Friday, July 30, 2010

MPT portion of the BAR

I was surprised to find out that all jurisdictions do not require testing the MPT portion for the bar.  Oregon does.  What is the MPT?  Basically, you unseal the book and it contains memos, evidence, and legal authority.  You are to analyze and answer the question that has been posed to you.  In all truthfulness, it was not too difficult.  If you did well in your legal research and writing class, this is an easy issue.

I can't tell you the specifics of the test, because believe it or not, they make you sign a confidentiality issue.  What I can say that our issue had to deal with whether a lawyer had to testify against her client in criminal proceedings.  We were given evidence, a letter from the attorney, some work product, and then "cases" that we read.  In return, we wrote a legal memorandum with what our conclusion was.

Very simple, very straightforward.  And it counts for 12.5% of the Bar.  So, moral of the story:  Pay attention in your LRW classes!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Job Hunting.......

In life, jobs have always just fallen in my lap.  Somehow jobs have just found me and I have never had to work very hard at find them.  Legal jobs are so very, very different.  I am finding out quickly, it is about who you know in the business....and likely who THEY know.

The heat is on right now in job hunting.  I have enough money to see me through until August 31st.  After that, I will have zero in my checking account.  I am terrified.  And in a catch 22.  The bar results won't come out until mid September or so.

So the networking has commenced. I have contacted as many of my attorney friends as I know, asking them to keep their eyes and ears open.  I am also applying for anything that pops up, but the truth is that lawyer positions are rarely listed....Usually someone knows someone, and word of mouth is what gets you the job.

So as you are going to law school, especially if you are going to stay in the area of the school, build networking opportunities.  If you have a guest lecturer, make sure and introduce yourself and get their card.  You never know when that contact will come in handy later.  Get to know the adjunct professors that teach only one class or so in their area of specialty -- take that class if you can.  Position yourself so that they like you and are familiar with you -- they will HELP you when you need it.

Finding a legal job is not like finding regular jobs.  Know this and plan for it.  And be prepared for many no's before you get the yes.  Be prepared to get LOTS of no's before you get your bar results.  But work your connections.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Down and Dirty Truth about the BAR

Just finished taking the Oregon Bar.  I can't speak to other jurisdictions, but I can obviously speak to the MultiState portion as well as the Oregon specific portions.

Now, I am not a good multiple choice exam taker and have always excelled at essays.  So, you need to know that I HATED the MBE portion of the test.  To me, two of the answers always look similar and it was sometimes hard to decide what was really be asked.  Also, six hours of multiple choice questioning........well now, that is BRUTAL.  It is very hard to stay focused for that long, on task, and sitting in a chair for long periods of time.

The Essay portion was a breeze.  This is an issue spotting test.  The more that you throw at it, the better you do.  You show them what you know both with what they asked you, but what you eliminated for good reasons.

Now, what I want to pass on is this:  The bar is NOT as bad as everyone makes it sound.  It is what YOU make of it.  I roomed with an awesome friend.  We laughed and balanced each other out perfectly.  We made the best of it.  But more than that......I think if you let the stress get to will experience it in a horrible way.  I would take the test again.  Yes, there is a lot you need to know, but at the same time, school really does prepare you.

AND:  Barbri or Ameribar can teach you everything you need to know about Trust/Wills, Secured Trans, Taxation, Business Entities, Sales, and Administrative Law.  You don't HAVE to take these in school.  I would highly recommend taking Criminal Procedures though.

Sometimes I think people who say that law school was awful or the bar was this horrid thing are nuts.  I would do this again all over, if given the choice of a "do-over."  I think that some of us are just called, it's our passion and we know this.  So for us, it's a journey not a terrible torture device.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Alumni Rocks

The bar is fast approaching.......... Just got an email from the alumni association.  They are hosting free lunches for each day of the bar exam.  Good lunches too!  On top of that, they will have ear plugs, energy bars, water, gatorade, advil and other goodies free to get us through the exam...... My alumni ROCK!!!! How cool is that?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fighting Depression

I have not written about this before and it is something that I really should have.  For the three years of law school - I fought depression.  When consulting with the doctor, we came to the conclusion it was fully situational.  The reality is as a single mother, everything is down to you.  Providing for your needs, your child's needs, doing things around the house, helping with homework - and then you have your own needs.  And sometimes the priorities are just overwhelming.  Most universities have a wellness center with counselors available - take advantage of them for your needs!  I did, and I am glad that I did.

Flash forward to after school.  For some reason I thought that once school was over, then all those stressors would just disappear (naive of me, yes?).  Well it hasn't.  Instead, somehow along the way I lost my identity.  Seriously.  I have been a student for seven years.  I have no idea who I am anymore.  I am tired, rung out, and during my seven years - I gave up so much to reach this goal.  I didn't date, I didn't hang out with my friends - my child came first, my school came second.  And now that there is no school, there is this big gapping whole in my life.  I am having such a hard time balancing and equalizing that loss.  My friend said that it is like post-partem depression.  The focus in on one goal, so much excitement - and then it comes and it is anti-climatic.  And you are standing in place looking at what has come, and what your life is - and you just don't know what to do anymore.  You have a hard time recognizing yourself.

I don't mean to sound like "poor me" at all.  This is just something that I have been struggling with.  I am guessing that it may be pretty common to us single parents.  Prepare for it....and if it does not happen - wonderful!!! You coped well.  But if it does, take some time to evaluate and get some help.