It may be easy to think of law school graduation and the bar exam as some far-off ideas, but it’s once again time to map out a plan. Because May of next year will be here before you know it.
Having a plan in place will help you hit all the upcoming deadlines in your 3L year without feeling so pressured. Here are six things to include as you compile your final-year checklist.
#1 – Graduation requirements
Each law school has its specific requirements for graduation. Be sure to review what kinds of credits will be accepted (i.e., graded, in-person instruction and experimental learning) as well as any necessary papers. It can be a bit complicated to figure out, so be sure to talk through the requirements with your registrar. Now is the time to begin this process if you haven’t already.
#2 – The MPRE
The MPRE — or Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination — is an ethics exam required of all licensed attorneys. Passing the MPRE is required to gain licensure as an attorney and your MPRE score is only valid for two years. For some, the MPRE is a distant memory. But if you are reading this (and just internally screamed), don’t worry.
The MPRE is offered three times a year: November, March and August. Just don’t forget to take the taxing nature of bar exam prep into account when selecting your MPRE exam date. If you need an extra boost, BARBRI offers a free online MPRE Review course to help you study for this important ethics exam.
#3 – Living expenses and time off
Project your 3L living expenses, being sure to include the time you’ll take off from work for bar prep. The bar exam is expensive (surprise, surprise). Fees vary per state and it’s a good idea to investigate the cost early on. BARBRI created the free downloadable BARBRI Bar Exam Digest as a resource for students to map out due dates and out-of-pocket costs.
In addition to the costs to become licensed, you need to consider that you may not have any income while studying for the bar. If you plan ahead now, you might be able to allocate some of your school year loan money to help make it through the summer.
#4 – Bar prep of choice
Purchase your bar prep course ASAP to get the best deal. It might seem like it’s too early to do this, but it’s not. The best bar prep deals are offered to 2Ls in the spring semester, and the best pricing for 3Ls is offered at the beginning of the fall semester. In addition to saving money, you get early access to bar prep resources that allow you to get the most out of your bar prep course.
You should also check with your school to see what support they offer as you prepare for the exam. Some schools provide free weekly seminars, semester-long classes and more to help you pass.
#5 – The perpetual job search
If you do not already have a job lined up, get your resume ready. Start contacting people on LinkedIn. Join local bar organizations and network like crazy. Networking absolutely helps in landing a job offer or, at least, getting quality job leads that might turn into something.
Don’t skip creating a LinkedIn account right away as part of your 3L law school checklist. It’s worth the time to get your profile — and “personal brand” — out there.
#6 – The bar exam application
Look over the bar exam application soon, if you can. You are going to need the time to complete it. Do you remember every place you have lived since you were 18 years old? Many people don’t … but the bar examiners want to know. (Believe it or not, your Amazon account could become your best friend during the bar exam application process.)
You may not have to fill out the bar exam application until months from now, but the deadline will be here sooner than you realize. Look the application over and start getting your materials ready. You do not want to be chasing down a certified copy of your driving record while you should be memorizing the rules against perpetuities.
And, as always, feel free to reach out to your BARBRI Director of Legal Education. They’ve been in your shoes and are here to guide you along the way.