Countdown to the NY Bar III

I’m going to be bitching in this post. You’ve been forewarned.

34 days (839 hours or 5,0367 minutes) until the July Bar Exam. This is the worst.

It’s not like it cannot be done. Obviously it can be done or else there wouldn’t be a grillion lawyers walking around out there. It’s not even about whether I am personally capable of doing it because I am. Besides, the bar isn’t about how smart you are or how good of a lawyer you’ll be, it’s about how much you can memorize. Therein lies the source of my stress and general malaise. I just don’t memorize this kind of stuff – not like this.

I don’t cram. I didn’t cram in undergrad. I didn’t pull an all-nighter until my 1L year when I was holed up in the library trying to finish my piece de resistance – my appellate brief (scored an A, by the way). I may have crammed a bit in law school but it was different. Then, I only had to cram in 10 weeks’ worth of one subject for a 3-4hour exam. Here, I’m expected to cram three years of law plus law I’ve never laid eyes on before into my head for a two day exam. Oh, and I have about two months to do so. While working.

If anyone ever wants to know how it is working full time while studying for the bar, I can say with no reservations that it sucks. I do not recommend it and if I had a time machine I’d take it all back. I’ve posted before about how tired I am and the toll bar review is taking on my social life, but I’m sort of in a routine with that and it’s no longer a big deal. Grin and bear it for a few more weeks, ya know. The actual content of the exam though, well that’s got me down. I am confident that I am not doing all that I should be doing in order to effectively learn and retain these multistate and NY rules of law. That is my current fear – that I’ve handicapped myself in this whole process and I will have gone through this bullshit for nothing.

When am I supposed to study? I’m getting to work an hour early to spend time writing notes or outlining essays. I’m working hours and hours all weekend long because I’ve let my assignments pile up to the end of the week. Other folks, I presume are watching the lectures and then spending up to 8 hours each day making flashcards, outlining, doing practice questions and MEMORIZING the shit that’s going to get them over the hump come July. I’m not devoting any of those hours to Barbri. I’m at work.

I’m pretty sure that a few guys who started the course with me have quit. They were working while studying for the bar and I think they had families too. Those dudes probably realized early on that this was going to be a huge undertaking with little to no chance of return. Those guys are smart.

I remember when my law school colleagues were studying last year, some of them got together and formed study groups. I’m usually anti-group but I think it would be helpful sometimes to study with others, quiz each other and even just unload about the whole process. Alas, there’s no time to do the group thing if I’m at work all day, in lecture all night, playing catch up on the weekends and oh yeah, sleep every now and again.

There’s nobody to empathize with me on this. Most people I talk to have no idea what the bar entails or what it means to study for it. Those who do don’t know what it is to study for it while working. Folks try to be kind and say things like, “It’ll be fine, you’ll see,” or “You’re smart, you’ll pass.” While it feels good to have people who believe in you, I take little comfort in what I feel are empty reassurances. How can you tell me it’ll be okay if you don’t really understand what IT is? No one knows how much law I’m retaining each week and whether that’s sufficient to get me firmly over the “Pass” line.

At this point I’m just trying to make sure it’s all worth it. I’m just going to keep on doing what I’ve been doing. They say we just need to be mediocre. By definition, that can’t be too hard to attain, right?