Twas the summer before third year and all through the law school not a 3L was studying, not even for the bar. The summer before your 3L year is an interesting time in a law student’s life. Many rising 3Ls are busy in their summer positions, typically full-time at a law firm or with a judge. However, it is also the last summer before going out into the real world to be practicing attorneys or studying to for the bar exam in July. So, many law students want to enjoy their 3L summer rather than worrying about school and the dreaded bar exam once the semester begins.
But it’s My Last Summer of Law School
I know what you’re thinking, “This is my LAST summer before I have to be out in the real world…. Why should I focus on the bar??” Many students wait to prepare for the bar until their 3L year or after they graduate. Some students don’t even think about the bar until the middle of their 3L year. This is because 3L year is known as the “bored to death” year of law school when students take a few classes and are ready to be done with law school. Unfortunately, you are still a law student and trying to cram all of your bar preparation into your 3L year is not a great way to be successful. Preparing for the bar exam is as important as preparing for law school exams or class. Instead of putting off the inevitable, try to tackle some little things in your bar exam prep a little earlier to make your life easier later.
Know Your Test
This may sound simple, but it is a great first step. You can’t really prepare for the bar until you know what bar exam you are taking. You will need to research and decide where you will be sitting for the bar to understand what your test will look like. Your law school may have some information about the specific bar exam for the state where you are attending law school. There are numerous things you need to do for the test and in your application for the bar. The best way to prepare is to know the requirements for the bar, the layout of the test and what you are allowed to bring to the exam.
Get a Bar Prep Course
Again, this sounds simple but securing your bar prep course is a great way to, well, prepare for the bar. There are numerous companies and individuals that provide bar exam assistance. Find something that fits your needs (and budget) and secure your spot. Many of these programs will actually give you access before you graduate law school so you can begin studying early. For example, the Bar Exam Toolbox has numerous bar exam preparation courses that can be personalized to your needs based on a variety of options and features.
Prepare For Character and Fitness
In case you are not aware, you need to complete a character and fitness application in order to apply for the bar. This is typically in the form of a questionnaire in which you will need to include a lot of your personal history on. Thus, use this summer to get all of your this information and history in order. The bar admission board has to ensure that applicants are of a good moral character to practice law. Each jurisdiction varies but typically they ask about past criminal convictions and civil violations, academic/employment misconduct, compliance with court orders, financial irregularities, mental health/substance abuse issues and other professional disciplinary actions. It is also important to make any final disclosures to your law school about this information as well. If your law school records do not match your questionnaire/application, you may be further investigated by your specific bar.
Relax a Bit
Sleep and relaxation are very important things for any law student. Without energy, you will not have the ability to work and study. Thus, it is important to take care of yourself, even during the summer. This is also your chance to take vacations or have personal time with your loved ones. After graduation, many law students immediately begin preparing for the bar exam. So you will have little free time after your summer as a rising 3L until after you complete the bar exam.
Review Your Outlines
Most of your 1L classes are likely to be on the bar. Summer is a great chance to review your notes and outlines from your past classes. You will be able to check your understanding of what you remember from that specific area of law. Also, this will give you a better mindset on what you need to focus on when you are rigorously studying for the bar exam.
Friends and support groups can also help with your ultimate success. Your fellow 3Ls are also freaking out about the bar. If you form study groups early on, you will be able to begin preparing during the summer and throughout the school year. Your law school friends know what you are going through and will help encourage you.
Know That You Can Do it
Yes, the bar exam is that daunting thing after you graduate law school. Sometimes it just feels better to avoid thinking about it and push off preparing until after 3L year. However, you do not have to do that, and you can make your bar exam preparation so much easier! As long as you prepare properly in advance, you will be able to feel confident in sitting for the bar exam. You just need to have a game plan and tackle it. Just remember, you can do it, and you can successfully pass the bar.