So many things have gone in in these first two weeks of the semester that I haven’t even had time to organize my thoughts for publication. I think there are about three incomplete blog entries sitting in my ‘Drafts’ folder on topics that may, or may not, ever see the light of day.
The most pressing topic today is the incredible amount of money that is flowing OUT of my bank account and into all things “bar exam related.” I finally got up the nerve to look at the balance I owe for my bar prep course (which shall remain nameless, but begins with a “B” and has another “b” right close by the first one). I literally wanted to throw up. Graphic…I know, but there is no other way to describe the sick sinking feeling of discovering that I have four (4) months to pay in excess of one extra HOUSE payment to re-learn what I’ve just spent nearly six-figures learning for almost four years.
Actually, I should clarify, bar prep teaches you what you need to PASS the bar but in no way captures all you learn in law school. But let’s be real, the vast majority of people go to law school to practice law, you need to pass the bar to practice law, AND getting through law school in no way GUARANTEES you will pass the bar…ergo, bar prep is way more important than law school per se just because passing the bar and getting licensed is the key to the city.
Yeah, yeah…I know you can’ t take the bar exam (at least in Texas) WITHOUT getting a J.D., but my logic is meant to make a point: If what you need to reach minimal competency (A passing bar score is only 67.5% or 675/1000 possible points) can be accomplished in 2.5 months of diligent (Read: 12 hour days) study for the price of one month’s house payment (Read: A decent chunk of change, BUT much less than the cost of a 4 yr. J.D. plan), then WHY does law school take so long and why is it so dang expensive?!?! When I become SRU (Supreme Ruler of the Universe) I am going to insist that law schools INCLUDE a good bar prep course at the end of the program just because, dang it, by then we’ve spent enough. We should get a full-fledged bar prep course as a parting gift or graduation present!! Something.
I can see it now: THAT magic day when you’ve completed your program and are to transition into bar prep the professors just stop mid-Socratic sentence and say, “Alright…no more hiding the ball, here’s what you need to know to pass the bar…” By all means, throw back the veil, show me the wizard behind the curtain!
I actually have one professor at Tex Wes who does that. Contracts used to be 2 semesters long (I say “used to be” because I don’t know what curriculum changes they’ve made since my 1L year), but he’d play “What am I thinking” or “Hide-The-Ball” or “I-Don’t-Know,-What-Do-You-Think?” all year-long and at the tail end of the spring semester it was like he turned the corner. He’d try to keep playing his law professor games, but then he’d just relent and say, “Ok, let’s just bottom-line this.” Hallelujah!! What a wonderful idea!! From what I heard about bar prep, that’s all it is: 2.5 months of bottom lining. Sweet.
[Truth be told, this professor isn’t really very good at the whole Hide-The-Ball game. I think you have to have a kind of sick sense of humor or enjoy making ignorant law students squirm to be good at the true Socratic method. This guy is just too nice. Thankfully.]
Anyway, my conclusion on bar prep can be summed up in the words of my fortune cookie:
That’s why this semester one of my current classes is Passing the Bar. It does NOT replace my over-priced bar prep course, but is in addition to. I’m taking this class very seriously because I want to get into the right mindset of discipline and working hard to pass the bar. I might as well start now, right?
So I read all the handouts Professor Chambers gave us the first day. One was a mnemonic using the phrase: MUST PASS BAR. Each letter stood for something and the whole hand out was meant to give us some words of encouragement when we get the bar blues…which I continually hear is inevitable. It’s not “if” you’ll have a meltdown, it’s “when.” So be it. I was fine until I read the last paragraph on the letter “R” which stands for RESULT:
“Result will be to your liking. You will pass the bar exam. You may not think so during or after the exam, but you will pass the very first time you take the bar exam. You will pass because you worked hard and smart for the entire preparation period. Above all, you will pass because during the exam, you kept your head clear and your nerves steeled, and followed your carefully crafted plan for tackling each section of the exam. Very soon, you will get to do the very thing your Momma said you shouldn’t do, swear. Only this time you can swear with Momma’s blessing, in fact she’ll be downright proud to hear you swear. Heck, she will even encourage you to swear!”
I read all of this. Used white out and changed all the “yours and yous” to “my, I and me.” Then I proceeded to have my first mini-melt down. Yep, this is gonna be a long 7 months….