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

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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

July 2012 Bar Results: Common Questions, Getting Sworn In, Workshops

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Hello All,

For those of you who are waiting for bar results, I wish you the very best of luck! In less than 24 hours you will learn whether you have passed the California bar exam!

I want to thank all who have written in and who have made comments on this blog. I am very thankful for your following and appreciate your feedback and support. The blog has received over 270,00 views . . . thank you for reading and for spreading the word.

I want to address some of the common questions and concerns I receive around this time of year.

1. If I fail the bar exam, will I get my scores right away?  (Note, I have written extensively about “what to do if you fail the bar exam” and will do so again. You can search this blog for earlier posts that provide advice on what to do in the event you fail the exam). If you fail the bar exam you will not get your scores immediately. However, the bar examiners will send you your scores via regular mail right away. Most examinees receive their scores by the following Monday or Tuesday after bar results are released. The only information you will receive from the state bar website’s pass list is whether you are on the list or not. If you passed you will know because you will see your name and will be told that your name “appears on the pass list”. If you do not pass the exam, you will essentially only be told that “your name does not appear on the pass list” (this is the message that a person receives on the state bar website at http://www.calbar.org if they have not passed). This leads me to the next commonly asked question . . .

2. If I receive the message: “your name does not appear on the pass list”, could it be a mistake? Well, sure, it is possible. But, not very likely. Rumors that people have been told they failed online and then received letters in the mail that they had in fact actually passed are just that – rumors. In past years, the state bar exam website has crashed (due to high traffic). However, when this has happened examinees were simply delayed in obtaining their results until the site was up and running again. To my knowledge, the crash did not result in anyone receiving incorrect results. So, the short answer is: no, sadly, if you receive the message “your name does not appear on the pass list” then it is pretty certain indicator that you have failed the exam. I get this question quite a bit on the evening of bar results and I always feel so badly that examinees sometimes are left wondering if there could be a mistake. It just goes to prove how difficult this exam is and how you can study incredibly hard and still not pass. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you get bad news. Instead, work on figuring out why you did not pass and then address those issues.

Should you learn that you did not pass, know that you have time to come up with a solution: a game plan, a strategy for passing the next exam. (Don’t let any bar review provider pressure you into committing to a program immediately. There is time. It is important that you take some time to find the right fit for you – don’t allow yourself to be bullied. I hate to use that word, but, quite frankly some bar review providers are pretty aggressive – others are not – trust your instincts and don’t let anyone push you around).

Here’s hoping you are not looking for another bar review course, but instead are looking for where to be sworn in . . . we will provide a list of swearing in locations soon – check back – we will post this information soon.

Also, please spread the word – we will be offering workshops on “How to Pass the California Bar Exam” (See details below).

All the best to all who are waiting for results!

Our next “How to Pass the California Bar Exam” workshop will be held on Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Workshop attendees will receive free handouts (including selected Bar Exam Writing Templates). Space is limited. To reserve your space, contact us at: (949) 891-8831 or via email at: pass@barnonereview.com

Additional workshops to be held on:

Saturday, December 1, 2012  – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm (How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop)

December 1, will likely conclude our series of free workshops for this bar round season as we will then need to focus exclusively on our enrolled students.

 

July 2012 California Bar Exam: Free “How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop”

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Our next “How to Pass the California Bar Exam” workshop will be held Thursday, May 31st from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm in Orange, California.

Workshop attendees will receive free handouts (including selected Bar Exam Writing Templates). Space is limited. To reserve your space, contact us at: (949) 891-8831 or via email at: pass@barnonereview.com

Additional workshops to be held on:

Saturday, June 2nd – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm (How to Pass the California Bar Exam Workshop)

June 2nd will conclude our series of free our workshops for this bar round season as we will then need to focus exclusively on our enrolled students.

All the best to all who are studying for the July 2012 Bar Exam!

barnonereview.com

California Bar Exam: February 2012 Day Three Rehash Coming Soon

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Hello All,

First of all, thank you to everyone who has written in with their thoughts on the essays. We will be sharing some of the more detailed analysis that students have provided and I will be weighing in with what I think was expected. Know this for sure (from what I have been told by examinees about the three fact patterns) there were many issues tested and there were different routes you could take to solve/resolve some of the issues presented.

We have received many, many emails from examinees out there who are worried because they feel that they missed an issue or two. Please understand that when an essay exam is heavily issue loaded or has more than one route to resolving the issue, then you are bound to “miss” something. It is normal and it certainly does not mean that you have failed that essay.

I know it is difficult, but, it makes sense at some point to let it go. To that end, I will be posting some of the issue analysis that were provided to me by examinees (detailed lists of what they felt was tested) so that you can see what other students felt they caught or missed. I will also do my best to weigh in on what I think the examiners were truly looking for on day three’s exams.

By the way, I really felt that Criminal Law had to show up on this exam . . . PTB was heavy Criminal Law. So they really covered quite a few of the MBE topics this round and of course heavy on Professional Responsibility (day one’s PT and day three – on one essay if not two). So, nothing too surprising really. I know, from the reports that I received from examinees, that this exam was tough. But, quite frankly it was a pretty typical bar exam round. If anything, it was a more typical bar exam round than July 2011 which really did not have any cross-over essays. I know that may sound easier (no cross-overs) but, it wasn’t an easy exam at all. Take a look at the July 2011 Real Property essay and you’ll see just how tough a non-cross-over can be (very heavily issue loaded and difficult to finish in one hour).

Day three threw many examinees for a loop. However, you should bear in mind that if you felt like it was tough, then so did everyone else. The key to passing an exam like the California bar exam is to keep writing in spite of the fact that you are a little thrown by the essay (as opposed to sitting there and thinking for too long about what to write – that can be dangerous).

We will have something here by tomorrow on day three’s essays.

Thank you again to all of you who have written in and given your essay synopsis and analysis. And for those who have not done so already, feel free to do so. Also, still trying to answer questions as I can about the test. However, the point of my next post will be to hopefully address many questions all at once and to help you put this test mentally behind you.

All the best,

Lisa Duncanson

Bar None Review

 

California Bar Exam Workshops

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“How to Pass the California Bar Exam” workshop will be held Thursday, May 24th from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm in Orange, California.

To reserve your space, contact us at: (949) 891-8831 or via email at: pass@barnonereview.com

Additional workshops to be announced.

barnonereview.com

Baby Bar Exam Prep (FYLSX), Law School Prep, California Bar Exam Prep – Free Workshops!

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Hello Everyone,

Bar None Review’s free bar exam and law school prep workshops are on their way! If you are a law student and want to improve your writing, or a baby bar examinee in need of baby bar prep, then we have a workshop for you!

Our upcoming workshops will be held in March and April of 2015 (for the June 2015 Baby Bar Exam). For more information contact our office at: (213) 529-0990 or send us an email to be added to our workshop notification list at: pass@barnonereview.com

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