After countless hours of study and practice, you’ve finally finished the bar exam. Congratulations! Here are six tips you can use to make the most out of your time as you anxiously await your bar exam results.
1. Forget About It
Put that pesky exam in the back of your mind. It’s now out of your control, and stressing about what you should have done differently isn’t fun or productive. Trust that you did the best you could and start focusing on other things.
Now that you’ve put that (what was it called again?) in your rearview mirror, it’s time to get down to the serious business of not being serious. Here are a few ways to relax:
- Take care of your physical and mental health
- Catch up on sleep
- Get reacquainted with neglected hobbies
- Reconnect with family and friends
- Take a vacation
Whatever you do, give yourself that mental break and stress relief you’ve more than earned.
3. Check Licensure Requirements
Take a look at the NCBE®’s Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements. You’ll find information on things like state-specific requirements (e.g., additional test or course requirements) that you must complete to be admitted into the bar. You also can obtain up-to-date information from the bar admission agency in your jurisdiction. Contact information and web addresses are in the NCBE guide.
4. Reflect on Your Future
Now is the perfect time to reflect on what you want out of life and your career. Think about your career priorities and consider what would make you happiest:
- Consider whether you want to practice law. If you do, what area of law? Government or private practice? Litigation or corporate?
- Think about what’s most important to you. A high salary? A flexible schedule? Work-life balance? Being your own boss?
- Talk with practicing lawyers you know about their experiences and recommendations.
- Remember that your first job probably won’t be your last. It’s mainly about growth and preparing yourself for the next step in your legal career.
5. Apply for Jobs—Now
Some employers may be reluctant to hire persons who are waiting for bar results, but many will employ you! And on the off chance that you have to retake the bar exam, many firms will keep you around since they’ve already invested in you, and you’ve made a great impression. So use this time to start your job hunt:
- Update your resume and LinkedIn® profile. When you apply for a job, be sure to adjust your resume to show that you have the qualifications listed in the job description.
- Create a template for cover letters. Use the template to quickly create a job-specific cover letter highlighting your skills with the ones your future employer is seeking.
- Start exploring employment websites to get a taste of what’s out there.
- Consider getting some help. Your law school’s Office of Career Services is a great place to start. You don’t have to job-hunt alone!
- Get a leg up on your peers. Observe court proceedings, take CLE’s, familiarize yourself with local rules, etc. If you want to work in family law, read the family code. There’s no time like the present!
Attend networking events where you can interact with lawyers (e.g., bar association meetings, alumni meetings). Reach out to your mentors for advice and job opportunities. Contact your law school’s Office of Careers Services or Career Development. Helping graduates find a job is one of their top priorities, and they likely can put you in contact with local employers or alumni outside the school’s region.
6. Get a Great Start on Your Legal Career
Get ready to push the pedal to the metal once you start your new job or get promoted at your current workplace. Here are a few helpful habits to develop:
- Throw yourself into your work; it will distract you from obsessing over bar results and make a good impression.
- Dress to impress; reach out to HR or the hiring attorney if you are unsure of the dress code. When in doubt, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
- Put in extra time—even if it’s not billable and market yourself (join bar associations, volunteer, network).
- Be the kind of person that you enjoy working with; show that you are humble, hard-working, and ready to pitch in.
There you have it! Yes, you might be tempted to wait with bated breath for your bar exam results, but we hope that you’ll apply these six tips to keep your peace of mind while you wait for those highly-anticipated bar exam results.
And if you happen to retake a bar exam and want to amp up your MBE® prep, click here for our FREE trial. We’ll have you ready to ace the MBE on exam day.
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