Clerking + Bar Review/Exam Expenses

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Anonymous User
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Clerking + Bar Review/Exam Expenses

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:56 pm

I'm clerking after graduation. My judge doesn't allow me to accept an offer with a firm. I assume this means that I'll need to foot the bill for BarBri and the bar exam fees on my own... with money being a bit tight, is there any way around this/tips/tricks that people have experience with? Do law schools sometimes give extra loans to cover these expenses? Also pretty important to me- do law firms typically pay back those expenses when hiring you out of a clerkship in addition to the clerkship bonus? Thanks.


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presh
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Re: Clerking + Bar Review/Exam Expenses

Postby presh » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:30 pm

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Last edited by presh on Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Emma.
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Re: Clerking + Bar Review/Exam Expenses

Postby Emma. » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm clerking after graduation. My judge doesn't allow me to accept an offer with a firm. I assume this means that I'll need to foot the bill for BarBri and the bar exam fees on my own... with money being a bit tight, is there any way around this/tips/tricks that people have experience with? Do law schools sometimes give extra loans to cover these expenses? Also pretty important to me- do law firms typically pay back those expenses when hiring you out of a clerkship in addition to the clerkship bonus? Thanks.


Work as a rep for BARBRI? Your payment is a free course...

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerking + Bar Review/Exam Expenses

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:54 pm

Emma. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm clerking after graduation. My judge doesn't allow me to accept an offer with a firm. I assume this means that I'll need to foot the bill for BarBri and the bar exam fees on my own... with money being a bit tight, is there any way around this/tips/tricks that people have experience with? Do law schools sometimes give extra loans to cover these expenses? Also pretty important to me- do law firms typically pay back those expenses when hiring you out of a clerkship in addition to the clerkship bonus? Thanks.


Work as a rep for BARBRI? Your payment is a free course...


The relevant question here then is whether firms will reimburse those expenses in addition to the clerkship bonus when you join. Pretty sure they do, right?

Aqualibrium
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Re: Clerking + Bar Review/Exam Expenses

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Emma. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm clerking after graduation. My judge doesn't allow me to accept an offer with a firm. I assume this means that I'll need to foot the bill for BarBri and the bar exam fees on my own... with money being a bit tight, is there any way around this/tips/tricks that people have experience with? Do law schools sometimes give extra loans to cover these expenses? Also pretty important to me- do law firms typically pay back those expenses when hiring you out of a clerkship in addition to the clerkship bonus? Thanks.


Work as a rep for BARBRI? Your payment is a free course...


The relevant question here then is whether firms will reimburse those expenses in addition to the clerkship bonus when you join. Pretty sure they do, right?



Most firms do give a clerkship bonus, but I've never ever heard of a firm the reimburses bar expenses for someone who hadn't already signed an offer of employment prior to taking the course.

OP I honestly think you can get by without paying for the whole barbri or kaplan course. Barbi's MBE prep sucks anyway, so you can buy the Kaplan MBE prep dvd's for about 40 bucks. You can also buy the red and blue versions of the book "Strategies and Tactics for the MBE" on amazon for about 125 bucks. Then just get the Barbri lecture handout book for your state (you want this to be filled out already) and check to see if you can find past bar exams and answers for your state (if you can't you might be able to find the barbri essay book as well for pretty cheap).

My firm paid for my bar prep, but during the whole ordeal, I realized that it would actually be pretty easy to prep for the bar for less than $300 or so.

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Re: Clerking + Bar Review/Exam Expenses

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:55 am

I am also clerking next year, and my SA firm told me that I would be compensated for my bar expenses so long as I keep a tally. I can't have an open offer during my clerkship, so they're going to pay me back once I start working.

As for the loans, I'm not sure of the best way to deal with them. I didn't take out any Grad Plus loans this year, but I could -- would those be better than a private loan?

Anonymous User
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Re: Clerking + Bar Review/Exam Expenses

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:03 am

I was in a similar situation. Here's what I did:

-Set aside ~ $5k-$10k from the SA position

-Use $1k to pay for Themis (it's the cheapest, although BarBri you can negotiate down to ~ $1700 and I think Kaplan will match Themis)

-Use $1k to pay for the bar exam and related expenses - exam fee + C&F fee + hotel + travel

-Use the remainder to cover moving expenses/security deposit for starting the clerkship

-DoubleClerk

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Re: Clerking + Bar Review/Exam Expenses

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:20 pm

A couple of things that I considered/did:

1) Take out a bar loan: A few people did this (even firm people who were bad with money) but I avoided this since the interest rates are so high.

2) Take out more GRADPLUS loans. Go to school finaid and get them to bump your GP loans by a few thousand before the second semester starts. The interest rates will be lower than the bar loan.

3) Get a job. I worked part-time all through 3L year and into bar prep time (until July 12) and was able to save enough to cover rent/food.

4) Move back in with parents for the summer and take the course online.

5) Get used or free books. I was lucky and knew someone who gave me their Barbri books from 2011. You can also torrent the lectures. There are also cheaper ways to study for the exam without taking a course- buying access to question banks and getting independent, state specific essay outlines/practice questions online, or having a friend lend you the materials to copy.

ClerkAnon
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Re: Clerking + Bar Review/Exam Expenses

Postby ClerkAnon » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm clerking after graduation. My judge doesn't allow me to accept an offer with a firm. I assume this means that I'll need to foot the bill for BarBri and the bar exam fees on my own... with money being a bit tight, is there any way around this/tips/tricks that people have experience with? Do law schools sometimes give extra loans to cover these expenses? Also pretty important to me- do law firms typically pay back those expenses when hiring you out of a clerkship in addition to the clerkship bonus? Thanks.


As for your latter question: my post-clerkship firm (California office of a V25) paid back bar exam expenses in addition to the clerkship bonus, even though I received my offer from them after being admitted to the bar - contrary to Aqualibrium's experiences. I had to sign a statement saying that no other firm had paid for my bar exam expenses. TBH, I'm not sure how typical this is, since I did not ask other firms who had given me offers about this.

In terms of paying the Barbri fees up-front - my parents gave me a short-term, interest free loan during my 3L year, and I was able to pay them back with my clerkship SA money. They were open to it since I was able to explain concretely how they'd have their money back in less than half a year, and it would make a huge difference to me not to deal with a private bar loan. Whether or not the parental loan option is on the table, if you were at a firm your 2L summer, see if they'll let you spend a few weeks there, either pre- or post-bar. You don't need many SA weeks to pay off Barbri + bar admission fees.

(Also, for 2Ls who are planning to clerk, it's worth considering setting aside a few thousand dollars from your SA money for bar purposes in case you receive an offer from a judge who won't let you accept an offer, or in case you decide you don't want to return to your 2L firm post-clerkship. I had immediately sent all my money from that summer to my private loan lender to pay down that loan as far as possible, so I didn't have it to use for bar purposes.)




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