So You Failed The Bar Exam…It’s Okay: A Message of Encouragement & Support

The following is a message of encouragement and support for repeat bar examinees.

As someone who previously failed the Texas Bar Exam, the one thing I know is this:  You have to trust the process and you have to trust the person who’s leading the process. 

Photo Credit: Graphics: Text: Erika Glenn

Every single thing that happens in life is for a reason.

I learned this lesson when I failed the bar exam on my first attempt.  Failing certainly was not part of my plan.  However, the faith that I developed during that time helped me to develop the faith to quit my job, and go solo once I did pass the bar exam.  Had I not failed the bar exam the first time, I would be working for a nonprofit immigration organization in Washington, DC because that was my plan.

My plan was so off the map!  Today, I am practicing as an Immigration Attorney in my own law firm…oh, and I live nowhere near DC.  I’m down here in the BIG ole state of TEXAS.

Did I see that coming?  No. 

Did I plan for that?  No.

However, God did plan that.  He briefly closed certain doors so that the right doors would open at the right time.  Furthermore, he closed certain doors so that I could develop and prepare to walk through my open doors!

I know it sounds crazy and hard to believe but, I’m willing to bet that most lawyers who failed the bar exam would characterize the experience as one of the best things that ever happened to them.  Those months of pain gave them the opportunity to understand their purpose, refine their identity, and develop their character.  The months they spent as an underdog prepared them to conquer and overcome their fears and doubts.  As a result, they are stronger mentally, spiritually and intellectually.

If you’ve recently failed the bar, you may feel alone but I am here to reassure you that is not true.  Do you know who else failed the bar exam?  Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo (allegedly–there’s still speculation on this one) and JFK Jr.  You’re in pretty good company if you’ve recently failed the bar exam.  Today’s failure is preparation for tomorrow’s success.

The awesome thing about people who experience failure is that they are some of the strongest individuals in the world.  Like muscles that become bulky and strong through repeated exertion and failure, you too become bulkier and stronger.  You become more brave and more determined.  You also develop the ability to achieve things that ordinary people do not accomplish.

Therefore, dare to continue to envision your dreams of becoming a lawyer.  Daydream about it.  Get a mental picture of yourself in your dream office and think about it each day until it becomes a reality.  I’m not saying this because it sounds good but because I did it myself when I failed the bar exam, and it helped me to stay encouraged.  It gave me extra motivation when studying for the bar exam, and I  passed on my second attempt.  “Oh but Erika, this is my fourth time taking the exam.”  So what! You will pass.  Get that into your mind right now.  You too, will pass but you have to let go of fear, doubt and anxiety.

Success in life is much more mental than it is physical.  This is the reason why you’re able to push through strenuous workouts when others have tapped out in the gym.  This is why you’re able to run 1-mile without stopping.  This is why you’re able to finish a book from front-to-back in a day.  It’s because you have the mental resolve to do so.  The same principle applies to the bar exam.  Determine to study like never before; and determine to have confidence and boldness like never before.  When you do that, even your brain will be in for a shock and a treat.  Push your courage to the limit and do not give up.  Cry if you need to and take a break when necessary but NEVER EVER GIVE UP!

Your dreams are counting on you.  Your goals are rooting for you.  Your God is on your side.

Be encouraged to know that you CAN DO THIS and go do it!  If you’d like to ask questions or you just need support throughout the process I know many other attorneys such as myself, who would love to support and encourage you.  Simply drop me a line at  Don’t be shy.  This is what friends and support are all about…helping each other to reach our goals.

I look forward to hearing from you and I hope that I’ve encouraged you to keep pressing forward.

Here’s one of my favorite scriptures that I read daily after I failed the bar exam.  I recited it daily and said it aloud before studying each day: “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”  (Philippians 1:6).

I hope it blesses you just as much as it blessed me during my process.




  • Courtney White
    May 2, 2014

    This post certainly encourages me. God knew I would fail the exam the first time and He took that failure and used it to help me become who I am today. He is still using it! Every failure teaches us how to overcome and success is usually related to how well you take defeat. I know my success now is also not dependent upon me. I learned that complete faith and trust are required to get to any of our dreams in life. Failing the bar was the best thing to happen to me! It made me comfortable with failure and because of Gods grace and mercy, failure has not withheld me from moving toward His goals for me. We can never be so misled to think our failures are determining factors for our outcome in life they are often indicators that we have a destiny to fulfill. Praise God for this message because every time I tell this story it reminds me of just how good God has been to me!! Thank you for continuing to hold the light!! Share it with more who need to know the battle is not over!!

    • ErikaTheEncourager
      May 2, 2014

      Amen Courtney! Your post reminds me of one of my favorite quotes is “failure is an event no a destination.” No matter how many times we fail, it will never change the destination that God has already planned for us. We just need the patience and perseverance the twists and turns that take place before we get there.

      Thanks so much for sharing! I truly hope your words inspire and encourage someone. I’m just going to go ahead and declare they will in the name of Jesus, Amen!

  • Roselyn
    May 3, 2014

    Failure when we allow ourselves helps us to experience and see the power of God. How will God be gloried if he did mere stuff? He is faithful, mysterious and so are his ways. How would we experience his wonders if he did average stuff. Sometimes the worst situation are a great means by which God uses to elevate us and give us the extra ordinary favor. Whatever bad we find our selves God is more than capable to allow his come to them.God uses these circumstances to prepare us for the great work or vision he has put before us and our greatest testimonies!!!

    • ErikaTheEncourager
      May 3, 2014

      Amen! It’s so true!!!

  • Amira
    January 22, 2016

    I’m studying for the bar exam for the 2nd time. The first time I weaved God into my studies, the way you include an associate in on a trip with really great friends. This time I’m treating my studies like the associate because the bar exam is temporary but God is forever! I wrestled the first time with anxiety, sadness, loss of confidence and fear. This time – I’m so filled with joy people can’t believe it. I refuse to allow stress to get me. I’ve cried but as you said – I.Get.Up. Thank you for your candor. It’s a breath of fresh air. I have a friend who will be taking the Texas bar for the fourth time. I’m definitely sending your blog post to her!

    • ErikaTheEncourager
      January 28, 2016

      Hey Amira! Thanks so much for taking to share your feedback and your experience. I really appreciate it and it means so much. I completely relate to fitting God into parts of life rather than making him the center of my life. The results between the two are always vastly different & in the end, I’m always like “why didn’t I just do things right the first time around?” lol. Anyhow, I’m standing in faith with you and believing that God is going to reward your faithfulness to Him in ways that exceed your imagination (Ephesians 3:20). Will you be taking the TX bar exam too? I’ll be keeping you and your friend in my prayers! Please feel to reach out anytime! My email is!

Drop me a line!


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