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





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