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How is BAR test ? Is it easy to pass and if you fail what do you do next?

The BAR exam is something I hear a lot when I hear lawyer. What if you foot pass the exam? What is the next move ? #lawyer #attorney #criminal-defense

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Desiree’s Answer

It's awful, I am not going to lie.

You have to study hard because the exam not only tests your knowledge, but it is timed so you must have the answers right at the top of your mind.

Also, it's tricky. It has questions like "what is the least wrong among all these wrong answers" or "the most right among all these right answers" to which you have to apply the tenants of "statutory construction" (I'll leave that for you to look up!). On most multiple choice tests, you can just pick the right answer an move on, or eliminate the wrong answer and move on, but no so with this one. They do not word the questions as clearly as I just wrote them, so you have to read fast and really understand what they mean.

And it covers a lot of information. There are several core areas of the law it covers - some one which you might have studied in law school, but not necessarily all. (For instance, I did not take any family law courses in all of my law school and had to learn it for the Bar Exam.)

And, of course, there is the essay. There are test-prep companies that will predict what topics are "due" to appear in the exam, presuming a rotation of topic areas, and after reviewing recently released exam questions. But one never knows and hence you have to prepare for anything. In my bar exam prep, they told us that the "Rule Against Perpetuities" (again, I'll leave that for you to look up!) is NEVER on the Bar exam. In fact, they cautioned us that the concept was so tricky that it is often used as a false option in the multiple choice section to mislead test takers. And you guessed it: that was the subject of one of the essays. Minds were blown. People were in tears. (I mean, to be fair, people are often in tears - queuing up to get into the exam, during breaks in the exam, at the end of the day after the exam... be ready to see people dealing with the stress in all sorts of ways.)

Many law schools will offer some sort of tools to help study for the Bar. Also, there are professional test taking organizations that - for a fee - will help students prepare (yep, on top of law school tuition, you might want to pay more for additional test prep). I know brilliant humans who failed to take Bar prep seriously and failed the Bar their first time. Personally, I do not know anyone who "winged it" and passed. You should really plan for the months between graduating from law school and sitting for the bar exams to be black holes of focused studying. Not reading prep books on the beach, not traveling to exotic locals for sightseeing between prep classes. (I don't know anyone who pulled that off.) You need to be focused, taking the prep seriously, practicing essay writing, learning whatever law you haven't already learned....

So what happens if you fail? You can take it again, of course. Statistic shows that you have your BEST shot at passing your first time. First time and second time/overall bar passage rates are available so you can look into that yourself on-line. Anecdotally, it seems that second time test takers often have difficulty finding time to study intensely for a second round (balancing job, family, etc. who have already been put on hold the first time around). So the best advice I can offer is: study hard the first time.

The real question is: what will happen to your job when the employer who hired you to be a lawyer did so on the contingency that you would pass. At my former law firm, they allowed junior associates a second chance, but if they didn't pass the second time, their employment was terminated. Back then (literally 20 years ago!), I heard that other law firms did not allow a second chance. This is something unique to each employer and how they manager their lawyers. There is no way to sugar coat: you will not have a job as a lawyer if you cannot pass the Bar. Of course, there are many other careers out there for people with law degrees, which you can easily research.

Desiree recommends the following next steps:

Research on-line the Bar exam subjects
Looks up sample Bar exam questions
Research your state's required score and the Bar passage rate (note the "first time" rate versus the overall rate)
Research bar prep classes to understand what they offer - and what they charge
ALWAYS look up your potential law schools bar pass rate -you want to attend a school that will help prepare you for the Bar!
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Rachel’s Answer

The bar exam is difficult, but you should not it deter you from becoming a lawyer. When applying to law school, be sure to do your research so that you only apply to "accredited" law schools. Accredited law schools will help prepare you for the bar exam. Also, after you graduate, you will have a few months to study for the bar exam. There are some great companies that offer classes that will prepare you for the bar exam--you will need to attend those classes and do the homework. Usually you will study for about 3 months. If you do not pass the bar exam the first time, you can take it again. However, as Desiree said, you want to study your hardest the first time so that hopefully you only need to take it one time!

One other thing to mention--you need to take the bar exam in the state in which you practice law, so think about where you want to live and settle down, so that you won't have to take multiple bar exams.