Bar exam passage & failure: a thread. I’m swallowing hard, because I’ve shared this with few people before. If you didn’t pass, I hope it will help & encourage you to hear about my experience. /1
How well I remember the feeling of failing the North Carolina bar on my first try. This would have been autumn 2004. I sat on the floor of my apartment in Chapel Hill and cried. My best friend came over and /2
made a pot of tea. She sat on the floor and drank it with me. A couple of other friends came too, and they waited quietly in my living room while I closed the door and called my parents from my bedroom to break the news. The next morning, /3
I had to tell the appellate judge for whom I was clerking. Then I had to tell the law professor for whom I had worked all through law school, who was a close friend and mentor. These were all people I loved, /4
admired, and respected, who believed in me; and I felt I had let them all down. It was excruciating and humiliating. Then the stress of studying began again—this time under an extra cloud of dread and pressure, while also working a demanding full-time job with a long commute. /5
I’m not going to lie, it was awful. I was so tired. I was disappointed, frightened, discouraged, and mortified. I was jealous of the people I knew who did pass the first time. It was the first time in my life when I viscerally realized /6
that nothing was guaranteed to work out for me or go my way. A simple lesson in theory, but it was so difficult for me to learn to live with that knowledge in daily life, and keep putting one foot in front of the other despite it. /7
For that reason, it is no exaggeration to say that failing the bar exam completely changed me as a person. Seventeen years later, I can see how that change was ENTIRELY for the better. I didn’t know it at the time, but /8
I had a lot of other tragedies, screw-ups, failures, and humiliations ahead of me, some of them much worse. Fellow bar exam non-succeeders: so do you. But now, in this crushing moment, I’m here to tell you that I was 1000% better prepared for those future vagaries of life b/c /9
I failed the bar exam in 2004. And you will be, too. That’s the first and most important thing I want you to remember in this dark moment. You will be BETTER for this. You will be a better lawyer and /10
a better person. Better, I dare to suggest, than if you had passed on your first try. I know I am, for one.

One other thing you should try to remember: /11
this is a season of life, not your whole life. I studied hard, passed that sucker on my second try and 4 years later I passed California on my first try. I moved around the state and the country, I worked for /12
some judges, I’ve worked at a couple law firms now. If one thing has helped me in my career more than anything, it is the quality of grit. Showing up every day and working hard, both when you feel like it and when you don’t. Having /13
to re-take the bar gave me grit, persistence, toughness, and resilience. Those are precious gifts. I wouldn’t have voluntarily chosen to acquire them that way, but I value them now nonetheless. /14
I have plenty of other opinions on the worth of the bar exam (if any … meh) which I’ll save for another time. In conclusion, though, I just want to say now, if you didn’t pass the test this fall, /15
you have my sympathy and you are in my thoughts. I hope it helps you a little bit to know I’ve been in those shoes too and not only survived, but thrived. Keep your chin up and keep trying. You can do this. /end

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Elizabeth Holt Andrews

Elizabeth Holt Andrews Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @EHA_appeals

1 Sep 20
Thread: a small but, I think, telling story on how the pandemic is exacerbating gender inequality & general hostility to working mothers in our culture. Today, I was mocked in open court by opposing counsel and the judge (both men) because 1/x
I had sent OC an email around 1 AM the night before. As both of them commented virtuously, “Well, I, for one, was definitely sleeping at 1 AM.” Congratulations to the two of them on their good night’s sleep. However, I have 2 toddlers and no childcare in the pandemic. 2/x
We have high-risk members of our household and daycare/outside help is not an option for us. In any given 24 hour period, I am responsible for ~12 hours of childcare and family responsibilities. I’ve been operating under these constraints for months. There’s virtually no 3/x
Read 5 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!