Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

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Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:41 am

I failed the bar exam for the second time. I am currently working in a law firm associate job that pays me $45k... very little $ but I do a lot of research and motion drafting there (it is not public interest law). I took the job out of desperation after not getting employment for some time. My girlfriend left me recently too because of my work and bar situation. Please give advice about what to do. I am thinking of leaving the law profession for another one but don't know what I could do with a law degree and no work experience. I have lost all motivation to study for this exam again and will likely get fired from my current law firm job. FYI had a law school scholly so no debt.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby Aptitude » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:51 pm

Contrary to conventional wisdom or what they told you in law school, there are quite a few jobs where you do legal work but a law degree is not required. In this jobs, they basically do everything a lawyer does except appear in court. I know, I know, you learned that that's a major no-no in legal ethics, but tell that to the Fortune 500 companies that do this.

Usually, these jobs have titles such as: Contract Specialist, Contract Analyst, Legal Affairs Support, Government Affairs, Immigration Specialist, Compliance Analyst, Compliance Officer, Employment Analyst, Human Resource Administrator

They pay is less than what an attorney gets. The starting pay is often low (paralegal levels) or on a contract basis. But that's because a lot of these companies want to make sure you don't suck for the first year or you're more hardworking than another temp than can replace you with.

At some of these companies, the benefits are way better than at any law firm and if you're hardworking you will rise faster. If you're one of the few hardworking/good ones, your total comp can be much higher than a traditional attorney. There's also the perk of having one of these large companies on your resume, other companies will interview you.

Forget about the ex girlfriend, she sounds like a loser.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:18 pm

OP here.

Thanks man.

Haven't told the law firm yet that I failed. Yea i should probably start applying to non law jobs.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby Aptitude » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

Thanks man.

Haven't told the law firm yet that I failed. Yea i should probably start applying to non law jobs.


You should look at this setback as an opportunity. Sometimes, great things are created from failure and suffering. If you apply to non-law jobs, you can still use your JD as an advantage but without being tied down by location.

This map shows where software engineers have the highest salaries. It will also serve as a decent guide pointing you to where a lot of Fortune 500 companies and startups higher for the positions I listed.
https://www.cse.sc.edu/job/software-eng ... nd-average

They're not going to care much about the Bar or where you got your degrees from. Some of those companies have ivy league MBAs working next to people from whatever regional state school. You just have to interview well and play your cards intelligently to get a shot in. But it's competitive because so many people know about the great benefits and perks of working at these companies. On the plus side, some of these companies do mass hiring and replacing, because a lot of people tend to suck, so if you play enough hands you can luck out.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:03 pm

Should I tell my employer that I failed the bar and that I plan to give my two weeks notice and then do the job search unemployed? Or should I ask them to give me a one month buffer so I can do the job search and have that one month on my resume? I hear searching for employment while unemployed can be hard.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby SFSpartan » Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Should I tell my employer that I failed the bar and that I plan to give my two weeks notice and then do the job search unemployed? Or should I ask them to give me a one month buffer so I can do the job search and have that one month on my resume? I hear searching for employment while unemployed can be hard.


It's easier to find a job while employed than after employment. You might consider asking for a 1 month as you suggest, plus a couple months of website time (if you're on the firm's website) to give you as long a runway as possible.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby lawlskoolz » Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:54 pm

SFSpartan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Should I tell my employer that I failed the bar and that I plan to give my two weeks notice and then do the job search unemployed? Or should I ask them to give me a one month buffer so I can do the job search and have that one month on my resume? I hear searching for employment while unemployed can be hard.


It's easier to find a job while employed than after employment. You might consider asking for a 1 month as you suggest, plus a couple months of website time (if you're on the firm's website) to give you as long a runway as possible.


Well, i'm not treated well there. Paid low salary, also they refused to put me on their firm's website so i've never been on their website.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:42 pm

Sorry to hear about your situation. I passed on the second try a few years ago after I missed passing the first exam by 2 points. So I know some of what you may be going through. I say do what your gut tells you to do. If you want to be a lawyer then study hard and take the exam for a third time. I know someone who passed on the third try.

In the meantime find a jd advantaged job to earn some income as the other posters suggested.

Good luck...

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby shock259 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:03 pm

Sorry to hear of it. I'd stay at your current job for as long as you can, though. Don't lie if you're asked about whether you passed, but I really don't see the need to volunteer that information either. Just search search search and keep the paycheck while you can.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby tyroneslothrop1 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:39 pm

Do not quit your job until you have another one.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby SFSpartan » Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:54 pm

tyroneslothrop1 wrote:Do not quit your job until you have another one.


This. So much this. Even if you aren't being treated particularly well, being employed and making $$ is generally the way to go until you can find something else.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby bdadon » Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:20 pm

Please keep the faith and never give up. I will say that if you are very passionate about being an attorney, then you should try again. Ask the firm to reduce your hours so that you can concentrate and study for the July bar. Then, if you own a vehicle you should earn some money doing lyft/uber on your down hours from studying. I know someone who just failed the NY Bar and she has been taking it since 2013. Do not give up, keep the faith and go after what you want. I will pray for you to pass. God is with you, keep fighting.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby nealric » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:59 am

lawlskoolz wrote:
SFSpartan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Should I tell my employer that I failed the bar and that I plan to give my two weeks notice and then do the job search unemployed? Or should I ask them to give me a one month buffer so I can do the job search and have that one month on my resume? I hear searching for employment while unemployed can be hard.


It's easier to find a job while employed than after employment. You might consider asking for a 1 month as you suggest, plus a couple months of website time (if you're on the firm's website) to give you as long a runway as possible.


Well, i'm not treated well there. Paid low salary, also they refused to put me on their firm's website so i've never been on their website.


If you haven't passed the bar, they can't really put you on their website without a big asterisk.

Even if you decide to leave law in the end, I think it's absolutely worth your time to retake the bar exam. Even non-legal employers may look negatively at a candidate with a law degree who has not passed the bar exam. If you've failed twice, it's a good time to do some soul searching as to why it happened. Were you under-prepared? Panic attacks? Particular section that is causing problems? How far away were you from a passing score? If you managed to make it through law school and did well enough on the LSAT to get a full-ride scholarship somewhere, you should be able to pass the bar with the right strategy and preparation.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby BenJ » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:33 pm

nealric wrote:
lawlskoolz wrote:
SFSpartan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Should I tell my employer that I failed the bar and that I plan to give my two weeks notice and then do the job search unemployed? Or should I ask them to give me a one month buffer so I can do the job search and have that one month on my resume? I hear searching for employment while unemployed can be hard.


It's easier to find a job while employed than after employment. You might consider asking for a 1 month as you suggest, plus a couple months of website time (if you're on the firm's website) to give you as long a runway as possible.


Well, i'm not treated well there. Paid low salary, also they refused to put me on their firm's website so i've never been on their website.


If you haven't passed the bar, they can't really put you on their website without a big asterisk.

Even if you decide to leave law in the end, I think it's absolutely worth your time to retake the bar exam. Even non-legal employers may look negatively at a candidate with a law degree who has not passed the bar exam. If you've failed twice, it's a good time to do some soul searching as to why it happened. Were you under-prepared? Panic attacks? Particular section that is causing problems? How far away were you from a passing score? If you managed to make it through law school and did well enough on the LSAT to get a full-ride scholarship somewhere, you should be able to pass the bar with the right strategy and preparation.


The bolded is what "not yet admitted in blah jurisdiction" is for. Most law firms will list associates ("law clerks") on their websites before they are admitted to the bar, just with a statement that they are not yet admitted.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:47 pm

How many weeks off for someone who failed the bar exam their second time is enough time off? Employer said they are willing to let me take time off and I'm wondering how much time to take off if I failed twice. Last time I got about three to four weeks off.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby Aptitude » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How many weeks off for someone who failed the bar exam their second time is enough time off? Employer said they are willing to let me take time off and I'm wondering how much time to take off if I failed twice. Last time I got about three to four weeks off.


As much time as you can afford to take off.

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nealric

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby nealric » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:55 pm

BenJ wrote:
nealric wrote:
lawlskoolz wrote:
SFSpartan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Should I tell my employer that I failed the bar and that I plan to give my two weeks notice and then do the job search unemployed? Or should I ask them to give me a one month buffer so I can do the job search and have that one month on my resume? I hear searching for employment while unemployed can be hard.


It's easier to find a job while employed than after employment. You might consider asking for a 1 month as you suggest, plus a couple months of website time (if you're on the firm's website) to give you as long a runway as possible.


Well, i'm not treated well there. Paid low salary, also they refused to put me on their firm's website so i've never been on their website.


If you haven't passed the bar, they can't really put you on their website without a big asterisk.

Even if you decide to leave law in the end, I think it's absolutely worth your time to retake the bar exam. Even non-legal employers may look negatively at a candidate with a law degree who has not passed the bar exam. If you've failed twice, it's a good time to do some soul searching as to why it happened. Were you under-prepared? Panic attacks? Particular section that is causing problems? How far away were you from a passing score? If you managed to make it through law school and did well enough on the LSAT to get a full-ride scholarship somewhere, you should be able to pass the bar with the right strategy and preparation.


The bolded is what "not yet admitted in blah jurisdiction" is for. Most law firms will list associates ("law clerks") on their websites before they are admitted to the bar, just with a statement that they are not yet admitted.


Right, but I can understand why some firms don't want to do that.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby LockBox » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:05 pm

I don't know if it's misinformation or not, but I disagree with a lot of the comments here. First, complaining because you are not on the website and/or paid a "low" salary when you are just a law clerk is absurd. You're not an attorney, yet you are already complaining about how you are being represented by the firm/paid?

Second, you failed the bar the first time, then only took 3-4 weeks off the second and now are contemplating leaving the law. Okay. My suggestion is that you should try to pass the bar - meaning, take it again. However, if you are going to take it don't sabotage yourself. Taking 3-4 weeks off after failing is a recipe for setting yourself up to fail again. I don't care about how much you studied while working - no. You need no less than 8 weeks of straight studying if you plan on passing this thing. If you've already invested 3 years of law school, you shouldn't give up in the home stretch, though I know a lot of people do.

Lastly, I know that not everyone can afford to keep taking time off work to study for the bar. My advice is, if you can, you should. If not, just leave and find other employment. But don't do it half-assed. 3-4 weeks won't cut it. Good luck.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby taniamekv » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I failed the bar exam for the second time. I am currently working in a law firm associate job that pays me $45k... very little $ but I do a lot of research and motion drafting there (it is not public interest law). I took the job out of desperation after not getting employment for some time. My girlfriend left me recently too because of my work and bar situation. Please give advice about what to do. I am thinking of leaving the law profession for another one but don't know what I could do with a law degree and no work experience. I have lost all motivation to study for this exam again and will likely get fired from my current law firm job. FYI had a law school scholly so no debt.


DON'T GIVE UP!! Take the bar exam again in July 2018!! I don't know how close you were to passing but you can do it! If you can manage it financially, take off starting today and start studying again.

I took the bar exam in 1995 in PA and NJ. I failed both the first time. I took it again in NJ. Failed again. I took NJ a third time and PASSED! You can do it too. You will be mad at yourself if you don't give it another shot. It's still fresh in your mind and it will be much harder to come back to the bar materials after a few years. I'm taking the NY bar after 23 years (long story). Also, the curve is better in July than in February. Take it again.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2018 10:48 am

LockBox wrote:I don't know if it's misinformation or not, but I disagree with a lot of the comments here. First, complaining because you are not on the website and/or paid a "low" salary when you are just a law clerk is absurd. You're not an attorney, yet you are already complaining about how you are being represented by the firm/paid?

Second, you failed the bar the first time, then only took 3-4 weeks off the second and now are contemplating leaving the law. Okay. My suggestion is that you should try to pass the bar - meaning, take it again. However, if you are going to take it don't sabotage yourself. Taking 3-4 weeks off after failing is a recipe for setting yourself up to fail again. I don't care about how much you studied while working - no. You need no less than 8 weeks of straight studying if you plan on passing this thing. If you've already invested 3 years of law school, you shouldn't give up in the home stretch, though I know a lot of people do.

Lastly, I know that not everyone can afford to keep taking time off work to study for the bar. My advice is, if you can, you should. If not, just leave and find other employment. But don't do it half-assed. 3-4 weeks won't cut it. Good luck.


Lockbox, good points but complaining about a "low" salary is reasonable considering "low" is $45k which to me is pretty absurd--scam level absurd. What do you consider "low" then? Is that not "low" to you?

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2018 12:29 pm

OP here. UPDATE: My employer said they would not give me any time off to study, and that if I want to take the bar I can take it in February but if I want to take the July bar they will let me go.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2018 1:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Lockbox, good points but complaining about a "low" salary is reasonable considering "low" is $45k which to me is pretty absurd--scam level absurd. What do you consider "low" then? Is that not "low" to you?


Well, considering for full time employment that comes out to just over $21 per hour, i'm not sure that's very low at all. It's not great, but they could be paying a law clerk less. Also depends on where you live, COL etc. You could always look for another clerk position elsewhere but it might be hard to find and the experience working there might make up for any supposed low wage.

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. UPDATE: My employer said they would not give me any time off to study, and that if I want to take the bar I can take it in February but if I want to take the July bar they will let me go.


Two things. First, it's going to be beneficial to them to keep you on at your wage and pump as much work out of you as they can. If, in the end, you take the bar again and fail they can just let you go then. If you are intent on taking the bar in July, don't sabotage yourself, take the time you need to pass and get over the hump.

Second, my issue with the tone of this post is you think because you went to law school you should be making big money with your name on the website etc. Perhaps its just from reading everything here and all the big law hype, but that's not generally how things work. If you think about it, the fact that you're even getting legal experience is better than some do after graduating law school. This is a profession that can be difficult to break into, and even when you do can be stressful and difficult. However, you need to ask yourself why you went to law school in the first place. If the answer is not "to practice law" then go pursue your interests and use your law degree to further those aims. However, even in that scenario, I agree with the above posters that having a license will help you, though I can't speak to how much.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby LockBox » Tue May 01, 2018 1:55 pm

Not sure why this got posted anonymously....the above post was mine.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 03, 2018 9:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. UPDATE: My employer said they would not give me any time off to study, and that if I want to take the bar I can take it in February but if I want to take the July bar they will let me go.


If you decide to stay, use the time between now and February to learn the mechanics of writing essay questions, formatting MPTS and figuring out the nuances of the move questions themselves. A lot of points can be found on knowing how to write an essay than he actual substance of the essay response. Then once you figured that out, do an analysis of your weak question/ topic areas and use that to help shape your study process. Since you are working you will need to compensate fine wise, so it may be beneficial to give yourself additional tine to study.

If you do decide to take July, you should still consider looking at your essay structure as well as studying. It will, however have to be done while you prepare in the more traditional time period for the bar cycle.

Best of luck.

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Re: Failed the bar 2x and considering leaving law

Postby nealric » Fri May 04, 2018 11:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:
LockBox wrote:I don't know if it's misinformation or not, but I disagree with a lot of the comments here. First, complaining because you are not on the website and/or paid a "low" salary when you are just a law clerk is absurd. You're not an attorney, yet you are already complaining about how you are being represented by the firm/paid?

Second, you failed the bar the first time, then only took 3-4 weeks off the second and now are contemplating leaving the law. Okay. My suggestion is that you should try to pass the bar - meaning, take it again. However, if you are going to take it don't sabotage yourself. Taking 3-4 weeks off after failing is a recipe for setting yourself up to fail again. I don't care about how much you studied while working - no. You need no less than 8 weeks of straight studying if you plan on passing this thing. If you've already invested 3 years of law school, you shouldn't give up in the home stretch, though I know a lot of people do.

Lastly, I know that not everyone can afford to keep taking time off work to study for the bar. My advice is, if you can, you should. If not, just leave and find other employment. But don't do it half-assed. 3-4 weeks won't cut it. Good luck.


Lockbox, good points but complaining about a "low" salary is reasonable considering "low" is $45k which to me is pretty absurd--scam level absurd. What do you consider "low" then? Is that not "low" to you?


There are plenty of people who are actually admitted to practice who make less than $45k. It may be absurd to you, but second tier law school graduates are a dime a dozen. Large institutions (Biglaw, Bigfed, In-house) have no need to hire second tier graduates when they can take their pick of first tier graduates. Outside of large institutions, the only way to make money in law is to have your own clients.

It sounds like you may need to quit the job anyways in order to properly prepare for the bar. Since they aren't supporting you and you clearly aren't enamored with it, that sounds like the most prudent course of action for now.



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