It's beginning. The standing room only crowd of recently-admitted lawyers looking for careers just got a bit more crowded, with four states already releasing bar results. For those of you waiting until November, we empathize with your misery. For those who just got their results, well, we empathize with you as well.
The results parade began, as usual, with North Carolina, which experienced a ten percent dip in passage rate, according to Above the Law. Utah, Florida, and Indiana have also released results. For the examinees in those states, here are a few pieces of advice:
If You Failed ...
Try, try again? Many, many people have failed the bar exam and gone on to have amazing careers, including former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama, amongst others.
Take a few weeks off. Evaluate your career options. (No point in taking the test again if you aren't going to practice law, right?) And evaluate your study strategy. Did you not study enough? If your state releases bar scores, which part of the test was your weakness? And if you didn't take a prep course, do you need to? (If you did, do they offer retakes?)
Above all, don't be too bummed. February is only five months away. This is only a temporary setback.
If You Passed ...
Got a job yet? If not, you've obviously got work to do. Start by avoiding illegal unpaid internships. Update your resume and cover letter with your bar passage and bar number (if available) and start sending out applications with confidence and knowledge of the fact that you, sir or ma'am, are licensed to practice law (so long as you pay those bar dues). Maybe consider talking to a headhunter as well.
If you do have a job, now is your chance to take a quick vacation, get your personal life in order, and to prepare for life as a young lawyer. There will be many late nights, working weekends, and gut-clenching stress in the near future, at least until you get your bearings.
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