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10 Things to Do After Getting Bar Results, Pass or Fail

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

It's bar results season! On Tuesday, New York dropped results a day earlier last year, and weeks earlier than expected, reports Above the Law. Californians are going to be waiting in agony for at least a few more weeks. If you're from one of the flyover states, the length of your torture may vary, but the significance of the moment won't: This is the biggest test of your life.

And while many are understandably excited, others are recovering from a hangover with nothing but sorrow and months of bar prep ahead of them. Once the caffeine and aspirin kicks in, you're going to want to get to work, whether you passed or failed.

Here's the game plan for both:

If You Passed (Hooray!)

1. Put up a Facebook status/tweet/email everyone.

Look, you've been a miserable friend and relative for months. Nobody has seen or heard from you, and if they have, it probably wasn't pleasant. Now's your chance to let them all know why -- you are a ******* esquire!

2. Get your BarBri/Kaplan refund and spend it on stupidity.

You probably put a $300 deposit down on your test prep books. Get that money back and spend it on something incredibly stupid, celebratory, and extravagant, like a bottle of Ace of Spades. Do so while listening to this song.

3. Clear any other obstacles to becoming an "esquire."

The test is the biggest step. But you also need to hurdle the character and fitness exam, plus the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam. Both are cakewalks for most people, but if you haven't been cleared yet, get that done ASAP -- it could cost you a job otherwise.

4. Update your resume and send it out.

You now have a bar number! YEAH! Add it to your resume and get back to mass-mailing your resume and cover letter to anyone who is hiring.

5. Get sworn in.

You ain't an esquire until you've sworn away your first-born child. Some states have overly formal mandatory ceremonies. Some families throw a party and invite in the cousins from out-of-state. Other people (like me) just wanted to get it over with.

If You Failed (Oh No!)

1. Re-register for the bar exam.

The good news is, the state already has all of your information. Typically, the re-taker fee is smaller as well. This should only require a few clicks, unless you decide to switch states and go for an easier exam.

2. Re-up your test prep class.

The specifics of the two big test prep companies' retake policies vary, but both BarBri and Kaplan seem to provide free retakes if you take the next administration of the Big Freaking Test -- with limitations, of course.

3. Send out job applications anyway, especially for state jobs.

Yeah, we think it's a bad idea to work while studying for the bar. But if you've ever applied for a state or federal job, you know that they take months just to complete the interview process. Apply now, tackle an interview or two (hopefully) while studying, and maybe you'll have a job waiting for you when you do pass.

4. Re-evaluate your study plan.

Maybe you didn't take the test seriously enough. Maybe you spent too much time on MBE questions and not enough time on essays. Take a close and honest look at what you did to prepare and revise your strategy for Round 2.

5. Don't get too down on yourself.

Many, many brilliant people have failed the bar on their first or second (or third!) try. Remember, the bar exam is simply a test of your ability to memorize outlines and beat a standardized test. It is not a measure of your intelligence or aptitude as a future lawyer.

Have any tips for passers or failers? Or better yet, have any questions for us? Tweet us @FindLawLP.

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