In a recent interview for Vogue Magazine, Kim Kardashian-West stated that she was going to be sitting for the California Bar exam in 2020. This is an auspicious goal for someone who does not have a college degree or a law school degree. However, California is one of four states in the United States where one can study the law as "apprentice" and then take the bar exam along side law school graduates. Under California law, Mrs. Kardashian-West will have to study in a law office for 18 hours a week for 4 years. Five hours of the study must be directly supervised. In addition, Mrs. Kardashian-West will be subjected to monthly exams and a bi‑annual progress report submitted to the California State Bar. The task, although not impossible, is formidable. The obstacles faced by Mrs. Kardashian-West in her quest to become a member of the California Bar include the following:
- Sufficient time. Kim Kardashian-West is currently a mother of three (soon to be four) and Kayne West’s wife. As a public figure, her interests in several businesses and her own corporate image needs to be maintained. Carving out 18 hours a week for the next 4 years to study law with such a busy schedule, appears to be daunting at best;
- Determination. In addition to only having a limited amount of time each day during the next 4 years, she would have to reprioritize her current interests in activities in order for her to maintain the rigorous schedule she has set out for herself. If the law is her passion, then she should be able to find the time and be able to appropriately prioritize her legal studies and regulate to a lower status some of her current activities. However, 4 years is a long time;
- Passing the bar exam. Mrs. Kardashian-West may be able to successfully complete the 4 years "apprentice program". However, she has to pass the California Bar. The California Bar is reputedly one of the most difficult Bars in the country to pass. Law students who have graduated from law school are instructed that they need to devote 400 hours of study to maximize their chances of passing the Bar exam. That is 400 hours of legal concepts and principals which they were studying fulltime over the past 3 years. In addition, there is a skill set in taking the Bar exam. The Bar exam is usually 2 or more days of multiple-choice questions and essay questions. One of the major reasons law students do not pass the Bar exam, is their inability to carefully monitor and marshal their time; and
- Statistics. In 2014, the New York Times reported that only 60 out of 83,986 people who took the State and multistate Bar exams across the country were law readers or legal apprentices and had not attended law school. Only 28 percent of the law office readers/apprentices passed their Bar exams compared to the 78 percent of the student who attended the American Bar Association-approved law schools.
Consequently, Kim Kardashian-West faces some substantial hurdles in her quest to become an attorney. Her journey is not impossible but difficult, and I wish her all the best. The legal profession needs excellent attorneys. When Mrs. Kardashian-West successfully completes her quest to pass the California bar exam and becomes an attorney, I am sure that she will have demonstrated more tenacity, perseverance, and focus than many law students who have attended law school.