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If anyone was going to fail the Connecticut state bar exam last July, it was going to be Anthony Parent, not his father, David, a book-smart, late-in-life law school grad, who’s spent much of his adult life earning one degree or another. Of that Anthony Parent was certain, especially after the father and son — both members of Quinnipiac University School of Law’s Class of 2002 — completed the multistate portion of the exam. Anthony, admittedly the less studious of the two, came home that day utterly distraught; David, however, was almost chipper. The multistate test was tough, but “I felt pretty good about it,” the elder Parent recalled. The tables turned the next day. While Anthony sailed through the essay questions, wrapping up early, David said he was “not overjoyed” when he returned to the family’s abode in Wallingford, Conn. When Anthony went online a few days later, he was shocked. His name was listed among those who had passed the bar, but his dad’s was not. “If it was the multistate [test] only, we’d both be lawyers,” professed David Parent, who plans to retake the exam next time. FOLLOWING DAD’S LEAD At first, Anthony Parent, 31, acted somber, not wanting to celebrate his triumph at the risk of upsetting his father, whom he had followed to law school over the elder Parent’s concerns that his son lacked the focus demanded by the rigorous coursework. But Anthony couldn’t resist gloating for long. “I took it easy on him for about an hour,” the son said of his good-natured ribbing, which came at his dad’s request. “I would expect a little more arrogance on your part,” David Parent recalled telling his son. Some would-be lawyers would drown themselves in despair over the humiliation of it all. But David Parent, an accountant and real estate broker before going to law school, is only too eager to spread the tale. Telling it has become a regular father-and-son shtick at social gatherings. The elder Parent worked for the state as the business manager for the Whaley Avenue Correctional Center in New Haven and later as an accountant for the Elm City. He had a real estate broker’s license, an MBA and a master’s degree in English before fulfilling a longstanding desire to attend law school. Parent enrolled in Quinnipiac’s night school program at the age of 59. “I was perhaps not the best student there, … but nobody enjoyed it more than I did,” he maintained. In hindsight, the younger Parent said his dad’s attitude toward schooling rubbed off on him. He said he was able to “enjoy law school for the challenge it is, and not be in a rush to get out” and start his career like many of his peers. Still, David Parent said he was at least a little pessimistic when his son told him of his plans to join him at Quinnipiac. At the time, Anthony, then paying off college loans as a customer service representative for Ford Credit in Wallingford, seemed more suited to climbing the Himalayas than learning the finer points of tax law, his father said. “Son, I don’t think you’re ready for that workload,” he warned. “That’s the only time he’s been unsupportive of anything I did in my life,” Anthony Parent noted. DIFFERENT STUDY HABITS It wasn’t long before the son was proving his father wrong, even though many times David, waking up at 4 a.m. to study, would catch Anthony coming home from a night out with friends. David was in the day program. The few times they were in the same class, both earned the same marks. But at graduation, when both the night and day students were ranked together, Anthony Parent placed in the top third of the class, while David Parent landed “a little bit below,” he acknowledged. Preparing for the bar, it was more of the same. David Parent knows only one way to study, and that’s putting in long hours rereading the material until it finally sticks. His son, however, can hit the books for an hour and digest what would take his dad four hours to learn. The younger Parent sketched answers to over 300 essays, while his father focused more attention on fewer questions. Looking back, David Parent said he probably should have covered more ground, instead of getting hung up so long on certain subjects. Now working for Stamford attorney Mark D. Phillips, Anthony Parent plans to take the bar exam in Vermont next month in hopes of moving closer to the ski slopes. He said he has talked with his boss about the possibility of his father replacing him at the Stamford firm should he pass the Connecticut bar exam the second time around. “I’ve waited this long to be an attorney, waiting a little longer doesn’t bother me,” the elder Parent said.

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