This question was raised to me in a lecture I did in March at Loyola Law School in Chicago (as part of Greenhorn Legal’s 3L Bootcamp). The student asked for advice about studying for the bar while balancing family commitments (children, caring for a parent, etc.). It was such a good question, I thought I would talk about it here.
Balancing Family Responsibilities and Bar Studying
I know students who have struggled with this — balancing family commitments with studying for the bar. The bar is a time where you want to be selfish and make studying a priority; however, life doesn’t always allow for that.
So what do you do?
Well, it is commonly accepted that you need to treat studying for the bar like a job. It is a full-time job that you need to do approximately six days a week.
So you should ask yourself, how would you manage your family situation if you were working full time? Because, hopefully soon, you will be in a situation where you are trying to balance life and career together.
- Don’t try to study at home. This tip goes for most folks, but especially those who have a busy home life. It can be very hard to focus and get away from home tasks (cooking, taking care of children, and even spending time with significant others). Going to a place to study (law school or a library) can help. Then it will feel more like going to a job.
- Plan ahead. Whatever you do, don’t leave decisions, like figuring out childcare, to the bar prep period. Plan ahead — both logistically and financially. You don’t want to add more stresses to the bar prep period.
- Manage your time effectively. If you have restricted study time, make sure you are getting the most out of the time that you do study! (For some tips, see my article on making the most of your time and what to do if you are working while studying for the bar exam).
It can be done! But like almost everything, it takes careful planning and focused work to get the results you want with limited time and availability.
Share your tips in the comments!
— – —
Want more useful bar exam advice? Sign up for our free mailing list now!