Should I take the bar?

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Should I take the bar?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:31 pm

Anyone know anything about what it takes to maintain/possibly transfer your bar license if you don't start practicing for several years? I'm trying to figure out if it's worth it for me to take the bar.

More background: I'm a 2017 grad currently in a PhD program. I didn't take the bar this past summer because of research commitments but am considering doing it in July 2018. I am working toward legal academia, so the only reason I need the bar would be as a backup plan if that doesn't work out at some point in the future.

Given the way academia goes, backup plans are good to have, but I'm not sure if it's worth it to do this now given all the hassle and the risk of having to retake anyway if I choose the wrong state. My quickly-researched impression is that most states don't allow waiving in if you haven't been practicing in the original state. Currently I am assuming I will move wherever I get a job in academia, so I have no idea where I'd want to practice if working as a lawyer. Maybe current state or home state, both have a lot of lawyer jobs--I would probably choose one of these to take the bar in. But honestly this scenario would be a major life change for me and would be years in the future, so it's hard to predict what my priorities would be.

I am a good test-taker and tend to be low-stress, so the test doesn't seem too bad. But it would eat up some time that would otherwise be useful for research, and the process isn't cheap. My advisor would definitely prefer I skip this but isn't going to stop me. One other factor is that I'm clerking next year, so taking the bar would raise my salary, right?

Please don't quote, but thoughts appreciated.

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EzraFitz

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Re: Should I take the bar?

Postby EzraFitz » Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:18 pm

What type of clerkship are you doing next year? Clerkships generally can be very useful towards academia, but I'm sure you know that academia, and particularly legal academia, is incredibly hard to break into. Given the difficulty of getting any type of career in legal academia, I think you would be doing yourself a disservice by not taking the bar somewhere, specifically given that you know where your clerkship will be. If you don't get a job in academia immediately after your clerkship, and you have not taken the bar anywhere, you will be hard pressed to find a job until you have passed the bar. So I say take it, and the bigger question should be where as opposed to if.

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Re: Should I take the bar?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:14 pm

Okay, I see I have not explained the timing adequately. PhDs take a long time. I will still be working on the PhD, fellowships, and the rest of the road to an academic job after the clerkship. None of this requires bar membership, and a surprising number of law professors never actually bothered with the bar. If I end up changing course, it will be no sooner than 3-5 years from now. Obviously at that point I would be an odd candidate for lawyer jobs, but people have gotten past stranger resume gaps.

Anyway: just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the logistical issues of keeping up/transferring bar membership while not practicing.

blueapple

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Postby blueapple » Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:29 pm

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