The Morning Post: February 17, 2017

Feb 17, 2017

8d78168e93069a7d974a08ee2cdfc6911) We talked about preparing for a networking coffee, here’s five easy ways to screw one up (or not). (LinkedIn)

2) Stop what you’re doing, go to Old Navy, and buy this simple and chic $22 purse.

3)  D.C.’s 100 Very Best Restaurants. (Washingtonian)

4) I only wear Jimmy Choo fragrance, so I’m incredibly excited for their newest fragrance.

5) This article of dual-arrests in domestic violence cases makes me physically ill. (ProPublica)

6) I can’t decide if this sweater’s sleeves are cool/on-trend or Carmen Miranda-esque.

7) How to learn flexibility from a quarter-life career crisis. (FastCompany)

8) These classic, dainty bow-sandals from Daya have me wishing for spring.

9) For millennials, it’s never too early to save for retirement. (The New York Times)

10) Finally, a way to store K’s ever-multiplying tech cables.  Praise be.

11) How to sell weed without getting caught? Hire models as dealers, Queens of the Stoned Age. (GQ)

12) BR has 40% off new arrivals. I grabbed this smartly detailed, office-appropriate flare skirt.


The Idea Whose Time Has Come. Champagne vending machines.

What I’m Consumed By. All I can think about is the bar exam.  My assessments are not improving, and it’s scary because my MBE skills were barely passable to start with.  Right now, I’m trying to decide whether it’s better to risk a likely failure, or simply take a pause until the July exam.  So it’s 2:00 AM on a Thursday, and I’m not asleep.

What I’m Replacing. A pair of lost pearl earrings, with these $40 Akoya studs.

 [image found here]

Workday Reading

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  1. Blaire says:

    I think the “coffee” post is a little out of touch.

    If you’re an intern and everyone in your office makes fun of you for wearing a suit, stop wearing a suit. Also, addressing a Chief by “Chief” is a little off.

    • Anna says:

      Yeah, I had no problem with the writer saying “a Chief,” but unless it’s the Chief of Police, you don’t call anyone “Chief ‘Last Name.'” So weird. On the suit, I don’t think it hurts to be extra formal when you’re the intern, but all of the interns I know who have always worn suits were super hard working but not particularly bright. And they may have gotten a joking comment or two, but no one would judge them harshly for being overdressed.

    • Valerie says:

      I was going to joke that the LinkedIn coffee post was clearly written by a man in his 20s who works for a government office. I’m not even sure what a “golf shirt” means- presumably a short sleeve polo shirt?

    • Janine says:

      I had a boss who used to tell the story of how he got where he was. One day, he was the only young attorney wearing a suit, and his boss grabbed him to go to a high-level meeting. He runs a DOJ division now and is incredibly smart. Don’t discount the suit.

      • Belle says:

        When I was 26 (and interning between jobs, long story), I got sent to a meeting with the Speaker and a bunch of appropriators because I was the only person not wearing khakis, ran into my old boss who one month later became my next boss. That simple sheath and jacket paid for itself that day.

      • Valerie says:

        That’s very true. I’ve tended to err on the side of overdressed mainly because I only have two levels of clothing (weekend and work), and I’m not going to wear the worn jeans to an office, even if my boss is wearing jeans.

  2. SarahKW says:

    Good luck on the bar exam – you can do this! Don’t quit now. I know it can seem overwhelming, but as long as you put in the work, you will pass. I was always terrible at the MBE, never really improved, and was a total basket of nerves – I showed up on the first day a peculiar shade of green – and still passed with flying colors.

  3. Jean says:

    I took the July bar exam and don’t let the week prior scare you off from taking it. Especially if you’re using Barbri, they don’t take into account the “gimme” questions, the questions that are put in there to be tested (but aren’t counted) and the simple fact that the curve is huge and usually benefits anyone who studies with a large test practice company. I came out of the bar exam convinced that I had failed, proceeded to have bar exam nightmares for over a month, and then ended up passing. You are more prepared than you think, you will do great, and if you don’t pass, having sat for the actual exam once will be great practice for retaking it in July.

  4. LKL says:

    Take the bar exam now! Everyone feels nervous the week before (I promise!!).

  5. Emily says:

    I took the bar a few years ago and the few weeks before are insanely stressful. My advice would be not to freak yourself out and just take it. You’ve put in the work and you will pass.

  6. Kristin says:

    You won’t ever feel prepared for the MBE questions, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t. You know more than you think. It’s normal to be freaking out at this point. Good Luck!

  7. Colleen says:

    Belle, I never ever passed a practice MBE with BarBri but had no problems passing the actual MBE. I took another state’s bar 9 years after graduating and had the exact same experience with the practice tests but did fine on the real thing. (I distinctly recall being at drinks a week before the bar telling everyone that I wasn’t going to take it and planned to defer so I know where you’re coming from!) Best of luck!

    • from nyc says:

      Chiming in for the first time ever to “ditto” this comment. I promise you are more ready than you think you are. And whatever prep you do in the last 24-48 hours is not going to make or break your chances of passing. It’s better to rest and do something that relaxes or distracts you. You’ve got this!

  8. Gigi says:

    Hi Belle, What you are going through is natural 1-2 weeks out of the bar exam. You can do it. I never passed the practice MBEs –and my essays weren’t stellar, but I passed the bar, and you can too. Keep going in the days leading up focus on outlining the essays. You’re more prepared than you think you are. Breathe. You can do this. My advice is to sit for the exam–after all, you may pass and then you don’t have to do this again in July (when the weather is waaaay nicer). Because this is what bar exam prep was like, and its always going to suck. Try to sleep (I couldn’t) try to take breaks other than crying or hyperventilating (ha! that was me), but overall, be kind to yourself. You are much better prepared than you give yourself credit for. I’m thinking good thoughts for you!

  9. Lindsey says:

    Barbri was so. much. harder. than the actual bar exam. I swear. I was barely in the “you might pass” range until the very end of the Barbri course and then passed by more than enough. You can do it! You’ll be so relieved when it’s over!

    • Niki says:

      100% BarBri had everyone scared $hitless. I walked out the first day thinking the actual bar exam was kind of easy because BarBri had been so hard. I took VA four years after passing PA – I barely studied and was fine. You’ll be fine. Sit for the Feb exam.

  10. M says:

    ” Right now, I’m trying to decide whether it’s better to risk a likely failure, or simply take a pause until the July exam” Huh? Kindly, you are sleep deprived and panicky. Take the February exam. You’ve put in this much work so far. If you pass it, you are golden and you didn’t cause yourself a giant delay in something you were prepared to pass anyway. If you don’t pass, you take the July bar. Punting at this point just sets you up for a lot of unnecessary stress. In my experience, this isn’t like the LSAT where your previous scores all get averaged so there is some strategic advantage to minimizing the impact of a low score. Employers just care whether you passed.

  11. Kay says:

    Echoing all the advice above – definitely take the February exam. You can do it, and exam jitters are totally normally close to the test. Don’t pass up this opportunity to take it because if you are in the passable range, then it’s a solid chance that you will pass. Don’t give up on all the studying you have already done. If you don’t pass, then you’ve already experienced the test once, and your score results will help you study for July. Good luck!!

  12. Jessica says:

    Yes +1 to all of the above. Take the exam. Worst case scenario you don’t pass and it’s a great data point for next time (not likely to happen because you’ve studied), but you’re already to this point and you can totally push to the finish line. Barbri is so much harder than the real thing! I’m cheering for you.

  13. Andrea says:

    I definitely echo the advice above. Bar prep–and the bar exam itself–is more of a exercise in hazing and a psychological test than anything else. The most important thing you can do is not psych yourself out. Remember–getting a D (!!) means you will pass. Just write in a clear, very basic, orderly fashion (IRAC or whatever your school teaches), even if you have to just completely make up the “rule,” and stay calm. I was convinced I had failed by noon of the writing section because I pysched myself out about one of the essays; I talked to a friend, calmed down, and finished the exam. I passed. In hindsight, what mattered most was that I completed it, no matter how I felt in the moment. Stay as calm as you can, write clearly even if you don’t know the legal rule to apply, and just pick what seems like a reasonable choice on the MBE questions, and then let it go. Believe me, no one feels good about the exam or prep for the exam. NO ONE. Don’t give up on yourself and give it a shot.

  14. Heba Carter says:

    Hey! as to your bar exam anxieties, i completely understand! i took the virginia bar july 2014 and was sure i was going to fail. i never got in the pass range on the practice MBE tests and i think only once on the essay questions. it was so terrifying! and to make things worse, 10 days before the exam i got a case of what i call the “itches”. i literally felt itchy all over my body but there was no physical evidence, no bumps, no redness nothing–(i found out later that it was because of the stress) but i felt this way for the entire exam and spent both days of the test scratching and the itches lasted until october when i found out i passed!!! it was such a stressful time! just wanted to let you know that you will be absolutely fine!! those practice tests are meant to be hard and scary, but just keep pushing through–its more of a mind game than anything else! the day before the exam, take the day to have some you time, relax, do something you love to do that has nothing to do with the bar exam. it is all about keeping yourself from going crazy! best of luck! i know you will crush it!

    • Laura says:

      The psychological hazing part is spot on. In my opinion, The worst part about the bar exam is the unknown. Once you take it, even if you fail (which is highly unlikely), you are in so much better of a position to retake it because you know what to expect.

  15. R says:

    I agree with all of the advice so far – it’s normal, and you should take the bar now. I didn’t pass any of the practice MBEs. I was convinced I didn’t pass the bar exam after I took it – as was everyone I knew. In New York, at the time (and maybe still now, no clue), they gave you the MBE scores – I actually ended up with a high MBE score, higher than anyone else I knew (because apparently we thought it appropriate to share those things). Apparently the practice tests really didn’t tell me anything about how I would do.

    Further, if you defer, all you’re doing is putting yourself into the same position you’d be in if you don’t pass. Either way, you will have to study again. So if you’re going to be in the same position either way, you might as well try it this time. And if you’re worried about the stigma of not passing on the first try, I’ve found that people really don’t judge that very harshly because we all felt like we could have failed and have nothing but sympathy/empathy for the people who did.

  16. LadyLawyer12 says:

    Agree with everyone above. You will fail practice tests the week before the exam. You will freak out. You will probably pass with no problem at all.

    And if you don’t, neither did any of these people on the first try:

    Don’t quit. You are so close! Sending you good vibes!

  17. Anon says:

    I echo same advice! I’m about to take my second bar (passed the first but am moving so need to take a second one). It’s so normal to feel completely terrified and even though I’m doing it again, I feel the same way. You will go in there and be surprised by all you know. Write clearly and be reasonable on the MBE. The curve is big and you do not need to even be close to the best or even good (as you are probably used to being in other things.)

    The advice I got a few days before last time was that the only way I would fail is if I was my own worst enemy and did not believe in or trust myself. Walk in there with as much confidence as you can muster. You got it!

  18. Kim says:

    I came here to offer a bit of unsolicited advice, and I see I’m not the only one. I actually think you can over-study for the bar and psych yourself out. My practice scores were never great, and I passed easily. You’ve done so much work up to this point, and I think if you wait you’re not going to be feeling any differently about the July exam than you do now. Just do it.

  19. Sara says:

    I beg you not to put the test off until July. I don’t know that I had a single “passing score” on a practice test I took in the weeks leading up to the bar, and I passed the bar just fine. Ask yourself, what is the pass rate in the place you are taking the bar? Let’s assume its 70% (probably much higher). How often in your academic/professional life have you been in the bottom 30% of a large group? I’m guessing not very often, if ever. It’s not going to happen. I think the test prep companies make the questions extra hard so you will study extra so then you don’t blame them if you fail by saying that you were passing all of their practice tests. You are in so much better shape than you realize. Just have faith in yourself and move forward.

  20. Sarah says:

    Chiming in to agree with what’s already been said. Take the bar. You’ll rock it. (And you really don’t want it hanging over you til July!)

  21. Morgan says:

    Take the exam! In a complete echo of everyone else’s comments, you are more ready than you think you are. You are more ready than many of your classmates are or were. You will absolutely regret not having enough faith in yourself to take the exam next week. Think of how good next Thursday will feel after you’re DONE!!

    A few last minute exam tips: Trust yourself! Don’t change your answers on the MBE! On the essay, focus on IRAC/CRAC and just write! The essay is an organized brain dump, let the knowledge just flow from your fingers!

    Good Luck!! (even though you don’t need it)

  22. Anokha says:

    I’ve never posted but: Take the exam. I never, ever passed the practice tests, and passed the bar exam. I concur with the comment earlier about Barbri being much harder than the actual exam.

  23. Anna says:

    Totally random, but does anyone have the old navy bag? What’s the quality like?

    • Belle says:

      This one hasn’t arrived yet, but I have another of theirs. The quality is B+. I carried the heck out of the thing in Cuba, and all the other ladies on the trip were like, I need to go buy that bag.

    • Kate says:

      I bought a similar Old Navy bag off Belle’s recommendation a few years ago and it’s held up really well and I get lots of compliments on it!

    • Anna says:

      Ha, not random at all. Signed, Non-lawyer who has nothing to contribute to the bar convo.

  24. Claire says:

    You can do it! My boyfriend’s assessments went down to just below the passing point the week before the bar, and he passed. My roommate, who is prepping for the same bar you are, is going through a similar trend. I wouldn’t be surprised if test prep companies assess you more harshly as time goes on to ensure you keep studying hard and their pass rates stay high.

  25. Lynn says:

    Take the bar now, like everyone said. I also was sure I would fail, but even if I had, I wouldn’t have been alone. Some people fail, even though they know the material. It is more likely you will pass, and then it will be over! If there is even the smallest chance you will pass, wouldn’t you rather risk it, instead of bailing and having it hang over your head for several more months?

  26. Katie says:

    First time commenter as well. You did test prep–and from the sound of it you did, in fact, prepare. Take the bar! You will be absolutely fine. It is normal to feel this way, but your feelings are not an accurate barometer of how you will do. I took two different bar exams, and felt this way. I passed easily. Repeating what other commenters have said: you will only be setting yourself up for additional misery if you delay.

  27. K says:

    Consistently did not do well at all on the Barbri practice MBEs, got incredibly stressed out about it and was convinced I’d fail. Ended up heading to the ER three days before the bar and had my appendix out as a result. Still sat for the bar less than forty-eight hours after being discharged from the hospital and passed on the first try. You’ve put in the work–you’ll be fine! Just manage stress well at this point so you don’t psych yourself out. Good luck!

  28. Kitty, Esq. says:

    There is zero risk to your career if you fail the bar the first time. Trust me — I failed my first try and I know other lawyers (Harvard grad and a public interest fellow come to mind) as well. It doesn’t go on your permanent record, and no prospective employer has ever asked me if I failed a bar exam. And besides, you’re going to do great!

  29. Valerie says:

    Re #6: I vote for cool, but it’s all about styling. The rest of the outfit would need to be sleek (pencil skirt or jeans like the ones shown on the model), with loose hair and minimal makeup, avoiding anything reminiscent of Carmen or the Chiquita Banana lady.

    Good luck with the bar exam, I know you’ll be great despite all your (completely normal!) worries.

  30. Laura says:

    First time commenter here also. Take the bar exam! You don’t have anything to lose if you fail now vs. not taking it now and trying in July. Seems like there is a good chance you will surprise yourself and pass. You can do this!

  31. Lady Lawyer says:

    Take the exam! You feel like 99% of other bar takers right now, who all think they are going to fail. Most of them pass. Plus, it’s not like the LSAT where doing poorly risked having that percentage added into a new exam score. For the bar, your percent correct doesn’t matter, as long as you get over the passing threshold.

  32. Annie says:

    Take it. As someone who didn’t pass the first time, but has now been in practice for a decade with a gig that I love – no matter what you’re going to survive. Take it and hopefully you’ll be done with it forever. If, God forbid, you don’t pass, you will still be the same competent wonderful person that all of your friends and family love. See where you’re actually at on the real test before you become fatalistic. Thinking good thoughts for you.

  33. BN says:

    Before I took the Bar Exam, my dad, a lawyer, gave me this piece of advice: Everyone leaves the test thinking they failed. And most didn’t. But EVERYone leaves thinking they failed.

  34. Kristin says:

    I echo what everyone else has said about bar prep/exam and the feelings that you won’t pass. I think it is very normal to feel way the weekend before the exam. And, in my state, if you failed the exam, you were able to meet with the state examiners to see where you went wrong (not sure if you had to be within a certain margin). They allowed my friend to do that 7-8 years ago and maybe your state has that option as well. Hopefully that provides a small silver lining to taking the exam after you have spent months studying and still feel like you are going to fail.

  35. Jessica says:

    I have a close friend who had a full on nervous breakdown on the night in between the two days of the bar exam. I mean he was in his hotel room cutting himself, his spouse had to drive down to bring him medication, really bad. In other circumstances he would probably been hospitalized. HE STILL PASSED. You will be fine! Just take the thing. It sucks but then it’s over, and you want it over ASAP. If you thought you were going to pass at this point, that would be a much worse omen.

  36. Mae says:

    I have a friend who, after the first day of the bar exam, insisted she was quitting. Her husband drove to the exam location and forced her to keep going. And she passed. You need that very same push!!! Everyone I know had at least one meltdown while studying. I had at least two, maybe more and I’ve just forced them from memory. Just take deep breaths, relax, and remember to underline your issue spotting in those essays! Nothing you do in the last few days is going to make or break your success. That’s why you’ve worked so hard up to this point! Best of luck!!

  37. Janine says:

    Your practice scores before the bar are not an indicator of whether you will pass. Being prepared – which it sounds as though you are if you’re taking multiple MBE practice tests – and resisting the urge to panic are the two most important things you need to do to pass. I can speak from personal experience; I think I only finished about half of the BarBri pace program and passed Virginia. Stay focused and take care of yourself these last few days, and throughout the exam itself. Good luck, smart cookie!

  38. Mina says:

    I echo all the same sentiments, but want to reiterate it’s not the end of the world if you don’t pass. I took the test in a notoriously difficult jurisdiction with a low passage rate after I moved right after law school, followed Barbri, and was always a successful student… and I didn’t pass. A few weeks later, I got engaged and, on one hand, was so eager to move on with the rest of my life, but was so traumatized, so upset, and so unwilling to let the bar stop my life. I studied for it while planning a wedding (terrible idea), and while we had an incredible wedding and my life gained so much richness in my marriage with my husband, I didn’t pass again. Obviously, it’s difficult to face. But what I wish I knew was to not let it define me. For the achievers and goal-setters, this can be more challenging that expected, but it is crucial. So much of the bar is stamina, perspective, and good ol’ fashioned dedication.

    You’ve worked this hard and you’re no less capable than anyone else sitting in that room with you on test day; take it. Chances are, you’ll be fine. And if you end up not passing, you’ll reassess and move forward. There’s more to you and your potential than a standardized exam.

  39. wellfedfred says:

    I took the bar exam in the “ballroom” of a rundown hotel in a once-major east coast city. RATS RAN ACROSS THE FRONT OF THE ROOM WHEN A PROCTOR PUT HER BAG DOWN TO “welcome” us. I passed. Maybe it was the surge of extra adrenaline, maybe it was me – I’ll never know. My husband took his in the ballroom of the City Center in NYC. There had been an event the night before and the twisty turny ceiling lights had been left on, leaving moving pink and blue circles and dashes on the papers. He passed. Maybe he was in a trance, maybe he was focused, he still won’t go into a party if lights like that are going. You will pass. You can do this. You will have your own tales of horror but you will do this. Breathe. Exhale. Aim.

    • Nicole says:

      First time commenter here, to say a pigeon landed on my desk on the first day of the NY Bar Exam at the Javits Center…and I also passed. (Though, like everyone else on the planet, felt like I failed, and was NOT doing well in Barbri on the lead up to the exam.) Good luck Belle – you’ve got this!

  40. E says:

    You have nothing to lose by taking the exam.

    If you pass, YOU’RE DONE.

    If you don’t take it, you’ll regret it from now until July, wondering if you could have gotten it overwith in Feb. and saved yourself 5 more months of hell.

  41. Alexis says:

    Everyone I know was sure they were going to fail the bar exam … until they passed. Remember that you’re aiming for a “C.” Most of us aimed a little higher than that in school, so we go into the bar exam feeling uncomfortable and under-prepared.

    Even if you don’t pass this time, taking the exam is great experience. It will help guarantee success in July.

  42. Jodi says:

    Get a D. You only have to get a d. No one cares what you get on the bar. You only have to pass. (Practicing lawyer of 15 years)

  43. A friend says:

    Take it! The essays and MPT are on a curve – you’ll pass!

  44. Kathryn says:

    Hang in there! The way I see it, in the worst case you take the bar exam again, but best case all of the anxiety and worry are over soon. Don’t decide to make it worst case before you even take your shot!

  45. Tara says:

    When I was studying for the bar, my MBE scores seemed to keep getting worse that last week, but I did fine . The barbri practice tests are intentionally harder than the real thing. You will do fine! I would take some time off (even if its just an afternoon) before the exam starts.

  46. Kay says:

    Good luck tomorrow! Take a big deep breath and dive in. You’ve got this!

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