How to Pass the California Bar – A Must Read for UCI Law Students


In this article I will tell you exactly how to pass the California Bar Exam and any other Bar Exam in the country, albeit with a few important, narrative detours.

I am fortunate never to have attended a “12-Step Meeting.” But if I attended a meeting 4 years ago, it would have probably started out with me saying something like this: “Hello, my name is (first name here) and I’m a jerk.”[1] Introverted reflection is not easy. That’s probably why people don’t do it very much. Before enrolling at UCI Law School, I genuinely thought I was very kind, tolerant, empathetic, sympathetic, and considerate. As it turns out, I never embraced those qualities nearly as much as I thought I did.

But, UCI Law had a peculiar way of changing all of that. I am convinced that the only people who come into UCI Law School as “jerks” and remain unchanged after 3 years are those who actively attempt to remain jerks. I say this because at UCI Law you are surrounded by (mostly) caring, good students (my hats off to the admission committee). More importantly, you are surrounded by some of the kindest, most considerate and compassionate faculty, staff, and administration: Dean Chemerinsky, Professor Leslie, Professor Lawsky, Professor Hempel, Professor Solomon, and the list goes on. I, and those close to me, believe that I am a much better person coming out of UCI than I was going in. I am sure most of my classmates would agree with that. It was like my character was realigned through social osmosis.

Now, getting to the Bar: On the afternoon that the California Bar Exam results were to come out, I was convinced I had failed (I’m sure I am not in the minority since law students seem to be a worrisome bunch). As it turns out, I was very fortunate and I passed. As a UCI alumnus, my attention immediately turned to UCI’s passage rate. I thought to myself “we have to have a great passage rate, I hope its 90%, no 95%, no, no, no it will be 100% and we will get ranked highly and show all the haters.”

Then, I started learning that a sizeable number of my colleagues peers friends were not as fortunate as me. My initial reaction (which I expressed to two friends): How could they do that? Why didn’t they study harder? Why weren’t they more committed? What is with them? Hi, my name is (first name here) and I am a super jerk. What an odd reaction considering that just a few hours earlier, I was convinced beyond all doubt that I had failed the Bar.

Luckily, I have two amazing UCI Law friends that told me, without mincing words, that I was being a jerk. They told me that the people who did not pass are not just statistics, but they are our friends, people we care about. I am so thankful to these friends for reminding me why I LOVE UCI Law and for reminding me that it was the right decision to turn down “top 10 law schools” to attend the most amazing law school in the world. This kindness is common to the students, faculty, administration, and staff at UCI Law.

So, as I promised, here is how you pass the Bar: humbly; with the type of grace, consideration, class, and compassion that is on display everyday from the leaders of UCI Law, especially Dean Chemerinsky. No doubt, many of you are annoyed with me at this point. Sorry for the bait and switch. Hate me if you will, I just thought this message was an important one to publish. Especially since, as a community, we have decided to always advocate civility in all we do.

As far as my advice and opinion on passing the Bar, I have very little. Take the “Early Bar Prep” at UCI seriously, it is helpful. Do everything in your power to take BarBri.[2] Do exactly what BarBri tells you to do. Put in the time, effort, and work. Most people, of the caliber of UCI Law students, will be fine following this routine. For those of you who are not sure you are going to put in the time and effort of 5-8 hours per day for 5-7 days a week during Bar prep, now is a great time to reconsider whether you want to take the Bar. I don’t say this to protect UCI’s passage rate, but because taking the Bar is a very expensive proposition (BarBri, Bar Registration Fee, Exam Soft Fee) and is psychologically and intellectually challenging.

Hi, my name is (first name here)[3] and I am a much better friend, family member, and significant other because I went to UCI Law. Unlike my initial reaction, when you pass the Bar, I hope you will be a great friend to any of your classmates who were not so fortunate.


[1] To be clear, I am in no way trivializing the very serious disease of addiction. I am merely acknowledging that admitting my problem was important for me.

[2] I was never a BarBri representative. This is just my opinion as a satisfied student.

[3] I am keeping this anonymous because introverted reflection is very difficult, especially when done publicly.