The National Jurist - Spring 2017 - 26
When you need help
With bar exam pass rates falling,
more students are finding they need a helping hand
regarious, detail-oriented and persevering, with a strong,
competitive spirit, Sung Kim had always wanted to
be a lawyer. But after graduating from Texas Southern
University - Thurgood Marshall School of Law and doing
all the right things - attending seminars, working with
a major bar review company and studying daily - Kim
failed the bar exam.
To his dismay, he scored even
lower on his second and third
BY NANCY HENDERSON attempts.
"I may have been overconfident
and going through the motions" the first time, he said.
But what about the others?
"The hardest part was sitting and waiting and understanding that the clock is ticking away and you have
not progressed forward with your goal," he said. "Every
New Year's, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving,
Christmas comes around, and you realize you're still in
the same spot. You've just wasted time."
THE NATIONAL JURIST
Kim's former classmates and his supervisor in the
Harris County, Texas, prosecutor's office recommended he
contact Chicago-based Reed Bar Review. He began working with company founder Hugh Reed, who helped him
focus on material geared toward his weaknesses.
Both were shocked when Kim failed his fourth test by
"That was heartbreaking," Reed said. "We paid extra
special attention to those things where he needed to
improve, and additional diagnostic testing in those areas."
Kim had one try left, as Texas will only allow a candidate to take the exam five times. Luckily, he passed and is
now practicing at a family law firm in Longview, Texas.
"Some mornings I wake up and realize I finally got
here," he said. "I'm glad I get to live out my dream."
It's no secret that fewer law grads are passing the bar
exam than in years past. In 2015, only 70 percent passed,
down from 79 percent in 2011. And the number is
expected to drop even more in the future.