Bar Exam Tips: Quick Recap of Bar Exam Predictions

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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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