Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Survey says....

And I'm in.  I'm completely floored and amazed that I've managed to pass the Florida bar in my first attempt.  I had honestly thought that I would have failed the local portion of the exam, but looks like the gods of Barbri pulled through in the end.  I had checked online last Monday, April 23rd, and next to my ID number were the magical words:  PASS  PASS  PASS.  A wave of relief washed over me.

I'm usually not an optimist, though not a pessimist, either.  Call me "cautious."  In any event, I decided not to call my family with the good news until I had physical proof, over the US Post Office, that I had indeed passed the bar exam.  The results took a couple of more days to arrive, and then it was time to call everyone.

I do apologize for not having posted anything for the past few months.  Once the course started in earnest, I pretty much devoted most of my time either watching lectures online or goofing off - my way of blowing off steam after 5 hours of a oh-so-thrilling Civil Procedure lecture.  Actually blogging became the last thing on my mind.

The bar exam was just as bit as brutal as I remembered it from the first time I took it in California almost fifteen years ago.  Thankfully, the Florida exam is only two days as opposed to three.  Moreover, this time around, I took the essay portion armed with the greatest invention of the computing age: the laptop.  It was incredibly easier to type out an essay as the thoughts formed in my mind, edit, reorganize, move things around in a computer screen rather than frantically writing in my sub-doctor quality handwriting, crossing things out, placing arrows, and generally wearing myself out. We had three essays in the morning, and the only thing I remember was that the first essay was on Criminal Procedure, not my strongest point, but as I was to learn later on, a totally unexpected topic for a Florida essay question - I guess it pays to skip out on the in site lecture and essay practicing, since I pretty much studied all subjects across the board.

In the afternoon, we had 100 multiple choice questions, and this time, I was surprised by the format.  No, I knew that we had to bubble in answers with a #2 pencil. The surprise was that the questions pretty much covered only about six topics out of the possible 16 or so topics covered on the Florida portion of the bar.  That meant that the questions went into a lot more detail than I expected, and this is where I thought I had blown it.  However, looks like I got enough points on my essay and multiple choice combined to get a passing grade.

The Multi-state portion, known as the MBE (Multistate Bar Exam) was a lot easier.  I had taken hundreds of practice questions on the handy-dandy Barbri online/android app which provides a variety of questions on all the MBE subjects and really give a good sense of how the test will be.  Moreover, it keeps track of time, incorrect answers, etc., which one can review as one takes the test or after a set number of questions have been answered.

In sum, I hope that in about a month I will be a full-fledged member of the Florida Bar.  I have found a position in a small firm specializing in immigration law, and hopefully, the road ahead will be a lot more fun that the road just taken.  I will discontinue this blog, but hope to set up a new blog - with more frequent posting - on the travails of a neophyte attorney.  See you on the other side.

Lastly, I saw the results for first time takers of the Florida bar exam, and for February 2012, it was 76% as opposed to 79% in February 2011 and 80% for July 2011.  Note that the majority of first time takes do so in the July exams - for comparison's sake, almost 3,000 first-timers took the July 2011 exam as opposed to 870 for the February 2012 exam.  Note that although a majority of people pass the bar exam on their first try, what brings down the overall passing rate (which is not usually published) are the repeat takers.  I think I heard anecdotal evidence that if you don't pass after the third try, your odds of passing are very low, and there are quite a few people that do take the exam multiple times.

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