Q) I’m working at a Big Firm, and I just found out I failed the bar. Out of 30 first years, I think I’m the only one. Is my career ruined? Will my reputation forever be tarnished? What should I do?
A) Lie your ass off. Tell everyone you were preoccupied with your girlfriend’s terminal cancer or your best friend’s tragic suicide. Or something like that. Even though it’s a common occurrence, failing the bar still ain’t cool in Big Firm World. People pretend it’s not a big deal, but it is.
The firm will probably have you meet with some well-wishing partner who failed 30 years ago to help allay your humility and anxiety, but don’t be fooled, they’re not thrilled. To them, you either didn’t study hard enough or you’re not that smart. Neither one is great. Think about it. If you were a partner and you had a choice to work with two associates—one who passed the bar and one who failed the bar– who would you pick?
So do yourself a favor and come up with a simple, credible excuse that makes you look neither stupid nor lazy, and then study your ass off and pass the goddamn bar in February. Bottom line: If you’re smart and diligent, people will forget you failed. If you’re not, they won’t.