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Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:22 pm
by ilikemanipedis
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Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:58 pm
by mcmand
Shouldn't you be receiving leave now to prepare for the bar? I thought that was standard practice. It is at my firm. It may be unpaid leave if you are retaking, but your firm should know you need time to study.

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Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:04 pm
by ilikemanipedis
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Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:13 pm
by mcmand
I'm not an expert on navigating law firm pressures, just a first year here, but it seems to me like your only option is to at minimum push back. Ask for a reduced workload/hours. It's not feasible in my mind to be ready for the bar exam with only two weeks of full time studying. If they won't give it to you ... Well, I guess it's your call whether you quit now or have a challenging conversation in the event you fail and they're deciding whether to keep you.

Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:30 pm
by LockBox
ilikemanipedis wrote:
mcmand wrote:Shouldn't you be receiving leave now to prepare for the bar? I thought that was standard practice. It is at my firm. It may be unpaid leave if you are retaking, but your firm should know you need time to study.


My firm said they would only give me two weeks off. They are having me work like normal (full-time).

I can't really afford to fail this exam and have certainly thought about quitting this job (but then again losing this job looks bad too, but getting licensed is probably better in the long run...?) so I can focus on the exam since they refuse to give me more than 2 weeks off and i'm overworked here in the office.


Think of it from the firm's point of view - if you pass, great. If you don't, then they'll hire another law clerk to fill in what you're doing now. Basically, they don't seem to be that invested in you if they won't give you the time you need to prioritize for the exam.

The second issue I see here is sabotage. Are you placing your priority on passing the exam? Or are you inadvertently (or purposefully) taking on a lot so that you'll have an excuse come May? Since you've failed, it is more likely than not that you'll fail again and you should be placing your priority on passing the exam - not working at your firm.

Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:31 pm
by NonTradHealthLaw
I've taken and passed two states' bar exams while working fulltime biglaw. It's hard. It sucks. But, you can do it. My schedule, give or take:

5:00 Wake-up. Make coffee. Do morning things.
5:30 - 7:00 Study -- usually something passive like watching a Barbri lecture
7:00 - 7:30 Get ready for work
7:30 - 8:30 Commute -- sometimes I'd study; sometimes I didn't get a seat so I'd just meditate
8:30 - 6:00 Work. Sometimes (often) this was more like 8:30am - 11:00pm and the below were thrown out the window
6:00 - 7:00 Commute -- as above
7:00 - 11:00 Study -- usually repeat MBE questions

Weekends -- Study. Study. Study.
Final two weeks -- I was "off" though still often working. Reserved the final two weeks for drilling MBEs, running through essays, and learning the non-MBE topics.
Confidence is 9/10 the battle. Don't get into your head. Learn each subject sufficiently enough to sound coherent, not to write a treatise. Consider essays like Pac-Man where you're gobbling up a point here and there, even if you don't get your name on the high score list.

I have a spouse who was supportive and willing to cook, clean, laundry, etc.

Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:36 pm
by MRSP
NonTradHealthLaw wrote:I've taken and passed two states' bar exams while working fulltime biglaw. It's hard. It sucks. But, you can do it. My schedule, give or take:

5:00 Wake-up. Make coffee. Do morning things.
5:30 - 7:00 Study -- usually something passive like watching a Barbri lecture
7:00 - 7:30 Get ready for work
7:30 - 8:30 Commute -- sometimes I'd study; sometimes I didn't get a seat so I'd just meditate
8:30 - 6:00 Work. Sometimes (often) this was more like 8:30am - 11:00pm and the below were thrown out the window
6:00 - 7:00 Commute -- as above
7:00 - 11:00 Study -- usually repeat MBE questions

Weekends -- Study. Study. Study.
Final two weeks -- I was "off" though still often working. Reserved the final two weeks for drilling MBEs, running through essays, and learning the non-MBE topics.
Confidence is 9/10 the battle. Don't get into your head. Learn each subject sufficiently enough to sound coherent, not to write a treatise. Consider essays like Pac-Man where you're gobbling up a point here and there, even if you don't get your name on the high score list.

I have a spouse who was supportive and willing to cook, clean, laundry, etc.


NonTradHealthLaw, may I ask how many weeks you studied for with this schedule while working? DId you feel it was sufficient? Thanks!

Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:21 pm
by NonTradHealthLaw
For both exams, roughly 6 weeks -- maybe a bit longer for the first one as it was a late July exam and I started studying in June. For February, I didn't seriously start until after NYE because I was moving cross-country.

Yes, I felt like 6 weeks was sufficient. It was tight, and of course I would have liked more time to obsess, but neurosis is part of this profession. My MBE scores were steadily improving throughout the study session. I felt like I could write coherently and quickly about enough junk. That said, my practice is more corporate/transactional, so some of the funky MEE subjects are part of my daily life, whereas the MBE subjects may be more comfortable to litigation folks.

Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:10 pm
by lady_gaga
NonTradHealthLaw wrote:For both exams, roughly 6 weeks -- maybe a bit longer for the first one as it was a late July exam and I started studying in June. For February, I didn't seriously start until after NYE because I was moving cross-country.

Yes, I felt like 6 weeks was sufficient. It was tight, and of course I would have liked more time to obsess, but neurosis is part of this profession. My MBE scores were steadily improving throughout the study session. I felt like I could write coherently and quickly about enough junk. That said, my practice is more corporate/transactional, so some of the funky MEE subjects are part of my daily life, whereas the MBE subjects may be more comfortable to litigation folks.


This. Gives me hope...thank you. I'm on a similar schedule but by 10pm I'm totally wiped out. And I'm a foreign exam taker working at a big firm in Vancouver so I've been stressing out a bit.

Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:17 pm
by lolwat
Push back a little at work. It's very likely that you can take on a relatively full workload and make the firm happy (enough) without overworking yourselfto the point where you can't make time to study. I would try to make it so you can get home at like 6-7pm and spend a good 4 hours or so studying every day + full-time on weekends before you get your 2 weeks leave to study.

Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:01 pm
by Bimmerfan
NonTradHealthLaw wrote:
I have a spouse who was supportive and willing to cook, clean, laundry, etc.


This is key (i'm sure it helped that OP was bringing home the big law checks tho).

Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:47 am
by ilikemanipedis
Thank you everyone for your replies. I appreciate the help.

Still not sure what to do... will figure it out. Anymore input on this would be awesome... thanks guys.

Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:48 am
by ilikemanipedis
Bimmerfan wrote:
NonTradHealthLaw wrote:
I have a spouse who was supportive and willing to cook, clean, laundry, etc.


This is key (i'm sure it helped that OP was bringing home the big law checks tho).



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Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:38 pm
by ilikemanipedis
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Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:05 pm
by supa_mitsu
As suggested above, if your law firm doesn’t want to give you more free time off it may mean that they aren’t invested enough in you. Not blaming their business method (lots of competition out there) but it looks like you have to decide whether to quit now or risk getting in case you fail the exam.

Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:28 pm
by LockBox
The relevant consideration is this - will they keep you around if you fail again? There is where your answer is...

Re: Getting crushed at work... Feb Bar Exam is next month

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:41 pm
by ilikemanipedis
deleted.