Honestly, I’m not even sure where to begin. I come to you this month, bewildered and broken-hearted but at the same time hopeful and determined. This summer was supposed to be about the Bar Exam, about forging ahead and blazing a new path. Unfortunately those plans came to a crashing halt on the night of June 21st. My mother called me late that night to tell me my stepfather, David, had collapsed while working out of town in Louisiana. She said she was on her way to the hospital then and I told her I was right behind her. I jumped in my truck and pointed it east towards the Louisiana state line as quick as I could. Just as I was crossing the Sabine River Bridge on Interstate 10 crossing into Louisiana, my cell phone rang…my mother was on the other line – she was too hysterical to even say the words, but I knew….he was gone.
At the age of 42 he had been taken from us all too soon and all too unexpectedly. The utter shock of it all still has my family reeling. So instead of studying for the Bar I was now helping my mother plan her husband’s funeral and assist her with the business aspects of the ordeal as well as being there emotionally for her and the children that were left behind. Every so often someone would take me aside and ask “shouldn’t you be studying?” – I know they meant well but the Bar Exam was the furthest thing from my mind for quite a while.
So as the days after his passing turned into the weeks after his passing I knew in my mind that it was time to get back to work, but I had no desire to even touch the material. I just wanted to set alone in a dark room with just my thoughts and process what on earth just happened and was it even real? For a while I kept expecting to wake up and find this was all some terrible dream. As I tried to ease back into studying I became easily frustrated – I was now weeks behind on where I should have been on my Bar Prep syllabus and the material seemed insurmountable. At one point I honestly contemplated throwing the towel in and just waiting to take the Bar in February. It would have been the easy way out – some might even say it might be the best thing to do in this case, but I know David would have none of it.
David was one of my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. He was so excited for me and the journey that I was about to embark upon as a lawyer. No matter what differences we had, we always saw through them and he was always there for me when it counted. I hate that I won’t be able to give him the in and outs of my first trial or discuss legal strategy with him any longer – but if I don’t pick myself up off the mat I may not be having those conversations with anyone at all.
Life happens…I know I’m not the only bar exam taker that something like this has ever happened to and I know that there are probably others out there right now experiencing similar circumstances. There’s really not a play book for something like this – all you can do is hope for the best and rely on the resources you have to give it your best shot.
My fiancé Daina is also taking the Texas Bar Exam and has been a saint in helping me catch up with the material that I missed and my good friend Jeff who is taking the North Carolina Bar Exam is a pro in areas of the MBE that I struggle in and has been more than gracious enough to offer any help he can provide me with in nailing down the material. I cannot express enough how grateful I am for their help.
So for those of you of out there that are experiencing something similar just know that you’re not alone and that your friends and colleagues are there to help you. The prospect of failing the bar exam is daunting, but I’ve made up my mind that if I’m going to strike out I’m at least going to go out swinging and maybe just maybe with a little luck I can still knock this thing out.
To not try, to give up and pack it in would be an injustice not only to myself but to someone who had a large hand in helping me to get where I am today.
David, thank you for everything, it won’t be the same without you.
All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.