Wednesday was my birthday. I and several friends went out to dinner to celebrate, and afterward, only my friend Blake (who also happens to be the only non-suburbanite in the group) came back to my apartment for a cocktail.
While he was there, I pulled out a letter I'd gotten from the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar. "We are pleased to advise that your applications has been recommended for certification by the Committee on Character and Fitness.." it began. I asked Blake if he'd gotten the letter. He said no, he hadn't, only one that said the Committee had received all the infomation it needed, and would be in touch.
I found it odd that the Committee would send such a letter; after all, hadn't I already been recommended for certification my first year? Blake poo-poohed my question. Where I clung to the hope that this might be an early indication I'd passed (and with the results due out soon, it would be a relief), Blake dismissed it as nothing more than procedure.
Fast forward to Saturday, 9a.m. The bar results were supposed to have been posted at 12:01 a.m., and they hadn't. But in my inbox is an email from Blake, entitled "That frickin' letter". Poor Blake had finally gotten the letter I did - on the day the results were due out. He'd nearly had a heart attack.
I told Blake that I'd looked at the IBABY website, and nothing was there yet. I also said I wasn't going to look anymore, then gave him my applicant number. He could look, but I had a nice weekend with the family planned, and I wasn't going to ruin it by being in a bad mood (my nephew Ryan took care of that, but that's a different post).
Then around noon, while I was in a cab on the way to the LaSalle Metra Station, my cell phone rang. It was Blake, calling to tell me the results had finally been posted, and his parents had called to tell him he'd passed (obviously, he'd done the same thing I had).
Blake was cautiously happy; his roommate's friend had given his parents his number, and they'd called to tell him he'd passed - except he'd given them the wrong number, and he'd actually failed. He'd be happy when he saw his number for himself.
I was racked with nerves. I was certain I'd failed, and didn't know how I'd explain this to all of my friends, relatives and coworkers. More importantly, what would I do for income? I need a job, and soon. And I wasn't sure I wanted to go through another bar exam again (well, except for the California bar, but I didn't want to do that having already failed one Bar exam). For the entire night, my stomach did flips and spins. I didn't want to look, but I knew I'd have to, sooner or later.
The next morning, I got up and turned on the cell phone. I had a voicemail. Barely awake, and not thinking about who the hell called at 1 a.m. (but guessing it was a call from Switzerland), I was shocked to hear Blake's voice:
"Hey, it's Blake. It's really early on Sunday morning, but I just wanted to call and tell you that the number you gave me is a passing number, so if you gave me the right number, congratulations, you passed."
I closed the cell phone and looked across the table at my mom, drinking her morning cup of coffee.
"Was it good news?" she asked.
"I passed," I said.
"You passed?!" she cried, tears welling up in her eyes. "Oh, my gosh! Oh son, I'm so happy for you!"
She called to my father and told him to come upstairs. Surprisingly, he came up quickly.
"I'd better make sure I gave Blake the right number," I said, even though I knew I'd double-checked the number before I'd sent the email. There was no doubt. Blake had the right number.
And so did my friend Cheri, who I found out later had looked around the same time I'd found out I'd passed, and called me at home. All that was left was to tell everyone I knew, everyone who knew what I was doing, that I'd passed. Hugs and tears abounded.
Today I got the official letter congratulating me on passing. It joins the letter congratulating me on passing the CPA exam.
And on November 10th, I will officially be able to call myself a lawyer.