You’re worth more than your ability to pass (or fail) the bar exam

Last August, Jon Hanson asked me, as an alum, to give a talk to a group of Harvard Law School 1Ls about “life in the law.” It was one of the hardest talks I’ve ever given, because it’s some of the subject matter that’s still the rawest for me. It’s been sitting on my hard drive for a while, and although it fills me with anxiety, I figure it’s long past time I share it publicly. In November 2016, I was sitting in a hotel room in Pittsburgh, and I had just found out that I failed the California bar, just like 57.3% of other people who took it. Alex, one of my best friends from law school, and I took the bar together. Among 1,500 test takers in Sacramento, California, we were randomly placed two seats apart. I’m on the phone with her when we get our results. She’s convinced that the computer system failed, that there’d been some sort of mistake. After all, she walked out halfway through the first session (leaving me…

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