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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.