According to the video below provided by Minnesota Lawyer, 830 law school graduates took the Minnesota bar exam last July. Never having stepped foot into Minnesota, I had never heard of any of the law schools attended by the bar exam takers in the video. I can only assume,without checking USNWR rankings, that none of these schools are considered "top tier" - at least not outside of Minnesota. The Minnesotan who sent me the video also informs me that the Minnesota job market is in the crapper, much like the rest of the Midwestern states, and there aren't any jobs. So why did these students decide to take the bar exam?
None of the graduates in the video seemed to have a job lined up at the time of the bar exam. I hope the guy who failed the bar exam twice passed the third time around if only to save himself from wasting more money on test prep courses. But Ms. Guertin from William Mitchell School of Law nails it when she says at 1:02 that passing the bar exam doesn't necessarily mean you're guaranteed a job.
The bar exam will not guarantee anyone a job right now. The only thing that will be easier is finding doc review work and you can make more money than a law graduate who isn't admitted to the bar. That's it. I hear and read about law school graduates who think passing the bar is the golden key to a great legal job. It isn't. Wiser graduates like Mike at Barely Legal (btw, he started blogging again last month after a long hiatus. Welcome back!) decided to save his money and not take the exam.
People will have different opinions on this but I think the bar exam in this economy is a waste of money and time, especially for third tier graduates who never had a chance at finding a good job in a recession. If you end up finding a great law firm job, let them pay for the exam instead. Don't take out another loan from Sallie Mae or Access Group to take the exam. If you fail, consider it a blessing or buy used Barbri books off of Craigslist if you decide to take it again. You have to ask yourself whether more torture and money down the drain is worth it if you're in a state that has a high unemployment rate and little opportunity to find a good paying legal job. I'm curious to know if any of the graduates in the video found jobs after passing the bar. If any of you are reading this please update us on your job search.
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