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Daily Court Reporter - News Law school grads tackle Bar Exam


Law school grads tackle Bar Exam

Anne Yeager, Supreme Court of Ohio

It is 7:30 in the morning in late July at the Columbus Convention Center and law school graduates are anxious for day two of the Ohio Bar Exam.

“I’m extremely nervous, one,” said Marcus Phelps, from Cincinnati. “This exam is extremely tough, two, and hopefully I just pass.”

“I felt it was a good mix,” said Mary Catherine Mason, of Cleveland. “I felt certain questions were fair, and I remember distinctly studying them and I knew I had an answer for it. Other times, I hear people saying, this is probably not going to be tested, and sure enough! There it was on the test. ”

The exam starts at 9 a.m. but don’t ask anyone for the time.

“I don’t know what time it is because we weren’t allowed to have cell phones or watches,” said Kerry Barrett of Cleveland.

In fact, proctors let graduates bring very few items into the room. A pen, a water bottle, any needed prescription medication, that’s pretty much it.

It can be a long day.

“Yesterday, essays didn’t end until 5:30, so I just went home, watched some TV. At this point, I don’t think it’s beneficial to study,” said Jared Yee. “Every time I look at something, I say wait, did I forget that?”

But how hard can this test really be?

“Yesterday, we had two 90-minute MPT (Multi-State Performance Tests) where they give you all made up law, all made up facts, and you have to generate some kind of work product out of that and we had, I think, it was six half-hour essays where they ask you specific black letter law on a range of topics, “said Tom Lampman, a recent law graduate.

And a lot of these grads have a lot on their plate.

“I had graduated and gotten married at the same exact time,” said Delmas Miller, who also served in the Navy. “That probably wasn’t the best decision I ever made. But I made it through and everything is going pretty good so far.”

It wasn’t just young graduates at the exam.

“It’s hard being the old guy of the group,” said Marty Kerr, from Cleveland. “I was the old guy in law school and now I’m the old guy here. Honestly, it’s a diverse group of people. Nobody makes it through law school that’s stupid or uninteresting. So they are a good group of kids. I’ve seen no meltdowns, all the horror stories, you rarely see them.”

Many of those taking the test already have jobs lined up.

“I will be joining Jones Day in Cleveland after the bar exam,” said Barrett.

“I will be joining the Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s office,” said Mason.

“I’m moving to West Virginia to work for the attorney general. So I get to do all this again in a couple of months,” said Lampman.

Doing it again means he’ll have to take the West Virginia bar exam to practice in that state.

So with all the years, hours, and money spent on going to law school. Are there any regrets?

“I’m going to sound a little cheesy,” said Brooks Boron, from Cleveland. “I have always wanted to be a lawyer since I was in fourth grade.”

“Would I do it all over again? Go to law school?” asked Jared Yee, from Columbus. “You are asking me at the worst possible time. Yes, I think so. At the end of the day, what I really want to be is an attorney. I like the idea of helping people and I like researching and reading so this is the only chance that I have. Plus, I don’t like blood. So being a doctor was out of the question.”

And when it comes to studying the bar and working on a marriage, how do the two stack up?

“It’s probably marriage, it’s probably marriage. I can take the bar over and over and over as much as I need to. But marriage? One and done. One and done for me,” Miller explained.

The results will be announced in October.

Date Published: August 29, 2017


Supreme Court of Ohio


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