Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Novel Writer Doing Research for Book

Please delete this if my post is intrusive or against the ru ddheart06/19/17
DHeart - You got the JDU community chomping at the bits jd4hire06/20/17
Ask you questions and then tell us which grocery store we ca sjlawyer06/19/17
If your fictional protagonist is anything like Elle Woods, I junkwired06/19/17
Agreed. Generally, this forum takes a realistic view of l superttthero06/19/17
Accurate poast. You're probably not going to want authent isthisit06/19/17
If you look like Reese Witherspoon, you'll get a good job. T loser1206/20/17
If you look like and act like Elle Woods, you are destined f jorgedeclaro07/20/17
Poast them here and link us to your Amazon page. I'm loo isthisit06/19/17
If you post questions here, I'm sure you'll get many realist wolfman06/19/17
This thread delivers. Solid lawls triplesix06/19/17
I wrote a novel about someone graduating law school and then nighthawk06/19/17
[email protected] send me the link. I want to check i isthisit06/19/17
yeah, similarly, [email protected] sjlawyer06/20/17
The book has not been published; I am polishing up the draft nighthawk06/20/17
That'd be cool. isthisit06/20/17
Flame sobeitunion07/20/17
Well you didn't post your questions, so here's a general ove onehell07/21/17
just adding a few things: most states you'll need to appl pisces21303/05/18
send me a throwaway email and we can discuss nighthawk07/21/17
Just graduating from law school and studying for the bar mig trijocker03/04/18
the main thing i got from studying, and passing, the bar was whiteguyinchina03/05/18

ddheart (Jun 19, 2017 - 2:51 pm)

Please delete this if my post is intrusive or against the rules.

I'm currently writing a novel in which one of my lead characters is a young woman just graduating from law school / attempting to take the bar. I am desperately looking for someone(s) that may be able to answer a few brief questions for me that I have on the process, taking the bar, and their experiences interviewing for their first job.

I can post questions on this thread, or send a Word doc...whatever may work.

Again, I apologize in advance if this post is completely inappropriate.

DHeart

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jd4hire (Jun 20, 2017 - 1:29 pm)

DHeart -

You got the JDU community chomping at the bits to give you the nitty gritty - let's see those questions!

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sjlawyer (Jun 19, 2017 - 2:55 pm)

Ask you questions and then tell us which grocery store we can buy your other novels at.

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junkwired (Jun 19, 2017 - 3:04 pm)

If your fictional protagonist is anything like Elle Woods, I recommend researching the Top Law Schools website forum for more information --> http://www.top-law-schools.com/

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superttthero (Jun 19, 2017 - 3:28 pm)

Agreed.

Generally, this forum takes a realistic view of law school and the legal profession, ddheart.

If you are writing about a broken, in debt, underemployed attorney that that to hustle to get a depressing, soul-crushing job (e.g. most grads), then hopefully someone will get back to you, but you can just post here and get the input of many people.

If you want the rosy-pictured story a la Legally Blond or most lawyer movies, then go to toplawschools or just grab a bunch of brochures from bottom tier law schools.

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isthisit (Jun 19, 2017 - 3:33 pm)

Accurate poast.

You're probably not going to want authentic attorney responses from us. Unless you're protagonist is a down on her luck attorney/new grad trying to make something happen. Or toughing it out in small law or solo life.

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loser12 (Jun 20, 2017 - 1:00 pm)

If you look like Reese Witherspoon, you'll get a good job. The 146-179 and trying a case as a legal intern are the unrealistic points.

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jorgedeclaro (Jul 20, 2017 - 8:11 pm)

If you look like and act like Elle Woods, you are destined for family law.

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isthisit (Jun 19, 2017 - 3:13 pm)

Poast them here and link us to your Amazon page.

I'm looking for new fiction to read after finishing The Last Policeman trilogy a couple days ago. So I'd be interested in checking out your page.

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wolfman (Jun 19, 2017 - 3:35 pm)

If you post questions here, I'm sure you'll get many realistic responses... assuming that is what you want.

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triplesix (Jun 19, 2017 - 4:57 pm)

This thread delivers. Solid lawls

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nighthawk (Jun 19, 2017 - 5:07 pm)

I wrote a novel about someone graduating law school and then dealing with the realities of his summer associate job not turning into a real job. He gets his first gig at a sleazy PI firm then goes to doc review. A former Yale law grad with big firm experience tries to convince him to work at Starbucks, like she does. We can discuss.

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isthisit (Jun 19, 2017 - 5:22 pm)

[email protected] send me the link. I want to check it out.

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sjlawyer (Jun 20, 2017 - 8:50 am)

yeah, similarly, [email protected]

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nighthawk (Jun 20, 2017 - 11:06 am)

The book has not been published; I am polishing up the draft (over 85,000 words). I may be able to send you a small excerpt.

OP-what are your questions?

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isthisit (Jun 20, 2017 - 11:08 am)

That'd be cool.

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sobeitunion (Jul 20, 2017 - 6:37 pm)

Flame

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onehell (Jul 21, 2017 - 3:57 am)

Well you didn't post your questions, so here's a general overview

During your third and final year of law school, you take an ethics test called the MPRE. Not a hard test. All multiple choice.

After you graduate, you choose the state(s) you want to get licensed in. You sign up for the test and you fill out a bunch of background check forms. Agonize over every parking ticket you've ever gotten. You visit the police station and get them to take your fingerprints to submit for the background check (called "character & fitness.")

You pay substantial fees (about $1000 in my state) for the exam registration and for C&F. You would be suicidal to hand-write your essays, so pay more fees to use a laptop (on which you must install special software and pray that it works)

Now you spend about another $4,000 or so on a bar review course (most people take one from a company called BarBri). From graduation until the exam in July, you study more or less full-time.

Exam is 2-3 days, with one day being a multiple-choice test called the MBE, then next day a section of long-form essays in which you are presented with hypothetical cases. The cases have facts that present issues and you are graded based on how well you spot those issues and then apply the IRAC formula: Issue Rule Analysis Conclusion. Third day, if your state has it, is a performance test that presents a simulated case file. Least important section. You take the test in a huge convention center with a depressingly huge number of other people hoping to compete with you for jobs, under extremely stressful time-pressure conditions. If something comes up like a death in the family or illness, it doesn't matter. The test is only offered twice per year, no exceptions. There are stories of pregnant women sitting there taking the exam in active labor.

When all that's done, you wait a couple of months for your score and character investigation, during which they might ask questions and God help you if they think you hid anything. C&F issues can result in a hearings process that adds many more months to the process, if you get cleared at all.

Total time for me from graduation to licensure: May to October, so you can't actually practice until at least about 6 months after graduation, during which time you have to find a way to keep the lights on if you don't already have a job. Many students take a "bar study loan" to cover expenses during this time, adding even more to the approximately $200,000 in debt they are carrying. You'll need 5k for bar exam costs and 10k to survive, so add another 15k to the tab, at minimum.

Pass the test and C&F? Great. You're licensed. Didn't? Too bad. Wait another several months to do it all over again in February, and pay through the nose again.

OK, so it's six months after graduation and if all goes well, you've got your bar card. There's about 1000 applicants for every job and here's what's really neat: law school is the only profession where you can get a license without a single hour of experience. That's right: Unless you do an entirely optional clinic or you had relevant summer internships, your law school education is 100% theoretical. No hands-on experience is required before, during or after law school. So you don't know what you're doing at all. No one wants to train you, so no one wants to hire you. Can't get a job without experience, can't get experience without a job. When you finally do find something, it will probably pay between 40-60k while you carry 200k+ in debt, and they will expect you to work 60+ hour weeks. You may also end up doing temp work for $20 an hour and no benefits, sitting in a basement reviewing documents and clicking "relevant" or "not relevant" all day long.

Your job search is also extremely constrained, because your license is only good in the state you took the bar in. If you wanna move, get ready to start the whole expensive process over again in another state.

If you're lucky, you'll get good and things will get somewhat better within a decade or so. But at least half aren't so lucky and leave law entirely within that time. Many even remove the JD from their resumes because people don't like lawyers.

Bottom line: The whole bar exam process and entry into the legal job market is very expensive and very stressful, but not particularly exciting. You just pay a bunch of money, fill out a huge number of forms, study your butt off, and pray that absolutely nothing goes wrong in your personal life from May to July. Then, if all goes well, you get a license which is not of much value on the open market because there are way too many lawyers and law schools. It's extremely high stress for someone going through it, but from the outside it's a really boring period of your life, just studying and filling out forms and paying out a bunch of money you don't have with loans you will probably never pay back but which, due to government largesse, you can take out in unlimited amounts and then place on the income-based repayment plan which offers the prospect of forgiveness in 20 years (10 if in nonprofit or government).

You'll have your work cut out for you making it into entertaining fiction. Most people do pass the bar on the first try (assuming they went to a halfway decent law school and didn't skimp on the bar review class), so it's not really the most difficult test in the world. It's just a really expensive hazing ritual/marathon. The way to make it interesting would probably be for something to come up in your protagonist's life that interferes with the bar, and she has to power through some extreme difficulty and take it anyway. Or you can give her a criminal record and it becomes a battle to get admitted or something. The "normal" path to licensure would be quite boring to an average reader, even though it is extremely stressful to actually experience. If you want to get some sense of it, try essentially cloistering yourself for four straight months, ignoring all friends/family/children, paying your rent on credit card cash advances, and then apply to jobs claiming to have a felony record (to create some sense of how few jobs will be open to hiring you and how little the ones that are will pay).

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pisces213 (Mar 5, 2018 - 2:05 pm)

just adding a few things:

most states you'll need to apply for the bar long before graduation, sometimes even during your 2L year or early 3L.

many places will let you work before you're admitted to the bar; often your offer will be contingent upon passing the bar your first try, so if you fail, you also get fired.

if you land a federal position somehow, you won't have to re-take the bar (in most cases).

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nighthawk (Jul 21, 2017 - 8:43 am)

send me a throwaway email and we can discuss

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trijocker (Mar 4, 2018 - 2:30 pm)

Just graduating from law school and studying for the bar might be a bore
As soon as you graduate from law school you are typically taking a bar prep course from May until the bar exam in late July. There isn't much to write about other than a bunch of law students watching bar bri lectures from 9 to 1, then going into the library and study doing practice MBE questions.

I'd wait to start your book until after the bar exam is over and have your hypothetical attorney get an interesting job that starts in say September and is awaiting bar exam results while working. That might be interesting and give you more to write about.

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whiteguyinchina (Mar 5, 2018 - 9:33 am)

the main thing i got from studying, and passing, the bar was

I DIDN'T NEED THREE YEARS OF SCHOOL TO DO THIS!

you could prob pass the bar with no law school after 4-6 mos

i am sure others had this thought

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