Thursday, November 26, 2009

Remembering Law School

...Hard to believe but it was 23 years ago today that I learned that I had passed the 1986 California Bar Examination...memorialized in the picture of me receiving the telegram from the Bar above...that shocked look on my face...and that is really how it happened...a simple little note from the State that said something like "We can't believe it but you actually passed the hardest bar exam in the country. We tried to stop you but somehow you got through. Good luck and don't screw up too soon."...
...I had actually gone up to the family cabin at Hartland...don't ask where that is because it isn't on very many maps...just somewhere up in the Sierras...and our family was celebrating Thanksgiving...well actually the day after Thanksgiving...and my dear sister in law Janet had decided to go by our home and check our mail...and she opened the envelope and read it! I am still shocked by that as much as actually passing!... this was in the era before the internet and email so Janet saddled up and rode up to the top of the hill to let me know...that is her above in the photo with the bowler hat and dark mustache...well actually what she did was call the camp near where we were staying at let the staff know who then walked to our we had no phone...seriously...and so a guy shows up and knocks on the door and asks for me...and tells me I need to call my sister in law Janet...which I did...on a payphone down the hill...

...and so it turns out that everyone in my study group passed the first time! a year when only about 1/3 of first time takers did we are at our bar swearing in ceremony... that's me with the dumb look on my face... all these years later what do I think of it? Well, besides that they made a clerical error and they actually meant to notify some other guy with a similar name...and that any day I will receive a latter saying "Hey, just kidding! We just found your exam and it really stunk it up! Cut the shingle up on your wall--now!"...well, besides that I are some thoughts about getting through something as tough as the bar exam...

*Study with your friends. I am eternally grateful for HP, DE, RL and KG and their help.

*Reduce complex subjects down to their essence, then build up from there. If you don't know the basics of something all the rest is nonsense.

*Stay calm. Everyone else is as nervous and scared as you are.

*Study out loud. Read your notes out loud. When your ear hears your own voice without interruption it sticks in your brain.

*Get away for a bit. Several times in my life on huge projects I got away for several days by myself. It helped.

*Have a supportive family and friend group. I tell students this all the time about grad school---don't tackle it alone. Make sure your support team is behind you. I guess that's just about all I am going to say about that!...for now its off to Turkey Day...and time with family...and may you have a wonderful and blessed day!

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