Well it’s over. Although I’m doing my best to block it out, the New York Bar exam was pretty much exactly what I expected. The essays were a mix of wills, evidence, real property, contracts, corporations, torts, no-fault insurance and conflict of laws. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a domestic relations essay, and mercifully, there wasn’t an administrative law essay.
There weren’t any major ExamSoft meltdowns and no one had a seizure. It was just a thousand exhausted people with cold nervous clammy palms sitting in complete silence on an indoor track and taking a hellacious two-day exam.
Would a casual observer have known that this group of unwashed, red-eyed 20- and 30-somethings were the future partners of Wachtell, legal minds prepared to face the great legal battles of our generation or possibly even a future Presidents of the United States? No, they probably would have thought it was some sort of convention for homeless people. Although, one woman was killing it in leather pants during the MBE, the rest of us were looking pretty, pretty rough.
I can’t believe that I am about to type this, but I may actually be pro-suit for the bar exam. The Virginia Board of Bar Examiners in their infinite wisdom and respect for decorum and tradition require that candidates sitting for the bar exam wear suits. And while I certainly did not enjoy sweating through a suit for two days in July in Roanoke, Virginia, I now (kind of) understand the reason for the requirement. The bar is a professional licensing exam, maybe the candidates should look like professionals. Whether Virginia bar examinees take the exam more seriously because they are wearing suits is doubtful, but perhaps it did get us into the test-taking bar exam domination zone we needed to be in. Athletes often wear their game-day gear during time trials to simulate the pressure and conditions of game day, and the bar exam is the ultimate scrimmage for lawyers. Before it’s us against opposing counsel, it’s us against the bar examiners. The suit is our battle gear. We are going to be spending our careers wearing suits and sitting in our offices for in excess of eight hours a day. It might not be a bad idea to start getting used to that tie or waistband slowly squeezing the life out of us now.
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Fool Me Twice: I’m Taking Another Bar Exam, Episode 1
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