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Advice for 1L online law student?

I’m a 30 year old married to a 28yr old. I’m about to start online law school and am seeking advice on passing the baby bar, as well as, general advice being a law student and passing the bar exam. Theirs a ton of advice on google but would love to hear from personal experiences. I also work full-time at Staples. In summary: Relationship/Student-life/work balance is all welcome. #law yeah #lawyer #college #job #law #law-school

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John’s Answer

California's state bar exam is notoriously difficult. To address the issue, California introduced a mandatory examination that first year law students attending registered law schools or correspondence/distance learning schools. In order to sit for the baby bar you'll need to register yourself as a law student with the CBE before applying to sit for the test. Registration is only available online.


STEP 1.) TIME MANAGEMENT – It isn’t possible to cram for the Baby Bar in a few days or a week. Create a schedule that includes time to memorize the law and apply the law by doing practice multiple-choice questions and essays. You need to be realistic about how much time you can spend studying each day. It is also important to schedule time for breaks to relieve your stress.

STEP 2.) INCREASE YOUR ODDS – It may cost you up to a thousand dollars, and possibly more, depending on what type of tutoring services or materials you’re paying for. But if you think about it, having study support will allow you to study intensely once, whereas the alternative could be failing the exam and having to do it all over again – including taking time off work and repaying the $700 exam registration fee.

STEP 3.) PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT – If you are more effective when you study online, take a look at Adaptibar’s questions for the Baby Bar. Remember that you will have to answer these questions with a pencil and paper on exam day. If you are more effective when you practice by hand, check out a copy of Strategies & Tactics for the MBE, Fifth or Sixth Edition (Emanuel Bar Review) by Stephen Emanuel. You’ll only need to focus on the Contracts, Criminal Law, and Torts sections.

STEP 4.) TIME IS OF ESSENCE – Time management is important for both the multiple-choice and essay sections. You only have 3 and 4 hours to complete them, respectively. Thus, you have 1.8 minutes to answer each multiple-choice question and 1 hour per essay. If you find that you struggle with timing, take a step back and figure out why. Do you have trouble remembering the law? Are you having trouble organizing your answer (on the essays)? Once you figure out what’s slowing you down, you’ll know which areas to focus on in order to speed up.

The exam is administered twice a year, in June and October. The exam does not test California-specific law, but instead tests the student's general knowledge on the topics. The California Bar Office of Admissions offers materials online to help applicants to the baby bar prepare for the test.

Hope this was Helpful Justin

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Chase’s Answer

Hi Justin, I would recommend the following steps in balancing work, life, law school and eventually preparing for the bar:

1. Effective Time Management: As you are working full-time and going to law school, you will need to efficiently carve out time throughout your day and evening for work, personal life, and law school. I suggest creating a schedule or setting reminders on your phone calendar to help you manage your time.

2. Take time to rest and refresh: Working and going to the law school is tough and sometimes it will feel like that you don't have a break. However, you must take time to rest and refresh to keep your mind mentally sharp to keep doing the law school and work grind. I would suggest picking a day of the week or set aside some time each day for yourself and personal life so that you will not burn out from work and school.

3. Preparing for the Bar: This is not an easy task but thousands of people have used bar prep programs to help them prepare and pass the bar in their respective states. I recommend that you follow your bar prep program schedule in prepping for the bar. I would also recommend that you either take time off to fully prepare for the bar or reduce your work hours as your main priority for those two months between graduation and the bar exam is to prepare for the bar.

Good luck, Justin!

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Khrystyna’s Answer

Congratulations on getting in and starting your legal career.

I went to law school at night, while working full-time. So did all of my section mates. Everyone was around the same age as you are when we started. We are not in California, thus, there was no baby bar. I can only weigh in on experience of being a law student while working.

Here is the good and the ugly (sorry no bad in between)

I am a bit sad you have to do the experience online; but I hope you can get to a classroom setting soon enough and meet your section mates in person. Evening/working students tend to me a very close knit group. We truly supported each other and will be friends for life. Also, classroom experience was very fulfilling because of the wide array of pre-law careers we had.

Seek out opportunities to be in a study group. I would encourage to participate with a few groups at first and figuring out which group of personalities works best for you and your study style. The upside of evening division, is that no one is petty. People are happy to help each other.

Also, I want to encourage you to participate with the normal/day students activities. As you will discover later, legal community is very small, and networking is key to your success! Networking starts in law school. Try joining few student organizations, seek out leadership roles to meet/interact with day students.

I also cannot stress enough how important being on law review/journal is. Some people bulked from writing on due to the time commitment. To me, it was very manageable with a full time job and moot court, because you have flexibility when to complete the cite check/write your comment.

You should also email BarBri/Themis now, and ask them how to become a “rep” for them. If you get in before you even start law school they will definitely have a spot. It is a super low time commitment, but you save a tonne of money on the bar prep course with the discount for being a rep.

Here is the ugly. If you want to have a fulfilling law school experience and work, you have to recognize that something else has got to give. . . Unless you are a superhuman, who requires no sleep, you are about to embark on the toughest four years of your life. It may be gym (law school 15 or 20 is a real thing). It may be your dog (it will become best friends with your spouse). It may be regular meals or saying good night to your spouse when he/she is not asleep (this is once campuses return). Basically, you wake up, go to work, run to class and grab some junk to eat en route, sit in class, may be go to office hours, then come home and read 100 pages/highlight, go to sleep, and repeat four days a week. On the weekends, you will write and read. You will become a master of efficient handling of life after this! And you can do it!!! There are thousands of lawyers out there who successfully did it, and so can you.

As I said above, we don’t have baby bar in Pennsylvania, but I can tell you that you should take any and all bar exams very seriously. Everyone who did not dedicate themselves 100% to studying for it, did not pass on the first try. You can’t go on vacations during this time. You can’t go hiking every weekend. You can’t work. Even the brightest stars struggled when they attempted to. You should aim for completing 70% of the prep course before taking the exam.

I hope this was helpful, and let me know if you have any other questions.