California Bar Exam: February 2012 Day Three Rehash Coming Soon


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 Tip: Rest!

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Hello all,

Congratulations to all who have completed the bar exam! My tip for today is to try to get some rest, unwind, decompress. I will be posting more here in the coming days (a rehash of day three’s essays and PTB for example, posts on whether you should continue your studies – not to be grim or negative – but, some students actually prefer to pick up their studying again – after a break – while they are waiting for bar results – just as a bit of insurance). I am sure the last thing you want to hear from me right now is anything about studying. But, it will be one of the topics that I will address in the coming weeks. First, however, I will post on what seems to have been tested on day three’s essays (which, I am sure is of more interest to you than study tips at this point) soon.

Again, I want to thank you for following my blog. We had 4,478 views just yesterday alone and had over 3,000 views as of 6:30 pm today. I have received many emails from examinees relaying what they felt was tested on today’s exam (thank you to all who have provided your breakdowns and analysis and for those of you who would still like to, please do). I will be compiling this information and reporting it here soon. I also want to thank those of you who have, during this exam, taken the time to write to me personally and thank me. It really makes me want to continue providing this information. I am humbled. Thank you.

The point of doing this is to hopefully give you some peace of mind (to know that you addressed the right issues enough of the time, that you weren’t – as some worry – completely off track).

I will say this for now: today’s exams threw many for a loop. It was not “fun” and many examinees have expressed their fears about having “messed” up. I can also say, from what I have heard about the essays from day three so far, that there were definitely differing ways to interpret some of the issues tested. Therefore, if you are talking with friends about the exam and you hear that someone addressed different issues than you did, this does not mean that one of you is wrong. I believe (as often is presented by some of the essays on the California bar exam) that there were some areas that allowed for multiple interpretations. So hopefully this will give you some peace of mind tonight (assuming you are here reading this) 🙂

Feel free to contact me directly at: I am happy to continue answering questions as I can. I will be taking a bit of a break tomorrow and possibly for a day or so. But, I will most definitely provide what I think the bar examiners were testing on Day three’s essays (I think that is mostly what examinees are looking for me to address at this point). If you have something else you are concerned about, please feel free to send me an email or leave a comment on this blog.

Congratulations to all who have finished the exam today! Wishing you all the best in your results!


Lisa Duncanson

Bar None Review

February 2012: Day Three’s Essays

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Hello All,

Here is what has been reported so far from today’s essays:

Essay one: Corporations with Remedies (I have not heard yet exactly which areas of either topic – haven’t heard details on the fact patterns yet)

Essay two: Real Property (landlord tenant – so that was one of the repeats from July 2011 – there are usually two subjects that repeat from one bar exam to the next) crossed over with Professional Responsibility)

Essay Three: Professional Responsibility (again, a repeat and the most expected topic to repeat, from the July 2011 bar exam. I am told this essay had a conflict of interest issue and also involved solicitation (so perhaps it required you to address attorney advertising area – Bates/Ohralik – I am not sure as I have not seen the test, and I have yet to speak with any students yet – most of my students are in Ontario and they are not out of the test yet).

So, as soon as I know more I will post it here.

In the mean time, let it go, let this morning go, have a light lunch and forge ahead through the Performance Test. STAY POSITIVE!!! You have come this far, you are almost through! Believe in yourself. Follow directions on this afternoon’s PT as carefully and closely as possible. Be sure to make your answer look like it is the answer to PTB (in other words, headings, format, etc. – at a glance – should look like it is a document or documents in response to the PT you are writing). If you are asked to do something like a “discovery plan” then do it as the materials tell you to do it. Do NOT bring in any outside formatting or style that you may have learned in a prior job. The bar exam is NOT testing you on your actual work experience or whether you have ever written a motion to suppress or a closing argument. They are testing you on your ability to follow directions, understand what is being asked of you, complete a task, apply legal authorities and write. Above all, follow the directions/instructions to a T.

Good luck to all of you!

Best regards,

Lisa Duncanson

Bar None Review