Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Ohio Bar

Given the number of steps it takes to become a lawyer (at least in Ohio), it's amazing there are so many damn many of the them. As I am 27 days from being "hooded," I thought I'd recap the "Rube Goldberg"-like manner in which one suddenly finds themselves whoring themselves as a lawyer to pay off a crushing debt load. Some of these are required by the Ohio Supreme Court, others are just things they wanted just for the hell of it:

1) Be @ least 21 years old. It's bad enough that our profession has a high incidence of alcohol abuse. We can't tolerate encouraging it at such a young age.

2) Earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Apparently something about that extra two years makes you professional. I wonder, if you took four years to get an associates, could you challenge this rule under the Equal Protection Clause? The even dumber part of this rule is that you have to have the degree before law school. Personally, if you can finish your degree while passing through your first year, you should get an automatic spot on law review.

3) You have to take the LSAT, a test that has never had any application to the study of law. However, as a member of Moot Court, I have had to use my LSAT skills in law school to create a seating chart for a banquet and assign teams and schedule them for various competitions, so the LSAT logic puzzles have come in handy. If I read anymore, I'm sure the Reading Comprehension would come in handy. Especially, before I could use Brief-It on Westlaw.

4) Get two people to write a letter of recommendation for you so that the Admissions Committee has something besides just your personal statement to laugh their asses off.

5) Choose your law schools. Go with the strata of safe, medium, and "my parents will just be proud Harvard wrote me back." I applied to every law school except Ohio Northern. I thought I had standards.

6) Rob a bank because you just realized that you have no money for 13 different law school applications. Try to forge Harvard's letterhead for Mom and Dad.

7) Wait for law schools to recover their collective breath and decide if you're worth three years of massive tuition increases.

8) Try not to kill yourself when you get "wait-listed" at Cleveland State and begin to wonder what Ohio Northern would have done to you.

9) Find an apartment near the third-tier school you only applied to because it was free to apply on-line, which you did at work (and then got complemented for how hard you were working lately).

10) As you pack, find you are pulled off a wait-list from a school striving to drop to the third tier.

11) Hellish 1L year, but now you're set for Law Review!

12) Try out for Moot Court and pray.

13) 2L First Semester: Try to improve your grades so you don't have to go wherever you worked last summer. File your application to Register as a Candidate for the Ohio Bar. Start referring yourself as "the Candidate" and regret moving around so much, having so many jobs at places that don't exist anymore, and every parking/speeding ticket you've ever got. Go to your Character and Fitness Review and spend five minutes talking about a $10,000 credit card you were given in undergrad when you had no money that you (surprisingly) were also unable to repay.

14) Realize your GPA and Rank is well set and cannot be moved that far up, thus dooming your job prospects. Suddenly, you realize anything over an "F" gets you to graduation just the same.

15) Pray against "F"s for three straight semesters.

16) In August of your 3L Year, take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) a sixty-question multiple-choice exam of the ABA's Code of Professional Responsibility since you need to know all about the ethical code your state DOES NOT follow. Some claim this test is necessary as a requirement for the bar to ensure ethical lawyers (even though you need only 35 points above missing every question to pass in Ohio, and Ohio shares the highest required score!) I think all it does is let lawyers know which rules they are breaking. Whether they break them or not has nothing to do with how seriously they took a test they could study one night, miss almost half of the questions, and still pass.

17) Keep praying for those "D-"s.

18) File your Application to Take the Bar Exam which is nothing more than an update of your application to become "the Candidate." Realize that you now keep the Ohio Supreme Court more in touch with your life than your own family.

19) GRADUATE! Take time to appreciate the time left you have with your classmates as it is the last time you'll see them until the PMBR starts in two days, and then BARBRI, and during the Bar, and the Bar Induction Ceremony, and CLEs, and whenever you just sue the pants off their clients.

20) Pay private companies nearly $3,000 to teach you in a month and half what you just paid nearly $60,000 to learn for the last three years.

21) Take the Bar.... start regretting aiming for those "D-"s.

22) Wait from August until November to find out if you passed. Call your mom weekly to remind her you haven't learned anything yet.

23) Take the oath of office, the easiest thing you did to get closer to becoming a lawyer since turning 21.

24) Take the 12-hour, required CLE for New Lawyers on Dec. 15 in Columbus so that you can keep your license longer than a year.

25) Now, you may call yourself a lawyer. Of course, once you find a job.


Anonymous said...

It's intersting that you make reference to Ohio Northern as if it is a bottom of the barrel, safety net school. The same bar exam that you took (July 2005) where Cincinatti's passage rate was 85%;Ohio Northern's was 84%.
Standards, eh?

Modern Esquire said...

First of all, this is a joke post. If it offended you, you need to get a life. Also, if you think your comment changed my opinion of ONU law school, you're sadly mistaken.

It only took you seven months to come with a reply and this is the best you can come up with?

U.C. had 80 people take the Ohio Bar exam; ONU only had 25. That means that U.C. had over three times as many people pass the Ohio bar than ONU did.

Had one more ONU first-time test taker failed the July bar exam, ONU would have continued its tradition of its graduates passing the bar exam at a lower percentage than the average first-time taker rate.

In July 2004, ONU first-time passage rate was 68%. In July 2003, 73%.

Given that ONU is an Ohio law school with such a small class size, a bar passage rate for the OHIO bar exam in the 80% should not be applauded, it should be expected. Unfortunately, the tradition of ONU first-time test takers is that they tend to have below average passage rate.

Also, ONU is recognized as a fourth-tier law school and is the only one where you can be AUTOMATICALLY ADMITTED into if you were an ONU undergrad student.

I look forward to reading your reply in June 2006.

Anonymous said...

Man, I really enjoyed that blog about the Ohio bar, too funny. I graduted from UC Law in 2001 and man I barely made it out of there. I was doing all kinds of praying for D-'s, let me tell you. However, I have to say that when I got to Barbri that I wished I would have done Barbri BEFORE going to law school. So much of law school is "hiding the ball" and I remember when I had Chimerenski for Con Law at Barbri that I learned INFINTITELY more in two days with him than I did with Lockwood and Biancalanna- I remember being utterly confused in those classes. However, after reading 30 page outline I had the clearest understanding of it. In fact, when I took the MBE I got a 153 while people who did MUCH better in my class got in the 130's, ha ha.

Anyway, good for you in getting admitted. My only advice would be to make sure you want to stay in Ohio! I learned this the hard way. See, there are several states that will allow you to either "waive in" or use your MBE score for a 1-3 years. For example, KY will let you take only the written portion of their bar and use your MBE score for 3 years. IL has a smilar policy. It really sucked when I wanted to move to another state and I let too much time go by. I can't imagine having to sit down and do MBE questions again. I mean screw that! If you wait too long then you have to waive in to another state and that's usually at least 5 years of waiting. The BARBRI website is the best for quickly find out what a state's admission requirements are.

Take it easy!

A proud Ohio Northern graduate said...

Only a fool would "wonder what Ohio Northern would have done to you." Given that you practice law in Ohio, you know many fellow members of the Ohio bar are Ohio Northern law grads. Many Common Pleas judges are also Ohio Northern law grads. Senator Mike DeWine is an Ohio Northern law grad. Someday you will likely work for an Ohio Northern grad and you will definitely litigate against Ohio Northern grads. I promise you will “wonder what Ohio Northern would have done to you” every time you lose a case to Ohio Northern grads who are better prepared and more humble than you are. One thing Ohio Northern would have done is teach you how to be professional and not make snide comments about fellow members of the Ohio bar.

Modern Esquire said...

First of all, your comment is late... I was expecting your reply in June, not September. But it's always nice to see someone reply to something posted as a joke a year and half later.

Second, inferiority complex, anyone? My "what would Ohio Northern would have done to me" comment was about what they would have done with my admission application, had I bothered to apply to them, it wasn't a question as to what kind of lawyer it would have made me (although statistically, it would have made me a law student with a less than average chance of passing the Ohio bar the first time.)

I'm sorry that you're insecure about your fourth-tier law school, but if that's the best case you can make for Ohio Northern, it's sad. Every law school in Ohio can boast about having common plea judges and prosecutors (what, not even a single federal judge?), and frankly, Mike DeWine is not something to brag about ever . . . in any situation. And he has not really impressed me with his jurisprudence as he has being carrying water for the Bush Administration's NSA warrantless wiretapping program.

I would take your lecture about "snide" comments more seriously if your comment was so dripping with them.

Given that ONU graduates only 23 people a year and roughly 80% only pass the bar, and that most of the graduates practice in NWO, the chances of me even meeting an ONU grad is remote. Second, if I lose, it won't be because of the superior skill or education that ONU provided.

ONU is a school that people apply to as one of their safe schools. Sorry, but it's true, and you can't ignore it's historically low Ohio bar passage rate for an Ohio law school. I've never met anyone who was more proud about the fact that they got into ONU than they did just getting into ANY law school. You can't say that for other law schools.

I'm sorry that my post offended you, but get a life, it was a joke. And it wasn't even a joke where ONU was the punchline.