Hello, we are offering another free, “How To Pass The California Bar Exam” Workshop next week on Wednesday, May 22nd. If you would like to reserve a space in this workshop, complete the reservation request form below. Please understand that space is limited. Our last workshop filled up very quickly. Reservations will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, click here
Hello, if you would like to reserve a space in our upcoming free, “How to Pass the California Bar Exam” Workshop, complete the reservation request form below. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, May 22nd in Los Angeles. Please understand that space is limited. Reservations will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, see my earlier post: Free Score Review & Free Workshop
First of all, thank you for following the blog. It is quite a humbling thing to hear from so many of you, I really appreciate it.
And, this email just came in from one of our students who took our Two Day Bar Exam Cram Session . . . this is why I do what I do (so rewarding):
(Click on the image to see the full text and a larger view)
Our next Bar Exam Cram Session for the July 2013 Bar Exam will be held on Saturday, June 1st and Sunday, June 2nd.
Stay tuned for more details on enrollment. Additional dates will be held in July.
Locations include: Los Angeles, Irvine and San Francisco.
Twice a year the Los Angeles Daily Journal publishes a Bar Exam Results Issue of their paper. This issue is specifically geared towards those who are about to take, and who have just taken, the bar exam. In each issue (it is published twice a year to coincide with the release of the California bar exam results) the Los Angeles Daily Journal publishes the California bar exam pass list (all of the names of those who successfully took the most recent bar exam). Everyone waiting for results from the February 2013 bar exam certainly hopes to be on that list. The paper comes out just a few days after examinees receive their bar results online.
Years ago, examinees did not get the news that they passed by going on the internet. Instead, we got letters. When I passed the bar exam in 1994, the California bar examiners did something new – they set up a staff to answer the phones and we were allowed to call in and get our results over the phone. It took me 45 minutes to get through . . . what seemed like forever. We still got a letter (a few days later) and we still had the Los Angeles Daily Journal (and even some other newspapers) that published the pass list. For some, before you could get your results online, the Los Angeles Daily Journal was the first place that an examinee would learn whether they passed the bar exam or not because the letters did not always arrive before the pass list came out in the paper.
So this year the Los Angeles Daily Journal will be publishing, as they always do, the pass list from the most recent bar exam. However, what you will not see this year, is the publication of the most recent bar exam questions. As some of you know, the past questions (all six essays and both performance tests) are published in The Los Angeles Daily Journal’s Bar Results issue along with “model” answers. The model answers are typically written by individuals who do bar exam prep. I write pretty much every year and have for I think a decade now. I enjoy it and it has been an honor to be chosen year after year to write for the Los Angeles Daily Journal.
But, this year, the California bar will not release the questions from the February 2013 bar exam until “sometime in July”. This is unusual. I do not know the reason. But, it is what I am told. And, as a result, The Los Angeles Daily Journal’s Bar Results Issue will not contain the questions or model answers to the most recent bar exam. Instead, they will publish the questions, along with model answers, from February 2012. I will be writing an answer to Question 2, the Constitutional Law essay.
It is an interesting turn of events. I know first hand from my work with repeat bar takers, that examinees who have failed will be very interested in seeing the test questions from their most recent exam. And, there is always a high degree of interest in seeing “model” answers so that a person can get a sense of where they might need to improve and gain insight as to what went wrong.
It is not impossible to do this without the actual test questions, but, it will be harder. The same skills are required to pass the bar exam each bar round. As a result, it is not a requirement to see the past set of essays and performance tests in order to succeed on the next exam. However, psychologically, I think that for examinees who find out they have just failed the February 2013 bar exam, I do think it will be harder not being able to see the actual questions until sometime in July.
*Note: I have not spoken directly to the California bar regarding the release of the exam questions. I learned this information the same day the Los Angeles Daily Journal learned that the questions would not be available in time for their Bar Results issue that comes out in May. The California bar may decide to release the questions earlier than July. However, at the moment, this is the information I have been told – that the questions will not be released until “sometime in July”.
I have received a number of emails asking for an example of how Professional Responsibility and Torts could show up together on an essay.
Here is one example of a possible scenarios of Torts and Professional Responsibility tested together as a cross-over:
Abuse of Process, Malicious Prosecution and Professional Responsibility: One past bar exam fact pattern tested Process Torts in the context of PR in this way: Attorney is hired by client to sue on their behalf for a Tort cause of action (past exams have included defamation or negligence). Attorney misses statute of limitations, but files cause of action on behalf of client despite knowledge that the underlying cause of action is time barred. Client then has a cause of action for negligence against attorney (watch for calls of question – the examiners may limit your discussion) for failing to file claim on time, but, to prevail in negligence cause of action against attorney, client would have to prove that he/she would have prevailed in the underlying claim. Attorney is liable for abuse of process and/or malicious prosecution (depending upon how the call of the question(s) is/are asked) to the party attorney has filed the time barred action against on behalf of his client. The PR issue comes up in a light way – and would generally be asked of you by the call of the question. Issues in PR that could arise from this fact pattern would include: duty of competence (breach of), duty of diligence (failure to complete matter in a timely fashion), duty to the tribunal (breach of this duty by filing a claim that is time barred).
I will do my best to provide an additional example for a Torts/PR cross-over or other cross-over scenarios – do not stay up for it – get some rest if you can and check in tomorrow morning. If I provide any more this evening . . . it will be a quick read.
Other obvious cross-over areas are:
Wills & Trusts, Corporations and PR, Trusts and PR
Whatever you see subject wise tomorrow, remember to focus on problem solving, use headings, force a visual structure on your exam.
All the best to you tomorrow!
I have received many emails asking for a link to my earlier Constitutional Law posts. I have copied and pasted the relevant portions below:
I have attached as a download, a past Constitutional Law Essay that I think is worth reviewing.
The reason I think it makes good sense to review this exam the day before is because of this simple fact – a very similar essay exam may appear on day three of the California Bar Exam. Therefore, it just makes sense to read through the essay. You can download it here: ConLaw Handout 2 F-05
This past essay exam is from the February 2005 bar exam. I think it is worth a read. DO NOT test yourself on this. Instead, simply read through it (stay calm while you do so) and read and study the answer. Spend about 20 – 30 minutes on it (a few more minutes if you think you will benefit from it). The key here is to be able to glean some insights into both the approach for Constitutional Law (the approach that is embraced by the California Bar Examiners) and also how to handle an essay that is similar to this Constitutional Law exam. I think it is quite likely that you would see something like this tested. It is certainly possible. Given that possibility – it can not hurt you to read through it. And, remember, it is really important that you simply “read through it” – DO NOT TEST yourself on this – simply read through it and do your best to connect the dots between the fact pattern and what was generated in the answers. Focus on this: “If I were to get this particular essay exam on the actual bar exam, how would I write my answer?”
Hopefully, you would stick to the issues that are addressed in both answers and even better, if you do see something similar to this particular essay exam, you will remember how to handle it tomorrow.
And here is my earlier post regarding Constitutional Law and one of the approaches that would be helpful if you were faced with evaluating the Constitutionality of a state statute:
Constitutional Law: Constitutional Law was not tested on the last bar round. Now, that on its own is not enough to simply put it on the table so to speak. However, I do think it is a real possibility. But, this whole exam is not usually made up of all six essays from the MBE topics. So, something has to (in my opinion) come into the mix other than the MBE subjects being tested on the essays. Still Constitutional Law I think is a real possibility. First Amendment was tested last time (in February 2012). Now that does not mean that the First Amendment will not be tested again this time. However, I do have some thoughts on what I think might be a bit more likely. Just also keep in mind, the First Amendment is a favorite and is tested heavily – so do not presume it will not be on the test.
Possible Constitutional Law Essay Scenario: Evaluating the Constitutionality of a state or federal statute. Now this is a broad area as it could involve Equal Protection, Fundamental Rights (Privacy is a typical hot topic) and Due Process and either the Commerce Clause or Dormant Commerce Clause. And, of course whenever you are facing a Constitutional Law exam, you will typically begin your answer (but, pay attention to the call of the question) with an “Article III, Case or Controversy Requirements” discussion and State Action (both must be present to make a Constitutional claim). So, you might be thinking, she just predicted the possibility of virtually everything within Constitutional Law. Not really. If you have to evaluate the Constitutionality of a state statute – you will handle certain things in a certain order (unless directed otherwise by the call or calls of the question). For example, if you have to determine the Constitutionality of a state statute you will likely go about it in this order:
1) State Action (prove this up quickly – it is a preliminary issue generally – unless the facts really pose it as an issue – for example, a company town or a private entity performing some service or business that is generally conducted by the government – if you have facts like that, then develop this area, if not, then prove it up and move on)
2) Article III Case or Controversy Requirements (Standing - actual injury or personal stake in the outcome, causation, and redress ability (also, could be tested on third party standing or associational standing or the exception to the general rule that there is not “taxpayer standing” – but only bring these up if the facts generate it), the issue must be ripe, not moot, and must not involve a political question)
3) Is there an issue with respect to 11th Amendment Immunity? This is generally a very quick discussion – but worth points to bring up IF you are dealing with a state statute (but, don’t dismiss the whole Constitutional Claim because of the 11th Amendment – it is just an area to bring up, address quickly and move on).
4) Does the state have the power to act? There will generally be a basis here and you should identify the state’s power as stemming from the 10th Amendment (certain powers are reserved to the states via the 10 Amendment – health, welfare, safety, education and morals)
5) Are there any pre-emption issues? Be careful here – there does not necessarily have to be a federal law provided to you on the fact pattern in order for preemption to be an issue (Supremacy Clause issue). Watch out for situations where the state is regulating the radio or television – if so – the FCC regulates this area and you then need to address the possibility that the state regulation is preempted by federal law.
6) Does the state law place an undue burden on interstate commerce? (this may or may not be an issue – it is simply a question you should ask yourself so that you are able to generate the issue, spot it, if it is present). If the state law discriminates between out-of-staters and in-staters (for example, a tax on all trucks coming in from out of state to deliver milk in plastic milk containers or a tax on all large trucks of a certain size and many of these trucks travel across the US) then you likely have an issue to discuss here.
7) Does the state law violate the Constitution? Here you should ask yourself whether or not there is an Equal Protection violation (it may be obvious and it may not be – hence, the reason to ask yourself). Also ask whether there is a Due Process violation (address both Procedural Due Process and Substantive Due Process and note that your discussion of Procedural Due Process on an essay exam is usually limited to notice and an opportunity to be heard . . . usually) and of course look to see whether there is a First Amendment violation (infringement on speech, the freedom of association or Religion – both free exercise and establishment clause. Also note: if you were tested on religion, you should discuss both Free Exercise and Establishment Clause – these come up together)
Possible Community Property Scenario: Community Property was tested last time – but as a cross-over with Professional Responsibility. You may not want to hear this, but Van Camp and Pereira have not been tested in a while (these are the tests – or “accounting methods” for value enhanced separate property businesses). If this concept makes your eyes roll into the back of your head – take a deep breath and calm down. Remember that these tests are to determine what portion of a separate property business should be considered community property. It is not too much more complicated than that (for bar exam purposes). Review these tests (take five or ten minutes – even do it tomorrow morning if that is what you prefer – just in case), know which favors community property and which favors separate property – try your best to keep these tests straight – don’t worry – you can rely on short term memory for this. Also, remember that you should generally talk about both if either seems to be tested. It may be that the fact pattern (assuming you get a Community Property fact pattern that tests this area) where Van Camp seems to be the more applicable test. That is fine, write about it and still explain Pereira and quickly explain what the result would be if the court were to apply Pereira – remember, you are trying to show the grader your breadth of knowledge).
Best of luck to you all!
Bar None Review
Congratulations on being 2/3 of the way done with the California Bar Exam.
Hopefully by now you are resting, have had a healthy meal and may be doing a light review of topics for tomorrow.
We had an issue with the site crashing (more bandwidth next bar round – even the California bar exam’s website has crashed in past years due to heavy traffic – so I guess my site is not immune either).
So, the long awaited “predictions” for day three’s essays and some tips and suggestions regarding tomorrow’s performance test . . .
DAY THREE – ESSAY “PREDICTIONS”:
The caveat (I know you have read it in previous posts) again is that no one can predict this exam. So far Criminal Law, Professional Responsibility and Tort Remedies (possibly some other Remedies too) were tested on day one. PTA was an objective writing assignment that involved a restrictive covenant.
None of the above was a surprise subject wise. Everyone expected Criminal Law (but, many were expecting a murder essay). I certainly expected to see a full Professional Responsibility essay and Tort Remedies was also on our list. Since the subjects I was expecting have shown up, I am not varying my earlier “predictions” much.
So here is the short hand version:
Right now you are most likely taking the AM section of the MBE . . . unless you are an attorney taker. And, in just an hour or so, you will be half way done with the California bar exam! Congratulations!
So, as promised, I will be posting about what I think might be possible for day three’s essays. I am taking into account what was covered in yesterday’s Performance Test A into my assessments of what I would expect you to possibly see for testing tomorrow.
First, some comments about yesterday’s essays:
1. Day One is over – do not rehash it, replay or worry about it. It is done and you can not go back and re-do it and there is nothing to be gained from going over it and over it again.
2. The above being said – I think there are some things that I can say that might help you put Day One’s essays to bed – so to speak. Aside from simply putting Day One behind you – perhaps this will help: Essay number three had many options as to what could have been discussed. This essay was very similar to Essay #2 from the July 2003 bar exam (something I have brought up on many, many occasions in my bar review course). I have used this essay (from the July 2003 bar exam) as an example of what would be considered an “oddball” essay. On the July 2003 bar exam, the fact pattern was very similar, but the call of the question in 2003 was different. It was different in that examinees were asked to discuss “trust remedies”. This confused many examinees. This bar round it was a different call (and quite frankly, in my opinion, easier to deal with because the calls lead you to certain issues that a call of ‘trust remedies’ might not have). The point of all of this is that I have used this past exam as an example of what I would refer to as an “oddball” essay exam in order to illustrate how various answers (very different responses) would be acceptable. In fact, the story that I relay to my students is this:
“On Day One of the July 2003 bar exam, several of my students called me to discuss essay number two – the essay that tested ‘trust remedies’. I remember two students in particular with whom I spoke to that night. One was a valedictorian from an ABA law school and the other was a repeat taker who had attended a non-accredited law school. Both called me and told me how they handled that ‘oddball’ essay. Each had a very different route to resolving the issues presented and doing their best to answer the call of the question. However, both had some overlap in their coverage. I was confident that both examinees had successfully answered that question. And, both ultimately passed that bar round.”
The reason I even tell this story is to underscore for my students (and now for you) the importance of simply focusing on doing your absolute best to resolve the legal problem(s) presented in the fact pattern. Sometimes we get so caught up in the rules and definitions that we have been attempting to memorize for months that we lose sight of some of our common sense and practical ability to problem solve.
So where does that leave you with yesterday’s essays? Day one is over. What I want to make clear regarding essay number three is that there were variations of answers that will all be correct. Some will have addressed some Contract issues while others perhaps more regarding Torts and specific Tort Remedies – I could give you a list of the two or three issues that I believe a passing answer for that essay absolutely had to have . . . but I will not do that right now – because it will NOT serve you well to think that you missed one or more of those issues. AND regardless of how you did yesterday – you are still in the game – you simply have to take that approach. If you feel badly about yesterday – LET IT GO. That is your choice – to take that approach – and I urge you to make that choice.
You can take on today and tomorrow and no matter what happened yesterday, you can still take this test and make it your last. Be positive and let yesterday go.
One last thing about yesterday’s essays – many have written in indicating that day one was really hard. So, all of you reading this should keep the test in perspective. Yesterday was not likely a walk in the park for anyone. It was simply what it was – and now it is behind you – relish in that. And, resolve and commit to the rest of the exam with as much vigor and confidence as you can possibly muster.
One of the messages I received yesterday was from an examinee who told me of some of the mistakes he felt he had made and asked me if I thought there was “still hope”. I actually receive that same email many times over from many examinees. And, my answer is this: of course there is still hope. You go for it and do not allow this test to get the best of you. Perform at your best today, let yesterday go and tomorrow – do the exact same thing.
I will be posting again today with my “predictions” for tomorrow’s essays and some thoughts about the Performance Test.
Until then, put yesterday and this morning behind you. Stay positive and believe in yourself.
All the best to all who are taking the exam today!
Bar None Review
I have been asked this question by many examinees and so I thought I would take a moment to answer it here for everyone to see.
Many people are writing in asking what subjects they should study today. I recognize that the reason these individuals are asking me this question is because they think that they should study today what is most likely to show up tomorrow . . . and they are asking me because I have had a reasonably good track record of “predicting” the essay topics. Well, that is risky business . . . studying around what anyone might say is going to be on the test. First of all, I do not claim to be able to predict what you will see on the exam. I spend time coming up with what I think are possible essay scenarios (incidentally, one of my competitors is now calling it that: “possible scenarios” . . . interesting . . . but, I digress). My point is that while it feels good to go into the exam with these potential essay scenarios and it will feel even better if you see even just one of these essay scenarios tested – you should study what is the weakest subject for you.
Now, that is assuming you are studying at all today. I did not study the day before the bar exam. I planned on it, but when I got to the day before the exam, I simply decided not to study anymore. I passed. I have friends that continued to study up into the evening prior to the exam and they too passed. You really have to do what feels right for you. I personally think that you should not stay up late studying.
And, with respect to predictions and how you should study today (assuming you do study today) you should take a look over the “predicted” possible essay scenarios. But, your time should be spent reviewing any subject you would be afraid to see tomorrow – that is where you should focus.
Remember, no one has a crystal ball with respect to this exam. Therefore, while I think it helps calm students down to have some areas of focus – you should really think about the following:
1) Do I need or want to study today? (really – it is okay not to study today – sometimes rest is the best thing and just a light review of topics or no review), and - If you are planning on studying today then:
2) Focus on an area that is one that you are hoping you will not see on the essay exam. You may not be able to resolve every aspect of that topic or subject in your favor – but at least you can go into the test knowing that you gave it some extra attention close in time to the actual exam.
Above all, do things today that are good for you. Do not panic. You might say: “Easy for you to say . . . you are not taking the test tomorrow”. You are right, I am not taking the test tomorrow. But, I have taken and passed two bar exams. Some degree of panic is normal. But, do not allow it to overwhelm you. Push it away. That is imperative and will do far more for your likelihood of success on the exam than virtually anything else you could do today.
All the best to all of you who are taking the exam tomorrow! Be positive, trust your instincts and remain as calm as possible.
Best of luck!