Never Fear El Dia de los Muertos (Or: Don’t Fear the Bar Exam Pass List)

Ah, October. The leaves are falling, the nights are getting colder, and there’s a whole lot of football on TV. October is also the time that some of you may be anxiously awaiting your July bar exam results. Many bar-takers receive their results at or near the end of the summer, but there are still some anxious attorneys-to-be out there who won’t know for at least a month (Texas) or more (California, you’re so fashionably late!)

The pass list for the Texas Bar exam is typically uploaded anytime from Halloween to November 6, depending on how the exam dates fall within the year.  I got my results on November 1, also known as All Saints’ Day, which along with November 2, All Souls’ Day, is part of the two-day celebration in the Mexican tradition known as El Dia de los Muertos.

El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) has likely been observed for over 3,000 years, but the more “modern” tradition began around 500 years ago, when the Spanish arrived in Mesoamerica. The holiday is meant to honor the dead and to recognize the circle of life, death, and rebirth.

This celebration is fitting for the anxious among us awaiting the bar exam results. It’s wonderful to pass this exam, because who really wants to crack open those bar prep course books again and plod through more MBE practice tests? Full disclosure: I hated, I LOATHED, the MBE, I performed pretty dreadfully on all of the practice MBE’s, and I’m convinced that my essay scores carried most of the weight to allow me to become a member of the Bar. Hopefully someone out there feels the same.

However, if you don’t pass, it’s not the end of the world. Yes, it will be a hassle to re-study for this two- to three-day exam, and no, it will not be your favorite 6-8 weeks of life. Several of my colleagues had to take the exam a couple of times, and guess what? They are all in thriving law practices, they are all incredible attorneys, and they never let it slow them down. All is not lost if at first you don’t succeed. Keep studying and keep moving forward. Remember that the bar exam, as massive as it seems right now, is just a small part of this bigger circle of life.

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