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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

December 6, 2005

wanted: a law school exam prayer

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:05 pm

Many law schools started their exam periods yesterday, and some desperate

soul — student, professor, ASP professional? — Googled law school exam prayer>.

There were over 5 million results, but, looking through the top 100 results, I found

nothing really on point, — not even our post issue-spotting for faith-based law schools,  

which came in #3, contained a special prayer to help assure law exam success.

Instead, the unfortunate search mostly finds links to items about court cases on

prayer in schools.


Oh, sure, Elizabeth Stillman at the Law School Academic Support weblog wrote    prayingHandsSN

about exam panic in the hallways, in a post entitled “Oh My God, It’s Coming From

Inside the Building” (Dec. 2, 2005).  But, the closest mention of prayer is her suggestion

that “This may be a good time to indulge in superstitions.”  Also, on Oct. 12, 2005, Prof.

Stillman ended a piece on study-aids by saying “Note, however, that in late November,

when students come to me panicked because they have not outlined yet (exams here

start in early December), I recommend prayer.”   Recommendation, but no specifics. 

tiny check Similarly, Kimberly Swygert at Number 2 Pencil notes that “The

impending LSAT drivesstudents to pray,” and quotes the old saw —

“As long as there are tests in schools, there will be prayer in schools” 

— but offers no sample prayer.  


tiny check Likewise, Dean Brauch at Regent University Law School gives prayer

and God a lot of credit for increasing bar exam pass rates from under

50% to over 70% — but no prayer is specified.

A prayer calendar (Summer 2005) from Trinity International University did note that

Trinity Law School students would be taking the California State Bar Exam, from July

26-28, and it asks that readers “Pray for wisdom, along with physical and mental stam-

ina, during this three-day exam” on behalf of the law graduates. [Note: TIU Law School,

in Santa Ana, California, is accredited by the California Bar, and may be one of those

schools with special need for help on the state’s bar exam — as explored in Professor

Steve Bainbridge‘s little poke at Kathy Sullivan and barriers to entry yesterday.]


long winter —

prayer bundles sway

in the cedars

                                 Billie Wilson 


The most inspiring part of my “research” for this posting was finding the Home Page of

Dayton U. Law School’s Vernellia Randall. Professor Randall is an expert on issues

involving race and healthcare.  Not only is one of Prof. Randall’s two sons named Issa,

but she has “spent 13 years in nursing, including serving as the Maternal-ChildHealth

Nurse Coordinator for the State of Alaska.”  Given her connections with nursing, medical

school (adjunct professor) and teaching, and her love of poetry, Prof. Randall certainly 

scores much higher than the average lawyer in the Gallop Poll released yesterday on

Honesty and Ethical Ratings of People in Different Professions (Dec. 5, 2005) (via

Blawg Review editor).


blackboard abcN


You can see Prof. Randall’s attempt to bring more spirituality into the profession in the

advice she gives at the Dayton Law School website for exam preparation and taking.  In

addition to having discussions on studying and sample tests, her exam prep page ends

with a link to the Serenity Prayer.  Although there are times when I believe the Prayer is

a bit too passive and expects too much assistance and action from God, its tone is probably

quite appropriate for the panicked law student facing exams.  For those who do not remem-

ber the prayer, which is often affiliated with AA and is credited to either Reinhold Niebuhr or

Friedrich Oetinger), here it is:

The Serenity Prayer


God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change 
The courage to change the things I can  
And the wisdom to know the difference  
Living one day at a time  
Enjoying one moment at a time  
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace  
Taking, as God did, this sinful world as it is, 
Not as I would have it  
Trusting that God will make all things right  
If I surrender to God’s will  
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,  
And supremely happy with God forever in the next

Call me a perfectionist or a malcontent, but I wish we had something aimed far more

specifically at law school examination takers, much like the dandy “A Serenity Prayer

 for Law Review Authors,” presented last month at Contracts Prof Blog.  I’d take a crack

at writing a version, but (a) it’s been thirty years since I took a law school exam, and (b)

more important, I’m just not a prayer-oriented guy — I don’t believe in asking God

for favors, especially because I don’t believe He does retail (like exams or at bats) or

wholesale (like hurricanes).    Therefore, I urge any and all visitors to make a sincere

attempt at writing A Serenity Prayer for Law Student Exams, or any other prayer on that

topic.  My own suggestion for test-takers: don’t take the exams too seriously, and take a

deep breath whenever you feel yourself becoming uncentered.


p.s. Two years ago, back before AJC graduated and passed the bar,

a SuaSponte post entitled “exam waves” stated:  

“To all the 1Ls starting exams this week…I’d like to do something

like a prayer chain, without espousing any particular religion that

may not be yours. I know how invaluable it was to me last year to

know that people were thinking of me, supporting me, pulling for

me all through exams. Now I want to return the favor.”

The f/k/a Gang sends its good-exam vibes to all those law students

who need comforting, along with the comforting thought that choking

really badly on the exam might just be you telling you that the legal

profession is not a good fit.


update (Dec. 7, 2005):  Jeremy Richey has posted a wonderful generic “Exam”

prayer at his website, taken from Celtic Blessings: Prayers for Everyday Life,

which was compiled by Ray Simpson.  It deftly hits a lot of themes relevant

to law exams, including:

Aid me to understand this subject
with my heart as well as with my head.

Give me
Wisdom to know the nub of things . . .

Thanks, JR. 

silent prayer–

the quiet humming

of the ceiling fan


  Lee Gurga Fresh Scent



even the pigeon

says a prayer


           Kobayashi Issa,
                  translated by David G. Lanoue





catholic league playoff

i cut the ball

with my lucky crucifix


        ed markowski



outdoor art show

three agnostics pray

the rain will end





if george wallace is 50, i’m really getting old

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:18 am

Precisely a year ago, I wrote my first double-dactyl to celebrate

the 49th birthday of the double-weblogging, oenophile lawyer from

Pasadena, George M. Wallace.   Having just re-read that poem,

“Another Forty-Niner, I have sworn off double-dactyls.  I have not,

however, sworn off sending the very best birthday greetings to a

weblog-made friend, who has finally joined us quintogenarians.


joker vert


So, best wishes, George, for another half century (or more) of

artsy fooling around in your Forest, and artful lawyering over

declarations & exceptions (and stallions).  I know you and the

Mrs. will be sharing a very good bottle of wine tonight.  Your

pisano from Schenectady adds his own “Salud!” to a truly

Gianduian Barrister, and hopes your advanced age won’t slow

down your posting any time soon.


a “young” friend

turns 50 —

just how mama must have felt




cute waitress –

no protest when we say

we’re getting old





update (9AM): George may be aging, but today’s

post at Fool in the Forest shows he hasn’t lost his




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