Studying for Bar while employed

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Studying for Bar while employed

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:21 pm

Hey everyone,

I'm sure there are plenty of people here that have taken second bar exams after lateraling. Was wondering what kind of schedules people kept and if they found it to be very overwhelming to start at a firm and study at the same time? Also, if anyone has tips for negotiating time off (including how much time should be taken), that would be great! I plan on taking the bar in NH, VT or Maine this summer (currently NY lawyer) and if anyone has specifically moved to one of those places, it would be great to hear some advice as well.

Thanks everyone.

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los blancos

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Re: Studying for Bar while employed

Postby los blancos » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:29 pm

Tagging

NonTradHealthLaw

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Re: Studying for Bar while employed

Postby NonTradHealthLaw » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:01 pm

I have taken and passed two exams now while working full time biglaw. My schedule in a nutshell:

5:30am - wake-up, pour coffee, stumble to computer, listen to a lecture at 1.75x speed
7:30am - get ready for work
8:00am - go to work; do MBE questions on my commute.
9:00am - 6:00pm - work. If it's slow, log into Kaplan (first time) and Barbri (second time) to run questions or listen to a lecture
6:00 - 7:00 - commute home; run more MBE questions
7:00 - 7:15 - eat supper (spouse was an angel and always had it ready)
7:15 - 11:00 - listen to lectures; run MBE questions

Weekends: 8am - 7pm religiously with a 1-hour break for lunch and light exercise.

Both times I was given two weeks off prior to the exam. I used this time to learn the non-MBE and state-specific topics and to do at least 50 MBE questions per day. That was a gamble I felt was worth the risk.

I don't know that my schedule is anything atypical - I felt confident coming out of both exams but still woke up in night sweats. Feel free to ask more specific questions or PM me and I'm happy to give more specific advice or commiseration. Bar study is exhausting while working. Make sure your boss and co-workers know that your mornings start before you get into the office and last after you depart. You can make up the hours afterwards.

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Posts: 313758
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Studying for Bar while employed

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:57 pm

NonTradHealthLaw wrote:I have taken and passed two exams now while working full time biglaw. My schedule in a nutshell:

5:30am - wake-up, pour coffee, stumble to computer, listen to a lecture at 1.75x speed
7:30am - get ready for work
8:00am - go to work; do MBE questions on my commute.
9:00am - 6:00pm - work. If it's slow, log into Kaplan (first time) and Barbri (second time) to run questions or listen to a lecture
6:00 - 7:00 - commute home; run more MBE questions
7:00 - 7:15 - eat supper (spouse was an angel and always had it ready)
7:15 - 11:00 - listen to lectures; run MBE questions

Weekends: 8am - 7pm religiously with a 1-hour break for lunch and light exercise.

Both times I was given two weeks off prior to the exam. I used this time to learn the non-MBE and state-specific topics and to do at least 50 MBE questions per day. That was a gamble I felt was worth the risk.

I don't know that my schedule is anything atypical - I felt confident coming out of both exams but still woke up in night sweats. Feel free to ask more specific questions or PM me and I'm happy to give more specific advice or commiseration. Bar study is exhausting while working. Make sure your boss and co-workers know that your mornings start before you get into the office and last after you depart. You can make up the hours afterwards.


Thanks so much, I'll likely be PMing you as things become more final and I hear back on whether or not i'm getting offers. That is a hell of a schedule. Luckily I'll be switching to a regional firm (non-biglaw) in New England most likely, so hopefully my hours should be better and there is more understanding hopefully (group isn't drowning with work, they just want a dedicated associate to a specific group). Did you study for two months like this or more?

NonTradHealthLaw

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Re: Studying for Bar while employed

Postby NonTradHealthLaw » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:29 pm

Happy to entertain PMs throughout your process.

That was my schedule for about 7 weeks (post NYE to test day). And, if it was a shitty day at work or I was exhausted, then I allowed myself more than a moderate amount of alcohol and got back on the horse the next day.

I truly think the key is to take manageable bites at the elephant. You will feel behind. You will feel overwhelmed. But, you also want to be putting hay in the barn every day. Ten MBE questions is more than zero. Reading your law school conlaw notes is a good lunchtime activity so you don't feel like you are trying to learn new content. Familiarity can be helpful to hone tricky first amendment nuances. You are also likely honing your speedwriting and organizational abilities during your workday, which should produce an essay in a nice package, even if the content is utter BS. An argument that can be followed, albeit wrong, is likely to earn at least a few points.

Finally, whenever I hit the 80% correct mark, I stopped hammering that subject or sub-subject and moved onto something else. This is, ultimately, a test of competency, not mastery. Take the time to learn the difference between mortgage recording statutes because you know there will be one or two questions on that subject, and it's easy to take FAR too long reading the question prompt for what ultimately is an easy question. But, if you keep "studying" criminal procedure because you like it, you're only going to squeeze another drop out of the lemon; whereas going from 40% accuracy to 50-55% accuracy could be 6-10 extra correct answers.



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