February 2014 Bar Exam Results – Score Maximizer Program

And, now the reason why I do what I do . . . because as much as I love helping examinees pass on their first attempt, there is something that is especially rewarding to be able to assist examinees who, for whatever reason, passing the bar exam has not happened on their first (or second, or third or fourth attempts, or . . . you get my point). When an examinee comes to me having taken the bar exam previously, it requires a different approach. Often examinees tell me that “this is there last time” they will take the bar exam. That is some pressure – to know that after several attempts a student has chosen to give it one more try and has decided to place their trust in me to help them. It is something that I take very seriously. February was a particularly rewarding bar round.

Here is a testimonial from one of our February 2014 Score Maximizer students:

“Dear Lisa,

Well, you did it!! With your guidance, I finally passed the California bar exam. I owe such a debt of gratitude to you and your invaluable instruction! I am utterly convinced there is no method of bar prep like yours out there — it is not only uniquely effective, it is also based on the soundest of principles and practices. In short, it is nothing short of brilliant.

All my academic life — since high school and through three graduate degrees — I have had enormous trouble with standardized tests. While my grades were very good, and I attended excellent schools (including Yale), I kept underperforming on standardized tests. I went to many people for help, and tried many different things, from a variety of disciplines. But nothing did the trick. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand the material, it was that i was a terrible test-taker. But amazingly enough, you did the impossible: with your tutelage, I passed the bar!!

By the time I found Bar None Review, I had looked into, or taken courses from, more than a few bar prep providers. I can say with confidence that your methodology is unique. While so many bar prep courses offer unfounded speculation, flawed materials or recondite methods that don’t work, yours is the only one grounded in research and a 100% rational and pragmatic approach to giving the bar examiners what they want. What you’re doing makes so much sense it hardly seems right to even compare it to other bar prep companies. Plus, the ongoing guidance — up to and even through the actual bar exam — was a lifeline, pure and simple. Since I have taught at major universities including Yale, UCLA and UCSD, I know a bit about what it takes to teach, and you have that special gift. Your curriculum, approach and presentation is as solid as it gets.

No question, the best choice I made in the past year was to sign up for your full program, the Score Maximizer Program. You gave me a fresh approach for all parts of the exam, including the Performance Tests, and it was as though the proverbial lightbulb went off. I would not hesitate to recommend you to anyone needing to retake the bar, or to attorney takers. You were the perfect teacher for me, and that’s no small thing.

After 20 years as a journalist with the LA Times, as well as many years working in the entertainment industry, I will now be working full-time for a law firm — starting Monday! I will be forever in your debt. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

All the best,
Jan Breslauer, MA, MFA, JD

Bar Exam Tips: #1 Reason Why People Fail the California Bar Exam

Bar Exam Tips and Free Evidence Handout

Hello All,

If you would like to be added to our February 2014 Bar Exam Tips Email List and/or receive a free copy of our Evidence Handout, 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 March 1, 2014.

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

California Bar Exam: Free How To Pass The California Bar Exam Workshop on December 4, 2013

Hello, we are offering a free, “How To Pass The California Bar Exam” Workshop on Wednesday, December 4, 2013.

How to Pass the February 2014 California Bar Exam Workshop” - Wednesday, December 4th from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm. Los Angeles, California

Learn how to write for the California bar examiners in our popular free workshop! Students will receive free exam writing templates, an MBE approach handout and instruction on how to write for the California Bar Examiners (applicable to both essays and the performance test). If you would like to reserve a space in this workshop, click on the registration link below. Please understand that space is limited. Our last workshop filled up very quickly. Reservations will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.

We look forward to helping you pass the California bar exam!

 Click here to make your reservation

If you have questions, please feel free to contact the Guru at (213) 529-0990.

 

 

July 2013 Bar Exam: Some Final Thoughts and a Few Handouts . . .

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 would like to be added to our July 2013 Bar Exam Tips Email List and receive a Constitutional Law Handout, see my earlier post.

If you have read my prior posts, you know that Evidence is one of the subjects that I am leaning towards your seeing on the July 2013 bar exam. I also feel that Constitutional Law is a very likely possibility. Of course, you may not see either Constitutional Law or Evidence on the July 2013 bar exam. But if you were to see either subject on the essay portion of the exam, would you know how to handle it?

This might not seem like a question that you would want to ask yourself the afternoon before the bar exam  - but why not? If you do not know how to handle a Constitutional Law essay or an Evidence essay today, the day before you take the test, is it too late?  Should you give up?  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 would do the same for Evidence. Both subjects can be race-horse exams. So, keep this in mind when you are writing your answers. Get to writing as quickly as you can.

I have attached as downloads, a past Constitutional Law Essay and a past Evidence Essay that I think are 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 could appear on day one or day three of the California Bar Exam. Therefore, it just makes sense to read through both essays. You can download the Constitutional Law Essay here: ConLaw Handout 2 F-05 and the Evidence Essay here: Evidence Transcript Style Essay

A couple of thoughts about Evidence: If you were to see Evidence on the exam (as you know) Hearsay is likely. It is hard to imagine an Evidence exam without hearsay showing up. And, the most commonly tested exceptions are Present Sense Impression and Excited Utterance (and both exceptions should be discussed if you think either is colorable). I would review Judicial Notice and Subsequent Remedial Measures as I think either could come up if you have Evidence (or even as a cross-over on another topic). Also, I think Best Evidence Rule and perhaps a double hearsay issue are possible.

This Constitutional Law essay 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 25 – 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 – just read 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.

With respect to the Evidence Essay – note the style of writing (what I call a “shot-gun” type of approach) that is used in the exam answers. Both are brief where needed and get through all of the calls in a pretty efficient manner. Also note that in a transcript exam you need to be prepared to write on form objections (examples of form objections include: leading, compound, assumes facts not in evidence, non-responsive, etc.).

Help me help you . . . 

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

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.

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.

California Bar Exam Tips: Possible Cross-Over

Hello All,

I have received a number of emails asking for an example of how Professional Responsibility and Torts could show up  together on an essay.

Here is one example of  a possible scenarios of Torts and Professional Responsibility tested together as a cross-over:

Abuse of Process, Malicious Prosecution and Professional Responsibility: One past bar exam fact pattern tested Process Torts in the context of PR in this way: Attorney is hired by client to sue on their behalf for a Tort cause of action (past exams have included defamation or negligence). Attorney misses statute of limitations, but files cause of action on behalf of client despite knowledge that the underlying cause of action is time barred. Client then has a cause of action for negligence against attorney (watch for calls of question – the examiners may limit your discussion) for failing to file claim on time, but, to prevail in negligence cause of action against attorney, client would have to prove that he/she would have prevailed in the underlying claim. Attorney is liable for abuse of process and/or malicious prosecution (depending upon how the call of the question(s) is/are asked) to the party attorney has filed the time barred action against on behalf of his client. The PR issue comes up in a light way – and would generally be asked of you by the call of the question. Issues in PR that could arise from this fact pattern would include: duty of competence (breach of), duty of diligence (failure to complete matter in a timely fashion), duty to the tribunal (breach of this duty by filing a claim that is time barred).

I will do my best to provide an additional example for a Torts/PR cross-over or other cross-over scenarios – do not stay up for it – get some rest if you can and check in tomorrow morning. If I provide any more this evening . . . it will be a quick read.

Other obvious cross-over areas are:

Wills & Trusts, Corporations and PR, Trusts and PR

Whatever you see subject wise tomorrow, remember to focus on problem solving, use headings, force a visual structure on your exam.

All the best to you tomorrow!

Lisa Duncanson

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

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