California Bar Exam: 80% Pass With Bar Exam Cram Session!

Hello All,

I don’t usually advertise my classes here on the blog. However, I have recently met too many examinees who have signed up with us (after having failed on numerous bar exam attempts) who were frustrated that they did not know about our programs earlier. So, at their suggestion, I am including some information here about our upcoming Bar Exam Cram Sessions.

First of all, our Two Day Bar Exam Cram Sessions are far more than just a condensed substantive review. Each Two Day Bar Exam Cram Session covers every essay tested subject and includes shorthand approaches to make your way through any essay. These same approaches are highly effective for the MBE portion of the exam. And, the shorthand approaches are easy to memorize. Attendees receive a complete set of The Bar Exam Cram Sheets. The Bar Exam Cram Sheets are condensed outlines that provide the substantive material in a way that is concise, complete with manageable definitions that are already in a test language form (making it easy to write an essay), as well as in the order of the preferred essay approach for each topic. This is something I have seen no other program offer. I know, it sounds like I am tooting my own horn – which is not something I generally do. But, I have had the opportunity to see what is out there (including some of our competitors who have recently come up with their own versions – it is okay, their copying is really a form of flattery) and well, it is pretty bad. What is being sold as an “attack sheet” or “attack outline” is usually nothing more than a half page of information that isn’t even complete (in my opinion).

We have had attorney takers who report that they have studied our Bar Exam Cram Sheets to the exclusion of any other outline and have passed the California bar exam. Okay, enough on the program, if you are interested in learning more, you can view the links below:

Our next Two Day Bar Exam Cram Session is this weekend and we still have space available. For more information on our upcoming Bar Exam Cram Sessions, visit: www.barexamcramsession.com

To enroll in this weekend’s bar exam cram session (and receive our bonus Performance Test Maximizer Coverage at no additional charge), click on the image below:

Cram Promo

California Bar Exam Prep: Do You Have A Plan? Do You Need A New One?

Hello All,

We just finished up our first weekend of our Writing Maximizer Program. I love teaching this program and was very happy to see such a great group of students, so eager to take on work and pass the bar exam! Every bar round I am reminded of how so many, very, very bright, smart, studious bar takers simply miss the boat because they do not have a plan and because they simply do not know what to do.

I personally believe that many courses out there throw what is called a “study schedule” at their students simply to keep them from ever having the time to actually bother anyone with a question. Think about it – if you are given a study plan, the pace of which is so rigorous and so time consuming that a normal human could not finish it – the odds are you will not bother asking a course instructor a single question. That is, of course, assuming there is even a person that you can actually ask . . .

Please understand, I often work with students who have been through this drill before with other bar prep companies and have taken the exam several times without the success that they worked so hard to achieve. It makes me mad. Why? Because their failures are completely unnecessary. I believe their prior unsuccessful bar attempts simply could have been avoided if perhaps their bar prep course had provided them with a) a realistic study plan and b) actual exam feedback.

I am frustrated for these students – these students who are clearly very bright, who clearly worked very hard and were, in my opinion, mislead – told that if they simply studied for 12 hours a day, that it would result in passing the bar exam.

Memorization IS important. But, it is critical to write practice exams, and even more critical to receive detailed feedback on your exams. I have several students right now who came to me after having taken the July bar exam (utilizing another bar prep course). They were given a study plan that kept them busy every day, all day and into the evening. They tell me they did everything they were told to do. I believe them. The problem (one of many I think) is that they were only told to write three essays. Three essays! That is not enough. I have also had the opportunity to see their “graded” essays from this course and I am appalled at what apparently passes as “exam grading” these days.

Three comments were repeated over and over: “use more facts”, “not enough facts here” and “missed issues” . . .

Folks, that is NOT exam grading – not in my opinion. “Review page 83 of your Torts Outline” is also, in my opinion, NOT exam grading.

So, yes, I am a bit perturbed, and yes, it probably shows. But, I find it increasingly frustrating to see intelligent, hardworking examinees fail because – in my opinion – the course they took failed them.

If you would like to see what I think is real exam writing feed back, click on here:  Sample Graded Essay (this was turned in from one of my students this morning – I graded it and returned it within a couple of hours of receiving it). There is no name provided for privacy reasons, of course. My hope is that in seeing this exam – with actual feedback – that you as a bar examinee will come to expect a bit more from your course providers.

With respect to having a plan, be careful. I am currently working with a group of students who all followed the plan they were given by their bar review provider in July and it did not work for them. I can see why it did not work as they only read a few essays and only wrote three or four practice exams – most of their time was spent watching videos and memorizing the law (because this is what their bar prep course told them to do). So, if you have a plan, look at it carefully and modify it if you think it is simply providing you with a bunch of busy work. Don’t get me wrong – memorizing is important. But, the bar exam takes a lot more than your ability to spit back rules. You need practice in writing the essays – this is paramount and a significant amount of your time should be dedicated to preparing for the actual test taking (practice issue spotting essays, reviewing essay answers and writing your own practice essays).

If you need help in putting together a study plan, search this blog for prior posts on creating a bar exam study plan.

All the best in your studies!

Sincerely,

Lisa Duncanson

Bar Exam Tip: How to Create a Successful Study Plan for Passing the February 2014 Bar Exam

Hello Everyone,

One of the most important aspects of your bar study is having a successful study plan. I have written several posts on this topic in the past, but here is an updated version for those of you about to take (and PASS) the February 2014 bar exam!

WHAT IS A SUCCESSFUL STUDY PLAN

Before you can develop a successful study plan, it is important to understand what makes a successful study plan. I do not mean an assignment list provided to you by your bar prep provider. Assignment lists or “schedules” like BarBri’s “Pace Program” are, in my opinion, in my opinion, are one size fits all, task lists. I personally think these are designed to keep you busy more than actually prepare you for the bar exam. When I refer to a successful study plan - I mean an actual “study plan” –  a plan for success. A successful study plan not only includes assignments – like completing MBEs, writing practice essays, reviewing and memorizing the substantive law – but it also takes into account the realities of your day – “I need to eat”, “I need to rest”, “I need to exercise”, “I need to keep my stress level at a manageable level”, “I need to work part time” or “I need to work full time.” These are all critical to your success on the bar exam, and will play as important a role in your success on the bar, as your actual bar study.

SO HOW DO YOU CREATE A SUCCESSFUL STUDY PLAN?

A successful study plan requires: taking into account your weaknesses and strengths, establishing a routine and habit of study, creating and adhering to a realistic routine that will address your weaknesses and maintain or improve your strengths while also taking into account the amount of time that you actually have available to study (for example, whether you have all day to study, or you work part time, or you are working full time, juggling the responsibilities of work and children and life in general). See below for a sample one day study schedule. Incidentally, most of my students are repeat bar takers and are working full time jobs and have only a few hours each week to study – and yet, they succeed. So, first off – I want you to recognize that you can succeed on this exam even if you do not have 8 to 14 hours a day to study. And, in fact (and this will be the subject of a future post), studying 14 hours a day, is actually quite counterproductive.

Finally, a successful study plan should maximize your effectiveness by scheduling the right kinds of work during the right times of day or evening (for example, it does not make much sense to practice MBE questions at 9:00 pm after a long work day when you are exhausted). Instead, get up earlier the next day to do MBEs in the morning before going to work. Even if all you can do is five or ten MBEs before going to work, do it. And, do it every day and you will establish a routine. This repetition and routine keeps your head in the game and your mind invested in the pursuit of passing.

BE SOMEWHAT FLEXIBLE WITH YOURSELF AND DO NOT BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF

Be realistic and don’t be so hard on yourself. One of the most common things that my students come to me over is their worries that they are not doing enough. This is because they are deeply invested in their future (understandably) and they fear that the amount of time that they have to devote to their studies will simply not be enough. Students are often very hard on themselves for having not completed the 50 MBEs they set out to do that day – and rather than focusing on what they actually DID accomplish (maybe it was 20 or 30 MBES) they focus on the 20 they did not complete. That is not what you should do. Clearly you must work and work hard to succeed. But, be mindful of the fact that quality is important – going through the motions might get you through 50 MBEs. But, it would be better to spend a more intensive time on fewer MBEs and actually learn from your mistakes so that you will not make those same mistakes again.

Things are bound to come up during the next few months – things you may not have planned on happening. So, it will likely be necessary to make adjustments to your study plan based upon what is realistic for you. You may discover that your initial plan of completing 50 MBEs after attending a four hour bar review lecture is just simply not realistic for you. While it is very important to do a significant number of MBEs and to write many practice exams, you should also realize that this practice is best done at your peak times – when you are most alert. Therefore, you may decide to complete 20 MBEs before going to your bar review lecture and then an additional 20 MBEs after your bar review lecture. Or, you might decide NOT to go to your videotaped bar review lecture . . . and instead study what YOU need to study. It IS okay to do that.

ESTABLISH A ROUTINE:

One of the key features of any successful study plan is to establish a routine. While you will have some study days where your study day ends earlier or goes later, the key is in establishing a regular routine. This includes where you will study, how often you eat, exercise, take breaks as well as the types of study you do during the day and when. For example – getting in the habit/routine of completing MBEs every morning at the same time and place every day, writing practice essays on a regular basis (for example, you might use the following routine: write a practice essay every Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

Below you will find an example of a typical study day from a good study plan. Here is a sample study day for someone who does not have to work and can devote their entire time to bar study: Note that other study days would likely incorporate writing practice exams and/or attending a bar review lecture or workshop). Also, if like many examinees, you have to work part time or full time while studying for the bar exam, I can help you put together a study plan that is tailored to your schedule so that you are able to maximize the time that you do have.

SAMPLE ONE DAY STUDY SCHEDULE (Note: if you are working full time, this could be your plan of attack for  a weekend day):

7:00 am – workout – short run or walk – (For example, 1 mile run/walk through your neighborhood)

7:30/7:45 am – shower, have a healthy breakfast and “disconnect for the day”. By disconnecting for the day, I mean: disconnect from your cell phone, the internet, text messaging and anything else that can lead to wasted time and loss of focus. This is really critical. Protect your study time, commit to certain study hours and refrain from checking email, voice mail, surfing the internet, checking and replying to text messages, and prepare your friends and family for your absence – see post: “Disconnecting to Pass the Bar”).

8:30 – 9:30 am – Complete 30 – 33 Torts MBEs

9:30 am – Take five minute break (do a couple of jumping jacks, just move around for a bit, eat a quick and healthy snack – for example, grab 6 or 8 almonds. Healthy snacks throughout the day are important to ensure a successful study day. We have all heard that eating small amounts throughout the day will help to keep your blood sugar level steady. This will help maintain your energy level throughout the day as well and will lead to a much more productive study day).

9:35 am – check answers for the Torts MBEs above, review the explanations and make flashcards for each missed MBE. (Note: the amount of time this will take will vary and depend upon how many MBEs you missed, so take the time you need – the corrections you make now will result in a higher MBE score later on).

10:30 am – ten minute break – get up from your desk, move a bit, eat an apple or some other healthy snack like a couple of stalks of celery with peanut butter.

10:40 am – BEGIN ESSAY ISSUE SPOTTING EXERCISE. Read through four torts essays. For each essay, use the following method: 1) read and issue spot the essay, 2) quickly check the model answer to see if you correctly identified the issues, 3) if you did not spot all of the issues then go back to the fact pattern and try to identify which facts trigger the issues that you missed, 4) read the entire model answer, 5) study the model answer and create your own outline from the answer – this outline should be your model for how to approach this essay in the future. You will likely spend about 40 – 50 minutes per essay (15 minutes to issues spot, 5 minutes to check your issues, 20 – 30 minutes to sort out missed issues and to create your own outline/approach for tackling this essay in the future).

10:40 – 11:20 am – Torts Essay One (from “Essay Issue Spotting Exercise” above)

11:20 am – five minute break – get up from your desk, move around.

11:25 am – 12:05 pm – Torts Essay Two (from “Essay Issue Spotting Exercise” above)

12:05 pm – 12: 50 pm- lunch break – eat healthy, have something you enjoy, relax (AVOID: email, cell phone, t.v., surfing the net – these are all potential distractions that could lead to lost time – how many times have you just intended to “quickly check your email” and found that it lead to getting involved in replying to emails, becoming emotionally engaged in someone else’s problem, or simply just wasting an hour surfing the web. Don’t take the risk of picking up your cell phone or checking your email. Instead, protect the time you have promised to yourself to study – guard it. See also: post about “Disconnecting to Pass the Bar”).

12:50 – 1:30 pm – Torts Essay Three (from “Essay Issue Spotting Exercise” above)

1:30 – 1:35 pm – five minute break – get up from your desk, move around.

1:35 – 2:15 pm – Torts Essay Four (from “Essay Issue Spotting Exercise” above)

2:15 – 2:25 pm – ten minute break – get up from your desk, move around, perhaps go outside for some fresh air, have a healthy snack.

2:25 pm – OUTLINE REVIEW – Study/review Contracts substantive outline – it is recommended that you conduct your review in 50 minute increments, taking a 5 or 10 minute break every 50 minutes. This will enable you to study more hours per day and to study more effectively/productively because the breaks will prevent fatigue and will allow for more alert study periods. See recommended outline study intervals below:

2:25 – 3:15 pm – Review Contracts outline (see above).

3:15 – 3:25 pm – 5 or 10 minute break (get up, move around, stretch).

3::25 – 4:15 – Continue Contracts outline review.

4:15 – 4:25 pm – 5 or 10 minute break (get up, move around, stretch, eat a healthy snack).

4:25 – 5:15 pm – Continue Contracts outline review

5:15 – 6:15 pm – Dinner break – get up, move around, stretch, eat something healthy, make a short phone call to a supportive friend, spouse or family member – the key here is to only contact someone who is supportive of you, positive and aware and respectful of your commitment to study for and pass the bar).

6:15 – 7:15 pm – REVIEW TWO CONTRACTS ESSAYS (Spend 30 minutes for each essay and do the following: 1) Read and issue spot Contracts essay (15 minutes), 2) Check issues against the answer, read entire answer and make note of missed issues (15 minutes).

7:15 – 7:20 pm – Take a 5 minute break.

7:20 – 8:00 pm – REVIEW ESSAY APPROACHES FOR TORTS (Review the approaches/outlines that you created for the four Torts essays earlier during the day. The reason this makes sense is that you will reinforce the issue spotting and organization that you learned from your earlier review. And, since exam fact patterns repeat over and over again from one bar exam to the next, this review of past bar essays is one of the most effective ways to improve your issues spotting ability and to prepare for writing a well organized essay. Spend about ten minutes to review each essay outline/approach).

8:00 pm – End your study and relax.

Ultimately, your success on the bar exam will not come down to counting up how many MBEs you completed or how many hours you spent memorizing the law, but instead, it will come from a combination of things – most important of which is consistency and quality in your review.

Be positive, be flexible and adhere to a regular and realistic routine. In addition, keep in mind that your goal when reviewing a topic on a given day is not necessarily to master the entire subject that day. Instead, your goal should be to gain a better understanding of the topic that day and to recognize that you will need to repetitively review every topic over a period of time (two months is typical) in order to truly master it.

Above all, work at maintaining a positive attitude. This will be much easier to do if you begin with realistic goals. And, should you find yourself spending hours and hours in a 150 page outline for one topic (I DO NOT RECOMMEND SPENDING HOURS REVIEWING LENGTHY OUTLINES) consider using a much more condensed version for that subject.

Good luck to you!

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

 

Bar Exam Tips: 10b5 and 16b

Hello All,

One of the areas we spent a little extra time on in our Two Day Cram Sessions was Corporations – and in particular – 10b5 (tipper and tippee liability, corporate pronouncements and misappropriaters) and 16b (short swing profits). This (federal securities law) is an area that has not been tested in several years. As a result, in our class sessions we gave it a little extra treatment just in case. There are past exams as examples of this area, but I do not believe there are any on the bar website (as the exams on the bar website do not go back far enough). So, here is an example of one of the past exams testing federal securities (this essay also tests Professional Responsibility – it works out to be a nice cross-over essay). You can download the sample Corporations essay here: Corporations SEC & PR Essay - it can’t hurt to take a look – do not test yourself on this – just review it. I personally prefer Answer B.

I recommend reviewing this essay (spend 15 to 20 minutes on it) and spend a few minutes to review Sarbanes-Oxley. It can’t hurt. You can do this over breakfast if you wish. And, if you would rather read something for comic relief – I recommend this blog post by a bar taker – it is quite funny: “A Strongly Worded Letter to the Bar Exam”

Okay, I really am calling it a night.

All the best to all who are taking the exam tomorrow!  You can do it!

Best,

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review & Bar Exam Cram Session
www.BarExamCramSession.com

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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:

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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 Two

Hello All,

The test is five days away.  It is normal to have some anxiety right now (okay, it is normal to have a lot of anxiety right now).  But, there is still time to review, and still time to gain a better understanding of how areas are tested, and still time to continue to memorize the law. You need to believe that in order to make the best use of the remaining time. Actively work at remaining calm and maintaining a positive attitude – it will only lead to a better study period in these next few days.

If you would like to be added to our July 2013 Bar Exam Tips Email List, click here.

A bit about writing for the California Bar Examiners and how to prepare in the final days leading up to the exam:

I highly recommend that you review as many essays as you can. Of course, continuing to work on memorization is important. But, anyone who has reviewed past California bar exam released answers will tell you that the graders’ focus is not on perfect rule statements. The bar examiners know that you can go look up a rule.  A passing answer will evidence that you know what the issues are and that you know how to resolve the legal problems. This is key.

I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t strive to write perfect or near perfect rule statement. But, it is more important to evidence a true understanding of the legal issues presented by each fact pattern and to resolve these issues to your best ability. Your focus should be on issue coverage (identifying as many of the relevant issues as possible) and on the analysis (fully explaining why something is an issue and how it could be resolved). All too often examinees write towards the answer – by this I mean that many examinees first (before writing anything) try to figure out what the correct answer is and then write towards that conclusion. A better approach is to present all possible issues and to discuss all possible resolutions of those issues.

Okay, I promised more “predictions” . . . so here we go . . .

Property - Property is a possibility. I think that Constitutional Law, Evidence and Property are all about equal in terms of the chances of each subject showing up on your next bar exam (and that Criminal Law is a possible topic that might repeat – although I do not necessarily think you are likely to have four MBE topics – but it is possible). What is most likely for Property (if it were tested): Easements is very possible (either on its own or – in a possible land sale contract setting). I also think that Covenants and Equitable Servitudes are possible.

Also, if you were to get an essay on Easements and it was in the land sale context – the scenario could go like this: Betty is granted an easement by Grant for a 20-foot road. She receives this easement by express grant, but never records. Betty uses the road and ultimately paves a thirty-foot wide road and begins using it for part residential and part commercial use. Grant sells his land (the servient tenement, the land that is burdened by the easement) to Buyer. The issues become 1) Does Betty have a valid Easement, 2) Does Buyer take the land subject to Betty’s easement etc.

The above scenario generates many discussable points. To determine whether Betty has a valid easement you should follow the Easements approach:

1. Is the easement appurtenant or in gross, 2. Is the Easement affirmative or negative easement, 3. Creation - how was the easement created (PING)? 4. Scope - what is the scope of the easement and was the scope exceeded – or was the easement overburdened? 4. Was the easement terminated.

With respect to whether Buyer takes the land subject to Betty’s easement will likely require a few discussions: 1) a discussion of notice and potentially recording act statues and 2) a potential Warranty Deed discussion where you discuss the present and future covenants. **Incidentally, I think this is as likely an essay testing scenario in Property as a straight Covenants/Equitable Servitudes essay. Bear in mind that in Property, the favorite area of testing is the area of landlord tenant. While this was tested recently, it does not mean the examiners could not do it again. It is just not my first pick for what will come your way. However, be ready for it.

Community Property - most are “predicting” community property. I do think it is very likely. There is not a lot to community property (in terms of what the California bar examiners test). So, like all subjects, you simply need to know it. However, I would be certain to know the Accounting Methods for Value Enhanced Separate Property businesses (Van Camp and Pereira). Simply know this topic. Because there is not a lot to this subject, we typically see the same issues tested over and over from one testing round to the next (transmutations come up a lot, the fiduciary duty between husband and wife and rights to equal management and control also come up a lot). In addition, I would be mindful of the following scenario (this would just be one part of a Community Property Essay): husband sells diamonds to a third party way below market value. Wife wants the diamonds back. The issues that come up are: 1) equal management and control, 2) fiduciary duty (the duty owed between husband and wife is of the highest level), 3) whether the third party buyer is a “Super BFP” (a buyer who purchased for value without notice of the marriage). Keep in mind that if the buyer paid way below market value, then they probably are not a “purchaser for value” and so whether they knew of the marriage or not, will not likely matter. You could then potentially discuss remedies – the remedies available would likely be a constructive trust or tracing (if the buyer sold the diamonds for cash). Yes, remedies concepts can show up pretty much anywhere. The key is to simply use your common sense - don’t write your answers in a vacuum - rely on both your knowledge of the law and common sense and focus on resolving the legal issues at hand (this is something that applies to all subjects).

Professional Responsibility - Professional Responsibility is tested on the essay section of the bar exam on virtually every bar examination administration. In fact, the California bar examiners have only skipped Professional Responsibility from the essay portion of the exam twice since 1994. It will be tested on either the essays or the performance test (as that is what the bar tells us – from 1994 tested every bar round on the written portion – this can be either the essays or the performance tests or both). So, not a real surprise that I would be predicting this topic. However, there are some areas that are favorites (typically) and some areas that have not been tested as recently as others. Bear in mind, there is only so much to Professional Responsibility – so the same issues repeat frequently. Therefore, a review of any of the recent Professional Responsibility Essays would be appropriate.

Professional Responsibility in the context of a corporationSome are predicting that you might see PR in the context of a corporation. The scenario is often this: where the Lawyer is representing a corporation and then a lower level employee meets with Lawyer (perhaps offsite) and confides in Lawyer about a past or ongoing fraud on the part of the corporation). This is being predicted because it is a past favorite and we haven’t seen it for a while. In this scenario the Lawyer’s client was supposed to be the corporation and now the issue or problem that arises in the facts is that Lawyer – in meeting with the lower level employee – is also the lower level employee’s attorney – that an attorney-client relationship formed when Lawyer met with lower level employee. And, of course there is now a conflict of interest. You might also have the opportunity to discuss the rules about crimes that the client has committed, is committing or is about to commit and the rules with respect to what Lawyer may or must do. This area has been tested quite a bit historically, but not recently. Therefore, it is a very likely possibility. 

Other Professional Responsibility favorites are: 1) Mom hiring attorney for her son and 2) Lawyer engaging in a sexual relationship with his/her client. All of these areas present many of the same issues: breach of the duty of loyalty, breach of the duty to give candid advice, and especially – conflict of interests. Keep in mind that when dealing with conflict of interests in Professional Responsibility, the bar examiners embrace answers that discuss both potential conflicts and actual conflicts. 

Okay, that is it for today. Remember that these are just possible scenarios. I do not have a crystal ball.

Be positive, believe in yourself, and know that you CAN do this. The bar examiners are not looking for perfection. Simply do your best and trust that you are capable and that your best will be more than good enough.

All the best,

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

Bar Exam Tips and Free Constitutional Law Handout

Hello All,

If you would like to be added to our July 2013 Bar Exam Tips Email List and/or receive a free copy of our Constitutional Law Handout (our recommended steps for evaluating the constitutionality of a state or federal statute), complete the form below and we will send the handout to you via email and add you to our Bar Exam Tips Email List.

Please select “yes” or “no” in the drop down menus below and click on the “submit” button at the bottom of the form.

Good luck in your studies!

Note: This handout will be available until 1:30 pm on August 1, 2013.

Your contact information is safe – we do not share, or sell your information.

Bar Exam Cram Session – Online Enrollment Available for Orange County Session

Enrollment for our upcoming Orange County, Two Day Bar Exam Cram Sessions is now available online. There are still a few spaces available in our June 29th and 30th Bar Exam Cram Session.

June 29th and 30th – Two Day Cram Session – Orange County (located in the city of Orange, close to the 5 and 57 freeways, class hours are: Saturday – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm). To register for the Orange County Two Day Bar Exam Cram Session, click on the link below:

paypal-buy-now-button

Note: To finalize your enrollment, please complete the form below.

To enroll in the following Two Day Bar Exam Cram Sessions, contact us at: pass@barnonereview.com

July 13th and 14th – Two Day Cram Session – Los Angeles (Class hours are 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on both days)

July 18th and 19th – Two Day Cram Session – Sacramento ENROLLMENT IS CLOSED

Best of luck to all who are studying for the July 2013 Bar Exam!

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 – This is why I do what I do . . .

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 this image to see it in a larger view . . . This is why I love what I do so much!

(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.

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