Road to California is a family owned and run enterprise. Carolyn Reese, the matriarch and founder of Road to California since 1995, has worked closely with her grandson, Matt Reese, the show’s manager. In 2013, while Matt has been overseeing Road to California, he was also enrolled in law school at the University of La Verne. Matt’s studies came to an end last summer when after graduation, he shifted gears and began studying for the California State Bar Exam, administered on July 28, 29 and 30th at of all places, the Ontario Convention Center – home to Road to California.
In order to focus on the bar exam, Matt took a leave of absence from his Road to California duties for 10 weeks, May through July. What was it like for Matt to prepare for the bar exam? “I studied on average 10-12 hours a day (some days more, some days less) and studied for 70 days straight. I did not take a day off. When Road’s registration started, I did pause, but studied again in the afternoon. I at least outlined every bar exam essay question the state of California released since 2001, practiced over 2,000 multiple choice questions and did over 20 performance tests. Even over the Fourth of July I was studying prior to going to my in-laws house for a BBQ. I figured a short summer sacrifice was better than doing this again.”
As a newlywed, Matt’s wife Jennifer, also made some sacrifices (well, sort of) while Matt dedicated the 10 weeks to his studying. Matt recalled, “I actually think my wife had a blast while I was studying. She spent a lot of time with her mother crafting and so on. She even made a cuddle quilt for my cousin’s newborn son! She was extremely supportive, and was a great help in keeping me focused and on track.”
During the three days of the exam, Matt would arrive at 7 AM at the Ontario convention Center and did not leave until 5 or 5:30 PM most days. What was the bar exam like? “Overall, the written portion of the bar was pretty straight forward. The multiple choice was difficult – but everyone else thought so too. I would not want to take it again, but it was oddly fun. After we worked so hard to prepare for the test, it felt like normal routine to sit and write the test – and also realize that we wouldn’t have to do this again for a long time!” said Matt.
Matt started back to work at Road to California on August 5th, while most of his classmates and friends took the month of August off. Even though he fell back in to his Road duties, it actually took him about a month to recover from all that studying. “My brain was so saturated with information it was hard to focus on anything.”
November 21, 2015 was the day the bar results were published. Multiple news reports were released throughout September, October and November telling how across the nation the bar results were at an all time low. This caused some anxiety for Matt. Also, right before the announcement, on November 19th, Matt’s grandfather passed away. That coupled with the recent death of Carolyn’s sister Glenda, also added to the stress Matt was feeling anticipating the news.
Matt, Jen, and his parents put the online results up on the TV so that they could all see the news at the same time. And the news was very good: Matt Reese passed the California Bar Exam on his first try!!!
What does the immediate future hold for Matt? He will be transitioning in to a new position: Road’s Show Director. And he will be starting a law practice in estate planning, available to work with clients starting in May. Currently, Road’s office space is being transformed into a dual location — home for the show and also the home for a new law practice – to accommodate Matt’s new responsibilities.
Please join the Road family in congratulating Matt Reese, Estate Planning Lawyer and Show Director for Road to California.