I PASSED THE BAR!!!

As you can tell by the title of the post, I passed my bar exam. I am on cloud 10 right now lol. I actually found out yesterday that I passed. I was at work when I got a Facebook message from one of my classmates saying the results were up. My heart started beating a mile a minute. I still had about 30 minutes left at work and I was unsure whether or not I wanted to check it while at work. I decided to bite the bullet and go ahead and look. When I saw my number and the pass next to it I wanted to like scream, flip, cartwheel, throw graffiti…I wanted to do it all.

I told the people at my job and they were soooo happy for me (and that is one of the reasons why I enjoy working there). Of course I told my parents and they were very excited and proud of me. I even made my granddaddy cry, but tears of joy. I got so many kind and congratulatory words on Facebook.

I just got off the phone with my best friend and we were talking about how surreal it feels to be like actual adults. She is working in the field of therapy, but can totally relate to how I am feeling. We are about to have our own clients that we are responsible for. I do not think it will really hit me until I get my first client. Then I may have a mini freak-out, but will pull myself together and help my client.

I am really looking forward to this next chapter in my life. I hope everyone had good bar results!

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Where Have You Been?

So I realize it has been like months since I have last written a post. Chalk it up to Bar Prep, crashing from taking the Bar, and a wee bit of laziness now that the Bar is complete. But I have decided it is time for me to get my life back on track and part of that includes blogging again. I am going to do my best to post at least once a week (hopefully it will be more than that, but I figure I should start small lol).

So I should probably say what I have been up to. Weeeeeellllll, right now I am working at a non-profit, in a mostly non-legal capacity. We are getting ready to move the office and make some changes, so I have been trying to help out wherever I can. I am happy to just have a job. Even though I am not doing a lot of legal work per se, the people in the office are great and I really enjoy working there.

There are a couple of job opportunities that I am looking into. There is one in particular with a legal aid organization that I am hoping I can get. I love helping others (as cliche as it sounds) and I think that this position would be a great fit. I will keep y’all updated on the job hunting front.

So that is enough of me rambling lol. Until next time…

Tomorrow Is The Big Day

So tomorrow is the first day of the bar exam and I am kind of freaking out. I feel okay with the MBE and can probably squeak out the MPT, but the essays worry me. I can probably squeak out the state essays, but the MEEs give me pause. I pray that I only have to take this test once. But I suppose it’s not the end of the world if I have to retake it in February. Is it September yet?

A Strongly Worded Letter To The Bar Exam

All my fellow bar preppers will understand the frustration. This post gave me life 🙂

This Is Not Your Feminist

 

Dear BBE/MBE/BARBRI,

 

1) First of all,  let’s talk about your stupid list of what I can bring into the bar exam. Oh my god, no sharpeners. NO SHARPENERS. Well yes, I’m sure sharpeners pose a grave security threat. I might lose my shit at seeing a Secured Transactions essay on the bar exam and threaten to sharpen someone’s pencil or something. Oh god, the sharpening! NOT THE SHARPENING.

Also, I fully understand why I have to keep my water bottle UNDER the desk when I am not drinking from it, and why it can’t be more than one liter. Imagine what would happen if I had a 2-liter water bottle that was on my desk, just randomly chilling! MAYHEM.

(Also, Taliban, thanks for telling me that revealing clothing is not allowed when it’s a hundred fucking degrees in this bitch.)

 

 

2) Mnemonics, bitches. You give us…

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A Second Zimmerman Juror Speaks Out

So there was news today that another juror from the George Zimmerman trial spoke about her experience. For those of you who do not know about the Zimmerman trial, George Zimmerman was acquitted of criminal charges in the death of teenager Trayvon Martin. I am not going to get into the nitty-gritty of the trial there are plenty of links, tweets, and blog posts by others for that.

I am writing to speak more specifically about the comments from the second juror. She basically stated that Zimmerman got away with murder. She thought he was guilty of second-degree murder, but the evidence did not show it. I think that others often forget the position jurors are put in. Jurors are human, yet they are charged with the duty of putting aside their emotions and ruling solely as to the law. I know some people are going to say she should have hung out and voted with her gut, but if we start that trend then we start down a slippery slope. I am sure there have been defendants who jurors felt were guilty, but the evidence did not show it (and it turns out were not actually guilty). But for the jurors voting according to the law, instead of how they felt, an innocent person could have been sent to jail.

There is the saying that it is better for guilty men to go free, than for one innocent man to go to jail. In part, I think that is what our legal system is based on. That is why we have such a high standard for the prosecution to prove. When someone’s life or liberty is at risk, we want to make sure that that person truly deserves to have those rights taken from him or her. 

Logically speaking, the juror voted as she should have and the legal system worked as it was supposed to work. According to her, and the other five jurors, there was not enough evidence to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder or manslaughter. That means that the prosecution did not meet the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, so the jury should not have convicted him. For those unhappy with the outcome, I do not think it was the system that did not work, but rather the law. It has been argued that the issue with this case arose from Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. If you really want to change the legal system, I think one major step is changing the laws. Involve yourself in local politics and stay abreast of what is really going on in your community. Make your voices heard.

At the end of the day, the truth is maybe Zimmerman did get away with murder or maybe he actually did fear for his life and thought deadly force was the only way to survive. At this point, we may never know the full truth of what happened that night except that Zimmerman and Martin got into some type altercation, Zimmerman walked away, and Martin ended up dead. I realize there are those that do not see how justice has been served by a grown man basically having no legal repercussions for killing an unarmed teenage boy. The sad truth is, maybe justice has not been served. That is one of the downfalls of any human legal system, it does not always lead to outcomes that seem just. But it is the system that we have, so we can either complain and do nothing or decide to take action and see what we can do to make it better.

Week 1 of Bar Prep Complete…Ugh

So I finished up my first week of Bar prep…and I feel like I’m already behind lol. More specifically, I feel like doing the MBE questions now is pointless because I do not remember a lot of the material well enough to properly answer the questions. I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels. Like what is the point of doing the questions if I don’t know most of the information? I guess the point is to learn by doing. As long as I take the time to review the questions and understand why I missed the correct answer, then I’m learning the subject. But it’s only the first week, so I suppose things will get better.

On another note, I modified my study schedule. Instead of doing MBEs right after class, I will review and make note cards right after class. I better retain the information if I do it that way. Making the note cards takes F O R E V E R. But I learn best through note cards, so it is a necessary evil. I know I will definitely have to do a better job of doing the MBE questions. I have not been doing my scheduled 50 MBEs a day so I will need to step it up. Plus, I haven’t even begun to touch the essays. I hope this Bar prep thing gets easier…and more productive.

Work and Study for the Bar Exam?!? No Way

So today I went into work for the last time until after the Bar. I just want to say I do not understand how anyone could work and study for the bar at the same time. I went to class today from about 9am-1pm and then basically worked from 1pm-5pm. I got home and I was exhausted. I can’t imagine working a full eight hour day and then watching a lecture for two or three hours and then doing MBE/essay questions and reviewing that day’s class.

All I could muster today was Barbri Amp lectures and reviewing today’s class notes. I am going to have to start doing better tomorrow. More specifically, I will need to do a better job of working through MBE questions. I know I need to build up my endurance for doing 100 many within one sitting. I will say though that I find the Barbri Amp really helpful. At least for me, it helps me better learn the material. I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you have that option.

Here’s hoping that I do a better job of staying schedule tomorrow. How is your Bar prep going?

Barbri Interactive Paced Program

So I finally have access to Barbri’s Bar study schedule and I am not 100% sure how I feel about it. For one thing, from what I have heard from others about the importance of completing MBE (MPQ according to Barbri) questions, the beginning of the study schedule does not account for enough of those types of questions. Looking at the schedule, it only has you doing about 18 questions a day. I will eventually need to be able to do 100 in one sitting. Plus it has been advised to me that you should do between 5000 and 6000 practice questions. Now this is not to say that Barbri will not increase the number of questions  required each day, but if I need to hit at least 5000, it does not look like Barbri is off to a great start. Also, from what I have heard, people feel like they can never complete the Barbri schedule day by day…like it is too much to do in one day. I really do not want to start a schedule that basically sets me up for failure lol. I think that I am going to stick with the schedule that my professor gave me and maybe incorporate some of the Barbri schedule into that schedule.

For instance, Barbri has a “Before Class” section which tells you what you should do be attending that day’s class. Since I already do not sleep that late, I think I will incorporate the “Before Class” information into my schedule from say 7:45am-8:45am, but only for subjects that I have not taken a class for. That way it will allow me to at least have an idea about that “new” subject.

For those of you who have tried to follow the Barbri schedule, did you find it doable? Did you always feel like you were trying to play catchup?

Being Deployed Doesn’t Make Me A Bad Parent

Service members face many challenges, especially service members that are also parents. One issue in particular arises when the parents are separate…the issue of custody. There have been several news articles about service members that initially had custody of their child(ren), but after they were deployed, have lost custody or must now fight to maintain custody.

It blows my mind that you can do the honorable thing of serving your country, but then you may have to worry about whether or not you will lose your child(ren). I feel like if you are willing to make that sacrifice, the then non-custodial parent should not be able to unilaterally (so it seems) be able to take custody from you. And it appears I am not the only one. Co-sponsors Republican Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio and Democratic Rep. Robert Andrews of New Jersey introduced H.R. 1898 to provide some protection to deployed service members.

If the bill is made a law, if a court temporarily changes custody from the service member parent, to the then non-custodial parent based solely on deployment or anticipated deployment, once that service member returns from deployment, the custody order that was in place before should be reinstated. The only reason that the previous custody order should not be reinstated is if it would not be in the best interest of the child (which is generally the standard courts use to determine custody issues). In regards to the best interests of the child, the court will be able to use the service member’s deployment or potential deployment as one factor to permanently modify custody, but that cannot be the sole determining factor.

The bill goes on to speak on federal jurisdiction issues, preemption issues, definition of deployment, and the clerical amendment for the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Now, being a future attorney, I must play devil’s advocate lol. I can understand why a deployed service member having custody may not be in the child’s best interest; especially, if that service member is deployed repeatedly. With the custodial parent being deployed repeatedly, that child might have to be uprooted and go to another home, another school, and potentially have to make all new friends. Now I know you may be thinking any military brat will have to face these issues, but when a parent is deployed, the child could face these issues several times within one year. 

All that being said, I still think this bill is a great idea. I really hope this becomes a law. I do not think any person should have to choose between serving his/her country or keeping custody of his/her child(ren).

What do y’all think? Should deployment be a sole factor in permanently modifying a custody order?

The Bar is Coming…the Bar is Coming

It’s that time…Bar prep will officially start for me on Tuesday. I am doing my best not to dread this because I know it is in inevitable, but I can’t help it. This one test will determine whether or not I will be able to practice law. (Disclaimer, I can retake the test…but no one wants to retake this test.)

Luckily I have an awesome mentor who has provided me with a Bar prep study schedule. I think my biggest challenge will be sticking with the schedule. I am a procrastinator to the nth degree and I can usually do pretty well with cramming. However, the Bar is not really something you can, or should, cram for. I know that I’m going to basically have to shut off my phone during study sessions so I won’t get distracted by texts, Facebook, Twitter, Google+…you get the picture. I can always find something else to do instead of study when I have my phone lol.

I have two basic study schedules: one for Kaplan and one for Barbri. My Kaplan study schedule starts on Tuesday and will consist of three separate lessons each day for six days on six separate subjects: (a) Torts; (b) Constitutional Law; and (c) Criminal Law and Procedure; (d) Evidence; (e) Contracts; and (f) Real Property. Each lesson is only about an hour and a half so it won’t be too taxing. This will be my last week of work so it will be nice to ease into Bar prep instead of jumping in full force while still at work. My Barbri study schedule is a little more time intensive. I will end up studying about 10 hours a day starting out and it will likely increase to 11 or 12 once I start doing more MBE questions. My Barbri schedule is basically this Monday through Friday: 9:00am-1:00pm – Barbri Class; 1:00pm-2:00pm – Lunch; 2:00pm-4:00pm – Do Practice MBE Questions; 4:00pm-6:00pm – Review All MBE Answers; 6:00pm-8:00pm – Review Class Notes, Do Old Essays, and Do Old MEE Essays. I will also do about three or four hours of studying on Saturdays and take Sundays off. I still need to find sometime to work out. I will likely end up going back to early morning work outs. Not looking forward to waking up early…ugh.

I may need to play around with my schedule after the first week of Barbri if I find I am having trouble keeping with the one I already have. For all my fellow Bar preppers, what does your study schedule look like? For those that have taken the Bar, any study tips?