Free “How to Pass the California Bar Exam” Workshop for the July 2014 Bar Exam

We are having one more free, “How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop” for the July 2014 Bar Exam.

When: Tuesday, June 3rd from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm

Where: Los Angeles, California*

Our workshops fill up quickly. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis. This workshop is free and includes free bar exam templates. Space is limited.

Click here to make your reservation

All the best to everyone studying for the July 2014 bar exam!

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

California Bar Exam – The Bar Exam Cram Sheets – Excerpts

Hello All,

We still have a few seats left in our February 15th and 16th two Day Bar Exam Cram Session. For more information on The Two Day Bar Exam Cram Session, click here.

See photos below for a few excerpts from The Bar Exam Cram Sheets (click on the image to see a larger view):

Wishing everyone the very best in their studies!

 

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Evidence Bar Exam Cram Sheet Preview

 

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Civil Procedure Bar Exam Cram Sheet Preview (California distinctions are included, for example, Anti-SLAPP Motions). NOTE: The California Bar Examiners have yet to test California Civil Procedure.

California Bar Exam: Free How To Pass The California Bar Exam Workshop on December 5, 2013

Hello, we are offering a second free, “How To Pass The California Bar Exam” Workshop on Thursday, December 5, 2013.

“How to Pass the February 2014 California Bar Exam Workshop” – THURSDAY, December 5th from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm. Orange, 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

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: Coming Soon – Civil Procedure on the MBE!

Hello All,

In case you haven’t already heard, Civil Procedure will be added to the Multi-State Bar Exam in 2015. We have been preparing for this important change since it was announced by the NCBE. See the New York Law Journal’s coverage of this important change to the bar exam here.

And now, something completely different . . .Some favorite tweets from some of our followers . . . Makes me smile . . . :)

 

July 2012 Bar Exam: Essays and PTs Released!

Hello Everyone,

The July 2012 Essay and Performance Test questions are now available on the California bar exam website, click here to download the questions.

I will start reviewing the essays today and provide my initial thoughts.

Good luck to all who are waiting for bar exam results!

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

July 2012 Bar Exam: Day Three Update

Hello Everyone,

I have received a number of emails in the past couple of days as well as a few phone calls asking that I provide some type of “rehash” or “rundown” of day three’s essay exams.

Day three is always more difficult to assess because fewer people actually provide me with their take on what was on the exam on day three and I receive less detail from examinees about what was on day three. I believe the reason for this is simply because there are no more essays after day three and so there is no need to provide me detail from which to alter my “predictions” – since there are no more essays. On day one of the bar exam I receive hundreds of emails with great detail about what was tested in the hopes that this will enable me to make better predictions for day three. Also, in my opinion, it is much less important to review day three’s essays as it does not affect anything – you are done with the exam. But, I do realize (from recent emails and phone calls) that it is something that some of you would like me to do.

I am very grateful to those of you who follow my blog and I want to provide what you want.  So, I will go through the emails that I did receive after day three’s essays and provide my thoughts.  I am in the midst of preparing students for the Baby Bar Exam. But, I should be able to provide my thoughts on day three in the next few days. So that you do not have to keep checking this blog, consider subscribing to the blog and you will receive an update as soon as I post.

Thank you again for following my blog!

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

July 2012 California Bar Exam – Day Three!

Hello bar takers!

Congratulations for nearing the finish line. Right now you are probably writing essay 4 – I can’t wait to hear what it is. I know many of you will write to me on the break (thank you in advance for doing that). I am so curious to know the essay topics!

In the meantime – while I sit here waiting to hear from you – I want to share something with you that you probably do not know about the bar exam guru. First of all, I want you to know that my Mom put me up to this – she is a very persistent woman (she would have made a great lawyer – when she makes a case for something it is pretty much impossible to say no to her) :)

So here goes . . .

A few years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was devastating for me and my family. The cancer was aggressive and thus required aggressive treatment – chemo, surgeries, radiation  (yep – the bar exam guru was once bald – see below for a picture of me back then).

It was by far the hardest fight of my life. I am happy to say that I am now cancer free. I am back to work – 14 and 15 hour days, thank you very much – I am healthy and I am strong. On the two year anniversary of my diagnosis I completed a half marathon (wearing a shirt with a sign on my back stating: “Leaving Cancer Behind” and a large arrow pointing down to my  behind (I have to have a sense of humor about all of this – otherwise I would have just given up).

When I was studying for the bar exam, my Aunt died of breast cancer. So the concept of cancer taking my life was very real to me. She passed away a few weeks before the exam. I didn’t want to take the exam. But, my family encouraged me to take it saying: “it would be what your Aunt would want you to do, take it in her honor

So, I took the bar, and in spite of everything that happened (and didn’t happen) leading up to the exam, I was lucky enough to pass it. And then shortly after, I was lucky enough to be offered a job at a law school – doing THE thing I wanted to do the most – teach.

The short version of this story is that after teaching for a few years and also doing bar review on my own time, at no charge to our students, I decided that I was onto something and that I wanted to focus on teaching bar students – so I quit my comfortable job with great benefits and started Bar None Review.

I have worked with hundreds of students over the years. It has been very satisfying work.

I fought very hard to be here today. My family and friends fought hard too. Fighting cancer is not only draining physically and emotionally, it is extremely expensive. I had excellent health insurance (albeit very expensive as a self employed person), and yet there is so much they did not pay for. In fact, I have postponed a reconstructive surgery because the co-pay is three thousand dollars and I am still dealing with unpaid medical bills from the portions that insurance just simply did not cover. And while I am back to work full time  – and have been for some time now (and so, so incredibly grateful to be well) the financial fallout from a cancer diagnosis and a nearly two year battle is long lasting.

One of the most satisfying things for me is to help others. It is why I write this blog. I know there are so many missing gaps with bar prep courses and so I write here to try to help fill in some of those gaps and to provide you with some free advice and support. I am humbled by the following here and by all of your  emails, praise and thanks. I am truly grateful and I am SO grateful to be here, to be able to help.

I am not someone who is comfortable asking for help. But, if you have found my blog to be helpful to you and you are able to help me by making a donation of any size, I will be grateful. It will help me deal with the financial fallout that still affects my life today. Again, I am so humbled by your emails and following and I am so glad to be of help.

Here is my P.O. Box if you would like to make a contribution: Lisa Duncanson, PO Box 853, Huntington Beach, Ca 92648 or via Paypal by sending it to: pass@barnonereview.com (thank you to an examinee who suggested I make it possible to make a donation through Paypal)  as he put it: “People are not likely to use the mail . . . set up a Paypal account . . . “

I don’t know how to set up a direct link from here to Paypal, but, my Paypal account is linked to my email (above). Anything is appreciated. Thank you for the support.

I am anxiously waiting to hear from you about today’s essays – I will post again as soon as I hear what was on this morning’s test.

Wishing you all the very best!

And now for some bald photos! (Okay, maybe just one bald photo) :)

Hang tough this afternoon!

This is me (a couple of weeks ago) with my niece – I fought hard so she wouldn’t lose her aunt to breast cancer.

This was three years ago. During chemo you don’t always feel like eating, but, on this day I did . . . so glad those days are over – this isn’t easy for me to share, but, perhaps when you are taking the PT this afternoon you might find it a little easier being reminded that things could be a little worse :)

California Bar Exam – Day One’s Essays

Hello All,

Congratulations to all who have completed day one of the California bar exam! You are now one third of the way done!

I will be meeting with a group of my students in Ontario after the test this evening. But, I wanted to first let you know what I have heard was on the test, hopefully help you put it in perspective and also give you some suggested areas to focus on for Thursday’s essays.

So no real surprises so far – Civil Procedure (as most predicted), followed by Community Property  (with a little Professional Responsibility) and then Evidence (with CA distinctions). I felt that of the subjects that were most likely to repeat from the last bar round that it would be either Evidence or Constitutional Law. I also thought that IF Evidence were to repeat that you should be extra prepared for spousal and/or marital privilege. So far there was nothing that wasn’t expected.

Just so you know, many people have reported in with their list of what was tested (thank you to everyone who did that, by the way) and most people indicated that they had trouble finishing the last part of the second call on the Evidence essay. This is not unusual. If you did not finish, rest assured you are NOT alone AND it does not mean that you have failed, absolutely not. However, make sure you push yourself on day three to finish all three essays the best that you can.

And, just remember, many, many people will not have finished the third essay completely – and yet they will still pass. It is all in how you internalize it. If having run out of time ruins your confidence then that is a bad thing. Don’t throw the test away or let yourself become defeated simply because you ran short on a question. It is not the end. Today is over and make sure that you think of it that way – as being over, past, not on your mind any longer – only look forward. There is no point in agonizing over what did or did not happen today. Focus on tomorrow and on Thursday.

So, there are two things I am providing in this post: 1) a bit about today’s test (remember – I have not seen it, but, I have compiled information from examinees who wrote in) and 2) some thoughts on what you might want to focus on for Thursday’s essays.

July 2012 Essays – Day One (please keep in mind, this information comes from student accounts – if you remember something differently, do not panic or worry):

Essay 1 – Civil Procedure (PJ and SMJ, amount in controversy posed as issue)

Pam and Patrick are citizens of State A. They were travelling in State B when the got into an accident with State B driver from Corporation.

Corporation is incorporated in State B and does business exclusively in State B and its warehouse and workers and drivers are in State B.

Pam and Patrick sue in federal district court of State A. Pam is suing for personal injury of $70K and property damage of $10K. Patrick is suing for damages of $6K.

Corporation sought dismissal on the grounds of personal jurisdiction and court denied. Final judgment of $60K and $4K for Pam and Patrick. **

Corporation appeals to court of appeals on the basis of subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction. How should the court rule? Discuss.

**Note: I heard from some examinees that the corporation was a Canadian corporation,  so I presume this played out in the fact pattern as well – but, again, I have not seen the fact pattern. Most examinees felt that this essay was pretty straightforward.

Essay 2 – Community Property/Professional Responsibility

Wendy and Hal are married and live in California.

Hal likes to drink and Wendy kicked Hal out of their family home and told him not to come back until he finishes an alcohol treatment program.

Hal drinks, then drives, hits and injures a pedestrian. Pedestrian brings a civil suit against Hal. Wendy learns of the suit and tells Hal she wants a divorce. Hal is unemployed and the only asset he has is his interest in the family home which he and Wendy purchased together during their marriage.

Hal consults Lawyer about representing him in the civil suit. Lawyer asks Hal for a promissory note and lien on the family home. Hal accepts.

1.     Is Wendy’s interest in the family home subject to recovery of the civil suit.

2.     Is Wendy’s liable for the attorney’s fees.

3.     Did Lawyer violate any ethical rules? Discuss.

**Note: this essay was a bit different (at least that is what some have reported). However, there were no unusual concepts tested – nothing new at all. It was of the three essays, I think the one that most would find a little awkward. There was not a ton to write about on this one (that is often how Community Property essays go and that can make examinees feel like they are missing something. So, if you feel like it was too simple, don’t worry about it. And, besides, there is no point in worrying about it at all now. Just move forward and do your best tomorrow and Thursday!

Essay 3 – Evidence (I said that Evidence was on my list of topics that I felt were most likely to repeat and thought that spousal and/or marital privilege would be a likely point on the exam – it appears this was the case – nice – hopefully you reviewed this area a bit). And, as I said above – most people expressed difficulty in finishing this essay. So don’t worry too much if you were unable to finish the third part of the second call, it is pretty typical to run out of time on these. Here are the facts as reported to me:

Vicky is murdered. The prime suspect is Dean who is a rival business owner. Dean is married to Whitney.

Two weeks before the murder Whitney learns that Dean has been cheating on her with another woman. Whitney is upset and she tells Dean that the marriage is over and she moves out. Seeking revenge Whitney agrees to testify against Dean. During recess Whitney and Dean reconciled. Prosecution calls Whitney to the stand and Whitney refuses to testify. The court threatens Whitney with contempt and Whitney reluctantly testified that on the night of the murder Dean had mud on his shoes.

Prosecution calls Ella. Ella testifies that on the night of the murder she was standing at her kitchen window that was 20 feet away from Dean and Whitney’s home and she overheard Dean say to Whitney “I just killed the gal that stole my biggest account.” Whitney and Dean were unaware that Ella was there.

Dean calls Fred to testify. Fred testifies that on the day after the murder he was eating in a coffee shop when he saw two gangsters Gus and Hit. Gus asked Hit “did you take care of the Vicky business?” and drew his index finger across his throat.

Was the prosecution proper in calling Whitney to the stand? Discuss.

Was the testimony of (a) Whitney (b) Ella, (c) Fred proper? Discuss.

**It should be noted that because this case is a criminal case, that Proposition 8 applies. This does not mean that your analysis is any different – it simply means that it is worth pointing out that Proposition 8 is applicable because this is a criminal case and you are specifically asked to address California law.

So Now What?

So far what has been tested is pretty much what I expected – nothing unusual at all. Now, that doesn’t mean the rest of my “predictions” will all be on target. I am looking forward to hearing what was tested on the Performance Test this afternoon as this might change what I am thinking about what might come up on day three’s essays.

Obviously, Professional Responsibility is on virtually every essay exam. But, out of the past 23 bar exam administrations it was skipped from the essay section (completely skipped) two times. So, you just might not see it on day three. But, statistically it is more probable than not that Professional Responsibility will come up in some form (either as a cross over again or as an entire essay).

I am still leaning towards Criminal Law and Procedure (please see my previous posts: “Predictions” – Part One and “Predictions – Part Two). I am sticking to what I suggested from the beginning. Nothing happened today that was unexpected and all was from the list. I suggested Products Liability (and most have predicted this for July). However, now I am thinking that is perhaps just too easy. Be prepared for it, assume it will be there – because most people are assuming that – but, make certain that you don’t bank on it (or on any of mine or anyone’s “predictions”).

Remember that Defamation could be just as likely. And, I still think a Torts cross-over with PR is possible (malicious prosecution, abuse of process, PR – this is not an unusual combination). So be ready for Torts. If you do get Products Liability recognize that everyone is expecting that – so you will need to do a really good job on this exam in order to distinguish yourself from the pack (and that is something you need to do – make your essay look better than most – use headings, lots of headings and know the approach).

Something significant about today’s exam is that you were only tested on one MBE subject – most exams test two or three essays that are MBE subjects. So . . . that means I would expect at least one more. I would not write off any topic at this point (I know no one wants to hear that, but, you need to realize that anything is always fair game). In fact, on my bar exam we had an Evidence essay on day one (transcript style) and then on day three we had a Community Property/Wills/Evidence essay. The evidence question was a spousal and marital privilege issue. I managed to get through it, but, I had not looked at Evidence since day one – so let that be a warning to you.

I believe that Professional Responsibility could be tested as an entire essay or crossed with virtually anything. Criminal Procedure and PR show up together as do Torts and PR and really – any subject could be crossed with PR. But, Criminal Procedure and Torts both make for good cross overs with PR.

I will write more when I hear from students this evening about what was tested on the performance test.

Until then, review the areas that you are least comfortable with and also review my prior posts regarding the “predictions” (Part One, Part Two) as all of this is still relevant since nothing showed up today that was unexpected.

All the best to everyone who is taking the bar exam today. And, a big thank you to all who wrote in with your synopsis of the exams!  And, a big fat disclaimer: as you know I have not seen the test. PLEASE, please, please d0 not get worried if the facts above are different than you remember the facts to be. This is just some information that was compiled from some examinees.

Stay tuned for more later!

Best,

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

California Bar Exam Predictions: July 2012 – Part Three

Hell0 All,

So far I have suggested the following topics as possible essay scenarios (please see Parts One and Two below for details): Civil Procedure, Torts (perhaps Products Liability, but, anything is possible – defamation has not been tested in a very long time . . .), Criminal Law/Procedure and Community Property.

Here is a bit more on Civil Procedure (and yes, additional essay “predictions” or essay scenarios):

Civil Procedure (possibly In Personam Jurisdiction – since the last time it was tested was on the February 2006 bar exam – along with other potential issues – Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata are always testable. And, while I don’t think I mentioned it earlier, Class Actions has been absent for a long time as well). Just know Civil Procedure and, read my prior posts addressing Civil Procedure for more details.

Know all of the topics as well as you can – do NOT predict a subject is NOT going to be on the exam and fail to study that subject. Anyone who tells you that Property can’t be on this exam “because it was tested three bar exam administrations in a row” is flat out wrong. I am not predicting Property, but, you should be ready for it. Anything is possible . . . anything.  So, if you were to get Property, I would expect something that tested easements – perhaps in a land sale contract setting where you have a marketability of title issue (perhaps a general warranty deed discussion, notice and recording acts) or Covenants and Equitable Servitudes. These areas are not complicated. And, you might very well get tested on Property again. It is definitely not out of the question. So, just endeavor to review all that you can, don’t discount any topic and remember the bar examiners do not expect perfection. They do expect you to spot enough issues.

A few words about issue spotting: Your ability to issue spot is very, very important. Think about it . . . how can you be a good lawyer if you are unable to determine what the actual and potential issues are when given a particular set of facts? Your ability to evidence an understanding of the legal problems/issues and resolve these legal problems/issues is far more important than reciting exact rules. Show the graders that you understand the law by identifying the issues, using the facts and analyzing. This is where the points are – in your ability to identify the correct issues (both actual and potential) and apply the law (hopefully a decent definition, but, it does not have to be perfect).

The best way to improve issue spotting: The best way to improve your ability to identify the correct issues on the actual exam is to see how these issues come up in the context of actual past bar exams. I have written about this quite a bit – the value of reading past essays. If you do not know what to do for the remaining days, then spend a significant amount of your time reviewing (not testing yourself – just reading and reviewing) past essays and answers. Anything you read in the coming days you will remember on the actual test days.

Other Essay Possibilities:

Contracts and or Contract RemediesThe last time Contracts was tested was in July 2011. The July 2011 Contracts essay was a common law formation exam with no testing of remedies. While the examiners could very well test all of these same things again (common law formation, defenses to formation etc.), I think that a UCC formation and remedies exam is possible.

Also, take a look at hybrid contracts – where you have an important or significant part of the contract that is clearly a service (and therefore, governed by the Common Law) and another important or significant part of the contract (a moveable, tangible good) that is governed by the UCC. The test to use is the predominant purpose test. However – be aware of the fact that sometimes the examiners will give you a fact pattern that is a hybrid contract – where both parts of the contract (the part governed by the UCC and the part governed by the Common Law) are really both important and significant and therefore you can not simply just choose to apply the Common Law or the UCC – instead, you must treat it as a hybrid contract and apply both. When the examiners are testing you on a hybrid contract you will be given a fact pattern where this is obvious (or fairly obvious). For example, past exams have tested it in this way: Buyer contracts with Seller for the purchase and installation of a large turbine. The cost of the turbine is a majority of the cost of the contract. However, Seller is the only person/company that can install the turbine because it is being installed out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

So, applying the “predominant purpose test” you could go either way (that is what makes it a hybrid contract). For example, if you used the high cost of the good as a way to evaluate the value of the contract and determine that the predominant purpose of the contract was to get the turbine, then the UCC would apply. However, if you recognize that the part of the contract for installation services (while possibly a much lower percentage of the cost of the entire contract) is very significant because the seller is the only person or company that can install the turbine (the good) then there is a good argument that the services are what is most significant about the contract. The key is to recognize that this scenario generates a discussion of how it could be either the Common Law or UCC, that you will address the predominant purpose test and then recognize that in a situation like the above hypo, that they want you to address it as a hybrid contract.

So how would remedies come up in a situation like this? Breach of the contract would result in a remedies discussion – for example Specific Performance to deliver and install the turbine. There would be obvious problems here – feasibility of the court to supervise – for example. But, you would simply address all aspects of Specific Performance and take each required point (inadequate remedy at law . . . etc.) and explain each element – how it is met or how there may be a problem with the element being met – and keep moving through it.

Professional Responsibility (duh . . . but, watch out, maybe not this time . . .). Professional Responsibility is generally a given. However, on occasion, the bar examiners skip Professional Responsibility on the essays and leave it for the Performance Test alone. However, be mindful of how rare this is: out of the past 23 bar administrations, the California bar examiners skipped Professional Responsibility on the essay portion only twice (It was tested 21 out of 23 times – 90% of the time). Still, it was left off twice . . . so this is always a possibility.

Wills or Wills/Trusts - I know Trusts was just tested. But, subjects do repeat. While it is not my first pick of subjects to repeat from the February 2012 bar exam, it is a possibility. I think that either Community Property OR Wills (possible crossed with Trusts, which is very common) could be on this exam. When you look at the statistics either is equally probable. I am leaning a bit more towards Community Property, but, be sure to be prepared for Wills (and of course any topic) as well.

Possible Repeat Subjects: Remember the bar examiners can repeat any topic they wish to repeat – and – they do repeat topics. Property was tested on the past three bar exams – and could be tested yet again. However, of the subjects that I think are possibly most likely to repeat are Evidence and/or Constitutional Law and perhaps Trusts (if you have a Wills exam for example, Trusts could easily come up again in this context). Know your Evidence approach, know how to handle form objections – I could easily see you getting a transcript style Evidence essay or simply getting an essay that asks you about a privilege (for example, marital and spousal privilege could come up as a cross over issue with Criminal Law/Procedure or Community Property. Also, know how to deal with the constitutionality of a state (or federal) statute - a very possible area to be tested would be a state statute – perhaps testing the dormant commerce clause as well as other issues. Always, always, always the bar examiners can retest any of the prior subjects and they have – First Amendment Speech was tested three times, back to back – so anything is possible.

Okay that is it for now. I have received many emails and am doing my best to respond to everyone. There are a couple of questions that have come up repeatedly and so I will likely address these in a blog post (I won’t release your name, just the question).

Keep at it, you are in the home stretch. Above all, stay positive, believe in yourself and in your abilities. This is key. Resolve to be positive and to remain calm. Encourage yourself, reassure yourself, be your own cheer leader.

Best of luck to all who are studying for the bar exam. Please feel free to email me at: pass@barnonereview.com.

Sincerely,

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(949) 891-8831
barnonereview.com

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