Wednesday, October 17, 2012



I am currently accepting students for tutoring for the February bar. Whether you're a repeater or a first-timer, and you are interested in tutoring or have questions about tutoring, please feel free to contact me. I recommend sooner than later, though, as my roster is filling up.



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Unfavorable Results: What to Do

If last Thursday’s results brought you the good news for which you were hoping, I send you my congratulations again. Excellent job! But if you did not see your name on the list, and you’re reading this post, then please keep reading. This post is for you.

Step 1: For many of you, not passing will be a difficult event with which to cope. You’re mad your friends passed but you didn’t. You’re disheartened that your efforts were all for naught. You’re overwhelmed by the thought of repeating the process. You’re embarrassed to face your friends and family and coworkers. And you feel like a failure. All of these emotions are natural, mostly unwarranted, but natural. Don’t suppress them either; you need to release them. If you didn’t get that energy out of your system last weekend, do so now. Have a good cry.

Step 2: Cut off Step 1 after a week. Step 1’s necessary, but to a point. Any longer, and it will become a cancer. After a week, accept the news, pick yourself up, and turn to Step 3.

Step 3: Think about what went wrong. Review at your scores – did you miss passing by a lot or a little? Did the MBE kill you, or was it the essays, or both? Were you unprepared? Did you over-study? Did you burn yourself out with anxiety and stress? Did you try to learn everything? Did you walk in under-confident? Did an unrelated event – perhaps a death in the family, divorce, or serious automobile collision – derail your preparation? Was this just a bad time all around to sit for the exam? Think about what happened.

Step 4: Now decide whether you’re going to retake the exam. Will you retake the exam in February or at a later date? Will you retake the exam in the same state or in a different jurisdiction? If in a different jurisdiction, why? Are you switching for the right reasons?

Step 5: If you decide to retake the exam, but you repeat your same preparation as before, expect the same results. I recommend trying a new approach entirely. You need to shake yourself loose of bad study habits. A new approach might mean speaking with a tutor about strategies, using different study materials, or applying new self-study methods. You also need to take the new approach seriously. Make time, not necessarily more time, but just time – and make it count. No distractions, no excuses – just focusing on one step at a time.

Step 6: Don’t just tell yourself to have confidence. Give yourself reason to have confidence. If you’re serious about Step 5, you will have that confidence. And don’t let that confidence fade away at any point. Keep it strong up to the exam, through the exam, past the exam, and beyond results. Remember: You can do this. Don’t let the bar exam define you! Don’t let it beat you! Turn your despair into determination. Rise up with a full heart and bury the bar once and for all. You. Can. Do. This.

Hang in there, and don’t beat yourself up. This kind of bad news is not the end of the world. It’s very manageable. You’re going to be fine.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

July 2012 Virginia Bar Exam Results!

The VBBE released the results for the July 2012 Virginia Bar Exam today. The pass rate was about average for the July exam - 74.10% overall, 78.95% among first-time takers.

To those examinees who passed, CONGRATULATIONS!! Treat yourself to some champagne! Truly, a job well done and an accomplishment for which you should be very proud.

To those examinees who did not pass, I will post more soon. In the meantime, the important thing to remember is that today's news is a setback -- that is all. Not passing on your first attempt is not a reflection of your abilities or your potential as an attorney. With the right combination of strategy, discipline and restraint, you will pass in February. Believe in yourself!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Honeymoon Is Over

Hello, All --

Well, it's October. In nine or ten days, the VBBE will release results of the July 2012 Virginia Bar Exam. Chances are, the VBBE has internally drafted the PASS/FAIL lists, and they are now cross-checking their grades and tallies.  For you, the last week or so will likely be a miserable one - the worst period, in my opinion. In the previous two months, when exam anxiety crept up, you could write it off ("Results are still months away, forget about them. For now."). Now that luxury is gone; the moment of truth is near. Some of you might already have a gut-reaction on how you fared. (The poll on the left-hand side of my homepage reflects some of your reactions.) Rest assured, the agony will be soon be over.

That's the bad news. Or the good news, depending on how you look at it. The reality is, nothing's actually changed. Again, what’s done was done back in July, and all the hope in the world won't change anything. Accept it. More to the point, though, is that bar exam results, whether you pass or fail, will never define who you are, neither personally nor professionally nor any other way. You are ten times better than the bar exam to allow it to bring you down to a level of constant despair and anxiety and self-pity. Especially in this last week, you must not forget that. Pass or fail, you are still you.

A couple other thoughts to share:
  • I'm quite surprised that William & Mary's faculty has not released their draft essay answers. Usually, they post them in early September, so I'm at a loss as to why they're late. Hopefully, they'll get around to it, but I wouldn't count on it before October 12. Even if they did post suggested answers before then, why bother at this point?
  • And about October 12; that's not exactly a hard-and-fast date. Historically, the VBBE either posts results on the stated day or else the day before, in this case October 11. For what it's worth, my hunch is on October 12. It's a Friday, and I look at it from the VBBE's perspective: Post results, close the office early to avoid the mass stampede of crazy phone calls, and let the whole thing blow over the weekend. Would I put money on my prediction? Nope. The point is, just don't expect any results before October 11.
Good luck, everybody! Hang in there, and remember to keep this next week in perspective. Please, just trust me on this one.