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Disappearing dream of bar exam

Posted November. 15, 2014 06:52,   


"A pawnshop is a seaport." This is a title of poetry by a poem. An analogy in the literature can give strong impression and tension when two concepts combined by the analogy are distant (Just having two distant concepts does not guarantee a success, of course). News have some similar aspects to analogy in the literature. When a person who is not likely to do something actually did the thing, the person becomes a topic of conversation. Lee Jin-young, who won the 1997 Super Model Competition, has passed this year`s bar examination. Since the early 2000s, Lee has been preparing for the bar examination in Sillim-dong, Seoul, where young people gather to study and prepare state examinations.

The highest score in the bar exam was attained by an incumbent police officer. Lieutenant Kim Shin-ho, a graduate of Korea National Police University (KNPU), said, “For the past three years and four months, I have studied bar exam subjects for nine hours a day in average, from 5 a.m. when I arrive the police station to 9 a.m. when the work starts, and from 8 p.m. after work to 1 a.m. of the next day.” In most cases, a KNPU graduate starts his or her career as lieutenant and is promoted to the next rank, inspector, within four to five years at the earliest or seven to eight years at the latest. Appointed in 2002, Kim has remained as lieutenant for 12 years. Probably, there must have been a hidden story behind why Kim decided to start preparation for the bar exam.

When a bar exam result is announced, a hero or a heroine with an admirable story always draw the public’s attention. Jang Seung-soo, who passed the 2004 bar exam, has been remembered for long time. Jang was a laborer making a living with manual labors. While he was working in a construction site in 1996, Jang was told that he was accepted to the College of Law in Seoul National University with the highest score. Jang shared his impression, saying, “Study was the easiest thing in my life.” His story embarrassed those who complained about study. After three times of challenge, Jang passed the bar exam and is now working as a lawyer.

Sillim-dong, where many people had gathered dreaming of turning their lives around by passing the national exams, is now losing its past glory. At one time, the number of those who passed bar exams was over 1,000 every year. The number has been decreasing, reaching only 204 this year. In 2017, the bar examination itself will be abolished. The College of Law in Seoul National University, which has stopped accepting freshmen since 2008, will be closed at the end of 2017. Tuitions for law schools is quite expensive and it is hard to study at a law school while having a job. Many people who miss the disappearing dream of lifetime success by passing a bar exam argue that the bar exam must remain as it is. A revised bill on the Lawyer Examination Act, aiming to keep the bar examination, has been submitted to the National Assembly. But it remains to be seen whether it will be passed.