MPREs and red lipticks

Earlier today I had to take a test. 

I thought I was done taking tests. But apparently I'm not. 

The test isn't a big deal. It's called the MPRE and it's an ethics tests for lawyers. Most states require prospective lawyers to take it in order to be admitted to the bar. 

Maryland doesn't. 

Because Maryland doesn't require the MPRE, back in law school I thought why bother? So I didn't bother. After a few bumps and bruises I was admitted to the bar and after a few more bumps and bruises, began practicing.

During my interview the partners at my firm asked if I was eligible to waive into DC. I said I would have to double check but I thought I was. 

Here's the thing: DC will admit practicing lawyers from other jurisdictions to the DC bar without taking the bar again. It's called waiving in and it's a relatively simple if expensive and time consuming process. All you have to do is send them a copy of the scores from the multiple choice section of your bar exam (called the MBE although that's transitioning to the UBE but don't worry about that) and the MPRE, fill out the criminally long application, pay the fee, and submit everything to DC. Then you wait. And wait. And wait. 

No seriously--the minimum wait time is 9 months. 10-11 is far more common. Then once you wait all that time they get back to you and say "hey you're in" and you get sworn into DC. I think there's an interview somewhere during the waiting process but still, the criminally long application & the interview were required for your first bar exam too so that's not really anything new. 

At least this time there's no $2,000 prep course, 2.5+ months of intensive studying, ridiculously stressful test, or even more ridiculously stressful months of waiting for results of said test. 

I thought about waiving into DC before but it's quite costly (close to $1,000) so I never did it. Who has that kind of money to spend on something that maybe possibly one day might be kind of beneficial? 

But then those partners, my now-bosses, asked if I could do it. And then they said that they'd pay for it. 

Naturally the first thing I did when I got home was make sure my scores from the bar exam were high enough to allow me to waive in. 

Naturally I had to pay $25 and wait 24-48 hours to get those scores. So I begrudgingly forked over the money and anxiously awaited the results.

Lo and behold I did qualify to waive into DC.

And as soon as I told the partners that I could officially for certain waive into DC they asked if I wanted to come by for a "meeting". 

They offered me the job at that meeting.

Flash forward to a work conference in late September. I'm sitting at a table with one of the partners and two other associates. She asks if I still want to waive in. I say sure but I need to take the MPRE.  

The first day back in the office I signed up for the MPRE. So did one of the other associates. 

Two months went by and it was finally test day. 

Sitting in the exam room waiting for the test this morning I noticed something.

There were only 8 of us in the room. Easily 3/4 of us were already admitted to the Maryland bar and were just doing this to waive into DC (or in one girl's case because she was expanding her practice to include NY law so she needed to take the NY bar). But there were two said they were still in law school and hadn't taken the bar yet. 

I couldn't see one of the students--she was sitting behind me--but the one I could see made me giggle a little bit. She brought with her a plastic ziploc bag full of pencils and highlighters. Out of the bag came 6 or so sharpened pencils. They were lined neatly up. She just had this nervous energy about her. She genuinely cared about this test. 

Nobody cares about this test. Sure it's required in a lot of states but still. Nobody cares. It's not a big deal at all. 

At that stage of my life, still in law school, I would have cared too. I would have cared about the test in the sense that this was a step in an exciting process. I was getting licensed to practice law and that was exciting. 

Now though, it's an annoyance. Sure I'm excited to be waive into DC. That's exciting. But this test? All the steps to get admitted? They've lost their luster. 

There's a point in all of our lives where the enthusiasm just...wears off. The exciting becomes the mundane. 

I haven't decided if that's a cynical thing or not. A part of me says it is. A part of me wants to fight to always keep the magic, the excitement, the enthusiasm. 

A part of me says that this is life. Priorities have shifted. Experience has been gained. I've learned to regulate the energy I expend on things. Sometimes I use a lot of energy. Other times I only use a little. 

I think that's what growing up is. It's learning to use resources such as energy and enthusiasm wisely.

But I don't think that means we should lose our enthusiasm all together. It's okay to give into it, to let it sweep you away, every now and then. Earlier today I bought a new red lipstick. I was killing time by wandering around Sephora when I spotted it. Now I have been looking for a new red lipstick, a true classic red. But I wandered into that Sephora because I was bored and I just really like makeup. 

I swiped a few red lipsticks on the back of my hand. They were okay. But then I swiped this one on the back of my hand. And I got excited. I mean like really excited. I bought it right away and applied it instantly. I even reapplied it just to drive home from dinner with a friend. Sitting in my living room writing this post in my pajamas I'm still wearing the red lipstick.

I'm really effing excited about this lipstick. 

And you know what? It's okay to be really excited about a new red lipstick and not to be excited about the MPRE. Will the lipstick change my life? Highly unlikely. 

But it will make me happy. And we need those little things to make us happy. Maybe we need them to not feel so cynical about not caring about the MPRE and what it represents. 

Maybe we just need a reason to smile today. 

1 comment:

  1. Life is exciting sometimes, boring others. Make your own joy. Joy in the Lord.
    Love you Mom