Day One of the July Bar Exam is Done: Full Steam Ahead

Hello All,

Congratulations on completing day one of the California Bar Exam!  Thank you to everyone who wrote in with their recap of what was on the exam today.

As you know, today’s essays were: 1) Contracts/Remedies, 2) Evidence, and 3) Professional Responsibility/Business Organizations (specifically partnerships).

I have heard from many examinees and believe I have a pretty good sense of what was tested today on both the essays and performance test.

It is very important that you put today behind you. Simply be glad it is over, move forward, do not dwell on what you wish you could have written . . . let it go. This is key. Day one is behind you, there is nothing you can do about whatever you wrote or did not write. So move forward and focus on what is ahead.

Each bar round there is generally one essay that seems a bit more challenging or perhaps a bit harder to figure out than the rest of the essays. After reading many reports from examinees (thank you to all who have sent in recaps of day one’s essays), the consensus seems to be that essay three was the challenging, less straight forward essay of the day. Some examinees have reported that they were really thrown by this essay, while other examinees reported that this essay was “awkward” but do-able. Nobody, however, wrote in saying that they loved essay number three.

Why am I passing this along to you? Because I think it helps to have a little perspective – if you found essay number three troubling, well, you are not alone.

I have heard from hundreds of examinees today and nearly everyone made a comment about essay three being odd, unwieldy or very difficult. This is not to say that the Evidence Essay was a walk in the park. But, at least with Evidence you know what to expect and it is generally a fairly straightforward exam.

Okay, moving on from day one . . . 

Your focus now should be to move forward and do your very best in the days ahead. No matter how you feel day one went (good or bad) put it behind you and focus on doing your absolute best on Wednesday and Thursday!

Thoughts on what might appear on day three’s essays . . . 

So far there have been no real surprises – the subjects that showed up on the essays (and the PT, although I am not writing about the PT here until after the exam is over) were all expected. As a result, I am not eliminating anything from my prior list of predictions. However, I do have some thoughts . . . of course . . . and some advice.

Professional Responsibility could show up again on day three (either on another essay or on the performance test). Do not presume that since Professional Responsibility was tested on day one that it will not show up again on day three’s essays. In fact, there are many past bar exam administrations where Professional Responsibility showed up on day one and on day three. The February 2008 bar exam is one of those administrations. In February 2008 Professional Responsibility was tested on the essays on day one and then again on day three as a crossover with Business Organizations (sound familiar?) . . . so be prepared for the possibility of seeing Professional Responsibility again on day three.

What about California subjects and/or California Distinctions?

So far – other than Professional Responsibility – today’s exams did not test California material. So, this is something I would be prepared for on Thursday. I would expect to see either a subject on the essays that is either a California subject (Wills, Trusts, Community Property) or a topic that requires you to make California distinctions (California Civil Procedure, Evidence). I know, everyone has been talking about California Civil Procedure for years now and the California Bar Examiners have yet to test it. However, I think it has to be tested one of these days . . . and one of these days may very well be Thursday. So be sure to take a look over your California specific material for Civil Procedure. Also, be mindful of the areas I have mentioned so far (I recommend that you go back over my earlier “predictions” post) include: jurisdiction (a favorite area of testing), Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata (this would typically allow for a discussion of the Primary Rights (minority) view that is followed in California), notice and code pleading (another California and federal distinction), additur and remittitur (the latter two areas are generally fairly short tack on types of issues). Incidentally, additur and remittitur are both available in California. But, only remittitur is allowed in federal court – additur is not allowed in federal court because it would violate the 7th Amendment right to a jury. This has been tested on past bar exams and could certainly come up again.

Don’t put Evidence away just yet . . . obviously you will see Evidence on the MBEs on Wednesday. But, there is also a chance that you will see Evidence again on Thursday. It is not my first choice. But, you should be aware that on past bar exams, Evidence was tested on day one and then again as a cross over on day three. So just keep this in mind. You could potentially see an evidence call even on a Wills or Community Property essay. See my post from yesterday about how spousal and marital privilege could show up as a cross over with another subject. The point is that you need to be prepared for the possibility so that you are not surprised by it, should it show up on day three.

Criminal Law Murder (perhaps crossed with Criminal Procedure and/or Evidence). This is still very possible. Nothing that was tested today really changes my initial list. What is significant to me, however, is that you had a lot of MBE testing today. Not unusual. But, I do think that it suggest you may see a California subject on Thursday.  Remember that the Evidence Essay from day one was to be answered according the Federal Rules of Evidence.  Of course, anything is possible. Criminal Law Murder has not been tested in some time. Neither have the insanity tests for the insanity defense. I would make sure you send a few minutes reminding yourself of the four tests.

Fifth Amendment Takings – I still think that Fifth Amendment Takings could possibly show up as part of an essay. This area has not been tested in some time. So, I think it is due.

So, what should you study on Wednesday night before the exam on Thursday? First, you should review any subject that you feel is weak, or that you would fear seeing an essay in that topic. This is far more important than reviewing all of the “predicted” topics. Remember, no one can predict what will be tested, you should be ready for anything.

Please be sure to review my earlier “predictions” and essay scenarios.

I will continue to post here in the coming days. For those of you who are just signing up with our Bar Exam Tips List, we are sending out my initial predictions email (that was sent out last week) and  then you will receive our subsequent emails.

Thank you again to everyone who sent in reports of what was tested today! I try to respond to every email. This becomes increasingly difficult as the traffic grows. But, I will do my best to get back to everyone. The blog has received over 8,000 views in just the past couple of days. I am truly honored to have this following and grateful to be able to offer some help. There is still time to join our July 2014 bar exam tips list (see blog post below).

All the best to you on the MBE section tomorrow. And, for those of you who are taking the “Attorney” Taker’s exam, I would spend day two studying in this order: 1) review the topic(s) that you are least comfortable with, and  2) Review any of the “predicted” topics. Above all, review the areas that you feel the least secure about so that if you do see one of these areas, you will have a better opportunity.

I will keep posting and keep sending out emails. Stay tuned. If you have a question, please free to send me an email at: I will do my best to get back to you personally.

All the best of luck to you tomorrow! Stay positive!

Lisa Duncanson

Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990 and


Published in: on July 30, 2014 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Who is this Bar Exam Guru?

About the Bar Exam Guru

​Lisa Duncanson is the woman behind this blog. Duncanson is the Program Director and founder of Bar None Review, a full service bar review company providing review courses and tutoring for the Bar Exam. Visit Bar None Review on the web at:

Duncanson is the author and co-author of over 20 bar exam prep books and law school study guides. Her titles include: The Bar Exam Writing Template Book (ISBN 0-975-34725-X), The Performance Test Maximizer: A Guide to Mastering the Performance Test, The Essay Writer Series (a fourteen book law school study guide series). The Essay Writer Series provides a comprehensive collection of essay exams and answers for each major area tested in law school and on the bar exam) and The California Bar Essay Workbooks ( ISBN 0-975-34724-1, A two volume workbook containing over 100 past bar exam questions and answers) and the very popular Bar Exam Cram Sheets(condensed outlines and approaches for the 15 Bar Exam Subjects).

Several of the above titles, including The Essay Writer Series are available for purchase through the University of Hastings College of Law Bookstore, UCLA Law School Bookstore and The Law Bookstore.

Past bar review clients have included the law firms of: Wachtel, Lipton, Rosen and Katz (Manhattan, New York) and Best, Best and Krieger (Riverside and Palm Springs, California).

In addition to teaching and preparing students for the the bar exam, Duncanson is a patient rights advocate, a musician, a cancer survivor and currently serves as Board Member of a non-profit organization assisting cancer patients and survivors. Duncanson has also taught as an adjunct professor at four Southern California Law Schools.


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