(Closed) Bar exam: miss friend’s wedding?

posted 13 years ago in Legal
Post # 3
29 posts
  • Wedding: December 1969

Eww girl, that’s a toughie! I would approach her first and let her know what your situation is, don’t mention to her you’re willing to suck it up, yet! Maybe wait till after your wedding to let her know so you’re not dealing with any kind of guilt before your day! Maybe you can be involved by going to her batchlorette and bridal shower parties? If you can’t make the exact wedding day, to me I would feel great that you did all you could! If you were my friend, I wouldn’t want you to put you’re whole career on hold just because of one day! Feel your friend out and don’t stress out!  Good luck!

Post # 4
267 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2008

You don’t know that she will definitely ask you.  But if/when she does, be honest.  Tell her you would love to, but explain the situation.  Tell her you will do everything you can, but maybe you shouldn’t be in the wedding party.  Maybe you could do a reading….based on what I ahve read on this site, about brides getting upset that their friends aren’t being the greatest maids, and putting their own lives first ; ) you have no idea how she will react if something happens and you can’t be there.  Studying for this exam will take up a lot of time.  There is a lot that goes into being a bridesmaid too.  If she is a true friend she will understand and respect your honesty.  And maybe she will just ask you to sign on as a tentative bridesmaid, and be okay with what you decide when it actually rolls around…..it is much better to tell her this now, rather than accepting out of some sort of duty, and then having to change your mind in the end.

Post # 5
102 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I think you should suck it up and go.  The bar exam will always be there but your close friend’s wedding is only once (hopefully).  You have a year to study for it, so you should be ready by then anyways, right?    Since it’s not your first one, you know you’ll pass!  You should let her know early that you may not be able to do full Bridesmaid or Best Man duties due to your travel schedule. 

Post # 6
3 posts
  • Wedding: September 2022

I’ve taken one bar and am about to take another one, too.  Most people who take a second bar exam don’t find it nearly as stressful as the first.  However, you will likely be working this time around and studying on the side–do you want any added stress?  I would say, don’t be in the bridal party but, if you feel up to it, go to the wedding and take your flashcards and Minireview with you.  Maybe fly or have someone else drive so you can study the whole way to the wedding and back.  The wedding itself will only be a few hours out of your day.  Good luck!

Post # 7
45 posts

I’m a lawyer too, and I missed my friend’s wedding (3000 miles away) because it was the same summer as the bar exam.  She just missed mine because she didn’t want to take time off when she had just started a new job.  I have no hard feelings, and I’m pretty sure she didn’t either.

My other friend, who lives an hour away, also missed my wedding because it was a week and a half before the bar exam.  He’s not a super super close friend, either, but yeah, I was disappointed.  I also totally understood and honestly I can’t say I wouldn’t have missed his wedding if it had been a week and a half before the bar.  It makes people crazy, and the bar is all they care about, as I’m sure you know.  Missing even one evening that close to the exam can seem like a really big deal.

If I were in your position, I would definitely not agree to do anything for the wedding at all.  As far as just going as a guest goes, I think it depends on your circumstances and how prepared for the exam you feel.  Honestly, 3 days before the freaking BAR EXAM is really tough.  If this were your first time I would say, well, that sucks but I definitely wouldn’t go.  Hopefully she’ll understand.  This being your second time makes it less intense.  I’ve never been in your position, but my mom has and I don’t think she stressed out too much about taking it the second time around.  Plus you don’t have to take the MBE so it’s really not as bad.  You might also want to factor in how difficult the bar is in the state you’re moving to.  If you’re moving to CA or NY or something, having taken the CA bar I honestly wouldn’t feel ok missing studying the weekend before, even if I were only doing the state-specific portion.  But if you’re going to a state where you know the bar is a lot easier than the one you’ve already taken, it might be ok.

Two more things: 1.  Is her date final?  I absolutely agree with the other posters that you should be honest with her.  If she’s a good friend, you should be able to tell her your situation, and if you’ve decided that you just can’t do it 3 days before the bar, maybe there could be a possibility that she could change her date?  Obviously this might be impossible if she’s already booked venues and such, but if she hasn’t gotten to that stage, and if it’s important enough to her that you be there, maybe she could move it to the weekend after.  And 2.  Don’t beat yourself up about not going, if that’s what you decide.  I’m sure that your good friend will understand that this test, while not life or death, really is a big deal!  Failing it would put your new job in jeopardy, and it would probably cost a lot of money to have to take it again.  And the bar exam is really difficult.  Sometimes life turns out where we have to make hard choices, and this is one, but it’s ok to choose to focus on this important test rather than be at your friend’s wedding.  You can be there for her in other ways, at other times.  Good luck!

Post # 9
453 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

If I were the bride and you were my friend, I would insist you stay home and study.  Education is very important, and I wouldn’t think twice.  I would feel that way even if you were my best friend.  Then again, if you were my best friend, I may even be inclined to change my date to work it out, assuming I wasn’t far into the planning process, of course.

Post # 10
22 posts

would it be possible to take the feb ’09 exam before your move?  i just took my second bar exam… and it was pretty tough to prepare for it (i’m 4 years out of law school).  i wasn’t as stressed this time around, but i barely had enough time to listen to all the lectures, make outlines, and do practice MBE questions while working (billing) full-time.  i did most of my cramming and memorizing the few days leading up to the exam.  if i had to attend a wedding right before the exam, i don’t even think i could relax cuz i’d be thinking about the rule against perpetuities the whole time.  🙂  


Post # 11
1131 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2022

My husband is an atty and I know he would never ask somebody to put off the bar or do anything to put their career in jeopardy for our wedding. It’s not like it’s a meeting or something, it’s the only way you can work! If she’s your friend, she’ll understand. I’ve heard of much worse excuses than the bar, so just be honest with her and I think it’ll work out. Good Luck, by the way! 


Post # 12
106 posts
Blushing bee

I’m a lawyer and although I haven’t taken a second bar exam, just the thought of going to a wedding three days before it freaks me out.  Will you enjoy yourself or will you be so stressed out? I agree that three days before is a crucial time.

Post # 13
78 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

As someone who worked during their second bar exam, I would say that it’s just as strssful because you just don’t have the time during the week that you have when you are not working. Will your current or new  job give you time off before the bar? If so, maybe you could take a few hours off and go to the wedding. Taking the bar more than once is a pain, so if you can avoid doing so that would be a huge weight off of your shoulders.  

Post # 14
173 posts
Blushing bee

I took a second bar exam last year, and it was almost as stressful as the first one. And I only say "almost" because I knew that at least I could handle the "practical" portion of the exam after being a lawyer for while. If you think you can really cram well during the week prior, I’d attend the wedding, but I’d NEVER agree to be a bridesmaid. Too much extra stress!

Post # 15
4 posts

I wouldn’t commit to anything.  I just failed my second bar exam. I passed the CA bar the first time.  I totally stressed and did nothing but study – and it worked!  I’ve been practicing now for 9 years and when I got engaged to my fiance who lives in another state I signed up for the bar in his state – OR.  I was trying to study, bill full time and plan a wedding.  The interesting thing was that I wasn’t as stressed.  But this was only because (1) I had too many other distractions (both the wedding and work), (2) I felt a false sense of security from having passed CA the first time and having worked for nine years, and (3) the OR bar has a much higher passage rate than CA.

I would explain the situation with your friend.  Let her know that you would love to be at her wedding, but that you probably will not be able to, and that you will feel just awful about missing it.  This last part is important.  I had a few friends who couldn’t make my wedding, which I understood, but it would have been nice if they had expressed a bit more remorse about not being able to be there.  Then be sure to follow up with your friend after the wedding.  Call her or email her – even if she’s on her honeymoon and wish her congrats and ask to see the photos as soon as they’re available.  And of course, it goes without saying, send her and her fiance a gift with a very nice note saying how much you wish you could have been there.

If she has been through a bar exam or any similar exam, she will understand.  If she has not, she may not completely understand, but she will certainly try.  As for the bar exam, don’t pay any attention to all those people who say "hey, no worries, you’ve already passed one bar".  Stay focused on your goal, put in your hours every day, and treat it just as you did your first bar exam.

 Best of Luck to You!


Post # 16
50 posts
Worker bee

If it were me (I’m a lawyer also) I would not try to go to an out of town wedding three days before the bar exam. I feel like the further out of law school the harder the bar exam gets, even if you’ve already passed one. If the wedding were a few weeks before the bar, or in your home town, I would say go for it and have a great time! But you don’t want to risk failing, especially with all the layoffs going on right now…

I think your friend would totally understand given the fact that you have no control over when the bar exam is held, and you signed up for it before she picked her wedding date. And I’m sure she will believe you would much rather be at your wedding than taking a difficult multi-day exam!

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