Dallas corporate lawyer Henry Gilchrist (pictured) had a back-up plan when he sat for the Texas bar exam in 1950. In case his trusty, portable Underwood typewriter failed him, he had stashed an extra machine in his two-door Chevrolet Coupe.
“I was so concerned about my typewriter breaking down that I rented a typewriter and put it in the car,” says Gilchrist, senior counsel at Hunton & Williams in Dallas and co-founder of Jenkens & Gilchrist, which is now defunct.
“I still have my typewriter,” he says. “It was manual, or course.”
Gilchrist says he outlined every course on his typewriter and then studied each outline as he prepared for the exam.
“The night before, I just went to sleep and got a good night’s sleep,” he says.
More than 3,100 people are sitting for the three-day bar exam beginning Tuesday, according to the Texas Board of Law Examiners, the Austin agency that administers the test. Although the test-takers likely are using laptop computers instead of typewriters, Gilchrist says he would advise them to take an approach similar to the one he used in 1950.
“Think before you start typing,” he says. “In your mind, block out your answer so you can present a cohesive response.”
There’s at least one aspect of taking the exam that Gilchrist is certain is the same as it was more than a half-century ago.
“It is still stressful,” he says.
— Jeanne Graham