Many people are familiar with Kim Kardashian. With the hit reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians and brands like Skims and KKW Beauty being synonymous with her family’s legacy and empire, her name has become a hard one to ignore. And while her relevance in popular culture may be extreme, it can’t be overlooked that Kim’s ambitious nature has led her to activism and a career in law.
Following much in the footsteps of her late father, Rob Kardashian, who represented OJ Simpson in the infamous 1995 murder trial, Kim announced that she was studying law in 2019.
Lots of people who are interested in becoming an attorney go to law school to study it, but enrolling in a university is not a prerequisite in the state of California. Ms. Kardashian did not enroll in a state-accredited law school but stated she was “reading the law,” which involves an apprenticeship with lawyers in the field and passing the First-Year Law Students’ Examination, also known as the baby bar exam.
At one point in time, learning the law through an apprenticeship was considered the traditional route to becoming a lawyer. As times have changed, law school and the Socratic method teaching tactic have become the norm, with only seven states – California included – still allowing for the apprenticeship option.
After countless hours of studying and three failed attempts, Ms. Kardashian finally passed the baby bar in October 2021. She is planning to take the second and final, bar exam in 2022. Once she passes, she will officially be sworn in as an attorney-at-law.
While Ms. Kardashian isn’t a lawyer yet, her story is a reminder to anyone considering joining the law field that there are other ways to pursue your goals without going the traditional route. While studying for the bar outside of law school may be more of a challenge, it may be a more feasible option for some people either due to finances or familial obligations.
Not everyone has to take this baby bar exam. It’s only required for those who are studying law at an unaccredited law school and learning the law through an apprenticeship. This is also a required step for those without two full years of undergraduate studies who are enrolled in a State Bar-accredited university.
The baby bar exam is difficult, with a recorded passing rate of 21.7 percent for first-time takers in October 2021. This is a stark difference from the 53 percent pass rate recorded in July 2021 for the general bar exam. And while the specific requirements and rules vary from state to state, the grades do not: a passing grade for the baby bar is 560 and a perfect score is 800. The test is seven hours long–so not for the faint of heart. It is, however, a necessary step if you wish to become a lawyer, as passing it is the only way to move on to the final bar exam.
Have you taken the “baby bar” exam? Let us know with a comment on our LinkedIn post.