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Conquering the Bar Exam During the Pandemic

For third year law students, the month of May is an exciting time of the year where a law student graduates and celebrates their hard work after surviving three long years of studies.  The celebration however, is usually only brief due to the approaching preparation period necessary for the July bar examination to become a licensed attorney. 

The bar examination as daunting as it may be, is a “Goliath,” that all successful attorneys inevitably defeat to achieve their goal of practicing law. Once this “Goliath,” is defeated, the true reward of being sworn in as a licensed attorney is provided. 

Traditionally, third year law students imagine that the light at the end of the tunnel is making it to the month of July to sit for the bar examination and receiving passing results in the mail generally in September.  The entire process follows a very strict timeline which is a relief to most.  Just a few more months of studying can’t be all that bad right?  Then the unexpected happens, disrupting the timeline to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

For the last several weeks, law students across the nation have clicked refresh more times than imaginable on the National Bar Examiners site to determine if COVID-19 will delay the normal administration of the bar examination. 

The state of North Carolina has decided to proceed with the July bar examination at this time, but it was not until the first week of May that law students learned of this decision, which is still not final.  How does one prepare their mind for such a dilemma?  While the first reaction if delayed may be to delay studies and preparation, this decision is not the best one for law students.  The actual truth that law students must face is that procrastination will not lead to success, so preparation should not be delayed. In fact, the silver lining in a potential delay is the opportunity for the additional time to reinforce what needs to be mastered, not a “free pass,” to procrastinate.

What should law students do to not totally derail their plans?  While every professional will have a different perspective, all will share the sentiment of refreshing the mind and body before beginning the journey of bar preparation.  Regardless of delay, law students should proceed in a “business as usual format.”  What does this mean?  Take the short break per the usual recommendation to recharge before beginning bar preparation, and then follow the original plan of study without delay.  Should additional time be granted as a result of COVID-19, law students should use this “gift,” to reinforce areas of knowledge needing more conditioning and to continually regroup both mentally and physically. 

While it is not atypical for lawyers and future lawyers alike to dislike disruption of the natural order of things, this issue will not impede on the future success of law students if they find motivation in the midst of the storm by realizing that while the path to licensure may be different, the end goal is the same. 

Remain focused, stay updated, regroup, recharge, and move forward without delay to conquer the July bar exam!


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