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Pass or Fail the Bar Exam? The First 3 things to do with Chelsea Callanan Podcast (Episode 017)

by Dustin on

Chelsea Callanan from helps law students and lawyers create successful and sustainable career paths.  In this episode, she shares the First 3 things to do if you fail the bar exam and the First 3 things to do when passing the bar.

You can also sign up for Chelsea’s 30 Days Goal Challenge and Right Path Laser Assessment to help you get on a path of sustainable success for your career.

To determine how you can balance life and law, take the Law Fit Assessment.  This program is also included in Chelsea’s coaching program.

Here are Chelsea’s tips on getting onto an informational interview.  You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Podcast, and her blog.

Here is a full transcript of this interview:

Intro: You’re listening to the podcast. Helping you pass your bar exam with ease and confidence, episode number 17.

Dustin: Hello and welcome, future bar exam passers to today’s episode. Thank you for coming on and listening today. This is Dustin Saiidi, founder of and author of the amazon bestseller The 7 Steps to Bar Exam Success. As you probably guessed, we have another special guest.

Today we will be speaking to an attorney who helps lawyers and law students create sustainable and successful career paths for themselves, her name is Chelsea Callanan, and she is the founder of And today she’ll tell us what are the first 3 things you should do if you fail the bar exam and what are the first 3 things you should do if you pass the bar exam. So pass or fail, what are the first 3 things you should do to move forward in your legal career and legal path. So without further adieu, let’s go straight into the interview so we can hear the wise words of Chelsea Callanan from

Hi Chelsea, how are you doing today?

Chelsea: I’m doing really well, thank you for having me. I’m so excited to share some information with your audience.

Dustin: And I’m excited to hear it. I got a little preview before hand of what we are talking about and I’m excited because these are some tips that I definitely could have used during my bar exam.

Chelsea: Awesome!

Dustin: So, tell the listeners a little bit about yourself, how you got to be where you’re at and some of your background before we go into the tips.

Chelsea: Sure! So, I live in Portland, Maine. I split my day and my week between a bunch of different exciting projects, one of which is that I still practice law. My husband and I have our own law firm, Opticliff Law, and we work with start-up and growth phase companies which is really exciting.

And I also have kind of an entrepreneurial side to me where a couple of years ago I won a business plan competition and it just gave me the bug of wanting to create and start businesses, and so kind of got me thinking about how can I marry some of my interests. Some of the things that I really enjoy doing is helping people.

I started connecting with a lot of coaches who work with different entrepreneurs and people who are supporting my legal clients, and realized that what I want to do, at least part of the time is that to coach lawyers and law students. I definitely didn’t always have a great balance in my career, and for the first several years of my career was bouncing from firm to firm without really knowing what it was that I wanted when I was making a change.

I don’t know if that’s ever happened to anybody listening, but just kind of looking for the grass to be greener but not really knowing what I was looking for. And working with a coach really started to change my life and how I was thinking about the direction of my career. And so being a type A personality, as many lawyers are, instead of just continuing to work with a coach I decided to become trained as a coach and bring that skill and resource to law students and lawyers; and so was born HappyGoLegal. And so now, I split my time between creating resources for lawyers and law students to help them get on their path, practicing law with my clients, and having my hands in a couple other exciting little projects.

Dustin: That’s awesome! Like myself, entrepreneurial  minds we like to do different things. But it sounds like you kind of created a nice space and following with yourself on those specific areas, so that’s really great.

Chelsea: Yeah, yeah. It’s working out really great so far.

Dustin: So now, in terms of your experience with the bar exam yourself, and then also the lawyers and the law students that you coach, you probably dealt with people who did not pass the bar exam. So let’s go on to the 3 things that they should do once they find out they don’t pass the bar exam. What are the first 3 things that they should do for themselves?

Chelsea: Yeah, so this is a tough one and it’s good, let’s just deal with the bad news first. So if you find out that you fail the exam, the first thing that I would really suggest is actually dealing with it emotionally.

That’s not something that we, as lawyers, really typically think of – is that this is basically a pretty big loss in your life, something that you really worked hard for, set aside time, maybe took out loans to be able to do. It’s good to honor that and have a little bit of grieving time.

What I would definitely suggest not doing is letting that expand into a bender or a pity party. But you know, for a good solid week, if you feel crammy just let it okay to feel crammy. Something else to consider during that week is you probably don’t want to make any big rush life decisions about whether or not you want to take the bar exam again, whether you want to throw in the towel and become a baker. So, just giving yourself that week of emotional buffer to really honor what you’ve gone through. And that just because you fail does not mean that you’re going to be a failure as a lawyer, it just means one particular test didn’t got that well for you.

Dustin: I like that. You’re right, we’re not really taught to deal with our emotions and especially lawyers, generally in society, but especially lawyers. It’s a part of who we are. I like that, just to honor the emotion of it and not make ourselves feel wrong or bad about being upset. And I think that helps with the healing process to go through and then we can think with more clarity moving forward, so I like that a lot.

Chelsea: Yeah, and then I would suggest shifting from dealing with it emotionally to dealing with it practically. You know, this has a very real impact on your life.

If you had accepted a job offer, you got to sit down and have a really tough conversation with the employer that you were planning on working with as a licensed lawyer.

Your offer may have been conditional upon passing the bar exam or they may be only able to take you on at a paralegal rate for pay if you’re not licensed because you can’t do full work. So you’re going to really sit down and have that conversation. And from my perspective, your employer is going to be looking at the passage rates and the list that goes up on the board of bar examiners site as well, and so don’t put this off.

Even if you’re still not quite emotionally over of what’s going on, you’re going to have to call them. They’re going to go on and see that your name isn’t on there and feel pretty crammy if you don’t call them for two weeks, and feel like they don’t know what to do. So dealing with that, if you have a job lined up, is going to be a hard conversation but one that you’ve got to do right away.

And then on the flip side, if you’re getting kind of a double whammy of you know, you didn’t pass the bar and you don’t have a job lined up, this is going to be a very big time of introspection for you of what it is that you want to do because for better or worse the word is your oyster. So you know, does this impact what type of job you want to consider?

There may be some practical reasons why you need to consider a different type of job that doesn’t require having a law degree or having pass the bar. So, short term, can you afford to just study for the exam again or do you need to find a job? Long term, does this make you re-thinking whether you want to be a lawyer, and it’s totally fine if it does.

Again, avoiding that knee-jerk reaction of, “This didn’t work out so I’m going to do something else.” But really thinking about, “Maybe part of the reason I failed was because I don’t actually want to be a lawyer.” Maybe. I’ve definitely talked to people who, when they failed felt kind of a relief come over them because they didn’t actually want to be a lawyer and dealing with that. And if you are on the job hunt and you didn’t pass you know, again, for better or worse you have a lot of time in your hands. So, really taking some time to think about what does this mean for the impact of your career plan. And getting some structure in place around what it is you actually want to do.

Dustin: That’s right. Sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise to not pass because like you said, if you got this kind of relief feeling when you log-in you’re like, “Oh I didn’t pass, I don’t have to practice law.” Then there’s nothing wrong with that. I know it’s hard because I practice law right now but it’s on a part-time basis.

But it’s hard to deal with going through law school and even passing the bar and then telling people, “Hey I don’t actually want to practice law.” And a lot of people will give you a flack for that, and you don’t really maybe know how to handle that but you got to go where your heart tells you to go. And if it’s saying, you feel relived you don’t have to practice law or you didn’t pass then, you kind of want to listen to that and see where it guides you in that way.

Chelsea: Absolutely! And you know, there’s no shame in considering alternative job, careers, or you know, different ways that you can use your degree. And at the end of our interview today, I’ll make sure to list off some resources that I would suggest if you’re in this category.

Dustin: Yeah that would be great. Yeah, a lot of these are very practical and useful regardless, you can use it in many many different areas. You don’t need to be necessarily licensed to use your law degree. So that’s great.

Chelsea: Absolutely! So then the third thing that I would suggest is you know, figuring out what went wrong because there’s that kind of a fork in the road of “I failed, do I want to take the exam again or do I not want to?” And I think, instead of just flipping a coin in deciding, really thinking about what went wrong can be so helpful for you in the long run. You know, maybe you just didn’t have an environment set-up to support you in studying successfully. Maybe you are studying in a house hold with 5 kids running around, maybe that’s actually a factor of why you didn’t pass.

It could be that you didn’t have the study skills, you didn’t put the time aside, maybe the bar prep course that you took was not a good fit for your personality or learning style, maybe you had complete jitters and have like a day of freak out. All of those reasons are good reasons to think about, “Okay what’s the source of that?” If it’s just environmental, if you just think your learning style wasn’t supported, maybe it is worth taking the exam again and correcting that. But if you just sign-up to take the exam again, and you haven’t really figured out what went wrong and do it again, your likelihood of succeeding the second time aren’t that much higher.

And then as we just talked about, is one of the reasons that you failed, is you didn’t really want to be a lawyer. You know, our psyche does actually speak to us. This can be a major factor if you don’t believe in what you’re doing then there’s a high likelihood that, that can come through in the results of your exam. So really thinking about what went wrong, if you kind of get into the bottom of that and think that, “You know, I still do want to take the exam. I still have career goals that require me being licensed.” Then making sure that you’re supporting yourself with some new resources. You know, tweaking your plan so that the next time, hopefully, you’ll be more successful.

Dustin: Yeah, I like that one especially, like if you don’t know – what I had to do when I was taking the bar, I could feel it inside that I needed something big to pull me towards wanting to pass. And so I sat down, actually wrote down, why do I actually want to pass the bar exam because I didn’t want necessarily to practice law at that time so that was hard for me.

That pull, that internal pull to push me, to help me pass the bar exam; I had to answer that question. So, when I sat down and wrote it finally, my reason was that the bar exam results would come out the day before we would walk for our graduation ceremony and also the day before my brother’s graduation and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be just a great weekend for my Mom, who’s really put in so much effort into us and especially helping me with the bar, if the same weekend I pass the bar, I graduate, and it’s my brother’s birthday, all in the same weekend.

And I thought it would be very special to our family. So that was my big reason. It wasn’t even to practice law but it’s a big reason, it was outside of myself. So I think its a huge huge thing that people should answer is, “Why do they want to pass the bar exam?”

Chelsea: Yeah, absolutely. That motivation is so critical because even if it is outside of your long-term career goals, tying something positive to that result goes a long way for actually creating that result.

Dustin: Right, and you mention some other things too. How do they know, maybe they don’t know necessarily, what went wrong. Maybe there’s things in their environment or their bar prep program or the time or something that may have caused their downfall, but they’re not very conscious of it. How do they kind of become aware that, “Hey, this really did cause this for me, and how do I correct that?”

Chelsea: Yeah, well one resource that I would suggest that people check-out, and I think you’ve interviewed Lee Burgess, is bar exam tools. They have some great tools to look through, and some great blog post of thinking about what happened and what went wrong. Also you know, it’s really, sometimes just about sitting down and doing some thinking because if you really assess your environment you know, kind of go into it as like a crime mystery of like, “What went wrong?”

Sometimes in our day-to-day we completely ignore things that are so obvious. You may just be completely glossing over the fact that every time you are trying to study you got interrupted, there could be very apparent things. Even asking friends and family like, “Looking at me during my studying process, was there anything that jumped out to you as surprising that I was doing?”

You know, just being open to really thinking things through. When it comes down to it, you can read 1,500 blog posts and if you’re not actually thinking about what you did, it’s not going to be bringing those glaring obvious things out. Of course, if you get through that assessment and you don’t see anything glaring then it’s just looking at what other resources could be a benefit and that’s you know, tapping into resources you create and bar exam tools.

And there’s a host of new options for actual bar review prep. It’s not just a one company game anymore. There’s lots of different options and maybe you’re more of a vision learner. Just thinking about what it is that you have succeeded with in the past, like, I know I have been studying all through high school, college and law school; I was a notes card person.

I never outlined. I’m a very visual person, I need that note card with everything written down. And sometimes when we’re getting to the point of studying for the bar, we assume we should just do what works for everybody else but sometimes, you really just have to do what you know and your gut works for you. And so if you can kind of look back and think, “I totally abandoned my traditional studying pattern of X for whatever the company I hired said I should do, and maybe I shouldn’t have. And so really thinking of what works for you in the past, and looking for those glaring kind of red flags that you just may have just ignore during the crunch time.

Dustin: Yeah, that’s great. And those are some things that we don’t always think about. That’s one of the things I talk about in my book The 7 Steps to Bar Exam Success and one of them is environment as well. There’s a lot of things that are set-up in our environment which we don’t think twice about that end up to causing us to suffer, and sometimes it’s just a layout of the room or we have so much clutter around our desks that cause that extra stress and anxiety, and removes our clarity of mind. So yeah, those are all great self-assessment things to look at.

Chelsea: Awesome! And as people are going through, if this was your reality, and you’re looking at needing to make some of these big decisions and do some of the self assessment, I’ve actually created a 30 day e-course called The 30 Days Goals Challenge and it basically walks through a lot of these questions that are hard to force to yourself to do on your own.

Some questions about the environment, the resources and skills, your motivation for why you want to do this, and so it might be a helpful tool for people who – you know it’s very easy to say, “I don’t know what went wrong.” But if you really put your mind into it and listen to questions that have been created to kind of probe some of that information, it might be a helpful tool which I recommend.

Dustin: That’s awesome! Do you recommend people to take the bar right away as well? Take that week off and then try, and take that the next time around, do you recommend they wait a couple of months or what do you recommend?

Chelsea: You know, it really depends on the person. It really depends, let’s be honest, on their financial situation. If they you can’t afford to jump right back into studying or if you’re going to have to take a job, and that means you’re not going to be able to study properly and dedicate the time it takes.

It really comes down to you know, I think psychologically, the benefit of just getting it over with the next time is much better. If you can just sign-up, learn from your mistakes, get into a new program, get into new habits, you know zap those tolerations or those environmental problems whatever it was that you kind of assessed was a mistake.

But getting it over with, is going to be in the long run, much much better. But you might not be able to financially do that, and just creating a plan that’s going to work for you and it’s going to be very unique is what’s really important.

Dustin: Awesome! Let’s go into the good news, if people pass the bar exam what are the first 3 things they should do when they find out they pass?

Chelsea: Yey! Well, even before you jump into the 3 things, what you should do is celebrate! As lawyers and as very serious responsible adults sometimes we forget that it’s okay to celebrate and be happy as well, just like it’s okay to grieve and be bombed. You know, this is a very major and intensive goal, and focus of your entire life for months. So, taking a small break and then shifting into putting yourself on a course for success.

So the first thing I would suggest, just like self-assessment was helpful if you failed, it’s really helpful if you pass. What is it that you really want to do? You might be in a position where you have a job lined-up, and doing some self-assessment can be really helpful to really think about what it is that you want your day-to-day to look like. What do you want some boundaries to be at work? You’ve just been in a complete vacuum most likely of studying for 2 to 3 months, and you may be completely willing to throw yourself into a job where you have no boundaries but that may not be actually healthy in the long run. So really thinking about what it is, looking at your calendar, what do you want to come back into your life if you’ve already taken it out for a while.

Maybe you haven’t been getting to yoga class because you were studying so much. Well, as you started looking at your day-to-day in your new job, what do you actually want to be part of your life? And doing a little bit of pre-planning is really helpful. And if you’re in the position where you pass the bar exam, but you do not have a job lined up, then some self-assessment is going to be really important for you. Okay, one hurdle down and now getting a plan in place to keep that job search motivation going.

Dustin: Awesome! Yeah, I think a lot of people are actually, if they don’t have the job they feel the stress like, “Oh, what am I going to do for work?” But I think it’s a very beautiful and valuable time because you can create what it is that you want. You have no restrictions right now, you can create what it is that you want. So, how do you recommend people deal with – goes to that self-assessment, after they find out they passed?

Chelsea: Well, in the same way that the 30 Day Goals Challenge works for people who have had that failure. The 30 Day Goals Challenge is actually really helpful for just setting goals. You know, some of us don’t really think about the fact that, achieving work-life balance is a goal, just the same as getting more clients is a goal. And a lot of times people get caught in the cycle of you know, I can look back to many New Year’s Eves where I have all of these great ideas of the goals I wanted to have over the course of the year. And then I would hit this cycles of maybe hitting a challenge or forgetting about my goal or my resolution for a short period of time, and then getting frustrated, and then maybe abandoning it and doing something else.

So you get into a cycle where hurdles and challenges kind of knock you off course, and so something like the 30 Days Goals Challenge or something like kind of motivates you on going, helps you overcome those challenges and be even prepared for them to come up. And so as you’re thinking about what you want your day-to-day to be, whether you have a job lined up or not.

Kind of getting those questions asked to you to keep you moving can be really helpful. Also, there are so many great books that you can read about goal setting and how to be more efficient at work. And you know, kind of being a sponge at the beginning of your career and really just looking at what is it that I want my life to be like. Listening to what’s working for other people, reading books.

You know, both you and I straddle the world of lawyers and entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs are much much more open to setting goals and seeking professional development than most lawyers are. And I think that’s something we could really learn from entrepreneurs. You know, not only doing the education that we need for CLE credit but also doing some kind of personal development and professional development and on going learning.

Dustin: Yeah, getting good at developing one’s self and defining the clarity of where we want to go as oppose to just jumping straight into a job because we’re only as good as lawyers as we are as good a people. Our business and our job is merely an extension of us so, I like that. The better you are as a person the better lawyer you’re going to be as well. Cool, what’s the second thing?

Chelsea: So the second thing is – the first one is kind of thinking about what you want your day-today to be like, the second thing is where you want to work because you may have a job lined-up and it may be your perfect ideal job, but it may not be. It may be what you took to pay the bills when you graduate, but you also may be in a position where you’re still looking.

And what I would suggest is really basically going on a listening-tour, is what I call it, of informational interviews; talking to people in different fields and practice areas, different job settings. Because even if you have a job, it’s great to make this connections for networking but just using the informational interview as tool to learn more about your profession, about people who inspire you, maybe about people who are miserable that you want to avoid going down that same path as them.

People in our industry are how we make money and they’re also our biggest resource to know where we want to go in our career. And so if you’re just throwing yourself from studying intensively into just working at your desk intensively, you’re missing that big component of people that really drives where you want to go. And so, I would suggest using tools, including people, to figure out really what it is that you want to do. What’s a good match for you, and then kind of on going just being really open to listening to people and doing informational interviews even if you’re not in a job search, just to connect with people who are in your industry.

Dustin: How would I go about doing informational interview? Let’s say, I just passed, I’m at home and I want to do some informational interviews at different places. How can I go about doing that?

Chelsea: Yeah. Well, I have actually a pretty nice little post on how, kind of some of the logistics that you don’t think about, of how to set-up an informational interview. You can definitely link to that for people. But in general, what you’re just trying to do is create a sit-down or a phone call with some expectations and so you could – the first thing is to figure out who you want to talk to.

And you can use LinkedIn, you can research different firms where you want to meet somebody or different practice areas, use your State Bar Association maybe the new lawyer section has a list of people and where they work, or your alumni department at your law school.

And just starting to find some people who you want to reach out to, and then it’s just about giving them a call or shooting them an email and being clear what your expectations are, just to say, “Hey, I’m a brand new lawyer.” Either, “I’m looking for what practice area’s going to be a good fit for me.” if you’re still at a job search. Or “I’m just starting at this firm, working at this area. Just looking to connect with other people in the area or in the industry.” Just being really clear so that they know you’re not pushing them for a job offer because that definitely turns people off.

And just as you go in to that meeting, having a clear ask of them, “I chose you, and I really want to sit down and talk to you because X. Because you just have this great settlement, and you’re such a young lawyer. And I just want to hear how you’ve risen up the rank so quickly.” You know, playing the people’s ego a little bit never hurts to get them talking. And so really thinking about a genuine reason why you want to meet this person and then continuing that conversation after that initial coffee or chat.

Dustin: Cool, perfect! I love it. I imagine joining bar associations and networking too, could open up a lot of doors.

Chelsea: Absolutely!

Dustin: Awesome! So what’s number 3?

Chelsea: Well, number 3 is also a people tasks so for any introvert out there this may feel like a big challenge. But you know, you’re doing informational interviews, you’re looking for people who inspire you and one of those persons, you’re going to want to find a mentor. It doesn’t have to be formal. Maybe in your law firm, if you’ve gotten a job, there’s a formal rotation or mentor assignment. And that may be all well and good.

What you want to find is someone in your area, it doesn’t have to be locally; it can be your practice area, it could be geographically close. You want to find someone who really inspires you and resonates with you. Someone who you can be really honest with, and so sometimes that means maybe it shouldn’t be someone in your firm, and you can make that judgment call. But someone who you can just go to, of like, “Hey, my work-life balance is way out of whack. How do you handle having 2 kids and you know, managing your practice?” You need to have someone to ask those questions to.

Who you can trust and feel like it’s not going to negatively affect you. And so, part of the reason why I dubbed hailed tip 2 and tip 3 is because someone out of your informational interviews may turn into someone that you really trust and want to talk to, and have that on-going relationship really expand into what feels a little bit more like a mentor relationship. And a mentor doesn’t have to be a 30 year practicing lawyer.

A mentor could be someone who graduated last year, who you admire and has some of the skills that professionally that you want to acquire or the balance that you want to have. It’s just finding someone who you can navigate your career path through, who’s got a little more experience than you do.

Dustin: That’s great. I know when I graduated I kind of went on my own for a little bit, and the legal world is a whole different world than bar exam and law school because, especially if you don’t have that mentor – that support structure. You’re thrown in to the big fishes right away, there’s no learning curve really there.

If you step out there, you’ll go up against lawyers who’ve been there for quite a while. If they’ll know you’re new, I think a lot of them will be excited and come after you, rather than trying to help you if they’re on the opposing side. So I think, mentorship would have helped me big time because I made a lot of mistakes and went through a lot of stressful times that first year. So that’s a great idea. Do you provide mentoring services for people?

Chelsea: I don’t provide mentoring. I do some one-on-one coaching for people. But mentor relationships typically need to be pretty organic. There are master minds and different group coaching programs that exists, but typically the most successful mentor relationship will be something that happens really organically. Maybe it is within your office or your firm, where a senior associate really seems like they’ve got it all together and you could really trust them.

That’s going to be a much more valuable relationship than paying someone to listen as a coach or as a consultant in any way. But there definitely are resources. If you’re feeling like you’re struggling, you’re alone, you’re in the wrong practice area like, “Oh my God, I wake-up everyday and hate my job.” Of course you’re not going to want to talk about that with someone who’s in your office if you’re not ready to make that leap yet.

So there are definitely a lot of resources. One thing that I would suggest, kind of pairs a little bit of coaching, a dose of coaching with a great resource that I found to be very successful for my coaching clients. If you’re at a point where you’re searching but are not sure where to go or if you’re in a position and just feeling like it’s not the right fit but you’re not sure why, there’s a career assessment tool called the Law Fit Assessment that has been created by some lawyers and industrial psychologist. And it is a spot-on assessment of helping you to identify the practice areas that would be kind of in-line with your strengths and interests, and also office settings that would be in-line with how you like to work. And what’s really interesting about this is, if you’re in the job search process and you’re like, “Okay, well I should do some informational interviews.”

This can actually help you pin down, if you’re not sure, what practice area you should be focusing on. So you might be thinking, “Oh there’s these 50 people I could talk to but they suggest that real estate in an in-house setting would be my strongest match, so let me try to find someone like that.” And so it can really help you to hone your search.

It can also help you if you’re in a firm or an office setting that’s not feeling right, it can help you to stay within that position but make some tweaks because maybe you realize through this assessment, just like we ignore somethings that are very obvious to other people, you may realize that you’re in ligation but you hate being contentious.

And gosh, once you see that on the assessment it’s like, “Oh yeah, I don’t like that.” Maybe within your office you can make a shift to another practice area, and so it can be a really great tool. So what I’ve done is paired up the Law Fit Assessment with a half hour Laser Coaching Session in the Right Path Laser Assessment. And if you’re feeling you’re at a point of either in the job search or kind of feeling like things aren’t just feeling quite right but you’re not sure why, that could really boost you in to putting a career plan and place for yourself in a place where it does make sense for you.

Dustin: Cool! Tell us more about that. What exactly do you do with the coaching and what kind of people would it be good for?

Chelsea: So basically, the Law Fit Assessment you know, law students take it all the time, I know they do a lot of marketing with law schools providing it for their schools. And I’ve had some senior partners work with it. I’ve had some 3 and 4 year associates who are at the point of like, “This isn’t the right job. What should I do?” It just asks a lot of questions about your personality strengths, your practice area of interest, how you like to work whether it be a autonomously or with a lot of management, do you like to be in teams or by yourself. So it asks a lot of these questions and then create a pretty robust report that’s probably about 15 pages long.

And so what I do is work with the people who’ve taken the assessment to do a half hour kind of review of what that is over the phone. So it might be helping them to tease out, you know, “Did you ever have interest in to working with a non-profit? Because this is saying that’s a really strong fit for you.” And kind of talking through what that might mean or how that might shift their job search. So anybody who’s in a job search plan or feeling like your job just isn’t quite the right fit but you’re not sure why, without launching into a whole coaching campaign for yourself, this might actually be a good way to kind of re-direct yourself.

And during that half hour, I try to get some next action steps for the person to think about whether it’s having a tough conversation because you have a personality conflict in your office, and that’s really why you hate your job because it’s a good fit otherwise. Or whether it’s saying, “You know, I think you’ve got to start setting a side some time for job a search. How do you feel about that? How are we going to fit that in your life” And so it’s kind of, for some people, a catalyst of considering getting back in to a job search, out of a job that’s not a good fit. And for people who are in a job search, it really helps to focus that search so that you’re not feeling so so overwhelmed.

Dustin: Great, so basically having someone to coach and talk through to give kind of a clarity on where it is that they want to go and the next steps.

Chelsea: Absolutely.

Dustin: Awesome, and how much do you charge for that service?

Chelsea: The 30 Days Goals Challenge, which we talked about just a short while ago, is $90.95. And the Right Fit Laser Assessment is $149.95, and that includes the cost of the assessment and the time for the 30 minute coaching session.

Dustin: Okay, awesome! And tell us a little bit about the 30 Days Goals Challenge. What is that exactly and what kind of people can benefit from it?

Chelsea: Sure. So the 30 Days Goals Challenge is a 30 day e-course. So it goes right into your inbox, and I know that people try to respect their weekend, so it only comes out on the weekdays. And what I try to do is walk through what I think about is the 6 categories that you need to focus on. If you want a successful and sustainable legal career, we can definitely just push you hard to achieve goals. But if you’re really unhappy because you’re out of balance or not working out, this e-course will help you to think abut all of those competing interests in your life.

And so everyday, for 30 days, you get an email coming in to you that kind of gives some background about what challenge we’re looking at today. Whether it be finding skills and resources, or changing your environment, or thinking about your expectations for your goal and helping you avoid that cycle of getting into finding a challenge and then falling off the wagon; so that you can really plow through and expand your goals and have some success. And if you have some failure, it also helps you figure out how to learn from your failure, so that it’s a stepping stone instead of a complete road block.

So trying to help people set goals that are realistic, that are meaningful to them, and then helping them achieve those. And in my experience using it, and the experience I’ve had of people using and sharing their results by email, it can really help you to have a different perspective about where you want to go in your career. So regardless of whether you’re super excited about your career and your job, or needing some more guidance. From law student to 60 year old politician who I’ve worked with, people just find it as a helpful structure. It’s interesting because as lawyers, we all have an inherent inclination for structure.

We all learn how to use highlighters and color code our case briefs the same way. We all learn how to sight check the same way. But then when we get out to thinking about setting and achieving goals in our career, we’re left completely blind. And so, I think the biggest value out of the 30 Days Goals Challenge is it helps to provide a structure that you can apply to any goal. And so that way, you can kind of fall back on it. You know, you take the course once but you get the emails, you go back to them later. Each email is really suggesting about a 5 to 10 minute exercise so it’s not a huge time commitment. You know, getting up in the morning having your coffee, it helps you to create a habit that respects your goals instead of only doing what everybody else thinks you should do.

Dustin: That’s awesome! Cool, I’ll have links to both the coaching and the 30 Days Goals Challenge on the website too.

Chelsea: Awesome. And regardless of whether you find out that you failed or you passed the bar, my hope for you is that you respect yourself enough and are excited enough about your career as a lawyer to want both success and sustainability. You know, the most successful lawyers who go out burning bright right away could totally burn out, and people who are only wanting to be really you know – not lazy but, wanting to be really flexible in their time you may not hit the success that you want. So thinking about those two tracks of always continuing to move forward to be a leader in your field and making sure that you’re not burning out, I think that’s a big challenge especially for new lawyers in today’s day and age.

Dustin: That is awesome! You heard it first from Chelsea Callanan of HappyGoLegal, the success and sustainable coach for lawyers and law students. Thank you so much Chelsea for coming on and sharing your wisdom and your tips with us.

Chesea: Yeah, thank you. I appreciate it! And if people have questions you can definitely find HappyGoLegal on Facebook and Twitter, we have a blog, we have some former podcast recordings, so tap in and see if there’s something that might help you in your own journey.

Dustin: Cool! Well, thanks again and I’ll put the links to all those on the blog post when this podcast will be published, and we will talk to you again in the future at some point.

Chelsea: Awesome! Thank you, Dustin!

Dustin: Alright, thanks Chelsea. Have a good one!

Alright and there you have it from Chelsea Callanan from, giving you her tips and advice. So go out there and apply those tips this week. Hopefully, you only need to apply what she said on the second half of that podcast and not the first half, but get out there and apply that. If you want to sign -up for Chelsea’s 30 Days Goals Challenge, head on over to and start her 30 Days Goals Challenge. If you want to sign-up for her Laser Fit Assessment coaching, head on over to Until then, go out there and go get them this week, do great this week, and be great this week. And I will see you in the next podcast. And always remember that your name appears on the pass list.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Yasmeen October 30, 2014 at 10:31 pm

I seriously need help with the NY bar exam. I am stuck on a score of 601 and each time i do the exam i get about that. I have done the exam several times. Why do you think that is? Can anyone help.


2 Dustin November 1, 2014 at 10:08 am

Hi Yasmeen,

There could be different reasons. Which bare prep are you taking? How are you study habits? Send me an email and we can inquire more!


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