What Happens If I Fail The Bar Exam At A Big Law Firm? - JD Advising, LLC.
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Fail The Bar Exam At A Big Law Firm

What Happens If I Fail The Bar Exam At A Big Law Firm?

What Happens If I Fail The Bar Exam At A Big Law Firm?: You’ve landed your dream job at a big law firm. Years of hard work and sacrifice have finally paid off. Unfortunately, there is one last hurdle on your career path: you failed the bar exam! Thinking back, you don’t remember discussing what happens in this instance during your interview or when signing your employment contract. What should you do? Generally, what happens if you fail the bar exam at a big law firm?

What Happens If I Fail The Bar Exam At A Big Law Firm?

1. In most cases, you will be given a second chance.

Most big law firms are understanding of associates who fail the bar exam the first time. In fact, we have helped many big firm associates who have failed the bar exam once pass on their second try. And so far, everyone that we have helped has gotten a second chance.

Many firms have stated policies that allow new hires who fail the bar to retake the exam the next administration. Although it might not be written into your employment contract, there is generally an understanding that you will get a second attempt. If you fail a second time,  however, all bets are off.

What additional support you receive, in terms of time off and financial assistance for tutoring, is up to the firm. At the very least, though, you will usually get a second crack at passing the bar.

2. However, it is up to the firm, who can change their mind.

However, unless you receive assurances like this in writing, you cannot bank on keeping your position. Everyone knows horror stories of associates failing the bar exam once, and being fired. Firms have latitude to deal with bar exam failure how they wish. There is no guarantee that they will treat new hires the same year-to-year. So even if you someone who failed the previous year and got a second chance, you might not be afforded that opportunity. In fact, there’s no guarantee they will even treat new hires from the same year comparably.

The takeaway: Attack the bar like it is the only time you’ll be able to take it!

3. Overall, be honest and let your firm know immediately if you fail.

If you are worried about failing the bar at a big law firm, do not be afraid of broaching the subject with your recruiter or HR contact. Let them know your concerns, and see what the firm’s general reaction is. Don’t be afraid to ask!

If you fail the bar exam, be honest and up front with your firm. Please see this article on how to tell your boss you failed the bar exam.