Should I take the bar?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ravenvii, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    So I'm graduating from law school in about a month. It's too late to just leave now, so I'm going to finish it.

    I hated every minute of it. And everywhere I read, the job market is horrendous for lawyers, despite the (slow) recovery.

    I've always wanted to be a programmer, and the current growth of the iPhone/iPad made me want it even more. I'm going to take advantage of the (currently) incredibly cheap tuition in California for community college ($20 per credit!). Yes, it'll add years more of school (ugh), but I'll 1) learn skills I actually want to use, and 2) am gonna be unemployed anyway, so who cares?

    But the question right now is, should I take the bar? That comes with the time and expense (BarBri, etc), and the expense of maintaining my membership, going to continuing education to keep my bar membership.

    Is it worth it?
  2. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040


    Sep 29, 2005
    Yes. Take it while the info is still fresh in your mind. You never know when, down the line, being able to tell someone you are a member of the bar will be helpful, even if you aren't a practicing lawyer. This is a no-brainer, but can I really expect anything more from a lawyer? :p
  3. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    I'd say probably not. You're right; this is a terrible time to try to enter the field of law. Unless you went to a top-drawer law school, did extremely well, and have some extras under your belt like a clerkship or something, you're probably going to be out of luck.

    source - LA Times

    As an anecdote, a buddy of mine graduated a year ago from a tier 1 law school, finished third in his class, passed the bar on the first attempt, and still hasn't found himself a situation yet.
  4. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    But why not take the bar anyway? As Badandy said, it's still fresh - might as well put that knowledge to good use.
  5. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    quae tangit perit Trump
    I tend to agree, take the test while everything's freshly minted. After a few years at CC, you'll be able to put that on the resume along with your programming qualifications.

    Hey, maybe a studying app for the iPad?
  6. Azmordean macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    A complicated question.

    For background, I went to law school, took and passed the Virginia bar, worked as an attorney for 2 years, but am no longer practicing, though I am in a related field (Federal Contracts) where the degree certainly comes in handy.

    It sounds as though you hated law school. But keep in mind, practicing law bears little resemblance to law school. First thing I'd do is check your state's requirements. Even after passing the bar, to maintain your license, VIrginia requires you to take CLE classes (12 hours per year). There are also dues. The two together can be pricey and take up some time. However, Virginia also offers associate membership. You can't practice law with it, but you don't have to take CLEs and the dues are somewhat less, and you can switch back to active at any time. That's what I have. You don't want to let bar membership ever lapse though, or you may have to re-take the exam!

    All that said... assuming your state has some kind of "associate" membership - unless you are certain you will NEVER want to practice law in your current state - I'd go ahead an take the bar. You are in an academic mindset now, so you might as well do BAR/BRI and get it over with. Trying to go do it later, after the academic mindset has passed, is tough. And that's not even considering the fact that you'll basically have to take 3 months off to study for the bar when you do decide to take it, and if you are working full time or something, that's pretty tough to do.

    Of course, if you are fairly certain you don't want to practice law now or in the future... then save your money :). It's not like you CAN'T take it later, it'll just be more burdensome than taking it now.
  7. bamaworks macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2007
    Lexington, KY
    Agree 100%. Options are a good thing. You shouldn't slam the door on one major facet of your life if you don't have to. I maintain a couple of clinical certifications that I don't need just because it's good to be versatile.

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