Good Luck to all who are studying for the California Bar Exam!

Hello Everyone,

We are having another free, “How to Pass the Bar Exam Workshop” next week! Details to follow very soon . . . until then . . . all the best of luck to you! (See post below for how to create a study plan).

Good luck photo for blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder (213) 529-0990
Bar None Review and The Bar Exam Cram Session (TM)

Bar Exam “Predictions” – Part Three

Hello All,

By now you have completed day two of the California bar exam! Congratulations on all of your hard work! You are nearly done!

I promised to write more about what to expect for tomorrow and to provide some advice on how to prepare this evening.

First, any topic can be tested. That being said, there are some subjects that seem to be more likely than others. I still stand by the predictions I have released to date – so I please review my previous posts (links to my earlier “predictions” are below). You will see that so far three of the areas that I have suggested were tested on day one.  Review my earlier posts below (“predictions – part one” and “predictions – part two”).  Also, bear in mind that often the bar examiners will test a full blown Professional Responsibility essay on day one and then repeat it again as a cross-over on one of the essays on day three. This is not unusual at all.

Predictions – Part One

Predictions – Part Two

When you go back and read the two earlier posts (links to each above) you will see that I have suggested Evidence and Property (I belive there is almost an equal likelihood that either could show up – with just a slightly higher preference towards Evidence being more likely) AND that either Civil Procedure or Criminal Law (specifically murder + Criminal Procedure or Criminal Procedure alone) could show up tomorrow. The bar examiners have tested the same subject on three bar rounds, back to back. Civil Procedure has been tested three times back to back in the past and so has Criminal Law. Either could show up tomorrow – so be ready for it. For a free approach handout for Evidence, see my earlier post below – fill out the form and we will send you the approach and additional tips via email :)

With respect to Criminal Law – murder has not shown up in a while. The last two bar exams both tested Criminal Law (but focused on possession crimes like larceny, embezzlement on the July 2012 exam and accomplice liability on the February 2013 bar exam). Neither exam tested any Criminal Procedure and neither tested murder. Therefore, I would most definitely review the murder approach (for a 10 minute coverage of a basic murder approach, click here and scroll down the page just a little and you will see a video of yours truly). Bear in mind this is a brief approach – but it does give you something to work with. We also have released portions of our Criminal Procedure Exam Writing Template on the Bar None Review website – you can download the exam writing templates for the 4th and 5th Amendments here and you can download our 8th Amendment Exam Writing Template here

I could absolutely envision and essay that tested both murder and either the 4th and 5th Amendments (this is one of the most common ways to see a cross over in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. However, another option – that has not shown up in some time – is the following scenario:

A murder exam (where you have to develop a murder discussion – this includes common law murder, which is a killing committed with malice aforethought, malice aforethought is proven four ways – you need to list all four and apply one or two, then address the statutory degrees of murder – first or second, address whether there is a basis for manslaughter – voluntary or involuntary and of course apply any available defenses – ALSO – be sure to follow the call(s) of the question as this may change your order or organization) plus 6th Amendment peremptory challenges or other jury issues and 8th Amendment capital punishment (review the 8th Amendment Exam Writing Template – see link above – for how to address this issue). These areas have been tested together on multiple occasions – but not in some time. As a result, I think it is due – at some point.

Other things to consider: Regardless of what anyone thinks is going to be on the exam, you need to be prepared for essentially any topic. It never hurts to spend a little extra time on areas that seem to be more likely than others. BUT, be sure to spend time on any area(s) that you feel are your weak areas. This is critical. The last thing you want to see is the subject you are least prepared for showing up tomorrow. Therefore, spend some time reviewing whatever subject you would consider being your “worst nightmare” and that way, if it does show up on the essays – you will be better prepared for it.

IF CIVIL PROCEDURE shows up tomorrow . . . I mentioned above, and in earlier posts, that Civil Procedure was a possibility. Civil Procedure has been a three-peater in the past – so it certainly could show up tomorrow. If it does, Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata are areas that I think are likely. I say this for a couple of reasons: 1) Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata have not been tested in a while, and 2) there is a California distinction that is testable – the Minority, Primary Rights Rule – it is worth a mention if you get an exam in this area. And, the Primary Rights Rule has been tested for years – well before the California bar examiners added California Civil Procedure. Class actions has also not been tested in some time. And, to date, the bar examiners have yet to test the concept of a “demurrer” or the responsive pleading available in California known as an “anti-slap suit” (note: an “anti-slap suit” is not a suit – it is a special motion that a party can file in response to a claim that is viewed as a SLAP Suit – an example of this would be something like this: plaintiff files a law suit against defendant for defamation and seeks (and obtains) a preliminary injunction to stop the plaintiff from publishing a newspaper (the subject of which Plaintiff claims contains defamatory material). In California the defendant can answer the complaint, can demurrer to the complaint or could file what is called an anti-slapp motion (or suit). This latter option would be on the basis that the original law suit was intended to harass the defendant and to prevent the defendant from doing something they were legally allowed to do (for example, exercise their right to speech).

Okay, I think this is enough for now . . . :)

I wish you all the very, very best of luck tomorrow. Trust your instincts and write, write, write!

If you have found this blog helpful and wish to make a donation, you can do so here:

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 4.56.24 PM

Remember to stay positive and to believe in yourself!

Best of luck to you all!

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
barnonereview.com

California Bar Exam Predictions: July 2013 Bar Exam – Part One

First of all I want to wish you all the very best of luck in your studies this week and I want to thank you for following my blog. I am truly humbled by the responses from examinees who have sent emails – thank you so much.

If you would like to reach me directly, please feel free to send me an email at: pass@barnonereview.com

Today, this blog will likely reach over 400,000 views. I am deeply humbled by the following. It truly gives me great satisfaction to be able to reach so many and to provide assistance to those who are in the midst of their bar studies.

A few caveats about my “predictions” . . . 

If you have been following my blog you will know that I do not really like to call my “predictions” predictions. I do not claim to be able to predict the bar exam. I have simply come up with what I call essay scenarios that I think might be worth considering. In the coming days (today included) I will be releasing these essay scenarios. Know that no one can predict what will be tested on the bar exam. And, anyone directing their studies completely around what someone has “predicted” is not making a sound bar exam prep decision. That being said, it cannot hurt to entertain potential essay scenarios – especially if this causes you to seek out examples and to improve the focus and intensity of your review. You should, of course, be prepared for any subject as any subject can be tested.

My commitment to my enrolled students: Please understand that my students who pay to take my course do not appreciate it if I release our “predictions” weeks in advance to the world. They pay for the privilege of our insights – at least they see it that way. So it simply isn’t fair to give away part of what they pay for to everyone else for free. In past rounds I have not made this available outside of our course. However, last year, after being asked over and over again, and after discussing it with my paying students (how they felt about it) I decided to release “predictions” – or – possible essay scenarios.

So here is the plan, As I have done in the past year, I will release the essay scenarios I have come up with over the coming days (one or two topics a day). To do anything else would really not be fair to my enrolled students. I hope you understand.

So here are a few thoughts on what I think could be tested:

Constitutional Law: Note: this was on my list of possible repeat topics for the last bar exam. It did not repeat and therefore, now that it has been skipped for an entire bar round, it is a subject that many are predicting. I also think that Constitutional Law is a very likely subject for testing. Possible areas of testing within Constitutional Law: I think an essay that requires you to address the constitutionality of a statute (state or federal) which can then require you to address due process (both substantive due process and procedural due process), commerce clause, dormant commerce clause (if it is a state statute regulating an interstate activity). While this is not the only area that could be tested, it is an area that the bar examiners have not tested as recently as some of the other testable areas. Free Handout: I provide a free downloadable approach for determining the constitutionality of a state or federal statute –  this approach will tell you when you should and should not address 11 Amendment immunity and provides a checklist of the order of things to go through in writing an exam like this – often students do not understand how a constitutional law question can bring up many different issues – 11th Amendment Immunity, Due Process, Equal Protection and Commerce Clause OR Dormant Commerce Clause can all very easily be tested on the same essay exam. So it is often not a matter of which you discuss but, how quickly you can manage to discuss all of these topics. I will be making this handout available again through this blog later today.

Evidence (or as I like to call it: Off to the races):  Like most people would predict, I am leaning towards an Evidence exam. Transcript style has not been tested in some time so I would not be surprised if you see that. Bear in mind, most are predicting this topic. As a result, most have given this area a bit of extra treatment in their review. Evidence essays are typically racehorse exams. This is important to keep in mind because you will need to work quickly and begin writing your answer as soon as possible to allow for enough time to address as many relevant (sorry for the bad pun) issues as possible. Be sure to know your form objections (for example: leading, non-responsive, assumes facts not in evidence, etc.). A great way to prepare for any essay tested subject is to review past essay exams. This is particularly true of Constitutional Law and Evidence. By reviewing past exams you can develop an efficient approach (which is necessary for both of these topics as both typically involve many issues on just one fact pattern).

POSSIBLE REPEAT SUBJECTS APPEARING ON THE JULY 2013 BAR EXAM (third time could be a charm):

Every bar round, the bar examiners repeat subjects from the prior bar round. Therefore, you should not eliminate any topic or presume that a subject will not be tested this July simply because it showed up on the last bar round or, showed up on the last two consecutive bar rounds. That’s right – subjects repeat sometimes back to back - three times. Civil Procedure has appeared back to back three times as have many other subjects. Therefore, I would not be surprised – nor should you be surprised – if you were to see either Civil Procedure OR Criminal Law – tested again (for a third time in a row) on the this next bar exam. Below are a few scenarios to consider should you see either Civil Procedure repeat or Criminal Law repeat:

Civil Procedure could come up again:  Some of the most commonly tested issues in civil procedure are: jurisdiction and collateral estoppel and res judicata. Another area that has not been tested all that recently is supplemental jurisdiction (bear in mind that if supplemental jurisdiction is tested, it will likely be what I refer to as a “tack on” issue or call because it would not be a large part of the question, but rather a shorter call within an essay exam). Typically you would expect supplemental jurisdiction to come up in the context of a Federal Diversity Jurisdiction essay. Class actions has not been tested in a very long time – I keep thinking that is due, but, If you look at what is most often tested in Civil Procedure it is jurisdiction (PJ and SMJ and Venue) and Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata, it is not all that unusual that it has not come up in a while. Still, it is an area (Class Actions) that I would be certain to be familiar with in the event that it is tested. Even though class actions has been absent for many bar rounds, it is still no more likely in my mind, than jurisdiction or Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata. What about California Civil Procedure? Well, one area that has yet to be tested on the California bar exam is the area of SLAPP Suits and Anti-Slapp Motions. I will write more about this possible area of testing in the coming days. In the meantime, I would give it a quick review.

Civil Procedure Tip: Be sure not to mix up Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel – make sure you know which one is issue preclusion and which one is claim preclusion. Here is one way to keep the two straight: the “C”s do not go together – in other words: Collateral Estoppel is Issue Preclusion and Res Judicata is Claim Preclusion. Should you get tested on this area – be certain to make note of the California (and minority) “primary rights” view with respect to claims. If you need further explanation of the “primary rights” view – please let me know and I will add a bit more here.

Criminal Law – especially – crossed with Criminal Procedure could come up again: Criminal Law was tested last on the February 2013 bar exam and on the July 2012 bar exam. However, Criminal Procedure has not been tested recently and neither has a murder exam. (The  February 2013 exam tested accomplice liability heavily and did not include any criminal procedure and the July 2011 exam tested larceny and other possession crimes but, no murder). As a result, I think that a Criminal Law murder exam, crossed with a significant amount of Criminal Procedure is a good possibility. I also think that an exam with only Criminal Procedure is possible as well.

NOTE: I do not think it is incredibly likely that you will see both Criminal Law/Procedure and Civil Procedure on the July 2013 bar exam. However, I do think that each is as likely to show up – so be sure to review both topics – do not dismiss either subject.

Okay, so that is it for now. Okay, well maybe not . . . make sure you know the California tests for value enhanced separate property businesses (Van Camp and Pereira) . . . more on this (Community Property) soon (this should serve as a hint to one of the next topics on my “predictions” list).

In the meantime, keep at it. Believe in yourself and stay positive. Maintaining a positive attitude in the days leading up to the exam is key. There is still a lot of time – use it well. You should expect any topic and be ready for any topic. To that end – please read my prior posts about the importance of reading and studying past bar essays.

Clearly, no one should try to rely on predictions to guide their studies. You simply need to know everything as well as you can. Still, I think it can be helpful to have some possible essay scenarios to keep in mind especially in the few days leading up to the bar exam, just to have something new to focus on. Then in the event that you see any of it, you will feel good. And the odds that some of the above will be on the exam is fairly high (and that is not because I have some crystal ball, it is simply because there are only so many subjects, a person could throw a dart and get at least some right).

I hope this is helpful. Please, please understand that I give this out at this time as a way to be helpful and also to respect my enrolled students who are, after all, entitled to receive this information first. I wish you all the very best of luck. Best of luck to you all!

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990
barnonereview.com

California Bar Exam Tips: Free Workshops and Free Score Review

Hello All,

If you failed the February 2013 bar exam, you should know that you are not alone. The complete statistics will be available on the California bar website soon. Each year, pass rates for the February bar exams are usually lower than the pass rates for July. Typically, the February bar exam pass rates range between 39% and 50%. So, if you did not pass, you know that you are among a significant number of people who are in the very same position.

What do I do now?

So what do you do now? Do you take another bar review course? Do you hire a private tutor? Do you study on your own? The answers to those questions will be different for everyone. First, you need to properly evaluate why it is that you failed. Second, consider attending one of our free bar exam workshops.

Free Bar Exam Workshops

Our next free “How To Pass The California Bar Exam Workshop” will be held on May 22nd. We will host additional workshops, but we always suggest that you attend as soon as possible to allow yourself the greatest opportunity to benefit from the strategies and techniques covered in our workshops. Here are the details for next week’s workshop:

Los Angeles County Workshop
“How to Pass the California Bar Exam”
Date: Wednesday, May 22nd from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Instructor: Professor Duncanson
Location: Los Angeles, California (adjacent to the 405 freeway, parking is free)

Workshop attendees will receive handouts (including free bar exam writing templates and MBE handouts), instruction on how to write for the California bar examiners, test taking strategies and techniques, how to simply make sense of failing and move forward as well has have an opportunity to meet with our course instructor. This workshop will be taught by Professor Duncanson (Bar None Review Bar Review course founder and author of The Bar Exam Guru Blog).

Space is limited. To make a reservation for this workshop, please contact us via email at: pass@barnonereview.com or you may call us at: (213) 529-0990 or (949) 891-8831.

Free Bar Exam Score Review

We provide, for a limited period of time (as our classes and private tutoring obligations begin and then we are just not available to provide this service) a free review of your past bar scores. In order to participate in this program, you will need to send your scores to pass@barnonereview.com. We only accept scanned in score sheets or faxed scores sheets at this time (we do not accept your typed in scores in an email). We have to be sure that we are dealing with you. In addition, provide a phone number where you can be reached (all score reviews and evaluations are conducted via phone). If you would like to send your score sheet to us via fax, simply send us an email and we will provide you our fax number.

Why should I have my scores reviewed?

As a repeat bar examinee, the first step to passing the next bar exam is to review your bar exam score sheet. This can be a very confusing piece of paper. Partly because it is simply just painful to look at. Here you are, you have just received the terrible news that you have failed the bar exam and now you have to make sense of the scores. In my experience, examinees very often do not understand how the scaling works or what equals a passing “raw” score. So hopefully, what follows below will be of help to you.

Because the scoring of the California Bar Exam is scaled, it is not easy to understand what a given raw score means nor is it clear where you will need to focus from numbers alone. For example, if an examinee scores consistently the same scores on their essays (i.e., all sixties or three fifty-fives and three sixties) it will indicate a different problem than an examinee whose scores have a greater range (i.e., one 45, one 75, two 65s and two 60s etc.).

What is a passing raw score for an essay or performance test?

First of all, the raw score that is passing for the essays, performance tests and the MBEs varies from bar exam to bar exam. Most examinees incorrectly believe that a 70 is always required to pass an essay. However, this is simply not the case. In the past several bar rounds, a passing raw score on the essay has been as low as a 61 and as high as a 63 – not a 70. Of course, a 70 is a much better score to receive and better yet, 80s are really what you should be shooting for – this is the score we do our best to teach our students to be able to achieve consistently.

What is a passing raw score for the MBE?

The passing raw score for the MBE in the past few years has gone down dramatically. Several years ago, to pass the MBE portion of the exam you really needed to achieve at least 70% correct (a raw score of 140). However, in the past couple of years, the raw passing score has been between 62% – 66% (a raw score of 124 to 133). However, your practice scores should be much, much higher to ensure that you will do well enough on the MBE portion on the actual exam day.

Once the California bar releases the full statistics, some of these numbers will become more clear. However, what is most important is where you are – how far away from passing were you really? Most examinees that I speak with are quite off base when they call in to discuss their scores. There is a lot of misinformation out there. I have been following message boards and I am shocked at how little examinees know about how the test is scored. This is the fault of both law schools and bar preparation courses. It can be incredibly helpful to have someone who is knowledgeable about it to help you interpret your scores. This is really the first step in figuring out what you need or don’t need.

Free Downloads & Further Assistance

Also, be sure to visit our bar review course website free downloads of some of our Bar Exam Writing Templates as well as advice for those who are repeating the bar exam. Click here for additional Repeat Taker Information and click here for free downloads of some of The Exam Writing Templates.

Good luck to you and do not give up, this exam is do-able!

Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment here on my blog or to email me directly at: pass@barnonereview.com

Good luck in your studies!

Sincerely,

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990
barnonereview.com

California Bar Exam Delays Release of Exam Questions

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”.

California Bar Exam: Day Two and “Predictions” for Day Three

Hello All,

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.

“Predictions”

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!

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
barnonereview.com

Bar Exam Tips: Quick Recap of Bar Exam Predictions

First of all, good luck to all who are taking the bar exam today! Stay positive and keep your wits about you. Believe in yourself and be confident.

I thought I would put up a quick recap of the “predictions” to date (with the strong caveat that no one can predict this exam).

1. Most everyone is predicting Torts (this is a pretty obvious one, which makes me a bit suspicious of it . . . but, like most everyone else, I think you will likely see a Torts exam). Note earlier (more detailed posts about possible Torts scenarios that included products liability, or nuisance, tort remedies. Also a possibility is defamation – the fact that it has been a while since Torts has been tested, most anything is “up” so to speak).

2. Civil Procedure (generally a subject or two or sometimes three – will repeat from one bar exam round to the next). One of my first picks for repeat topics is Civil Procedure (of course there is always the great likelihood that Professional Responsibility will show up – it has only been skipped on the essay portion twice in the past 23 bar exam rounds).

3. Criminal law & Procedure (I already indicated earlier that I was leaning towards a Murder exam perhaps in the context of a 6th and or 8th Amendment – Capital Punishment issue). This scenario has not been tested in some time and murder has been absent from the bar exam for some time.

4. Constitutional Law (I think this is a very good possibility. And, if you were to see Constitutional Law, I think that there would be a high probability of seeing something in the arena of evaluating a state statute – which could generate a number of issues – equal protection, substantive due process (could involve fundamental right, privacy is commonly tested) and I provided an essay handout on a post from Monday that gives an example of a state statute and whether it places an undue burden on interstate commerce – this area is highly testable – review the essay I posted as well as the approach I posted for evaluating the constitutionality of a state law/statute (this was posted earlier on Monday).

5. Corporations/Business Organizations – most are predicting this subject. I could see it happening. The last bar round was light on Professional Responsibility – therefore I would not be surprised if you had other subjects that involve duty issues (like Corporations: duty of loyalty, duty of care + the business judgment rule as a potential defense, or Trusts – with a focus on Trustee duties – these are favored areas for testing). An area worth noting that has been absent from the essays is the area of winding up a partnership. This is ripe for testing. Securities laws (10b5 corporate pronouncements and tipper/tippee and 16b Shortswing Profits) have not been tested in some years. Still, anything can come up in this area – in past years the bar examiners have provided a fact pattern that seems to scream of 10b5 and 16b and then the call of the question tells you NOT to answer under the federal securities law, but instead to answer according to the common law – many are stumped by this and do not know what to do. Well, this is part of what you would do – if you were given such an essay – write about common law misrepresentation and fraud and ultra vires.

6. Property – now this one is tricky. It has been on the exam – but there are areas that have been absent for some time (Covenants & Equitable Servitudes and Easements. Covenants and Equitable Servitudes could come up in the context of a Land lord/tenant issue (this is fairly common) OR it could come up with respect to a landsale contract (so too could Easements). The area of recording acts, notice have not come up in a while and could in the context of marketable title for example or simply to determine if a buyer takes subject to an easement. The reason Property is a tricky pick is because it has shown up on the bar exam with some regularity. However, the issues tested have not been the most typical (for example – in 2011 the bar examiners tested a FSA with a future interest, restraint on alienation, ouster, adverse possession – and that just mentions a few of the areas tested on one of the past Property essays – so not your most typical coverage/testing. That is why I think it could be a real possibility.

7. I also think you could see Community Property OR Evidence again – these could come up as cross overs with other topics or alone. Wills and Trusts (although both tested in the past year) are always possibilities. As mentioned above, an exam with Trustee duties is a possible area – it is favorite area of testing and see earlier “predictions” posts regarding spendthrift, support and discretionary trusts).

Remember, no matter what you see on the exam tomorrow, do not let it get the better of you . . . if it seems hard, it is because it is hard – which means that everyone  thinks it is hard. Keep it all in perspective and don’t allow yourself to doubt yourself or to hesitate too much – just write. Trust your instincts and show them what you know – remember not to dismiss issues in your head, but instead to dismiss issues on your paper – this shows a breadth of knowledge the examiners seem to be looking for.

Above all, remember you do not have to be perfect! Just do your best to resolve each legal issue presented . . . and DO NOT throw common sense out the window!

All the best to you all tomorrow!

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
barnonereview.com

Bar Exam Tip: The Most Popular Question of the Day: “What Should I Study Today”

Hello All,

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!

California Bar Exam Tips: A Handout and Some Final Thoughts . . .

Hello All,

The bar exam is now just a day away. I wish all of you who are taking the exam tomorrow, the very best of luck.

If you have read my prior posts, you know that Constitutional Law is one of the subjects that I am leaning towards your seeing on the February 2013 bar exam. Of course, you may not see Constitutional Law on the February 2013 bar exam. But if you were to see it, would you know how to handle it?

This might not seem like a question that you would want to ask yourself this close to the bar exam  - but why not? If you do not know how to handle a Constitutional Law essay today (very early on Monday morning) the day before you take the test, is it too late? Of course not.

So, if Constitutional Law is something you are fearing – then I would take a look over the subject again (preferably by relying on a condensed outline of some kind). In addition, I would recommend that you take a look at a few essays in Constitutional Law.

I have attached as a download, a past Constitutional Law Essay that I think is worth reviewing (yes – the day before the exam – why not)?

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 one or 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 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 on exam day.

I will be posting again on Tuesday right after the essay portion of the bar exam – I will be counting on my students and blog followers to send me what was tested on the essay section of the bar exam so that I can update my predictions with respect to what I think might be more likely to show up on day three of the essay exam. So, if you have a moment, please email me after the essay portion of the bar exam on Tuesday. This will help me, help you – it is always good to have a sense of where to focus in these final days and even on the days of bar exam. Of course, no one can predict this exam. But, it can not hurt to put some extra time into an area that might be more likely to show up.

I will be hearing from my enrolled students on the break after the essays on Day One. But, the more people I hear from, the better I will have a fix on what was actually tested on Tuesday (essay wise) so that I can work up my next set of predictions for day three. Just a note – because there are some examinees with accommodations who will be taking the bar exam over a six day period (examinees with six day testing conditions, take the performance test on Wednesday), I will limit my discussion of PTA to the end of day two of the bar exam.

Thank you again for following the blog.

I wish you all the very best of luck tomorrow. Remember to stay positive and to believe in yourself!

Best of luck to you all!

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
barnonereview.com

February Bar Exam: How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop

Hello All,

Mark your calendars – we will offer another workshop next week! Space is limited, please email us at: pass@barnonereview.com or call (213) 529-0990 or (949) 891-8831 for more details and to make a reservation.

Los Angeles County Workshop
“How to Pass the California Bar Exam”
Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm
Instructor: Professor Duncanson
Location: Los Angeles, California (adjacent to the 405 freeway, parking is free)

Workshop attendees will receive handouts (including free bar exam writing templates and MBE handouts), instruction on how to write for the California bar examiners, test taking strategies and techniques as well as have the opportunity to meet with our course instructor. The above workshops will be taught by Professor Duncanson (Bar None Review Bar Review course founder and author of The Bar Exam Guru Blog). More details to follow!

Space is limited. To make a reservation for this workshop, please contact us via email at: pass@barnonereview.com or you may call us at: (213) 529-0990 or (949) 891-8831.

Bar None Review

(213) 529-0990

(949) 891-8831

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,369 other followers