Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

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Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:53 pm

Hi y'all. I'm a 3L and starting a 2-year U.S. Dist. Ct. clerkship in fall. I'm planning to sit for the NY Bar substantive exams in July 2017, and for other reasons, moving for admission in Feb. 2018.

I just started thinking maybe I should go on vacation during those two months in a modified backpacker way. Study 40 hours per week, but keep going to different places. I'll be doing the Kaplan streaming bar prep.

I know most people would think this is nuts because everyone stresses the fuck out over bar prep. I'm thinking I am different because:
* I'm really good at law school exams. I was worried that my 3LOLing caused me to do just terrible this last semester in Corporations and Fed Jurisdiction, but despite totally shit effort and relying on other people's outlines at the last minute, I got A-'s. I'm now thinking that because I'm smart and good at exams, I don't need to put in the same kind of effort where everyone makes themselves miserable for two months. But I want to check this with you people who, if you have/will/ have had clerkships, have similar ability.
* If worse comes to worse, I just retake in February 2018, and because I'm not moving for admission till that round anyway, I don't ever have to be embarrassed tell anyone I failed in July, or at the least, I don't have to be embarrassed to ask about adjusting my plans, as I'm clerking for two years.

I don't think it matters, but I did a public interest 2L summer and I don't have a job lined up for after my clerkship.

Thanks :)

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby Fireworks2016 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:10 pm

When do you start your clerkship?

I'm in basically the exam same boat as you, except that I have to start clerking roughly 2 weeks after the bar exam (and also move a few states away). Like you, I have the travel bug, but it worked out better for me to take a more expensive/exotic trip over spring break (Europe for 10 days), and then another shorter but awesome trip after the bar exam (think Yellowstone type camping). Then, the plan is to to go for a longer trip before rejoining my firm in 2019.

I think your plan is unnecessarily risky. You're coming in overconfident in some respects because you've done well in law school. Just from what I've heard from other attorneys, overconfidence is a very dangerous game to play with the bar because there is just so much material -- it's easy to slack off for part of it and have it end up biting you on test day.

The real risk you run (IMO) is that you'll be unable to settle into any kind of a routine to be productive if you're constantly on the move during bar prep. However, you know yourself best, so if you think you'll really be able to buckle down and put the work in, then you're most likely right.

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby Npret » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi y'all. I'm a 3L and starting a 2-year U.S. Dist. Ct. clerkship in fall. I'm planning to sit for the NY Bar substantive exams in July 2017, and for other reasons, moving for admission in Feb. 2018.

I just started thinking maybe I should go on vacation during those two months in a modified backpacker way. Study 40 hours per week, but keep going to different places. I'll be doing the Kaplan streaming bar prep.

I know most people would think this is nuts because everyone stresses the fuck out over bar prep. I'm thinking I am different because:
* I'm really good at law school exams. I was worried that my 3LOLing caused me to do just terrible this last semester in Corporations and Fed Jurisdiction, but despite totally shit effort and relying on other people's outlines at the last minute, I got A-'s. I'm now thinking that because I'm smart and good at exams, I don't need to put in the same kind of effort where everyone makes themselves miserable for two months. But I want to check this with you people who, if you have/will/ have had clerkships, have similar ability.
* If worse comes to worse, I just retake in February 2018, and because I'm not moving for admission till that round anyway, I don't ever have to be embarrassed tell anyone I failed in July, or at the least, I don't have to be embarrassed to ask about adjusting my plans, as I'm clerking for two years.

I don't think it matters, but I did a public interest 2L summer and I don't have a job lined up for after my clerkship.

Thanks :)

Take a practice MBE and see how well you do. Maybe do some practice essays with published answers.

The reason most people freak out about the bar is because failing screws up their career at least temporarily. It isn't because they aren't smart or good at law school exams.

I don't think the bar exam is hard but there is a lot of material. You can't be overconfident. Every couple of years there was someone let go by my firm because they failed the bar twice. They didn't take it seriously even the second time.

Why don't you just take the February bar instead of goofing around for the July one?

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby mjb447 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:15 pm

Don't half-ass the bar, OP. It's different from law school exams - there's basically always a right answer, but there's a lot more to know than in your average law school class. I would agree with Npret about February 2018 except it sounds like you'd have to start studying when you're also just learning to clerk, which is not a great way to do either thing well, and since you don't have a job lined up a good reference from your judge may be pretty important for you.

(Studying forty hours a week also doesn't sound like a recipe for a fun vacation, but you know your tastes better than I do.)

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:47 pm

I would recommend traveling for 6 weeks, and then having 2 weeks before the exam to work diligently where you will take the exam. Or, even, traveling without studying for 1 month, and then studying intensely for 1 month. The bar is not that hard, but I think traveling while doing all of the prep--while it might be enough--would be stressful, and it is a pretty major thing if someone with the kind of resume necessary to get a D. Ct. clerkship fails the bar.

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:13 am

If you did well in law school and have the discipline to actually study 40ish hours a week, then it sounds like a great idea to me. I think 6-7 honest hours a day, 6 days a week is plenty, more than plenty if you did that for two months. I just wouldn't do anything adventurous that's going to take up a much mental focus/energy. Hiking or the beach sounds great. Exploring new cities, museums, learning about local art/history sounds like a bad idea to me.

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby anon sequitur » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:13 am

accidental anon above

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:31 am

Long distance train travel would be pretty great for this actually.

e. actually maybe not if you're reliant on streaming. Can you download stuff in advance?

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby timmyd » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:46 pm

Man, this sounds risky to me. Correlating your ability to pass the bar with your grades in 3l, albeit substantive, classes, might not hold water. I think basically every person capable of getting a federal clerkship should pass the bar on the first try with decent, not even excessive, prep time. I studied for the Louisiana bar for a couple of months before clerking. I didn't graduate from a Louisiana law school, so a lot of it was gibberish at first. But even then I didn't kill myself studying; I took off fourth of july weekend completely and actually took off at least one day a week in general. I don't know if I would have felt comfortable traveling while studying. In my view, its such a crucial exam, and so easily passable if you put in enough time, why risk it? There should be a lull in between the bar and your clerkship start in which you can take a couple weeks of vacation. Just my opinion.

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby Nebby » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:40 pm

Sounds like a great way to see the world and take the bar twice

Also why is this is the judicial clerkship forum

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby rpupkin » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:13 pm

Nebby wrote:Sounds like a great way to see the world and take the bar twice

This. Some people pass the bar without much studying. Every year, though, you hear about good students from T14 schools who fail the exam after not focusing hard enough on bar prep. If I were you, I wouldn't want to roll the dice to find out which group I fall into. And, no, you will not want to study for the bar again while clerking. You'll be miserable. Also, you'll have to tell your judge (and co-clerks) about the fact that you failed the bar the first time, which will be embarrassing.

Travel during the following times:

  • During the two weeks after you graduate. (You don't have to starting studying for the bar right away.)
  • Between the last day of the bar exam and the start of your clerkship.
  • Between the last day of your clerkship and your first day at your post-clerkship job. (If traveling is important to you, negotiate for a start date that gives you several weeks—or even several months—between your clerkship and your new job.)

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:33 pm

Here is my thoughts from someone who wanted to do something similar (study in costa rica). I thought I'll do 40 hours then beach. We compromised (in a law school couple) and went to So. Cal instead. I did well in law school as well. I am glad we did not go away.

If I had gone to costa rica/ traveled around it would have been a total waste. It is a huge amount of information and it is impossible not to feel like you are behind. The pressure consumes your time. It is also so very, incredibly boring that its hard to concentrate. Traveling would just make that worse because you could explore city X or you could read about some legal rule you are really never going to need to know in practice and probably won't need to know on the bar but you have to read about it anyways.

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby LurkClerk » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:37 pm

Agree with all of the above. Having taken two states' bar exams, I wouldn't have wanted to travel extensively the first time around because the bar exam requires a large amount of rote memorization. There's no getting around that and, in my experience, I benefited from having few temptations during that post-3L summer. I took two short trips but July 4-on involved studying like it was a full time job.

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:04 pm

I did something like this and passed the CA bar last year. I had a d-ct clerkship starting 2 weeks after the bar, and was not happy that I wouldnt have a proper "bar trip," so I decided to move down to Mexico (specifically, Cabo San Lucas), and lived in an airbnb for 10 weeks. I still studied pretty hard (I used Themis), but even spending 8 hours a day studying, you still have a lot of time to go do fun stuff in a fun city. I would literally sit on the beach with a beer (Tecate light is like 3% alcohol) with flashcards every day. It was awesome. I went out to the bars/clubs a handful of times, and even had a couple friends come down and visit me on weekend. The amount of time you save by not studying at home w/ friends/family bugging you can be spent indulging/having fun other ways.

I would recommend that you consider the following:
- You should consider traveling to only a single (or only a couple) locations, as traveling between places will eat up a lot of time, and take a lot of logistical efforts, especially if you arent an expert traveler. You really cant afford to spend 4 hours some day figuring out train and bus tickets/schedules/etc. when you are supposed to be doing an exam. It is also preferable to be in a single location because you can get into a good study routine (super important for bar study).
- Only consider going to a location that has fast, reliable internet. This will probably limit you to touristy locations. (This was one of the reasons I picked Cabo San Lucas).
- Consider a location where they speak English, or another language you know/can work in (you probably dont need the added stress of language barriers)
- Consider that you will probably need to print out a lot of stuff (even with programs that advertise that you wont need to, believe me), so pick a location that is going to have a print shop nearby.
- Consider getting an airbnb with a kitchen/kitchenette. You are going to want to get into a eating routine, and being able to cook your own meals will be important (there will be days where you dont even leave your apartment during bar study, thats just the nature of the beast).
- Consider going to a location that is not known for crazy travelers diseases, as being sick in bed for a week with some kind of crazy bug will be harmful to your studying (also consider spending extra money to eat nicer food/dont eat street food you dont trust).
- Take studying seriously, treat it like your full-time job while abroad, but even with a full-time job you can go out and have fun/experience the local culture. Figure out creative ways to include studying in enjoying the location (like studying flashcards on the beach). I also killed it in law school, but put a lot of effort into studying. Its NOT worth re-studying and re-taking the bar, even if it wont impact your career because of your clerkship. Ego is a recipe for disaster on the bar.

Feel free to AMA.

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby MrT » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:30 pm

Why don't you just take a post-grad trip? At least for me, I had about a month between graduation and beginning my bar class. That should be sufficient time to travel and not have to stress about studying. I know multiple people that opted to travel and ended up failing (even kids that did well in school and had biglaw gigs lined up). You have no idea how badly studying for the exam really is until you do it. Why would you risk having to unnecessarily do it twice?

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:35 pm

I worked the summer of the bar exam until 2 1/2 weeks before the exam and took a 4 day trip after work before I started studying. Surprise! I passed.

You know your limits better than anyone else. And you don't need to be bar'd for the clerkship anyway.

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I worked the summer of the bar exam until 2 1/2 weeks before the exam and took a 4 day trip after work before I started studying. Surprise! I passed.

You know your limits better than anyone else. And you don't need to be bar'd for the clerkship anyway.

These sorts of anecdotes are dangerous. For various reasons, I didn't start studying for the bar until after the 4th of july. I ended up passing, but the exam wasn't pretty. There were tested areas of law that I simply hadn't studied. I was genuinely concerned that I had not passed, which--believe me--is not a good feeling.

You should take studying seriously, if for no other reason than that it will buy you peace of mind between July and November. If you take the exam unprepared, those will be a long, anxiety-ridden four months.

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Re: Is it nuts or reasonable to travel during bar study before 2-year D. Ct. clerkship?

Postby lawschooliseasy » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:58 pm

I did this and it worked well for me. Feel free to PM me.



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