Recalling the wait for the results of the bar exam and what comes next...
Monday, October 14, 2013
Posted by: Jon Baris
A few weeks ago our legal community welcomed many new attorneys to the profession when the results of the July 2013 Missouri Bar Exam were released. This time of year thinking about the bar exam always brings a mixed group of memories for me.
Some memories are not so good. I remember the time and effort required to study for the bar exam and then actually taking the exam in Jefferson City. In fact, I still get a strange feeling every time I am in Jefferson City and drive past the hotel where the bar exam was administered. And waiting for the results of the bar exam certainly did not lessen the stress.
But of course I also certainly have one good memory. That would be the overwhelming feelings of joy and relief on October 4, 1996 (yes, I still remember the exact date), when I left work early so I could be home at my mailbox when the mail was delivered that day. Then I opened the envelope from the Missouri Supreme Court and learned that I had passed the bar exam.
And to answer the question that most of the relatively new lawyers reading this may have – yes, back in "my day” we actually had to wait for the results to come by regular mail as there was no online way to see whether we passed. Most of us who have taken the bar exam likely have a similar story to share, so I hope I can speak on behalf of the entire bar association when I congratulate our newly licensed colleagues for the tremendous achievement you have just accomplished by passing the bar and becoming licensed to practice law.
On an even more personal level, this is a happy time as I have the pleasure of seeing so many of the students I worked closely with at Saint Louis University School of Law become licensed attorneys and begin their legal careers. So what advice can I give to our newly licensed colleagues as you begin your practice? You can probably guess that one of the first pieces of advice I offer is to join and become involved in organized bar associations.
Remember that BAMSL membership is free for the first year after you pass the bar exam and for your professional development I encourage you to take advantage of all the benefits that BAMSL has to offer. Attend CLE programs that will continue your education, not only in substantive areas of the law, but on law practice management as you begin your career. Join BAMSL sections and committees to interact further with newer and seasoned attorneys that share similar interests and practice areas.
Take advantage of public service projects and programs to give back to the legal profession and the entire community. And I certainly encourage you to become active in the BAMSL Young Lawyers Division (YLD).
YLD offers additional opportunities to become involved in committees and public service. And make sure to attend the monthly happy hours to continue to network, meet and make connections with other members of the legal profession.
I would also challenge all of the more experienced lawyers to continue to assist our newest colleagues as they begin their careers in the law. Act as a mentor and a resource to newer lawyers when they have questions about the law and the practice of law. Encourage everyone to practice with the utmost professionalism and collegiality that is so vital to our profession. Take an extra step to encourage new lawyers to attend legal profession events and make them feel welcome when they do. Demonstrate to them what a wonderful profession they are now a part of.
Once again I congratulate all the new lawyers on passing the bar exam and I welcome you to the practice and to BAMSL. And to practice what I preach, to all the newly licensed members of the bar, if you are ever in need of advice or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. I hope to see you all at a BAMSL event soon.
I always welcome your ideas and feedback about BAMSL. Please feel free to contact me at (314) 977-3675 or firstname.lastname@example.org