Should I Take Bar Exam? Secured DC Policy Job

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Should I take the Bar Exam?

No. Never.
No votes
Yes. Take it ASAP.
Yes. But don't pass up a sweet campaign job. Take Exam later.
Maybe. Wait and see if it appears useful to have.
Total votes: 14


Posts: 5
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Should I Take Bar Exam? Secured DC Policy Job

Postby yarm » Sun May 06, 2012 10:51 pm

Background: I went to law school with the intention of working in a legislative/policy context. I experimented with DA & PDs office, but always found myself more interested in policy, rather than practicing. I am not completely opposed to practicing, but I think I'd be much happier in policy. I went to a top 70 law school and graduated May 2011 in the top third with LR, publication, chief fed judge externship, and a few CALI awards. I took the CA Bar Exam last July and did not pass. I skipped February because the full-time, law-related fellowship I'm doing also had some required papers and seminars that made it nearly impossible to get in any decent study time after work. Also, I have the option of ending my current fellowship close to 2 months early to help prep for July.

Current Situation: I just accepted a fairly prestigious policy fellowship in DC that should be a great stepping stone into a Hill job or policy research org. The job doesn't start until the fall, so I have the ability to take the Bar Exam. However, between leaving my job early, bar fees, paying rent, doing a review course, etc., I have calculated my expenses somewhere between $4-5k. Also, I have a decent shot of getting a good research job on a high-level political campaign (us senate..possibly presidential) that would likely interfere with taking the Bar Exam.

My concerns: How valuable is having a law license, as opposed to just a degree, in doing policy/leg stuff, particularly in DC? Other than the inevitable awkwardness of correcting people who refer to me as a lawyer, is it really worth it to go through all this trouble and expense when it's highly unlikely I'll ever practice? Would it really hurt my future job prospects and/or cause people to take me less seriously, even with my accolades during school? Is the credibility boost of having a license that big? Is delaying again a stupid move when I have the opportunity to take two months off right now?

I really appreciate any insight y'all have, especially those with DC policy/leg experience.


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Re: Should I Take Bar Exam? Secured DC Policy Job

Postby LSATNightmares » Tue May 08, 2012 7:26 am

If it were me, I would still make another attempt at passing the bar. I worked in policy in DC for four years, and even though there were a bunch of lawyers there doing policy, they had all passed the bar someplace. I think it helps build your credibility with clients, if you pursue that route, and it may score you extra points on a government or nonprofit job. People will always wonder why you didn't pass the bar or list it on your resume, and DC is a very competitive market. People with law degrees are a dime in a dozen there in the policy world. If you're worried about failing again, you can always take the bar in a less competitive state, like DC or Virginia.

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Re: Should I Take Bar Exam? Secured DC Policy Job

Postby somewhatwayward » Tue May 08, 2012 1:11 pm

also, as time goes on, you'll be less and less motivated to take it. i think you should take it now and get it out of the way.


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Re: Should I Take Bar Exam? Secured DC Policy Job

Postby 09042014 » Tue May 08, 2012 1:14 pm

Take an easier bar this time, if you do it. CA is hard as fuck.

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