PMFs (or other non-legal careers) and the Bar Exam

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Anonymous User
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PMFs (or other non-legal careers) and the Bar Exam

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:45 pm

I'm a PMF Finalist and I've accepted an offer from an agency that I'm quite excited about. It's non-legal and it's hard for me to see how it would lead to me practicing law in the future. Whether I stay at this agency or not after the PMF term runs out, I see myself at least staying in the federal government for a while (my position/agency is related to finance and banking, so there are many different places I could end up or move to). As I understand it, it's difficult or at least unusual to move from competitive service positions to excepted service positions so I don't think attorney positions would necessarily be an option for me. And with a long career stretch involving non-legal work, it seems unlikely that I would find myself practicing law in the private sector. I am fine with all of this; I'm not just biding my time or hedging with the PMF program, I'm starting a career.

So is it worth it to sit for the bar exam in July? Everyone I know assumes that I will and it's certainly what you're "supposed" to do after law school, but...why? So I can pay dues and worry about CLE credits for my personal gratification? The way I see it, I can save a bunch of money on a bar review class (not to mention the application/exam itself), reclaim a couple months of my life, and start my job a bit sooner.

Or should I just sit for the DC bar instead of the Virginia bar like I was planning?

I would appreciate any current or former JD PMFs who could weigh in on this. Did you take the bar? Have you actually benefited from it in any appreciable way?

LawIdiot86
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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Re: PMFs (or other non-legal careers) and the Bar Exam

Postby LawIdiot86 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a PMF Finalist and I've accepted an offer from an agency that I'm quite excited about. It's non-legal and it's hard for me to see how it would lead to me practicing law in the future. Whether I stay at this agency or not after the PMF term runs out, I see myself at least staying in the federal government for a while (my position/agency is related to finance and banking, so there are many different places I could end up or move to). As I understand it, it's difficult or at least unusual to move from competitive service positions to excepted service positions so I don't think attorney positions would necessarily be an option for me. And with a long career stretch involving non-legal work, it seems unlikely that I would find myself practicing law in the private sector. I am fine with all of this; I'm not just biding my time or hedging with the PMF program, I'm starting a career.

So is it worth it to sit for the bar exam in July? Everyone I know assumes that I will and it's certainly what you're "supposed" to do after law school, but...why? So I can pay dues and worry about CLE credits for my personal gratification? The way I see it, I can save a bunch of money on a bar review class (not to mention the application/exam itself), reclaim a couple months of my life, and start my job a bit sooner.

Or should I just sit for the DC bar instead of the Virginia bar like I was planning?

I would appreciate any current or former JD PMFs who could weigh in on this. Did you take the bar? Have you actually benefited from it in any appreciable way?


Do the Maryland bar. Reciprocity to DC and no CLEs.

Voodoo94
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:58 pm

Re: PMFs (or other non-legal careers) and the Bar Exam

Postby Voodoo94 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:26 pm

So is it worth it to sit for the bar exam in July? Everyone I know assumes that I will and it's certainly what you're "supposed" to do after law school, but...why? So I can pay dues and worry about CLE credits for my personal gratification? The way I see it, I can save a bunch of money on a bar review class (not to mention the application/exam itself), reclaim a couple months of my life, and start my job a bit sooner.

Or should I just sit for the DC bar instead of the Virginia bar like I was planning?

I would appreciate any current or former JD PMFs who could weigh in on this. Did you take the bar? Have you actually benefited from it in any appreciable way?


You should always give the bar a try at least once. It cannot hurt. I came into Federal Service via PMF with a JD/MPH and have worked in two agencies. Bar admission is a good credential and is considered a professional certification in Fed-land. At my last agency (DHS), we had an individual who never sat for the bar. The non-lawyers in our office (MPPs, MPAs, etc.) found this odd. For the lay person, bar admission is almost an expectation of something a JD graduate has.

Now, if you sit for the July exam and have a bad outcome, fine. It's not worth a retest, but you should it a try at least once.

A wise mentor of mine who spent his career moving between the executive branch and the Hill, told me that DC Bar admission is always a good idea. The DC Bar is a pretty good "guild" and offers many free and low cost opportunities to network and build contacts that you wouldn't have otherwise. The CLE offerings are impressive and you will find many "on point" with your job (e.g. agency General Counsel brown bags).

If you do get admitted, join the DC Bar (and ABA) and stay involved. There are so many ways to leverage these organizations - even in a non-attorney capacity.

You seem to have a great job lined up and one you are excited about. That is great. I have a hunch that once you settle in the competitive service 0301/0343 "groove", you'll quickly see that the whole attorney/0905 thing isn't worth it. Even if you never become an "attorney" in the Federal service, having a bar admission and membership in the bar is a good thing.

Anonymous User
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Re: PMFs (or other non-legal careers) and the Bar Exam

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:02 am

I have been considering applying to PMF, how was the process? Was it difficult to get your school to nominate you, etc?

LawIdiot86
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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Re: PMFs (or other non-legal careers) and the Bar Exam

Postby LawIdiot86 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:I have been considering applying to PMF, how was the process? Was it difficult to get your school to nominate you, etc?


If you are legally alive the week the nominations are due, you're school will nominate you. Otherwise, it's the same annoyingly difficult and random process OCI and honors hiring in general are.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: PMFs (or other non-legal careers) and the Bar Exam

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:13 am

Did you get a CFPB position?

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: PMFs (or other non-legal careers) and the Bar Exam

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:39 pm

how competitive is it?




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