Vinson & Elkins litigation associate Jeremy Reichman earned the top score on the July Texas bar exam. Like many others, Reichman was uncertain at the time about how he did.
“I thought I could have failed. It wasn’t like a sure thing to me, but I guess that’s the consensus among everybody,” says Reichman of Dallas.
The Texas Board of Law Examiners posted the July exam results on Nov. 1. Sitting for the exam were a total of 2,932 first-time and repeat test-takers. Of those, 2,308 (78.72 percent) passed, according to the Austin agency that oversees the twice-yearly exam. [See related chart, below.]
Those who studied law in the Lone Star State performed better. Of the 1,762 first-time test-takers who graduated from Texas law schools, 1,524 (86.49 percent) passed. Among Texas’ nine American Bar Association-accredited law schools, Baylor University School of Law in Waco had the highest pass rate at 93.94 percent.
Once someone earns the top score, what happens next? From large firms to boutiques to the U.S. Supreme Court, what follows is a brief look at what top-scoring lawyers from the last five July bar exams are doing now.
July 2012 Exam: Jeremy Reichman
After graduating on May 19 from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Reichman says he focused full time on getting ready for the three-day exam that began on July 24.
“I woke up in the morning, studied, did the Bar/Bri [course], studied, and went to sleep at night — from the end of May until the exam in July,” he says.
Reichman had been a V&E summer associate in 2010 and 2011 and started full-time as a first-year associate on Oct. 1. He says he was researching discovery issues on Nov. 1 for a piece of commercial litigation when Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson called to congratulate him for doing so well on the exam.
“It was a complete shock,” Reichman says.
July 2011 Exam: Adam A. Milasincic
University of Virginia School of Law graduate Adam A. Milasincic joined Baker Botts’ Houston office on Nov. 15, 2011. He had been a summer associate there in 2010. He is approaching his first-year anniversary as a litigation associate with the firm.
Adam A. Milasincic
“I’ve had the opportunity to work on just about every kind of case imaginable, from car accidents to criminal matters, all the way up to commercial litigation typically associated with Baker Botts,” Milasincic says. “I definitely learned a lot about the practice of law in a short time.”
Milasincic says he’s interested in appellate and trial work but has not yet identified a specialty.
“So far, the majority of my time has been on appellate, securities and energy work,” he says.
Milasincic says that his first-year experiences have matched the expectations he formed while a summer associate with the firm.
“Obviously, there’s been more different kinds of work, but as far as firm culture and expectations and the nature of the matters that I’m asked to handle, I think it’s 100 percent consistent with my expectations over the summer,” he says.
July 2010 Exam: Kathleen “Kate” McCabe and Eric Greig
It’s been a very busy two years for Kathleen “Kate” McCabe since she learned she was one of two graduates — both from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin — who posted the top score on the Texas bar exam. In January 2011, she started work as an associate with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Austin.
Kathleen “Kate” McCabe
“I’ve worked on venture capital financings, a couple of public offerings, and mergers and acquisitions,” McCabe says. “I’ve enjoyed it. I’m very fortunate.”
She worked on initial public offerings for HomeAway Inc. and Bazaarvoice, both of Austin, and represented investors in an IPO for ExactTarget Inc. of Indianapolis.
On the deal side, McCabe helped Bazaarvoice acquire Longboard Media Inc. of San Francisco, a deal announced on Nov. 5. On the personal side, McCabe says she and her husband are expecting their first child in January.
Eric Greig, who tied McCabe for the high score on the July 2010 bar exam, remains in Washington, D.C., where he is an associate with Latham & Watkins. Greig says he’s been working on regulatory and transactional health-care matters that he describes as “exciting” since he joined the firm in November 2010.
“With all of the major changes that have happened over the last few years, the federal government has taken quite a role,” he says.
Greig says he didn’t join Latham specifically to do health-care work, but he ended up in that area over his first few months at the firm. While in law school, Greig says he was a research assistant for William Sage, vice provost for health affairs, so he had a background in health care.
At Latham, Greig says he advises large insurance companies providing Medicare or Medicaid coverage on acquisitions or mergers, and he advises hospitals on Medicare coverage requirements.
Greig’s home life is busy, too, because he and his wife welcomed their first child six months ago.*
July 2009 Exam: Josh Johnson
Since July, Josh Johnson has been a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Washington, D.C. “It’s a great experience . . . seeing how the court operates and getting to work on a wide variety of interesting cases,” says the 2009 Yale Law School graduate.
Johnson’s path to the Supreme Court has included a one-year clerkship in Boston with then-Judge Nancy Gertner of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, a one-year clerkship with Judge David Tatel of the D.C. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington and one year as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice criminal appellate section in Washington, D.C.
Johnson says he sat for the Texas bar exam because he has ties to the Lone Star State.
“I’m from Texas, my family is there,” he says. “I might head back to Texas in a couple of years.”
His Supreme Court clerkship ends in July 2013.
“I’m not sure what I’m doing after that,” Johnson says. “Hopefully, I will have quite a few options, which will be really nice. I will certainly interview with law firms. I haven’t fully decided yet what I will do.”
July 2008 Exam: Nathan Davis
Like Johnson, Nathan Davis did a federal clerkship after graduation. The University of California Berkeley School of Law graduate spent one year as a clerk for Judge Sharon Prost at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.
As it turns out, Davis’ top score on the July 2008 Texas Bar Exam may have helped him land his current job at Heim Payne & Chorush, a Houston intellectual property boutique. Davis says Russ Chorush, who was the top scorer on the July 2001 Texas bar exam, “introduced him to the firm.”
Davis says he was very impressed with Heim Payne, because all of the lawyers have top-notch credentials and the firm does “very sophisticated patent work in a small environment,” so he accepted a position with the firm.
Since joining the firm in 2009, Davis says he’s worked on IP litigation for clients including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, which is the scientific research arm of the Australian government, and Interval Licensing Corp., a think tank in Palo Alto founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Davis says he’s an Iowa native but earned his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M and always thought he would end up working in Texas.
|Texas Law School Bar Exam Pass Rates|
|School||July 2012 Total Taking Test||July 2012 Total Passing Test||July 2012 Percent Passing||July 2011 Percent Passing||July 2010 Percent Passing|
|Baylor University School of Law||99||93||93.94||95.88||94.64|
|St. Mary’s University School of Law||182||152||83.52||84.76||79.49|
|South Texas College of Law||276||237||85.87||89.49||89.02|
|Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law||229||203||88.65||86.96||83|
|Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law||142||92||64.79||66.67||75.76|
|Texas Tech University School of Law||177||148||83.62||90.51||86.21|
|Texas Wesleyan University School of Law||151||136||90.07||87.82||79.89|
|University of Houston Law Center||228||202||88.6||92.27||90.39|
|University of Texas School of Law||278||261||93.88||93.66||92.8|
|Note: Results are for first-time test-takers who are Texas law school graduates.
Source: Texas Board of Law Examiners
|Texas Lawyer, November 2012|
* The number of children born to Grieg and his wife has been corrected.