Thursday, May 25, 2006

Life going on...

One of my close friends at the firm didn't pass the bar this time around. She's leaving this week.

I almost feel selfish for being upset about this -- it's not me that got screwed over, it was her. I'm not the one who has to be scared about what to do next, she does. And yet I'm angry. I'm angry and I'm sad and I'm disappointed in a system that appoints itself the arbiter of competency and yet is itself incompetent.

I guess this is just how life is. It's a bitch and then you die. It isn't fair. The people making the decisions are never the ones most adversely affected by them. The people setting the rules never accomplish what they're supposed to.

I got in a fight with my sister yesterday that seems to center around her thinking I'm undermining her achievements just because I'm proud of her and I tell her about the fact that I tell other people I'm proud of her. One of the most ridiculous things about living in America is that we're taught that we're supposed to be independent. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Work hard and earn your living. Never depend on anyone else. But the truth is that no one is an island. We all depend on everyone around us. The rich person depends on the poor guy who is willing to take out her trash and do her laundry. The successful politician depends on the rich corporation using its money to make him win (just because I'm introspective doesn't mean I lose my sense of irony ;)). The talented graduate depends on her parents, her family, her teachers, and her future employers to make that talent worth having. The bar association of any state depends on people taking the bar -- and on people failing it, since what is the point of having an entry exam if it doesn't differentiate between people, even if it's on an arbitrary scale.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that life is wrong. It is messed up and it is ugly. Life has once again disappointed me this week.

And I guess that change depends on disappointment.


At May 26, 2006 at 10:40 AM, Anonymous Roonie said...

My heart sunk for her, too. I couldn't imagine having been with a firm for almost a year now, putting in my time, slaving away over cases, and then...then getting the boot, because the California Board of Bar Examiners said you weren't good enough. I mean, what about your firm? I'm sure your firm finds her highly valuable. That's horrible. I just find the culture of the legal field so "or else" and I can't stand that.

At May 27, 2006 at 2:28 AM, Blogger James said...

I don't know how this will make you feel. Probably angry.

At May 27, 2006 at 8:25 AM, Blogger Micah said...

That does indeed suck. For me personally, I take solace in the fact that I have something else in common with JFK Jr. (in addition to being stunningly handsome and a part of American Royalty).

That does say something about your firm, too. At the firm I clerked at, one of the guys I worked with failed the bar 8 (or was it 9?) times, but he was kept on and eventually passed the bar. But it's a small firm. Big Firm culture is much different.

At May 27, 2006 at 11:34 AM, Anonymous eve said...

That stinks for her. Poor thing. It seems so unfair, I'm sure she was doing great as a "pseudo-lawyer" ... so much so that a firm had hired her and was paying her to do so ... and yet CalBar disagrees, and BUH-BYE?! It just makes no sense. Grr...

At May 30, 2006 at 3:02 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

roonie, I know -- it really is horrible how cut-and-dried it is. I hate how the system thrives on heirarchy and exclusion.

james -- thanks for the link. The Kathleen Sullivan story was big news here in California, and apparently even made the front page of WSJ back in November. Man, failing the bar would be bad enough, but having the entire country read about it as front page news??? Brutal.

micah -- there are some Crazy Successful people who never passed the bar exam. The thing is about bare rote memorization, which doesn't map on too persuasively with intelligence and ambition. Go figure. I think it's awesome your friend's firm kept him on for so long. Unfortunately, yeah, BigLaw already pays us way too much (not that I'm complaining!) so I think they cut their risk after two attempts. Still completely sucky though.

eve -- I know, it just breaks my heart. And on a more selfish level, she was one of the Fun peeps around here!! She was absolutely completely competent (hell, I'd hire her if I needed an attorney), but yeah, some people just don't test well. So messed up.


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