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The government only allows you to make a one time partial withdrawal, or to take it out completely in one payment, or to take it out in monthly payments until empty, or to roll it over into another 401K.

Are you sure these are the only options? Since you apparently aren't employed any more, you aren't eligible for another 401(k), so rolling to a 401(k) isn't an option for you. However, I believe you should be able to roll it into an IRA.

I cannot do the one time payment because I may not take out enough and if I take it all I won't have any at retirement.

Well, just because you take it out doesn't mean you have to spend it, and the account doesn't have to have "IRA" or "401(k)" or "TSP" in the account name to be for your retirement. So just because you take it out doesn't mean you can't still save it for your retirement.

Is there a way to roll it into another type of 401K (or several 401K accounts)so that I can take out piecemeal (say around 15K a year?) and still have some left at retirement after I pass the bar (hopefully)....?

Rolling to an IRA would allow you to take out smaller sums.

However, be aware that with Federal and CA taxes and penalties, depending on your tax bracket, you may end up netting only about half of what you pull out.

Can you get another job that will use your legal training, like a paralegal, that will use your legal training until you can pass the bar?

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