Two Bar Exams, One Dream Clerkship, No Job

Katie Apple Columns, Lawyer 12 Comments

The thrill is gone.

Last Friday, I found out that I passed the New York bar. How I was able to find that out after five-plus hours of fruitlessly trying to load a page on their website, which crashed approximately 14 minutes after results became available, is another story.

I immediately had that “whoosh” feeling, like 15 tons had just been lifted from my shoulders. I had that same feeling almost exactly one year prior, when I found out that I passed the California bar.

A year ago, I went out, got drunk and took a cute guy home. It was great.

But one year later, the results of the New York exam inspired little in the way of drunken revelry and casual sex.

Why the second bar exam?

I had moved to New York for what was supposed to be a six-month clerkship at DreamJob (yes, you’ve heard of the company. No, I’m not going to name them). After a few months at DreamJob, I fell in love with New York, which prompted me to begin my search for local BigLaw jobs that would help me eventually return to DreamJob as an in-house counsel. In other words, DreamJob doesn’t hire lawyers straight out of law school. They’ll give you a “clerkship” with a meager stipend that won’t even cover the cost of renting an apartment in New York.

But the lawyers at DreamJob did help setup a few BigLaw interviews for me that went something like this:

Partner: “Oh, you’re not licensed in New York. But you’d be willing to take the Bar again, right?”

Me: “Well, I can waive into DC and in five years I can waive into New York…”

Partner: “Not so much.”


So I had to regroup, suck it up and sign up for the New York bar.

Let me just tell you 3L’s out there who bitch about studying for the bar:  You have nothing else to do but go to class, write some outlines and work out. (I was never in better shape than when I was studying for the California bar. And I’m talking about California-hottie shape, mind you.) Working and paying rent in New York City while studying for the bar was a totally different experience. I worked for most of the summer, found a new apartment, moved and managed to do my first multiple choice questions the weekend of July 4. This was not the plan for success I had followed the year before, and I was nervous. I had an epic breakdown after the test was over. I was so exhausted.

But there was no rest after the July exam It was time to find a job.

Luckily, DreamJob extended my clerkship (with its meager stipend) while I was looking for a job. I thought, yeah, I’ll be out of there in a month. That was back in August. Four months later, I’m still working as a clerk and going on interviews.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that DreamJob’s kicking me to the curb by December 31, and I’m looking at a widespread BigLaw hiring freeze.

So, despite a regular stream of “promising” interviews, this is my life right now:

Ignorant Slut Co-Worker:  “Congrats on passing another bar.”

Me: “Thanks.”

Ignorant Slut Co-Worker: “Now if you could only find a job.”

Me: “I hate you.”

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  • Alex Hump

    Poor beeotch.  There’s only about 30,000 similar new law grads in NYC with the same story, though maybe not with 2 bar exams under their belt. Not sure why she is calling the co-worker an ignorant slut, but if this woman is any good, she ought to be able to get some temp work or at least something else outside of the law while she waits out the economy.  Also, if she’s in good physical shape, as she claims, she is better than most lawyer women in NY, who make Janet Reno look like a bathing beauty.  Maybe she should go down to the Lower East Side, hang around and see how tough life really is.  I’m sure she will find the experience to be eye-openingwhile she’s waiting for her ship to come in.

  • Anonymous

    Similar story here… passed the bar, had a couple great externships while in school, great recommendations and still cannot find a permanent position.  Additionally, I think that being a woman, particularly an attractive woman, works against you sometimes.  As evidenced by the rampant misogynistic posts on this site, the legal world is still a boys club… I’ve gotten some really “helpful” advice about being less pretty/nice/etc.

  • Anonymous

    Come on, you would rather be a moose?  Then you could really claim discrimination.  If you’re pretty, just suck it up and go out and get a job like the rest of us.

  • Hump Hater

    Alex Hump needs to grow up.
    He’s worse than Dickman, and that’s sad.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous @6:46: Being pretty isn’t working against you.  You just have a shitty personality.

  • procrastinator

    Anonymous @ 8:36: You sound bitter and not just about the law.  Pretty girls won’t talk to you will they.

  • Anonymous

    Ms. Apple is a victim of her own circumstance.  No one has their dream law job for one reason or another – pay and “cool factor” don’t go hand-in-hand – so if you can’t figure that out and live with it, you’re not good enough to be a lawyer anywhere in NY.  Get over yourself, Ms. Apple.

  • Anonymous

    I checked the NYS Bar list, and guess what, there is no Apple on the pass list.  Maybe she didnt pass after all.  Can she blame that on her good looks?  Me thinks not.

  • @8:36

    Procrastinator: I’m not bitter.  I’m just cranky because it’s hard to sleep when the dancer you’re dating goes into heat at 4:00am and demands you fulfill your manly duties.

  • Overeducated

    Finally – someone is telling the truth about higher education.  Just because you have a fancy degree doesn’t mean you automatically get a job or make a lot of money.  Keep at it Ms. Apple.

  • Lo

    Oh no I hate ignorant sluts and yes your rant is true you were in hottie shape while taking the Cal bar.  And it is also true that studying right out of law school is a dream and all those pussy 3L’s who start crying on June 1st should read this rant to see how it really is.

  • Tired of Job Hunting

    My dream job isn’t even that dreamy and I can’t seem to get past the second interview! 
    I’m so sick of describing myself in five years or trying to explain my lack of connection to the particular city I want – can’t these interviewers get new questions??