They never tell you what to do when you don’t pass. Three years of sacrifice, a crap load of debt, and no answers. Where were all the Bar prep instructors now? Where was the advice? I did all the questions. I made all the outlines. A summer’s worth of studying put to rest in three days and nine hours. All I could think was: Now what? Where do I begin? Do I start from scratch? So many questions and no answers.
I needed a plan. I needed to get "organezized." Trust me, most well wishers will tell you, "No one fails the Bar, they just don’t pass." But if you’re not winning, you’re losing. And if you’re not passing, you’re failing. After I got over failing the Bar, I decided to look into something to complement my study regiment. Something that would put me in the right state of mind and perfect my comfort zone. That extra spice was a class focusing on essay writing.
Now some of you out there will pish posh the idea of a tutor or a supplemental class to the side. I used to be in that same category. Why should I shell out any more money for another class? Didn’t the Bar Prep class set me back $3Gs? Like most, I was skeptical, but I really wanted to see my name on the pass list and I was willing to do anything, within the laws of ethics, to make the dream a reality.
I signed up for an essay class. No going over Torts for 2 hours then doing a brief outline of a torts essay. The essay class I took broke it down to the basics. From day one, my essay teacher stressed how important it was to introduce the reader to the analysis of the essay. I learned step by step how to write a beautiful essay that demonstrated to the reader I knew exactly what I was writing about. Every Sunday for 5 to 6 weeks, I went to this essay class and wrote 3 timed essays per session. I had to come into class with the subject freshly memorized and write without using my notes.
When it came time for the Bar exam in February, I walked in with the confidence I lacked in late July of the previous Bar exam. The Bar prep course I took in preparation for the July exam had an essay portion, but it was mainly a skimming on how to write an essay. It didn’t break down the essay writing into the nuts and bolts. The essay class I took for the February Bar was much smaller than the actual Bar prep class which allowed for more one on one time. Every problem in my essay writing was dissected. And I learned from my mistakes. Mistakes I would never make on the Bar exam again.
In February I took the California Bar again. This time I passed. I never would have passed without the knowledge I gained from the essay class I took when I failed. They never tell you what to do when you don’t pass, but the best thing I ever did was to learn from my mistakes and in learning from my mistakes I became the one thing I had always set out to be: a lawyer.
This success story was written by Robert Bailey. Robert Bailey is a practicing lawyer and comedian in Los Angeles County. Mr. Bailey has performed at the Hollywood Improv.