Governor Deval Patrick
Despite graduating from Harvard Law School, Governor Patrick failed the bar exam twice before passing on his third attempt. Later, he served as Governor of Massachusetts for 8 years as the first African-American governor in the state. He is now the managing director at Bain Capital.
Governor Charlie Crist
The former Florida Attorney General and Governor failed his first two attempts at the bar exam. This didn’t stop him from leading a successful career in public service. He is currently serving as the U.S. Representative from Florida’s 13th District.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Mayor Villaraigosa had the misfortune of failing the bar exam four times in a row. Although he never actually passed the exam, he went on to become the Mayor of Los Angeles from 2005-2013, showing that you don’t even need to pass the exam in order to find rewarding career opportunities.
Mayor Ed Koch
You may know about Mayor Koch from a variety of his accomplishments, whether it be his time serving as a congressman in the House of Representatives, as a lawyer, as a political commentator, or as mayor of New York City. Yet he too failed the bar exam on his first attempt. He passed on his second. Clearly, he didn’t let failure define his life.
Mayor Richard M. Daley
Mayor Daley, like many of the entries on this list, failed the bar exam multiple times. Twice to be exact. But he still managed to serve as the mayor of Chicago for six consecutive terms.
Governor David Paterson
Governor Paterson also failed the bar exam, yet still became a prominent public servant. He is well known as the first African-American to serve as Governor of New York, and the second legally-blind man to serve as a governor in the U.S.
Harold Ford Jr.
Harold Ford Jr. failed the Tennessee bar exam during his campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives. Afterwards, he served as a Representative for 10 years and became an author, as well as a financial managing director for Morgan Stanley.
Daughter of former New York Governor George Pataki, Emily failed the bar exam on her first attempt, passing it on her second. Since then, she’s had a prosperous career working for White & Case, as well as for the Bloomberg Administration.
Like many who have failed the bar, Pat Robinson felt feelings of humiliation and despair after failing the New York bar, despite graduating from Yale Law School near the top of his class. However, he later became a born-again Christian and made a name for himself as a minister and televangelist.
Kevin D. Callahan
While not nearly as famous as the others on this list, Kevin Callahan does offer a great example of perseverance in the face of failure. He failed the bar not once, not twice, but 10 times! He finally passed the Massachusetts bar exam on his 11th attempt and runs his own private practice.
Paulina Bandy has gained some notoriety in the legal world as being the person who perhaps has failed the bar exam more than anyone else. She failed the California bar exam 13 times before passing. She now runs a website dedicated to helping people pass the bar.
Japanese Princess Mako’s husband, Kei Komuro, failed the New York bar exam. Komuro is famous because Princess Mako gave up her royal status and over 100 million yen to marry him. Komuro got the sad news only a few days after tying the knot.
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The American media personality, model, and businesswoman failed the California baby bar exam three times after she announced her dream of being a lawyer in 2019. She passed the California baby bar on her fourth attempt in 2021. Becoming an attorney would follow in the footsteps of her father, who gained fame as a lawyer in O.J. Simpson’s murder trial. She would like to start a firm with a pro bono focus and employ former inmates.
Prepare for success
As you can see from the above examples, failure doesn’t have to be the end of your life. There are still many opportunities available to you, whether they be in law or in another field.
If you are looking to prepare for another attempt at the bar exam, Crushendo can supply you with effective study materials that can help you crush the bar.