July Bar Exam Predictions: Possibly Civil Procedure, Evidence

Hello all,

If you are studying for the July 2014 bar exam, you have just under 40 days to prepare. This may not seem like a lot of time to study, but it really is – especially if you commit right now to make the very best use of the time remaining.

How will you ensure that you are ready for the bar exam this July? That is a question that many examinees fail to ask themselves. One of the most important things you can do right now is to take control over your studying. Think about what you will have to do on day one of the bar exam and think about what you need to do to be ready to do it. Are you ready to handle any essay topic that comes your way? Will you know what to write and how to start your essay if you were tested on say products liability or what if you see an Evidence Transcript Style essay – would you know how to approach it? These are questions you should be asking yourself right now and not waiting until a week before the bar exam to think about.

Incidentally, the odds of your seeing an Evidence essay on this bar exam are pretty high in my opinion. That being the case, what are you doing right now to prepare for that possibility? Most examinees are reviewing outlines and watching video tapes about now. I don’t recommend this as a sound approach. While reading outlines should have a place in your studies, far too many examinees never leave their outlines and end up completely at a loss when it comes to writing their essays on exam day. It is critical that you get out of your outlines, turn off the videos, and review past California bar exam essays and answers. One of the very best ways to prepare for an Evidence essay (or any essay) is to simply study past essays. Learning the material in the context of the test will not only be a valuable substantive review, it will also enable you to see how the issues come up so that on exam day you will have a better likelihood of addressing the correct issues.

A bit about the predictions and what to expect:

I will be posting more predictions as it gets closer to the bar exam (I know, it is close already, but I do promise this material to my enrolled students first). Until then, read this post and then take a look at last February’s predictions – anything that did not show up on the last bar exam that I was leaning towards as possibilities for February, are even more likely now (at least that is my opinion). And, remember, it never makes sense to study around what is being predicted. Anything could be tested – so your goal is to be ready for whatever comes your way.

Side note: In February the bar examiners tested in the area of subjacent and lateral support. Prior to the February 2014 bar exam, one of the last times the bar examiners had tested subjacent and lateral support was in 1989. We provided this 1989 essay to our students. Every bar round I look the exam and think about areas that have not come up in many years and look for examples of those issues in past exams and I provide these exams to my students. As you can imagine, it is quite something to be on exam day and see an exam that you have just read and studied because someone drew it to your attention. It provides a huge boost of confidence. And, more importantly, you actually know how to handle the answer because you have actually seen it before.

Predictions:

Evidence: I have already mentioned Evidence as a possibility for this bar round. Remember that anything could come up on the essays and so you need to be prepared for anything. That being said, Evidence has not been tested on the essay portion for the past two bar rounds. It did show up heavily on Performance Test B on the February 2014 bar exam. However, I do think it is likely to show up on the essay this July. See my earlier post to join our email tips list and to receive a free Evidence handout. This hand out is a simple overview type of approach for writing Evidence Essays. If you are struggling with Evidence, or any topic, we have two more Bar Exam Cram Sessions prior to the July 2014 bar exam. For more information on our upcoming dates, click here.  I will provide more about Evidence and what I think is likely to be tested in the coming days.

Civil Procedure is a likely repeat. You may not want to hear this, but I think Civil Procedure will be on July bar exam. I know, it was just tested. But, you should know that the bar exam repeats essay topics every bar round and sometimes topics are repeated back to back three times in a row. If Civil Procedure is tested, I think that Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata are likely to show up. If so, this provides a nice opportunity for testing in California Civil Procedure because you would likely need to address the California (and minority) Primary Rights view. If you do not know what this is, look it up (and/or stay tuned, I will provide a sample essay to those who join our tips list). It is not that hard, but if you have never seen it, well, it might as well be a foreign language. It is important to see and to know how these areas are tested, how these issues come up on an essay exam. The best way to do that it to review past exams. Reading an outline will not help much when it comes to figuring out how issues arise on a fact pattern. It is critical that you read past exams and answers so that you can start making these connections in time for exam day!

The bar examiners are fair.

You may disagree, but I truly believe that the bar exam is very fair. This is not to say that the bar exam is not hard. It is a very difficult test. But, it is also very doable. The problem is that far too many examinees do not actually do anything more than read and memorize the law. This is simply not enough. The bar exam requires you to think and to apply the law to factual situations. This is something that you need to practice. One of the best ways to prepare is to review past essay exams and to work through MBE questions. This will provide the best connection between how particular facts and issues are connected. And, it one of the best ways to learn and truly understand the law.

I will post more in the coming days and weeks.

If you find this blog helpful, please spread the word. And, don’t forget to join our bar exam tips list, see preceding post to join.

Remember to stay positive and to believe in yourself. You CAN do this! Stay tuned for more predictions. Wishing you all the very best in your studies!

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

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

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

California Bar Exam: Evidence Outline With California Distinctions

Hello All,

We have had many requests for our Evidence Outline. As a result, we are now making our Evidence Outline available for sale outside of our bar review program. Bar None Review’s Evidence outline is the only outline available for the California bar exam that combines both the Federal Rules of Evidence and California Evidence Code into one, comprehensive outline including color coded distinctions (all California distinctions are in red and highlighted in yellow (see excerpt below).

We have done all of the work for you. The outline is easy to follow and is printed in color so that the California distinctions are easy to review. This outline is excellent both for the MBE as well as the Essay portion of the California bar exam (for the MBE portion, simply ignore the red California distinctions, for the essay portion, the California distinctions are incorporated into the body of the FRE outline where ever there is a distinction to be made).

BNR’s Evidence Outline with California Distinctions. We’ve done the work for you and incorporated all of the CEC distinctions into the Federal Rules, including Calif Prop 8.

Evidence Outline Excerpt: All California distinctions are noted in red and highlighted in yellow to make for easy review.

To order your outline, call 949-891-8831 or send an email to pass@barnonereview.com

The Evidence Outline with California Distinctions is available for $129.95 plus shipping.

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