I never wanted to post this.
Or at least I never thought I would have to.
I failed the South Carolina Bar Exam.
You are not having deja vu, I failed the bar the first time AND THEN ALSO ANOTHER TIME.
The first time I took the bar I got a 255 out of the goal of 266. I didn’t use a bar prep program and I didn’t dedicate the time I should have.
Here’s where I get to say an annoying thing: I have never had to study. I never studied in high school or college or even law school.
It just came easily. Or if I didn’t fully understand the topic I could always work my way through and get a B or a C.
This blog could alternatively be titled “Feel Bad For Me I Actually Had to Learn to Study!”
The first time I took the bar I didn’t take it seriously enough. My idea of working hard was everyone else’s idea of “tweet about it until you understand the rule against perpetuities.”
I did not write any practice essays and I did about 250 MBE questions.
I failed the bar and I f**king deserved to.
So I geared back up. I took a loan from family and got a real bar prep program. I took time off of work. I did 75 practice essays. I did 2,500 practice MBE questions. I stayed in a quiet hotel and went on runs (OK FINE WALKS) before the exam started and ate balanced meals. I took fish oil for 2 months. I memorized flash cards. I had a hype group text of ladies who sent outlines and encouragement. I took the bar exam.
I failed it by two, YES T W O, points.
I haven’t cried that much since my parents got divorced. My judge and mentor called me and I sobbed into the phone apologizing for failing him and failing myself. By failing the bar a second time my clerkship was on the line. It doesn’t make sense because clerking for judges has always been presented as the best way to learn and I can confirm that I learned more working for my judge than I ever did in school or in bar prep. My courthouse, my judge, my admin, my clerkship has been and continues to be the highlight of my life and career.
I will never be given the insight that I have with my clerkship. I never learned how to research case law like I have in the past year. I have written jury charges about topics I previously was too scared to even discuss because of how little I knew. I have learned so much. I have had an intelligent mentor that isn’t afraid to ask my opinion or to ask me questions that make me research the law for hours on end. I love my job. And I understand that they would want to relieve people who fail the bar twice of this position because the prestige is incredible. But I would counter that the learning opportunities for future South Carolina lawyers who have failed the bar are more important than students who may not value the education they receive from this position because they pass the bar exam on their first try.
A judicial clerkship is a launching point for so many future lawyers. For me it has been so much more. I have learned humility from realizing that no matter what degree I have, the wonderful people who work in the courthouse know so much more than I do. I have learned to be empathetic to defendants and plaintiffs alike. I have learned empathy and sympathy from the way my judge acts towards those on the other side of the bench. I have learned to be a better lawyer and person from my experience clerking with my judge.
Clerking for a judge has undoubtedly been the most impactful part of my career. I have learned so much about the legal community, the judiciary, and about people. I would never trade this experience and I am so lucky to have had it.
I am so thankful that I have had this opportunity. I am so glad that the people I’ve shared a courthouse with have become family. I am so lucky to have been able to learn from every single person I encountered during my clerkship.
No matter what happens, I will be forever thankful to my judge, to my admin, to my courthouse for always supporting me, loving me, and ensuring that I had a support system.
I have learned so much and I know there is so much more left to learn.