Twenty Celebrities Who Failed The Bar Exam
If you recently failed the bar exam, we understand it can be very upsetting. However, just like anything else, knowing you are not alone in your failure can bring some comfort. Many famous figures also failed the bar exam before going on to conquer it and so much more! To help you out, we have collected a list of 20 celebrities who failed the bar exam to show you that you are not alone. And, in fact, you are amongst many of our nation’s greats.
Twenty Celebrities Who Failed The Bar Exam
1. President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Our longest-serving president failed the New York Bar exam the first time he took it. He later retook the exam and passed in 1907!
2. First Lady Michelle Obama
After graduating from Harvard Law School, Michelle Obama failed the bar exam the first time she sat for it. Mrs. Obama went on to practice intellectual property law for Sidley & Austin before becoming the first African-American First Lady!
3. John F. Kennedy Jr.
Son of the 35th U.S President John F. Kennedy, Kennedy Jr. failed the New York Bar exam twice! He later went on to serve as the New York City district attorney.
4. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Former first lady, former Congressional Senator, and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was never able to pass the D.C bar. She did pass the Arkansas bar and held a corporate legal career before turning to public service.
5. Kathleen Sullivan
Former Dean of Stanford Law School named partner at Quinn Emmanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, and Supreme Court arguer, Kathleen Sullivan failed the California Bar before eventually passing and going on to great things!
6. Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris initially failed the California Bar exam. After retaking the exam and passing, Kamala went on to become the 32nd Attorney General of California, a United States Senator, and United States Vice Presidential Candidate.
7. Jerry Brown
Before serving as the 34th and 39th Governor of California, Jerry Brown failed the California Bar exam. Another example of how this momentary setback does not prevent one from accomplishing great things.
8. Governor Pete Wilson
Governor Pete Wilson served as California’s 36th governor, a U.S. Senator, a San Diego mayor, and a state assemblyman after failing the bar exam three times! He passed on his 4th attempt.
9. Governor Deval Patrick
After graduation from Harvard Law, Governor Patrick failed the bar exam twice, passing on his third attempt. He went on to serve as the first African-American Governor of Massachusetts for eight years.
10. Governor David Paterson
The first black Governor of New York and second legally blind Governor in the United States, David Paterson, also failed the New York Bar. He used this experience to fight for better accommodations on the bar for people with visual deficiencies.
11. Congressman Harold Ford Jr.
Congressman Ford failed the bar exam (without retaking it) before going on to serve in the U.S House of Representatives for a decade.
12. New York Mayor Ed Koch
Failing the New York Bar exam did not hold Mayor Koch back from great achievements. He served as both a U.S Congressman and Mayor of New York City!
13. Mayor Richard M. Daley
After he failed the bar exam two times, Richard Daley went on to serve as the Mayor of Chicago for six terms!
14. Governor Charlie Crist
After he failed the Bar exam twice, Charlie Crist went on to be Florida Attorney General, Governor, and U.S Representative for Florida’s 13th district!
15. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
After failing the California Bar exam four times, Antonio Villaraigosa turned his attention away from life as a lawyer and become the Mayor of Los Angles from 2005-2013.
16. Anthony Scaramucci
Financier and former Trump Administration Director of Communications Anthony Scaramucci failed he bar exam twice.
17. Emily Pataki
Daughter of former New York Governor, George Pataki, Emily found herself failing the New York Bar her first time around. After passing the bar, she then went on to have a prosperous legal career.
18. Pat Robinson
After graduating from Yale Law School near the top of his class, Pat Robinson failed the New York Bar. He later went on to become a nationally known minister and televangelist.
19. Kevin D. Callahan
Kevin D. Callahan might be an unfamiliar name to you. However, his story is a powerful reminder of perseverance. He failed the Massachusetts Bar exam not once, not twice, not three times, but 10 times! After eventually passing, Mr. Callahan continues to run his own private practice.
20. Paulina Bandy
Famous in her own right for failing the bar exam more than any other, Paulina Bandy failed 13 times before finding success. She now has a website that helps students pass the bar.
We know it can feel awful after failing the bar exam. Here is our message and advice to those who may have failed.
You may be questioning whether you are up to the task of the bar exam. Rest assured, many great lawyers before you have failed the bar exam and gone on to achieve extraordinary things. Take time to relax and understand you are not alone. Then, remember you have resources available to help you pass the bar exam the next time around. When you are ready, create a plan of action that will give you the best chances of success. You are amongst some of the greatest leaders in our country, so don’t give up. We believe in you, and so should you!
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