Any clerks fail the bar before?

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Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:18 am

I was wondering if any clerks or any clerks you know of have ever failed the bar? How did they cope? What did they do? How did the judges respond? Part of this post is just for therapeutic reasons, but I also wanted to get practical advice and tips from former clerks who have failed the bar. How did you find time to study again? Was it a big struggle?

I ask these questions because I don't feel all too great about my bar performance this past summer. I feel like I have a coin flip's chance. Maybe I'm being paranoid, maybe I'm a perfectionist, but that's just how I feel nonetheless.

I've spoken with my former clerks and they tell me that the judge always throws her law clerks a big party in chambers when they get their bar results in the fall. That kind of makes me nervous, scared.

Thank you for reading.

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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:46 am

First, I'm sure you passed. Your anxiety about how you did is perfectly normal, but it's highly unlikely that you failed (take it from me).

Second, if there's any time to fail the bar, it's while you're clerking. There's no requirement that you pass the bar in order to clerk, and, unless you're clerking again next year, there's no monetary consequence either. In the extremely unlikely event that you fail, it may be embarrassing to tell your judge, but there won't be any professional consequences.

As far as retaking the exam, that answer is more judge-specific. There are plenty of clerks who don't take the bar exam before beginning their clerkships. Some judges don't care about their clerks studying during the clerkship, so long as they get all their work done. If this is your situation, I'm sure it will be stressful, but it's certainly doable and I have plenty of friends who did this. Other judges do not want their clerks to study and take the bar while they're clerking. If you work for one of those judges, you'll just have to wait until next summer to retake the bar. Don't let that concern you if you're going to a firm/government after you're done clerking. Generally, you're not expected to come in as an admitted attorney after clerking, but it is expected that you get admitted within a year of starting.

Third, in terms of practical advice, if you do fail, think of switching your study habits (or test prep companies, like Barmax or Themis).

Fourth, you would not be the only smart, successful attorney who has ever failed the bar: http://abovethelaw.com/2007/07/the-bar- ... -failures/

I hope this calms your nerves. But don't worry! In a couple of months, you'll find out you passed, think about this, and laugh.

lukertin
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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby lukertin » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:53 am

Other judges do not want their clerks to study and take the bar while they're clerking.


And they'll know this because...

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:14 am

lukertin wrote:
Other judges do not want their clerks to study and take the bar while they're clerking.


And they'll know this because...

Well, some clerks actually like to, you know, talk to their judges about what's going on in their lives, get advice, that kind of thing. Crazy, I know.

But if your point is that a clerk could simply not tell their judge they were studying for/retaking the bar, then yes, that's true.

OP, I agree with anon above. I only know of one clerk who's ever failed the bar, and the judge didn't care - the clerk just took it in February and passed. It was explained to me that the clerk blew off bar prep, though I don't know if that's what happened or what everyone assumed. It is possible a given judge would be unimpressed, but I can't see anything more coming of it.

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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby JusticeJackson » Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:32 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:53 pm

i'm a former clerk and i failed the bar exam. i agree that you should wait for your results before worrying too much about this. out of every 10 people who think they failed the bar, only 1 actually does. (yes i pulled this statistic out of my ass)

i can't generalize as to how judges react but i can tell you how mine did. he was really nice about it and said it didn't matter. i re-took the exam in february and passed. balancing studying and working was very difficult, but my judge had no objections about it.

i think the one thing you have to keep in mind is that you, as a young lawyer, are judged by your entire record. fortunately for me, i had done fairly well (t14, law review, top law firm) and that record outweighed the liability created by the failure. i imagine it's the same for you.

just to let you know, law clerks who fail the bar are a rare breed. i've met zero law clerks or former law clerks who have failed any bar exam. and i've only heard of one who has--governor deval patrick. he failed the california bar twice, while clerking for reinhardt in the ninth circuit.

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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:44 pm

My co-clerk failed. Judge did not care whatsoever and was very accommodating when co-clerk retook in February.

Depending on your chambers, case load, etc., finding enough time to study may be challenging, but it may not. Judge let co-clerk take a lot of days off, gave her less cases, etc.

But, like anywhere else, judges' chambers can be night and day. I can think of a judge or two here who I would not want to tell that I failed the bar.

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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:23 pm

Resurrecting this thread to get any more experiences/thoughts on this. I'm clerking for COA starting this August and I am very seriously starting to think I'm going to fail the bar.

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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:23 pm

Thanks for this thread, by the way. It's giving me so much motivation to study my ass off the next two weeks, out of sheer fear.

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bk1
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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby bk1 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:50 pm

Being a clerk is more of a buffer than going straight to a firm.

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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:27 pm

Figured it may be fitting to bump this. Any other input? Future 2/9/DC COA clerk here and exceedingly nervous after first day of bar exam (had laptop difficulties—read, it didn't work—that forced me to handwrite the exam). Any words of encouragement/anecdotes are much appreciated.

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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby TransferHopeful17 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:Future 2/9/DC COA clerk here and exceedingly nervous after first day of bar exam


This seems like one of the last things you should be concerning yourself with--relax. You'll be fine.

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BVest
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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby BVest » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:52 am

There are some who do, even highly credentialed. It's rare and it's not the end of the world. So you'll be fine.

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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Figured it may be fitting to bump this. Any other input? Future 2/9/DC COA clerk here and exceedingly nervous after first day of bar exam (had laptop difficulties—read, it didn't work—that forced me to handwrite the exam). Any words of encouragement/anecdotes are much appreciated.


Kathleen Sullivan failed the bar, Hillary Clinton failed the bar, Michelle Obama failed the bar, Antonio Villaragosa never passed the bar (after 4 tries). It won't be the end of the world (at least, if you're a Democrat).

Also, if you get embarrassed because you didn't pass, just tell people your laptop fucked up on you.

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Re: Any clerks fail the bar before?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Figured it may be fitting to bump this. Any other input? Future 2/9/DC COA clerk here and exceedingly nervous after first day of bar exam (had laptop difficulties—read, it didn't work—that forced me to handwrite the exam). Any words of encouragement/anecdotes are much appreciated.


I'm in the same position. Incoming 2nd circuit clerk and I'm reasonably sure the MBE fucked me. I don't think I'm being self deprecating, I think I actually cannot recoup my failing multiple choice scores no matter how erudite and magestic my essays are. I'm extremely devastated right now and I'm drinking alone at a bar (told my wife that I was going to get food but I slunked in). My judge is going to think I'm such a little piece of shit. I did well at a tippy top school and its the goddamn bar exam that fucks me. And no one to blame but myself. Anyway, just know you're not alone, mechanical failure or not.




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