Bar Exam

XCVII: I Won’t Be An Attorney In 2019, But I Will Be Free!

So, ya girl studied for the July bar exam up until the week prior to the exam and then chose herself and her sanity over rushing the process. YEP, YOU HEARD ME RIGHT, I chose ME.

We all know that the natural progression is LSAT, law school, bar prep, bar exam, and usually those who take these steps do them one after the other after the other.

BUT!

In all honesty, my life was not working in a way that would get me across the bar exam finish line with my sanity or happiness intact.

At that point, I had just lost too much, was experiencing too much hurt, and was just mentally occupied and checked out. I had done what I was supposed to do and stuck to my study schedule but it was to no avail. I was basically just going through the motions and retaining nothing.

Now, I have seen myself at something-closer-to-peak performance, and I saw myself at whatever it was that I was experiencing during bar prep and I knew that I had reached my limits. I had no more fight left in me and I just couldn’t push through.


It’s rare for me to choose myself because it’s usually the case that, making other people happy is what really makes me happy. But, it got difficult when law school finals, graduation and bar prep were getting closer and closer all while life was still happening in the background.

During a couple of months time, I had to brush off death, my emotions, my fears, my feelings, love, heartbreak, and disappointment. Trust me, I’m used to working through these things but sometimes it just gets to be too much.

All of that on top of bar prep was definitely too much.

I got to the point where it was like, “okay, if a pen drops, I’m going to lose it” and that just was not a stable place to be. Bar prep is daunting enough, it’s hard enough and its terrible enough without so much going on in the background. It’s also a lonely process because no one knows what you’re going through except maybe your study/accountability buddy but life is also happening to them, so, you’re alone!

it was hard learning that, you may FAITHFULLY be other people’s happiness, but that does not mean that they care about your happiness. Many times, they don’t care.

This was tough to accept during a time where I felt that I needed certain people to be there for me.

By about a week prior to the bar exam, I had lost my longest-running and closest friendship with the only person I’d ever truly trusted, I had lost a close family member in an unexpected way, I had stressed my way through my moms major surgery, and it made me feel like I was, once again, working hard towards another loss (pass or no pass).

And a lot of that lead me to the conclusion that it just wasn’t my time.


Prior to making the choice, I did not tell anyone that I was thinking about postponing, I just gave myself more time to try and study. I made the choice and then studied as hard as I could for a couple of days, but once those days were over I saw that I still wasn’t in a good space at all. I spent the majority of the time bawling my eyes out at my desk and not actually being able to study. Topics like Wills & Trusts and Community Property were making me cry just given all that was going on, and really, I JUST NEEDED TO HEAL BEFORE I COULD DEAL WITH THE BAR EXAM (even when all of the topics were handed to me).

I say that I am now free because, throughout the process and all of the loneliness, I saw different sides to people who I had considered a friend.

I saw that a lot of people did actually care about my wellbeing and my mental prosperity, but that many others were more interested in my next moves. They wanted information about what Bree was doing next, where Bree was going next, and who Bree was dating. This is fine, but if you’re not checking on me too, you’ve got to go!

Nosey acquaintances are nothing new, but they are sometimes hard to pick out because they shield their triflin’ ways in fake concern, but it becomes more obvious the more they speak. So, I definitely freed myself from those types of people.

I freed myself from those who claimed to love me but betrayed me, weren’t there for me, or were simply garbage. AND, I FREED MYSELF FROM THE IDEA THAT I HAVE TO DO ALL OF THESE THINGS BECAUSE OTHERS EXPECT THEM OF ME.

The best lesson that I learned during bar prep was that, even though we often get to a spot where we hope that others care about us enough to work towards our happiness the way that we do theirs, at the end of the day it is NOT their job to ensure that you are happy. It is YOUR job to do what will make you happy at all times.

So, I won’t be reading that I passed the Bar Exam on Thanksgiving (because I didn’t take it), but I will go into my next round of studies in a much better space mentally.

XXX: Law School - What’s It Really Like?

LSAT Preparation:

Hindsight on LSAT preparation makes it very clear that it is in no way related to law school. And here I was thinking that the logic games would get me through law school...

But, because I had no idea that the two were barely related, I prepared for it like any other stressed out pre-law student would -- I hit the books! I spent days in the public library reading through every LSAT prep book that I could find. I checked them out. I took notes. I tried my best to talk about it out loud in order to make myself understand what I was reading. But, let's be real, the material on the LSAT is not material that you can pick up and just learn. So, I looked for outside help and found that there are LSAT preparation courses. I made that my graduation gift from my lovely grandmother, and I was on my way!

The prep course was by Testmasters and I found out that they are as amazing as they say they are. The course was created by Robin Singh, an LSAT guru who holds the world record for scoring a perfect score on the LSAT 12 times! They walked us through each section of the LSAT over a three month period that led up to the date of the LSAT. We spent our weekends doing practice LSATs so that we could get a feel for how the LSAT would go, and then we spent our weekdays going over what we didn't understand during our practice LSATs of the past weekend. 

Overall, I felt as though the course seriously helped me to improve my LSAT score. My score from when I started the course to when the course concluded had increased by 15 points which, to me, was enough to make me seriously believe in the program. 

1E

So fast-forward to me being in law school. All I can really remember about my first year of law school is the torture that was Torts. For some reason the topic just failed to stick, so I definitely did not do my best in that course. The Socratic method of teaching reared its very ugly head all throughout my Torts class which left me scarred for life. 

The Socratic Method of teaching is definitely a given during your first year of law school. It is a sort of cold call where you are stuck answering a ton of questions about the topics of the night's reading, so you'd better go to each class prepared or you will be embarrassed in front of your peers. 

Another unpleasant class that introduced what would become the new style of teaching for the duration of my law school stay was Civil Procedure. Now, I did not have a complete aversion to this class, but my classmates still complain about it to this day so I think that it is safe to say that it sucked. What sucked most about it was the fact that, unlike my Torts professor who used the Socratic method to get through classes, my Civil Procedure professor seemed to have a style of teaching and talking that was not as confident and kind of all over the place. This made it seem as though he had no idea what was going on the whole time and made him seem less credible, but I still liked him because he tried. I didn't learn much during that class but I appreciated his efforts!

Your first year will include classes like:

A. Torts
B.  Criminal Law I
C. Global Lawyering Skills I
D. Legal Profession
E. Civil Procedure

2E

My second year of law school was only memorable because I took Global Lawyering Skills II. This is the class where you write a brief and give an oral argument based on a case that you're given early in the year.

Throughout the year we conduct research and give mini oral arguments during class to prepare us for the final oral argument which is given in front of three judges and your opponent. This was the second year's biggest challenge for me. 

They say that during the first year, you're scared to death and during the second year, you're worked to death, and that is true! My second year of law school was more difficult because we weren't coddled as much as we were the first year. During the first year, we were our professors babies and they were just giving us tough love. But, during our second year, we had all grown up and were off to college so we were on our own. But, keep in mind, the professors are still available for office hours and they encourage you to show up for them! But, they cut you zero slack and really start to prepare you to be an associate during your second year of law school.

Your second year will include classes like:

A. Property
B. Constitutional Law
C. Statutes & Regulations
D. Global Lawyering Skills II
E. Contracts
F. Electives to fulfill simulation and practicum requirement

3E

Third year seems like a blur because you are burned out and ready to be done with law school already. For me, third year was filled with electives and a lot of work. 

I started each semester of my third year totally ready to be one step closer to being done with law school, but by around the second week, I'd lost the steam and I was ready to be lazy again. 

The biggest struggle of third year, for me, was staying motivated. It was hard to continue to go to  class after a long day of work. It was difficult to deal with the fact that you're burned out now, but you still have one more year to go. 

So my best advice for you during your third year is to work hard but also find your escape and visit it often. It will keep you sane.

Your third year will include classes like:

A. Evidence
B. Business Associations/Criminal Procedure/Community Property
C. Professional Responsibility
D. Remedies
E. And, you guessed it, Electives!

4E

I have only finished one class into my fourth year of law school (yes, evening students get four years of joy), but, so far I am just taking classes that I am interested in. 

Your fourth year will pretty much be shaped by your legal interests. This is the year that you get to either do a semester in practice, do an externship, or just take electives the whole time. You fourth year is essentially yours!

 

 

I cannot end this post without mentioning how great of a ride law school has been. I've bonded with the professors and administrators who have opened my eyes to my capabilities and to the amazing things that come for those pursuing law. And, I've had quite a bit of fun while doing it. 

I know that a lot of people are completely turned off to the idea of law school because of what they've seen on the television or in the movies, but the experience is really your own. You just have to get there.

Good luck to those of you studying for the July Bar. Congratulations to those who have been accepted to a law school and happy studying to those of you preparing for the LSAT!