Countdown to the California Bar Exam: What Do You Do?

By Robyn Hagan Cain on July 13, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Dear Aspiring California Lawyers:

Hi there! We hope your studies are progressing, your flashcards are finished, and your outlines are dog-eared and showing signs of love.

In two weeks, the unpleasantness that is the California bar exam will be behind you. You're probably getting nervous. That's normal. The most important thing you can do between now and July 26 is focus. Tune out everything else around you, and study.

That may be harder -- and more important than ever -- when you're actually taking the California bar exam.

Have you heard about some of the crazy stuff that happens across this great land of ours during the bar?

  • On the East Coast, the poor souls in Virginia will report to Roanoke in the July heat on the 24th, wearing suits and rubber-soled shoes. (At least here in California, you can wear your lucky sweatshirt instead of "suitable attire for a lawyer appearing in a Virginia court of record.")
  • In Florida, a law school that provided on-site meals for its grads accidentally gave its alum food poisoning one year. A fact which they realized during the exam. (The alumnus who told us about this unfortunate incident still passed, between runs to the restroom during the MBE.)
  • Last year, a woman went into labor while taking the Illinois bar. She actually finished the test before going to the hospital, and she passed.

Things happen. You have to ignore them. Even if the applicant next to you is going into labor. (Maybe not, if she's having your baby.)

And once you get the California law license -- even if you don't get it on the first try, it will eventually happen -- try to remain in good standing. After the blood, sweat, and tears that went into becoming a lawyer, you want the decision to leave the profession to rest with you, not the State Bar Court.

Good luck!

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