I'm not a lawyer but know several. They all said that the best time to take bar exams is when you are right out of law school as the content is fresh in your mind. So, getting that out of the way soonest is probably a good plan.
In addition to taking the NY exam, consider taking the DC exam. Passing that opens up a variety of opportunities. Lobbyists and Committee staff make very decent money and rarely have to actually practice law. We also have a lot of federal agencies here that are looking for people to be in their General Counsel departments, not to mention doing either DOJ and FBI work.
I think you mentioned you were prior military? That'd be a plus if you went to work in DOD or the Services or Intell Agencies here. All have a large presence in the NCR, and your experience would likely be considered a big plus, especially if you held a security clearance.
At the Agency where I used to work, we had a joke:
"What do you call a person who graduates at the bottom of their law school class?"
"No; government lawyer."
But... unlike many in private practice, they get to go home at reasonable hours - and have a life.
May I suggest looking over www.usajobs.gov/ for possible federal employment opportunities? You can enter different criteria, work locations, etc. and get an idea of some of the prospects out there for working in the USG.
First, I designed some columns for you. Check them out in the Library. They're located at the bottom of the long list of files. They're 10mm wide and 20mm deep, and come with 0, 1, and 2 flags. Let me know what you think. Sorry it took me so long; I've been pretty busy.
I ended up not applying to take the next NY Bar Exam, which is in February. I can always take it later on in July (or any other time). I want to give myself a chance to really dive into the work I'm doing here before I rashly move back to the East Coast. Plus, mountain-climbing season is coming up, which reminds me of why I'm out here to begin with (my other hobby).
I worked for Social Security for a few years before going to law school, so I'm well acquainted with USAJOBS.com. Between that and my military time I'm almost half-way towards a full federal retirement. I need to see a financial planner to figure out how much I'd need to make as a lawyer in private practice to equal the annuity. I'm going to guess quite a lot...
Zach - Thanks, the attack columns look great! Our current plan is to use them and units in line mounted on 2" x2" bases, and flock them with colored and dry-brushed sand. We'll use FPGA rules and see how things work out.
Please put up a notice when you make the cavalry more irregular in line. That'll give us some variance.
PS. I used to be a claims rep at Social Security. That's a job that's great for making you figure out what you want to do with your life professionally. Everything after that job looks better by comparison.