Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Bar Review

New York City: Day 1

So this was it. The first of two days of the New York State Bar Exam. I stayed at a jazzy new Holiday Inn (not joking, it was small, but swank. It opened like a month before I stayed there. I highly recommend spending the extra money on a nice, clean, quiet hotel. Friends who stayed at the Hotel Pennsylvania complained about all three of those things. Not the way to feel just before the most important two days of your life.) about 10-12 blocks away from the Jacob Javits Convention Center. I cabbed it over with a friend who was also staying in the hotel, and arrived to what looked like an academic refuge camp. Thousands of people waiting inside and outside of the building.

This was the New York testing day, which meant we were allowed to bring in our laptops, and our one gallon clear plastic bag filled with "non-loud snacks," "feminine products," and "drinks in a juicebox or plastic container." And special this year: they allowed us to bring in peanut products!

We stood around for about an hour before the let us in and down the short escalator into what seemed like an enormous concrete palace. The picture posted a few days ago, which I totally thought was either made up or from another state, is actually exactly what the bar exam at the Javits Center looks like. Creepy. We got green wristbands that we couldn't take off for two days. It was our ticket in (and out) of this misery.

Over 6000 people were taking their exam at the Javits center. I was in the first row. I found my seat, and my table partner was already there: a nice kid from New England, who liked to talk Red Sox. Things were going well. Powered up the laptop, and brought up the exam software. So far, so good.

The proctor came around to sign us in. All of the proctors, to my surprise, were really nice and relaxed. I was surprised, because I'm not sure I would be that cool knowing that I would have to deal with 6000 type-A personalities taking an exam that determines their future. But I digress.

The nerves hit some, but then the announcer came on the jumbo speakers located throughout the convention center. Either he's a loud talker, or didn't know the volume of the speakers, but this man shouted for no less than 30 minutes. I mean, he probably heard himself talking so loud, but never changed the pitch or volume of his voice. (I was going for the Will Ferrel/Jacob Silj reference there) People put their earplugs in early, or plugged their ears with their fingers while he read over how to assemble our testing materials. I got a headache about 4 minutes in. Great. Perfect way to start this thing.

Then we started. The test was as expected. 5 essays, 50 New York State specific multiple choice questions, and the MPT (please, stop making us do this. It's pointless). I won't go into details about the questions asked, but it's safe to say they hit on topics not often tested, but it was fair. There was one or two questions where most of us felt that we made up a rule of law and applied it. BarBri taught us how to do that, so I felt fine doing it on the real thing.

Then it was over at about 4:45. We were beat. It was hot out, but I decided to walk the 10-12 blocks home. I destressed, and got a little sweaty. Took a shower immediately, and used the delicious mint soap provided by the hotel. Met up with friends for dinner and pigged out. The back to the room to prepare for day two: the MBE.

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