Best Wishes to Bar Exam Takers

Best wishes to all UM students taking the bar exam today. It's a rotten experience, but unavoidable if you want to practice law.

I recall a few aspects of the two-day New York Bar exam vividly, although most is now mercifully forgotten. I remember on day two, the essays, discovering that I suddenly couldn't recall which way the mailbox rule worked. Fortunately, all the questions about it had been on day one. (Why I was thinking about it, if there wasn't a question, I don't now recall.)

And I remember my joy on day two when the complex, but do-able, wills and estates question concluded with the instruction “FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS ESSAY IGNORE ALL ESTATE TAX QUESTIONS” — a great source of happiness as estate tax was the one (minor) subject (of, I think, 17 “minor” subjects and six “major” subjects) where I had completely failed to understand the review lecturer or the books, and one that remains largely undiscovered by me to this day.

And I remember thinking as I walked out — “I may not have to take another test ever again. Unless they make me take a driver's test again when I'm 70.” Strangely, it did not occur to me that had I failed this would not be true, even though I had no strong sense of how well or badly I had done, other than I had felt prepared for the questions.

And indeed, I passed. And so, I trust will my former students.

So far, I have avoided having to take any further tests, although I have not at all avoided further forms.

Previous relevant postings: Anyone Can Fail the Bar Exam — but really, don't panic — and Bar Pass Rates are Over-Rated As A Measure of Law School Quality.

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