New York Abandons Unique Form of Torture Previously Imposed on Law School Graduates

Did you hear about this recent New York state law change this week?

New York is going to adopt a uniform bar exam used in 15 other states. I think the full headline of the article should actually have been “New York Abandon’s Unique Form of Torture Previously Imposed Upon Recent Law School Survivors – Students Rejoice – Therapists Cry Foul!

I remember, with great nostalgia, spending hours in my local Starbucks studying the intricacies of New York State Corporation Laws and obscure state specific contract issues while my friends who had gone into investment banking were busy enjoying their mid-20’s.  I knew I was going to be a divorce lawyer the day I started law school and, thus, it added insult to injury (having already suffering the indignities of the required “Federal Income Taxation” class at Fordham Law School) knowing I only needed to remember this drivel long enough to regurgitate it onto the final exam never to access it again in my chosen profession).


The uniform bar exam is more a function of attempting to “streamline” the test so that it’s easier to grade and easier to administer on a computer.

But to be fair (and candid) the bar exam is just the last in a series of hurdles they make you jump so you can put “ESQ” after your last time.  By the time you get to it – you’ve jumped so many you don’t care anymore.  I sincerely think you could make the final three months of law school the same as an episode of “Fear Factor” and 99.9% of students would have the most bored expression on their faces while chomping on bull testicles in a vat of spiders.  The whole experience of law school is designed to see how badly you want it.  Virtually nothing you learn is of any practical use in the day-to-day practice of law.

I applaud the change to the new exam (although I still think they should consider the alternative I’ve suggested).  It would be far more fun to watch and potentially less traumatic than the current bar exam format. I live two blocks from the Javitz center (where I took the bar exam 14 years ago) and still walk three blocks out of my way when heading uptown so I don’t have to walk past it.  I’ve got the same PTSD most recovering law students suffer from.  I spent two days in that center wondering if the three years prior would just be a waste because I couldn’t remember, at a specific moment in time, how to apply obscure property concepts to a question that may or may not implicate admiralty law issues.

And people ask me why I can’t go to a car show there…..



James J. Sexton