiring.

Second, I found Barbri's prep course to be quite helpful. If you follow their homework schedule exactly, doing every essay, MC question, etc., I think it's nearly impossible to fail. That means not glancing at an outline when writing a timed essay (I know, it's hard to resist) and doing several timed performance tests. Keeping up with Barbri's schedule is hard, but it was a price I was happy to pay. (I kept up with Barbri's homework schedule and ended up working 10 to 14 hours a day.) Note also that simply working many hours is probably not sufficient to pass--you also have to work smart. Really try to simulate test conditions every time you sit down to do a practice essay. As one Barbri professor says, don't get up to use the bathroom, drink soda, check notes, etc. while writing essays and doing MC questions.

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with others above, that you should just move on and give it up. The more times you take it, the more frustrated you'll get, and actually the less chance you have of passing. Coming from an unaccredited school doesn't help either. We all can't be good at everything, so maybe law is just not your calling.

Anonymous said...

To the poster that said give it up: Give up on the act of giving advice. It clearly isn't your calling. Passing the bar exam, a fully arbitrary process, does not mean you are "good" at something.

GP, hang in there. You've come too far to give up. Use what those friends in the know gave you. You can do it!

Anonymous said...

I passed and I am elated. I was hoping you passed also. But just know you are the inspiration for thousands of law students. Best of luck on the next exam.

To the poster who said you have to remember 90% of the MBE material. I knew about 1/3 of all the stuff I was responsible for and I didn't read any outlines all the way through. The key for me was just practicing essay after essay. I memorize by doing so that is what helped me.

Good Luck you have alot of people rooting for you

Anonymous said...

This has just gotten depressing. I passed the Calbar on my first try, but I have had friends who have had to retake once to pass. It happens - an essay gone wrong, a bad MBE day, and a sentence of "six more months in hell," to retake the bar and wait for a new set of results. I wouldn't necessarily think any worse of the legal abilities of someone who had to give it a second shot. But if you can't master the black-letter principles and write essays well enough to pass this test of minimal competence after 5, 6, 7 tries ... that's a different matter. In a nutshell: that's the demographic that the bar exam is designed to protect the public from. If, seven tries in, you can't write a bar exam essay decently enough, there is absolutely no chance you can write a brief of sufficient quality to vindicate your client in front of a court. As it stands, there are too many incompetent attorneys in California because the bar exam standard is so minimal and doesn't do enough to screen out those who shouldn't be practicing. The state bar really should impose a maximum number of attempts for the bar, as other states do - but really, they are fairly content repeatedly to take the money of the people who they know full well are not going to make it. In summary: give up, move on, find something you're good at.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog since the beginning, and when I was studying for the bar in '08, you were an inspiration to me. But I've got to agree with some of the other posters. You should take an exam off. Taking the bar exam once was enough to give me an ulcer. I can't imagine how much it must take out of you to take it every 6 months. I think you would be better served taking it again in a year, and giving it everything you have. If you pass at that point, great! If not, become a paralegal or do something else. I'm sure you are very talented, and could contribute your talents to many career fields. As for all of those people telling you to just keep taking it over and over until you pass, it's not their time or money they are encouraging you to sacrifice. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

To the poster that said you passed knowing only about 1/3 of the material... you are either being disingenuous or you are extremely lucky.

If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.

Going in with only 1/3 of the material is the slacker's way out. GP does not need that type of encouragement.