I’m an attorney licensed in three states. You might think I have a high-powered law practice that requires frequent travel and appearances in court. I don’t. I take bar exams for fun.
OK, not fun exactly, but just to prove a point: don’t underestimate me.
I took the LSAT on a whim. I applied to law school on a whim. I have no idea why they let me in. I didn’t know what to expect when I got to law school and I hated it. I wanted to quit. My mother encouraged me to stick it out. She’d tell me, “At least finish the first semester. That way, you’ll have one semester of law school and no one can ever take that away from you.” She adapted this each semester. “At least finish the first year…” You get the idea.
I finished despite having someone in law school tell me I could always fall back on my undergraduate degree in accounting. I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to be a lawyer. I took my first bar exam because I had to at least try after the torture of law school. I passed.
Years later, I moved to a different state. I got a non-legal job, but found that most people seemed surprised when they found out I had gone to law school AND passed the bar exam. They acted like it must have been a fluke. So I signed up for bar exam number two. I studied at night and re-learned all those subjects that hadn’t crossed my mind since the first one. After taking my second bar exam, I was convinced I had failed miserably. I passed. Not only did I pass, one of my essay exam answers was published in a study guide. They paid me $25. Boom!
Shortly thereafter, I moved back to state number one. That should have been it. I didn’t need another law license. A normal person would have stopped at two. But I got pissed off.
I wanted help figuring out some unique provisions of another state’s laws, so I reached out to several co-workers that were attorneys licensed in that state. The responses I received ranged from being totally useless to downright offensive. My favorite was, “It’s too complicated for me to waste my time trying to explain it to you.” That one fueled my fire and helped me make the decision to take another bar exam.
So, 15 years after law school, I sat for my third bar exam. I was much older than most of the other examinees. I was also one of the few that hand-wrote the exam because, dinosaur that I am, I wasn’t sure I could trust the exam taking software everyone else was using. It was terrifying and physically exhausting, but I was driven to prove that I could do it. I did do it and I’m proud of myself.
Someone once compared me to Elle Woods from the movie Legally Blonde. When asked “You got into Harvard Law?” Elle responds “What? Like it’s hard?” Maybe I do have that attitude. Right now I’m trying to decide which state is going to be number four.