The Bar Exam

As my last post and the fact that I was in law school for the last three years probably make obvious, Sarah and I are each getting ready to take the Texas Bar Exam. For those of you unfamiliar with this 2.5-day (and typically extremely costly and agonizing) ordeal, a friend of mine has posted an excellent Texas Bar Exam Primer to fill you in on the joys of the exam.

Short version: you get a stack of books which weigh around 46 pounds and contain around 15,000 pages of text, all of which you are supposed to be familiar with; you spend a lot of time (hopefully too much, rather than too little) trying to comprehend it all; and you spend 2.5 days frantically reading questions that mostly bear zero relationship to your future professional activities and drafting semi-coherent responses. The best part is that you’ll read some question involving two marriages, three or four oil patches, a personal injury case, and a deadbeat dad, then get some nit-picky question about who gets the former family Honda’s left front wheel… “Explain fully.” (You can be sure it depends on whether or not the wheel was attached before April 1, 1971 or some such nonsense.) On the upside, you’re only shooting for a C (675 out of 1000 is passing in Texas, a fairly typical threshold), but that C requires a lot of preparation before it’s obtainable.

It is not a particularly fun process. You know it has gotten old when most of those 15,000 pages have one or more coffee stains and the covers are coming off all of your books (and to top it off, the practice software provided by your bar prep company is in your top-five-most-used applications list in Windows). The good news, though, is that most people pass, and after that, you’re generally done with your formal education and licensing procedures, the one exception being if you move under certain circumstances. Some poor souls – including some people I know – end up having to take more than one bar exam.

In any case, the exam is next week (July 29-31). I, for one, will be extremely glad it’s over.

For those who are suffering through this with us, here are a few handy resources:
Texas Bar Exam Primer (aforementioned post by a fellow Texan-lawyer-to-be)
Understanding Texas Bar Exam Scoring (official info from the BLE website) [ed.: Link updated 8/17/2018; original was broken]
Examiner’s Comments (commentary by the graders on common mistakes both by subject area and on particular questions) [ed.: link updated to an archived link because the original was broken]
General information from a current TX attorney about his experience and preparation

Flipping Out, In Good Company

A friend posted this sage advice to people about the take the bar exam, like yours truly: RELAX. Yes, it’s overwhelming. Yes, there is a huge amount of material, much of it obscure. But, you know what? If you study diligently, you will pass.

Relax. It’ll all be over soon!

WRECK (WordPress Regular Expression Comment Killer)

IMPORTANT: The plugin described below has not been updated or tested in many years. Use at your own risk.

In my ongoing battle against comment spam, I have finally decided to write myself a WordPress plugin as an additional layer of defense. It’s called WRECK (WordPress Regular Expression Comment Killer).

WRECK (WordPress Regular Expression Comment Killer) is an extremely simple plugin for marking comments as spam if they match certain regular expressions.

DOWNLOAD: wreck.zip
Current Version: 1.0
Release Date: 7/6/2008

INSTALLATION: Just download and copy wreck.php to your plugins folder (wordpress/wp-content/plugins), then activate it in the plugins section of your WordPress blog.

LICENSE: This plugin is open-source (GNU General Public License), but I would appreciate it if you let me know of any modifications you find helpful.

SUPPORT: No formal support is provided, but I will take a look at any requests/suggestions/complaints you send me through my contact form.

NOTES: This plugin is very simple to use, but BE CAREFUL! It uses regular expressions to filter comments, so a badly written regular expression may block legitimate comments.

By default, only one type of comment is blocked: a comment containing only two lines, the first of which is bolded, with an ellipsis (“…”) on each line. The author gets a lot of comment spam like this, which is the reason he wrote this plugin.

If you find this plugin useful, please let me know here. Please also let me know if you discover any useful rules or make any other modifications.

Enjoy!

Stuff!

Sarah and I finally got our stuff delivered by the movers a couple days ago – it’s awfully nice to have more furniture than an air mattress and some household goods that aren’t single-use. We celebrated by going out for dinner at Pappasito’s. If you have never had skewered shrimp and vegetables where the shrimp are wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese and jalapenos, you are missing out. MMmmmm….