The Bar Exam: Testing Skills that Form the Cornerstone of the Profession

Guest blogger Bryan Becker is a 2016 graduate of The Ohio State University Moritz College of law, he now lives deep within the bowels of the school and can be spotted on stormy nights in a forgotten corner of the library.

I have been asked to provide some insight on how the bar exam prepares you to be better lawyers. For all of the criticism it faces, the bar exam remains the best possible tool for testing a law student’s capabilities and culpabilities of being a lawyer. Though it might not be clear to you now, you are actually learning skills that are the cornerstone of the profession. Such skills actually tested by the bar exam necessary for the practice of law include:

Before the Exam:

  • Time management: the test taker in the months before the exam must be a self-motivator when it comes planning how they should procrastinate instead of doing work.
  • Auction Law.
  • How to watch youtube videos in public without others noticing.
  • Imaging that somewhere a colleague is doing better than you, and using that information to push you to work harder so you can later destroy that colleague.
  • Negotiating with hostile parties: you will argue with your personal grader about some point in Ohio criminal law in which neither of you are correct.

During the Exam:

  • How to exhibit complete and total confidence in an answer that the writer knows to be likely false and possibly against the laws of physics.
  • Auction law.
  • Managing nervous clients: the test taker will need to feign interest in their table mate’s predicaments before the test starts while actually thinking about tequila.
  • Having to be a technological troubleshooter as you are the only person under 40 in the room who cares about your computer’s problems.
  • Writing a legal memo in 40 minutes because you wasted too much time daydreaming about tequila.

After the Exam:

  • Impulse control: the test taker does NOT immediately turn over the table and break his or her chair after finishing the exam. The test take will instead wait for the proctor to finish instructions before doing so.
  • Driving in rush hour traffic.
  • Lamenting with the hotel bartender that you really don’t have to be here, and that you’re really just one or two characters away from creating a can’t-miss sitcom and asking “hey, how do people just MAKE sitcoms? How does that work?” which the bartender properly ignores knowing that you will soon move on to a different topic.
  • Forgetting auction law.

-BBB