Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Eight Days a Week

I'm not sure how some of y'all (and you know who you are) are consistently putting in ten hours a day studying for the bar. It is a struggle for me to get in a good eight-hour day, and ten hours turns me into a brain-dead, drooling mess.

On Monday, I diligently studied all day long – MBE questions all morning, break in the afternoon, state material at night until Starbucks closed at 11 (seriously, most of the baristas now know me by name AND drink: "Hi LST! Iced grande non-fat caramel macchiato?"). And by the end of the day, Anonymous Boyfriend had to scrape me off the floor with a spatula.

Perhaps bar review is just another weed-out process before we actually enter the profession, and my current ineptness at being able to deal with it for long periods of time each day is indicative of my future ineptness at being able to sit at an office doing document review or writing briefs for long periods of time. This definitely solidifies my notion that I am not cut out for life at a big law firm. But, given the choice, I'd definitely rather have only a moderately-priced sports car and a life outside of work than a Maserati that only gets driven to and from a high-rise parking deck.

Yesterday, I took it easy, and cut back to about seven hours, despite my reservations in doing so. I was still productive, but had a lingering nagging feeling that I still wasn't doing enough.

This morning, I awoke to a rather helpful e-mail from my essay-slaughtering, red-pen-wielding MicroMash mentor that suggested setting a schedule of six to eight hours of studying a day, for six days a week, which seems much more manageable than trying to cram in those extra two or three hours in the evenings. Though I do like my weekends. Yes, I definitely have a future in government employment and I am so looking forward to my clerkship, which will be a nine-to-five cake-walk compared to this crap.

Perhaps the major challenge for me is mastering a couple of concepts each week, yet still having to retain them while I have to master additional concepts the following week.

Any suggestions you fellow bar-studiers have for dealing with my time more effectively and efficiently would be greatly welcome. I set a schedule each week, and stick to it pretty well. I take a break in the middle of the day and try to go for a run everyday as well. I'm just not sure where the disconnect is.

Ah, I already miss the good ol' law school days of open-book exams and rampant grade inflation.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Girl Walks Into a Bar... and Says, "Ouch!"

Graduation is over, vacation is done, and now it’s time to put my nose to the grindstone for that Last Big Test. The State Bar finally issued my certification, my transcripts are ordered and my fees have been paid. Now all I have to do is pass the fucking thing, because God knows I do not want to go through this rigmarole again. And that is proving to be no small task.

Most of my classmates are doing the BarBri bar review program, which involves watching videotaped lectures and filling in the blanks of pre-printed outlines as you follow along with the videos. I did the one-day BarBri course when I took the MPRE last year, and spent the entire time searching the room for a sharp instrument with which to end my misery. I can’t even imagine what the whole bar review course is like. Thanks, I think I’d rather have a six-week-long root canal.

Being the maverick I am, I decided earlier in the spring to do MicroMash, a sort of do-it-yourself bar review, for a variety of reasons, the primary one being my aforementioned aversion to hours and hours of menial blank-filling each day. It’s also significantly cheaper than BarBri, and lets me study from the comfort of my local Starbucks. I also don’t have to listen to the some of the assholes I went to school with -- and I am certain they remained assholes after graduation -- talk about just how many MBE questions they did the night before and how they have already mastered Commercial Paper, when I don’t even know what the hell a Commercial Paper is (I really thought it was referring to the New York Times, but that is apparently not the case).

It was a little disquieting, however, to have a box of books just dumped on my doorstep (motivation not included) with no one to hold my hand or tell me what to do. To its credit, the program is fairly well-guided, with software to work on the MBE portion and weekly state-specific law assignments that I am supposed to read, as well as an essay question that I complete each week and e-mail to a lawyer mentor, who will then redline it and return it with a multitude of confidence-instilling comments about my bright future as the most well-educated barista at the aforementioned Starbucks.

If law school didn’t serve as a sufficient reminder of just how much you don’t know, then bar review does a phenomenal job of displaying your incompetence about the law, despite having suffered through three full years of Socratially-inflicted misery. Things I thought I learned during law school I find myself having to re-learn again and again. I have been reduced to making flashcards, which Anonymous Boyfriend patiently quizzes me on, then offers helpful hints after observing my vacant look, then eventually reads me the answer after I get it 23% correct.

It’s basically like study week during finals. Except it never ends. And there are things you’ve never learned before that you have a week to figure out. And you don’t even know if they are going to be on the test, but you just pray they won’t be and that it paid off to risk only half-assedly learning the minutiae of limited liability partnerships and adoption procedures in order to be able to eat once in a while.

Wish me luck, y’all. I’m gonna need it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

They Actually Let Me Out of Here!

Though belated, I thought it fitting to post a bit about graduation. The whole weekend was mostly a whirlwind, due partly to all the people coming into town and events going on, but mostly to the massive quantities of alcohol I consumed over the course of 48 hours.

Aside from stressing about cleaning my house and making sure all my guests had breakfast and hot water for showers, the foremost concern in my mind was not falling when I crossed the stage in my mammoth stiletto heels (hey, a girl's gotta have cute shoes to balance out the ridiculous-looking graduation attire). This should come as no surprise to most of you, being as I am a walking calamity and all.

As we lined up to receive our symbolic empty diploma tubes that represent three years of our lives gone and thousands of dollars in debt to be paid over the next twenty years, I became increasingly nervous about the prospect of face-planting in front of hundreds of people. First I thought I was going to pee myself. Then I thought I might throw up. Falling would not be something I could live down. No one would remember that I graduated from law school; no, they would remember that I fell on my face and got a plywood splinter in my forehead while graduating from law school.

Here is photographic evidence that I successfully crossed the stage, received my meaningless tube, shook no less than half a dozen hands while attempting to smile, all the while NOT falling:

A momentous occasion, y'all.

A justice from the state supreme court spoke about things we should keep in mind as we enter the legal profession, like the importance of character, morals, a sense of humor, and some other stuff that I don't remember because I dozed off (but I'm pretty certain involved an eightball of cocaine).

The highlight of the ceremony, however, was our class president's speech. This is the same guy who emcee'd the Law Revue wearing drag and delivered a rousing version of "Copacabana" and was voted Most Likely to Be Involved in a Sex Scandal While Running for Office. Needless to say, his speech was highly entertaining and peppered with quotes from "Legally Blonde" and remarks on recent national tragedies, namely the recent season of "American Idol." Being that this is the Deep South and approximately half of the members of the audience were clad in at least one item of seersucker, I am certain that Preston caused at least five strokes and/or heart attacks. I approve wholeheartedly.

And now that I'm officially done with law school, I have to prepare for the bar exam, which is a mere seven weeks away. In the meantime, I'll wait patiently for the university to send me my $90,000 piece of wall candy.

And the bitch of it all is, even though I suffered through three years of law school and managed by some miracle to graduate, I'm still not a lawyer -- I'm just a slacker with a J.D.