When fear makes your choices for you, no security measures on earth will keep the things you dread from finding you. But if you can avoid avoidance—if you can choose to embrace experiences out of passion, enthusiasm, and a readiness to feel whatever arises—then nothing, nothing in all this dangerous world, can keep you from being safe. – Martha Beck
Bar prep is strange. There’s nothing else like it. 3 day test to determine whether you’re worthy of entry into the field. Months of prep work for it. People compare it to marathon training, but i’ve run marathons and it’s not like that. When you’re training for a marathon, you know what you’re going to face. And every day and in every weekly long run, you build towards that certainty of what you’re going to face. Every run is a just a few steps closer to the completion of that longer run. Plus marathons are fun! You get the freedom to run through a whole city — with streets closed off, and people cheering, and energy, and sights.. it’s fun. Painful, sure. But bar prep – i don’t know if it’s marathon training. I have no idea what the essays i’m tested on are going to be. There are 17 subjects and 6 of them will be tested on essay. There will be 2 simulation essays – as if i’m reading a file for a client and then writing the right type of paper about it. And then there will be 200 multiple choice questions. And it’s more consuming that marathon prep. However, I am not a pro runner, but this exam is something that I have to approach like a pro. So all in all, it’s an interesting experience. We hope that we can keep all this information in our head. We hope that we can convey it well enough so readers are convinced that we know it all well enough. We hope that we’ll have a spectacularly-in-the-zone multiple choice test day. We hope for all these things. And in order for the hope to become real, we have to study, we have to practice lots, and we have to have faith. You don’t need 100% on this test. I believe a pass is around 65%. I guess that is not high, and I guess I should not complain. With all the details and intricacies that are going to be tested, we should be allowed some leeway.
Anyhow, this post is about my trying to figure out -in-the-grand-scheme- what bar prep is. Is it the last hurdle of entry into the profession? Or is it just some really bizarre self-annihilative process where we surrender to circumstances and work our butts off? We need to be tested somehow I suppose. I’ve just never experienced anything like this. I hope the outcome will be positive. I am very grateful for this bizarre experience – because despite my musings, it’s truly fascinating to be learning these vast vast vast reams of information, and knowing them well. And it’s even more fascinating to be putting it into application by recognizing the law in strange little multiple choice questions, and then expounding upon the law in essay. I did not know think that i would know the elements of different things so well.
I do miss life though. I’m looking forward to returning to my family and friends once this over. But first I must complete it, so that it really is over.
Being a lawyer is a noble profession, principally because its about helping other people, about service –selfless service.
I had a friend who was an Israeli army lawyer and he was talking about doing a battle army investigation. Doing a battlefield investigation is like running a marathon – its incredibly painful and it feels like it would never end – but it is absolutely essential that you do not stop running, because the only thing that’s standing between between you and fulfilling your destiny of serving others is this exam. And I’m confident and Kaplan is confident, that if you keep running even when you get tired and even when you get discouraged, you keep running and you do everything they advise you to do – you put in the work, you will be successful in this exam. And you will find yourself in one of the most important functions in our society – that is standing next to a client when everything is going wrong, and you are the only person between them and justice. That is what lawyers do. Lawyers stand for justice. And justice is defined one lawyer and one client at a time. That’s your destiny. So don’t think about how much work you have in front of you, but all the work you’ve done so far to get here – and you’ve got a little bit more to go.
And remember a lesson I learned when I was a solider: “The more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed in wartime.” The harder you work now, the easier this exam is going to be. I wish you the best of luck because I want you to be out there helping people who are waiting for you, as soon as you possibly you can – and that’s all about mastering this exam .
One of the most inspiring law teachers I’ve had is not even someone I’ve met in person. I’ve either watched him via live stream or through recorded videos. He’s a former military man, so he spoke to us in terms of mission and objective. And I really liked his saying, “The more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed in wartime.” I’m studying for the Bar exam now and today is a day filled with his lectures. And I just want to record here what he said, because I know it’ll continue to inspire me for the days, and weeks to come.
Being a lawyer is a great calling and a noble profession. You’ve worked so hard to get to this point. There is only one obstacle standing between you and the people out there who are waiting for you.
There are clients out there that you don’t even know that are waiting for you to get that license so that you can make a difference in their lives.
I tell my students that when we try to define Justice it seems nebulous but the lesson I learned as a lawyer– justice is defined one lawyer and one client at a time – that is your destiny. There is only one obstacle standing between you and that goal, and that’s the bar exam.
The more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed in wartime. Your success on the bar is going to be directly contingent on how hard you work to prepare yourself.
If you get tired or discouraged or bored, remind yourself as to why you’re doing this.
For people who want to be lawyers, this is not about us. There is no more powerful phrase than standing up in a courtroom and saying, “I represent __name__.” What that means is that you serve others, so this entire endeavor from the beginning of law school to where you are now is to prepare yourself to serve others. So if you get discouraged, find the motivation by remembering that someone is waiting for you and you need to accomplish this task. And if you work hard and you do everything the curriculum tells us to do, we’re confident that you’ll get to that high ground and you’ll be practicing law before you know it.
The Atlantic’s commentary on the Pope’s encyclical
…Brave Pope Francis. Better to be a priest than a president.
May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river, when a light glowed within me, and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years.
Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments. May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.
Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my path.
Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am; and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.
And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life, and for time’s olden memories that are good and sweet; and may the evening’s twilight find me gentle still.