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Bill Richards

Bar Exam Wisdom from Arizona Lawyers

The bar exam is a few days away.  All of our work for the last 4 years to get into law school, through law school, and through bar prep will come down to a 2-day test (3 days for some people).

I went to Arizona State University for law school.  Most of my friends and I are taking the Arizona bar exam next week.  In preparation, I reached out to some people who practice law from Arizona, most of who have previously passed the Arizona bar.  I asked them what advice they wished someone had given them before they took the test.  Here’s what they had to say:

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“The absolute worst thing you can do to yourself is speak with any of your fellow test takers about their experience with any portion of the exam.  They will have wax convincingly about seeing issues you did not spot, making you question whether you really studied at all.  Chances are high if you did not see the issue it’s because it was not there.   There is no need to peck away at your self-confidence this way – just turn the subject to something non-exam related, or just walk away.   This is especially good advice after the exam is completed.  Remember, you’ll have long weeks sweating out the results.  There is no need to add to the tension because Billy Bob, who never scored higher than a 72 on any law school exam, uncovered a hidden corporate duty of loyalty issue in that First Amendment question.”
Bill Richards, partner at Bade and Baskin, earned the highest score on the AZ Bar Exam in July 1990

“Before I took the bar, a good friend who had previously taken it told me to trust all of the studying I had done and go in there confident and with guns blazing. That really stuck with me and I took that advice right into the exam hall. I dared this exam to try and stop me from passing! Your state of mind is so very important on the day of the exam. I had people sitting next to me who were completely flustered and wound up missing whole questions on the exam. If you must listen to some arrogant rap music to get your confidence up (Kanye, anyone?). So stay confident and calm (do a yoga class the day before to get centered – I totally did this!) and remember that you worked hard and are ready for this.”
Rachel Rodgers, principal attorney with Rachel Rodgers Law Office

“You will never feel like you’re prepared enough, no matter how much you study. Just accept that! Do your best to remain calm because freaking out just makes you lose focus and forget things. You will, most likely, either run out of time on some questions, or get questions that really throw you for a loop, or both. But remember that EVERYONE is in the same situation, and NO ONE knows the answer to everything. Even the highest scores aren’t ever perfect scores. You only need a D+ to pass, that’s all. Not an A, not a B, not a C. Most of you have never even written C answers in law school, so have confidence in yourselves and know that you can do it! When it comes to the week before the exam, please don’t spend all of your time cramming. At that point you know what you know and cramming will just exhaust you. Focus on your problem areas for one last refresher and try to get out and do some fun things to relax you. The last thing you want to do in the days before the exam is burn yourself out. Lastly, you WILL feel like you failed when you get out of there. It is just part of the process. So don’t be like me and spend the whole night crying and looking into other careers, because chances are you rocked it! Believe in yourself and whatever you do, DON’T talk about the exam when you’re done! You can’t change your answers and usually the people bragging about what they wrote are wrong anyway. Ok, that is all the wisdom I have so good luck and hang in there. It will be over before you know it!”
Jeni Christopher, associate at Schlesinger Conrad, passed the Arizona bar exam in February 2011

“Whatever got you far enough to take the bar exam will see you through it — and allow you to leave the indignity of it far behind.”
David J. Bodney, partner at Steptoe and Johnson 

Good luck everyone!

More Bar Exam Wisdom:

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ASU Law Awesome Awards

I have been lucky to have some amazing professors during my time at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.  With graduation approaching, I polled my classmates and asked them which professors deserved awards for their excellence in teaching or dedication to students.  These are the results:

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Best In-class Quotes: Andy Hessick
I took a class from him two years ago, and I still remember, “When someone cuts off your face, you don’t get your face back. You get money. It’s a substitute.”

Best Open Door Policy: Chad Noreuil
I don’t know how many times I popped by his office hours to vent, get advice, and re-gain some perspective on life.  He always said that he was there for his students, and you knew he meant it.

Best Comedian: Doug Sylvester
He explained concepts brilliantly and he always did it in a way that made me laugh.

Best Heart-to-Heart Talks: Judy Stinson
She is the best person to talk when you need a conversation about law school or life without the professor-student relationship getting in the way of her awesome advice.

Best Rants: Michael Berch
You never knew what he would say next.  Every class was a jaw-dropping performance.

Best Professor for Showing Students the Big Picture: Bob Clinton
Taking his classes hurts your head because you have to understand the historical and social issues that correspond to the legal issues in each case.  It makes his classes challenging, but you get more out of them.

Most Dedicated to the Student Experience: Shelli Soto
She is devoted to helping students make the best of their experience at law school & celebrates the student perspective.

Most Knowledgeable: Tom Williams
The man knows everything about everything from policies to professors.  He’s also the best person to sit next to at an event because he knows Berman’s speeches so he’ll know when they’ll be over.

Biggest Heart: Charles Calleros
It only takes one conversation with him to know how dedicated he is to his students.

Awesome Adjuncts: Larry Cohen, Troy Foster, Andy Halaby, Bill Richards, & Anne Tiffen
These professors are known for their incredible knowledge base and for providing a valuable real-world element to their courses.

Most Dedicated to Helping Students Achieve their Dreams: Michael Bossone
When I was a 1L, his entire job was helping students achieve their dreams.  Even after he left the law school, he was always there when we needed his encouragement or guidance.

Honorable Mentions: John Becker, Marianne Alcorn, Chuck Dallyn, Amy Langenfeld, & Mary Sigler

Thank you all for you energy and dedication to the graduating class of 2011!

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