If I Failed The California Bar Exam...

Strange, isn't it? For last three months you have been begging for this day to come. The day the bar results are to be released and you can escape bar purgatory! Now that its here, with your pride and ego at stake, another week of waiting wouldn't be so bad, eh?

I was very fortunate that I had a very supportive network while studying for the bar exam. I had a sister who got me a flexible part-time job. My cousin who was sending me gift cards from Virginia to help make ends meet. A friend back in Minnesota willing to stay up late and quiz me on my outlines. And a crew of other friends and family who gave me encouragement throughout the process. All of this support just made results day that much more terrifying.

Failure I can handle. I failed to learn how to play bridge. I failed a math class in college. I even failed to get an offer from a firm out of law school. However, my friends didn't know it was my goal to learn to play bridge, my family never saw my transcripts and it was a lousy economy coming out of law school, so not having an offer wasn't uncommon. So these failures, in one way or another, were private failures.

The California bar exam on the other hand is a public failure. They give you a two day head start before people can start downloading the pass list, but it is a public list. Not only are friends and family going to know, but employers, classmates, professors and, if your famous, the media. The bar examiners even make the list easily searchable to aid them in finding out about our failure. Jerks.

The day the results were to come out, I was sitting in LAX. As I waited for my flight to Minneapolis, I thought about what I would do if I failed the bar exam. I came to the conclusion that because it is a public failure, I had to own this failure. People were going to know and if I didn't bring it up, there would be a big elephant in the room. It would be awkward for me and the people that supported me. I didn't want that for them.

So while waiting for my plane, I wrote a text that said, "I didn't pass. Thanks for your support, I will call you tomorrow," and saved it as a draft. I took comfort in knowing how I was going to tell people I didn't make the cut. If I failed the California bar exam, this is how I was going to tell my friends and family. If you fail, how are you going to tell your friends and family? Take comfort in your process because 6 pm is still a long ways away.

Good Luck!