Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: 8 Yrs and 14 Exams Later - She Passes the BAR  (Read 1722 times)

BoRNnTHeUSA

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 114
    • View Profile
8 Yrs and 14 Exams Later - She Passes the BAR
« on: July 05, 2007, 05:35:34 PM »
http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/life/themorningread/article_1752800.php

Also, check out her website:  http://www.cabarexamrepeatersresource.com

Bar exam was the test of time
Orange woman tries for eight years to pass the bar exam.
By ELLYN PAK
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

ORANGE Paulina Bandy couldn't fail the state bar exam again.

Not after she failed 13 times before.

Not after she had spent tens of thousands to attend law school. Not after she put her husband Jon Gomez through the ringer for so many years. Not after the debt she piled up forced her family to move into a 365-square-foot home.

Not after she spent the last eight years of her life studying to pass one stinking test.

Her 14th try came on a day in February. She did breathing exercises and self-hypnosis.

When the three long days of exams were finished, she walked out of the room and broke down and cried.

It was the only time she ever did.



Her journey began in 1994 at Western State University College of Law.

She had been a marine biologist, teaching at Science Adventures in Huntington Beach and at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point.

She and Gomez, who married in 1992 after an 11-year courtship, lived in a three-bedroom home with a garage and yard in a Fullerton cul-de-sac. The couple traveled and shared a passion for sports. They loved to entertain guests at their home.

Life was good ... until the day Bandy decided to go into law.

Bandy, who grew up in Anaheim, always felt underestimated and thought law school could help her reach a sense of achievement.

She told her husband, "Don't worry, it won't affect your life at all."

She supported his decision to go back to college and pursue a teaching degree after a lucrative career in lumber sales.

The learning curve was steep for Bandy, who powered through night classes. But she made it through the first year, when most students are weeded out of law schools.

"Law school was so in-your-face smart," she said. "It was very prestigious."

She graduated in 1998 with a B average and a desire to teach business law. She didn't want a high-pressure job, but an exciting internship with the Orange County District Attorney's Office that summer stoked her interest.

With about $80,000 in unpaid school loans and a degree, Bandy prepared herself for the state bar exam. She felt confident.



Bandy did what every bar exam taker would do. She took bar review courses, consulted with experts, bought study aids and studied for hours a day. She had more work to do than the Ivy League graduates who were more prepared and apt to pass the exam.

"There was a secret out there to passing, and I wasn't in on it," she said.

Gomez kicked off a tradition of bringing flowers to his wife after she finished her exam in February 1999. But Bandy found out later that she failed. She was disheartened but vowed to do better the next year.

Her father died that same year, but Bandy had to immediately hunker down and get ready for another exam.

In 2000, Gomez graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a child/adolescent studies degree. He began teaching shortly after for a starting salary of $29,000. In the meantime, his wife studied 14 to 15 hours a day to prepare for a second stab at the state bar exam.

"I wanted my happy ending," she said. "I wanted the Disney movie. I just thought, 'I can pass the exam.' "

Her second try was unsuccessful. She had become a "repeater," and that's when the frustration, shame and desperation seeped in. Bandy began to isolate herself. She and her husband were struggling to eke out a living.

"I knew I could do it, but I didn't know what the formula was," she said.



Maybe she should've given up the dream.

By 2003, five years after she took her first exam, Bandy hadn't passed. On July 1 of that year, at age 39, Bandy gave birth to daughter Roxanne.

By then, Bandy had taken the test seven times and was spiraling into more debt. Her law school debt ballooned into $128,000, and Bandy had to defer the loan. The couple spent at least $1,000 on registration fees and hotel rooms each time she took the test.

Gomez refused to let his wife give up. She had come too close on many occasions passing some portions of the exam but failing one to stop trying. He drove her to the test sites in Pomona, San Diego, Ontario, Long Beach, Pasadena and stayed with her during the three-day trips.

"To me, it wasn't a big fight," he said. "It was easier to say, 'Go in there. You can do it.' "

The fight continued for years. She tried twice in 2004, the year the family left Fullerton to move into a 365-square-foot home in the back yard of Bandy's mother's house in Orange. They sold the majority of their possessions furniture, sporting equipment, wedding champagne glasses at garage sales and squeezed what they could into their one-bedroom home.

One couch, a television set, a bed. No closet space, a tiny kitchen and a study area. No vacations, eating out or new clothes. Bandy took odd jobs to help pay for expenses such as Roxanne's childcare and a $500 monthly rent.

She took the exam twice in 2005 and twice in 2006. She failed both years.

"She's been so dedicated, and it's been hard on me seeing her hit against the wall," said her mother, Caroline Bandy.



The exam in February of this year was Bandy's 14th. A few months before, her father-in-law yelled at her for being a "pretend lawyer" and ruining his son's life. She also got into a bad accident in January and totaled her car.

On May 25, the day the results of the exam were to be posted online, Bandy came home to a message on the answering machine.

"I screamed," Bandy said. "I'll never forget it. I was doubled over like being punched in the stomach. In a good way."

She had passed the exam, said the voice in the message. She sobbed uncontrollably. Her mother and husband were in the front yard, shocked.

"I passed, I passed!" Bandy yelled while running to the driveway.

Eight years of sacrifice had paid off. The family celebrated at a nearby Rubio's.

After all that ordeal, Bandy might not even become a lawyer.

Because of her own experiences, she has an urge to help other repeaters pass the exam. Passing her 14th test in February and being sworn into the bar association in December is proof to other repeaters that if Bandy can do it, so can they.

She's decided to devote her time to helping them full time. She launched a Web site, www.cabarexamrepeatersresourc e.com, and got a business license to help others find a formula to find pass the bar exam.

She'll also be teaching night classes to adults at the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District. She hopes to tell her story to others and help them through their own struggles.

"To me, it's been such a big goal," Bandy said. "This is the journey. It's the end."
"I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, other-centered men can build up." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

jd06

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 120
    • View Profile
Re: 8 Yrs and 14 Exams Later - She Passes the BAR
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2007, 05:41:34 PM »
I notice on her website that she'll critique your returned exam for $75.  God bless her persistence and no offense to her, but do you really want someone who failed thirteen times telling you what you need to do to pass?   

chydiva82

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 58
  • Did God take permission from U when he created ME?
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: 8 Yrs and 14 Exams Later - She Passes the BAR
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2007, 05:55:04 PM »
I notice on her website that she'll critique your returned exam for $75.  God bless her persistence and no offense to her, but do you really want someone who failed thirteen times telling you what you need to do to pass?   

One would think...

But I guess one way to look at it, is that having sat through the exam 14 some odd times, she can tell you what NOT to do, how to avoid traps, yada yada yada...

probably still wouldn't pay the $75 though ;D

BoRNnTHeUSA

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 114
    • View Profile
Re: 8 Yrs and 14 Exams Later - She Passes the BAR
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2007, 05:59:30 PM »
JD, I pretty much believed most would post that sentiment.  She may not have the best answers in certain areas, but she can definitely provide insight on what not to do.  Moreover, (as a person currently struggling to improve my LSAT score) I appreciate her drive, determination, and commitment.  I don't know how many more times I will take the LSAT, but I'm definitely not ready to throw in the towel just yet.
"I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, other-centered men can build up." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

jd06

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 120
    • View Profile
Re: 8 Yrs and 14 Exams Later - She Passes the BAR
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2007, 06:09:14 PM »
JD, I pretty much believed most would post that sentiment.  She may not have the best answers in certain areas, but she can definitely provide insight on what not to do.  Moreover, (as a person currently struggling to improve my LSAT score) I appreciate her drive, determination, and commitment.  I don't know how many more times I will take the LSAT, but I'm definitely not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

I understand.  And, having sat through the CA bar exam, I have a tremendous appreciation for the challenge.  However, while she's certainly a model of persistence, I just don't think she's a viable source of instruction. But hey, I don't begrudge her the right to throw the offer out there.... :)   

queencruella

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 4213
    • View Profile
Re: 8 Yrs and 14 Exams Later - She Passes the BAR
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2007, 06:11:02 PM »
JD, I pretty much believed most would post that sentiment.  She may not have the best answers in certain areas, but she can definitely provide insight on what not to do.  Moreover, (as a person currently struggling to improve my LSAT score) I appreciate her drive, determination, and commitment.  I don't know how many more times I will take the LSAT, but I'm definitely not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

I understand.  And, having sat through the CA bar exam, I have a tremendous appreciation for the challenge.  However, while she's certainly a model of persistence, I just don't think she's a viable source of instruction. But hey, I don't begrudge her the right to throw the offer out there.... :)   

Actually, a lot of people who are really good at something have trouble teaching it because they've never had to struggle themselves. People who have struggled tend to identify more with their students and can give advice as to what they did and didn't do that was successful/unsuccessful.

jd06

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 120
    • View Profile
Re: 8 Yrs and 14 Exams Later - She Passes the BAR
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2007, 06:12:13 PM »
JD, I pretty much believed most would post that sentiment.  She may not have the best answers in certain areas, but she can definitely provide insight on what not to do.  Moreover, (as a person currently struggling to improve my LSAT score) I appreciate her drive, determination, and commitment.  I don't know how many more times I will take the LSAT, but I'm definitely not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

I understand.  And, having sat through the CA bar exam, I have a tremendous appreciation for the challenge.  However, while she's certainly a model of persistence, I just don't think she's a viable source of instruction. But hey, I don't begrudge her the right to throw the offer out there.... :)   

Actually, a lot of people who are really good at something have trouble teaching it because they've never had to struggle themselves. People who have struggled tend to identify more with their students and can give advice as to what they did and didn't do that was successful/unsuccessful.

Fair enough.  I accept that.... 8)









Dr. Miles

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 220
    • View Profile
Re: 8 Yrs and 14 Exams Later - She Passes the BAR
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2007, 06:52:34 PM »
quite possibly one of the mlost pathetic stories i have ever heard. why even have a bar exam at all if you let people take the damn thing 14 times? this woman is obviously not competent; she's a malpractice suit waiting to happen.

Judgie Poo

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 190
  • Nulli Secundus
    • View Profile
Re: 8 Yrs and 14 Exams Later - She Passes the BAR
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2007, 12:30:25 AM »
This is why you shouldn't attend a t2-4 school.

If you're not smart enough to get into the t14, you're not smart enough to be a lawyer.
Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down.