This post is dedicated to those of you who found out this week that you have to take the bar exam again. Retaking the bar is not easy, especially if you’ve already taken it more than once. But, it is absolutely doable. Many people have taken the bar exam multiple times. It will end up being merely a small footnote in the story of your incredible legal career.
Failing the bar exam brings up a lot of emotions, and you’ve got to let yourself feel all of those feelings. It’s almost like the stages of grief. You will feel sad and you will feel mad. You will keep rechecking to make sure the bar examiners didn’t just make a mistake in the letter they sent you. You will think the bar exam is a stupid way to determine whether someone should be a lawyer (and you’ll be right). But, try not to focus on these emotions for more than a couple of days.
Register for the bar, get copies of your essays, and make a plan. Figure out whether you have good study materials, or whether you want to sign up for a commercial bar review course or supplemental program. Figure out
how much time you can devote to studying.
Lean on your loved ones. People can surprise you with their kindness and willingness to help. Taking the bar usually takes a village.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Needing to retake the bar does not mean anything about how awesome you will be as an attorney. You need to figure out what went wrong and what you can change going forward, but it is absolutely not a reflection of whether you should be an attorney.
Trust yourself. Only you know how you study
best and what you need to do. Now is the time to listen to yourself and to be selfish about your needs. Lots of people will give you advice (myself included). Most of them will give you bad advice. Do what works for you.
Take care of yourself during this journey. Let other folks help take care of you too.