CA bar exam fail & clerking

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CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:55 pm

I very likely just failed the CA bar exam (fml... long story short, didn't sleep AT ALL before day 1... was exhausted and completely bombed the the first performance test [so badly I may get like a 45 on it] and probably one of the essays as well). In September I'm starting a one-year clerkship with a district judge in CA (in a big market). I don't have a job lined up yet for afterwards. But my goal is (was?) biglaw.

So just a couple questions for the clerkship experts... Besides being really embarrassing, how screwed am I? Should I just hold off on applying to firms because I have such a bad feeling about it, and wait until after I retake? Also, how negatively will the mere fact that I failed the bar affect my job prospects once I do pass the bar?

Tyvm for the advice

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Mick Haller
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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Mick Haller » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:00 pm

I may be mistaken, but I think 80 is the lowest possible score on the PT, it should range from 80-160. 120 is probably the "average" score as it would correlate to a score of 60 on a regular essay.

which testing center did you use?

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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:06 pm

OP here. I took it with my girlfriend at the Ontario spot. Ya that's the range they arrive at, I believe by doubling the score you get from the same 40-100 method that's used for the essays...

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Mick Haller
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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Mick Haller » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:10 pm

was your first PT the one about the nonprofit corporation? everyone I've talked to thought it went really badly for them too. Don't get too down on yourself, it sounds like you did well on 5/6 of the essays, and 1/2 PT's. how did you find the MBE?

Just be glad you didn't take it in Oakland - 500 people who had registered to take via laptop had to handwrite because there werent enough power outlets.

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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:22 pm

Mick Haller wrote:was your first PT the one about the nonprofit corporation? everyone I've talked to thought it went really badly for them too. Don't get too down on yourself, it sounds like you did well on 5/6 of the essays, and 1/2 PT's. how did you find the MBE?

Just be glad you didn't take it in Oakland - 500 people who had registered to take via laptop had to handwrite because there werent enough power outlets.



Ya it was that fucking nonprofit SOX nightmare. I appreciate that encouragement...but I know it was worse for me than it was for everyone else. I couldn't see straight and by the time I was able to finish reading, I was so low on time that I panicked and started writing before I had much outlined. The result was just random bits and pieces thrown in from the statutes/proposed legislation and a bunch of rambling. I didn't even get to the 5th point.

Felt pretty good about most of the essays but I know I missed some minor issues here and there. MBE was tougher than I was expecting. I got a 131 on the first simulated barbri MBE and 140 on one a week before the exam.. I figure I need like a 145 raw to even have a shot at passing.

How did it go for you? You weren't among those 500 in Oak I hope...

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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Rotor » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:31 pm

I don't have advice, really, just reassurance. Everyone felt pwned by PT-A. It just plain sucked. Way way way too much for a single PT. Also, from what I hear, you have to actively F-up to get less than 50. And that's roughly 15th pctile. Even if your 45 comes true, if you merely passed all the others, you would only need a 132 raw (<70%) on the MBE to get the 1440. See http://one-timers.com/calculate-your-fi ... exam-grade. Since the general consensus was that this MBE was also much harder than normal, the raw required will be even lower to get the scaled score you need.

No guarantees, of course. But things may not be as grim as it seems. (At least that's what I'm telling myself after bombing PT-A. :D )

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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Rotor » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:36 pm

<-------- was very happy to be in the very back of the room in OAK where we had power. Power was restored to the front rows by Tues PM. Most I talked with had 3 hrs worth of battery, but it added 100%+ to the stress for the AM essays.

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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:36 pm

Most firms don't outright fire associates for failing the bar the first time, but the general perception is that you are considered damaged goods and will be stealthed or pushed out in a year or two.

You won't be applying to firms before November when you get your results anyway. You may find out you passed. If not, you'll obviously need to retake in February. You can still apply to firms in the meantime. If they happen to ask about the bar, you'll have to explain your situation. Alternatively, assuming your clerkship runs something like September to September, you could wait until you get February's results to apply to firms and not mention that you passed in February rather than July. That would likely be a bit late to start the job hunt, but many firms only request a few months notice from clerk applicants. You could also apply for COA for next year and then get in on a more 'normal' job search schedule with the added credential.

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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:03 pm

OP here. Thanks for the reassurance guys. I'll be amazed if you're right tho

How did people react in OAK when the proctors said they'd have to handwrite? I can't even imagine... But since it was their screw-up I bet a partially handwritten exam is good for like a 5-10 pt bump this year,based on pity alone

To the most recent anon: if I end up waiting to apply until after I get my results from the Feb test, is there any way for them to see that I failed the first time?

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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby feeblemiles » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:04 pm

I was in the front nine rows in Oakland (about 270 people) and had battery for the full three hours. Seemed like most people around me had batteries that lasted the full three hours, but I know several people had to hand write at least a portion.
Definitely added some stress to the morning, but they had power for us by the afternoon.

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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To the most recent anon: if I end up waiting to apply until after I get my results from the Feb test, is there any way for them to see that I failed the first time?


I would think so, but not necessarily at the interview stage. You will need to prove that you are admitted to the bar, and when you do that, the firm will see that you were admitted in 2013 as opposed to 2012. But by the time they ask for that info you may already have the job. I'm a clerk myself so I haven't dealt with this yet.

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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I very likely just failed the CA bar exam (fml... long story short, didn't sleep AT ALL before day 1... was exhausted and completely bombed the the first performance test [so badly I may get like a 45 on it] and probably one of the essays as well). In September I'm starting a one-year clerkship with a district judge in CA (in a big market). I don't have a job lined up yet for afterwards. But my goal is (was?) biglaw.

So just a couple questions for the clerkship experts... Besides being really embarrassing, how screwed am I? Should I just hold off on applying to firms because I have such a bad feeling about it, and wait until after I retake? Also, how negatively will the mere fact that I failed the bar affect my job prospects once I do pass the bar?

Tyvm for the advice


In all fairness, as many posters have said earlier, no one felt good about coming out of PT-A. I don't feel good about at least three of my essays (hating myself for missing issues, etc.). PT-B was no cupcake, either.

What will be will be, I suppose. Hopefully the CA bar will work out for us (also clerking, but for two years, not one -- not sure how to handle the stigma of failing the bar, but I guess CA bar being incredibly difficult is common knowledge). I've also started thinking about maybe having my MBE score transferred to D.C. and just taking the 1-day MEE for the D.C. bar (in case, gulp, the worst case scenario happens).

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Mick Haller
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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Mick Haller » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:23 pm

I may be in the minority, but I felt PT-B was worse than PT-A. Maybe I was just too tired to think straight. I mean it was obvious we were supposed to rebut and finish off the remaining 7 factors, but my analysis and organization were crap. I didn't have time to finish my headings either, which were apparently very important on this PT.

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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:26 pm

Don't mean to do a pseudo-hijack, but my initial impression was that part of (or all of) what you were asking was how the bar fail would affect your fed clerkship. Does anyone know? It sounds like (based on answers re: firms) it won't be a problem since clerkships are typically just for a term (1 or 2 yrs in fed system), but can anyone confirm this? Do ppl ever lose fed clerkships for failing?

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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:40 pm

OP here. No you don't need to pass the bar to clerk so there's no chance of that happening. I'm just worried about what it could mean for jobs going forward.

that second PT was annoying too. im not sure if i organized it right. i did the main demurrer rule, then the rule about negligence malpractice demurrers, and then the 7 factors from that case. then within one of the factors, i forget which one (either the 3rd or fourth one dealing with closeness of falk's stupidity to the injury I think) i rambled a bit about why the advisory opinion would have been different if falk hadn't been incompetent/disloyal. does that sound right? we weren't supposed to get into the breach/causation/harm elements of an ordinary malpractice case right? and ya, it took me forever to do the facts and those point headings that my analysis was pretty bare bones towards the end, which scares me because i think they wanted us to really put a lot of PR analysis into it

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Mick Haller
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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Mick Haller » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:that second PT was annoying too. im not sure if i organized it right. i did the main demurrer rule, then the rule about negligence malpractice demurrers, and then the 7 factors from that case. then within one of the factors, i forget which one (either the 3rd or fourth one dealing with closeness of falk's stupidity to the injury I think) i rambled a bit about why the advisory opinion would have been different if falk hadn't been incompetent/disloyal. does that sound right? we weren't supposed to get into the breach/causation/harm elements of an ordinary malpractice case right? and ya, it took me forever to do the facts and those point headings that my analysis was pretty bare bones towards the end, which scares me because i think they wanted us to really put a lot of PR analysis into it


No idea dude..sounds like you hit on more than me. But I've spent the whole day trying to forget everything that happened for the last 3 days so maybe its best not to try and dissect it further.

Sounds like you did a pretty good job though.

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Re: CA bar exam fail & clerking

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:20 pm

eh i dono about that. but ya i agree, im not gonna talk about the actual questions anymore. nothing good can come from it




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