California Bar Exam: Day One’s Essays

Hello Everyone,

Very soon you will be done with one third of the California bar exam! Congratulations!

I am about to meet up with some of my students here in Ontario. But, I wanted to write a post before heading out for a bit.

Below you will find: 1) three recounts of what was tested by three different examinees, and 2) my thoughts on what could be tested on day three’s essays.

Thank you to all of you who took the time on your lunch break to write in and tell me what was on today’s essays!

So, you all know that Essay One was Criminal Law, Essay Two was Professional Responsibility and Essay Three was Remedies.

Remember – I have not seen these fact patterns – so I am relying on examinee’s accounts of what was tested. But, I am fairly certain that the above topics were tested.

Here are a few of the reports I have received from examinees:

Report Number One – Examinee’s factual recollection of Day One’s Essays (DISCLAIMER: no one’s memory or assessment of what was tested is going to be perfect – do not freak out or worry that you might have missed something – this is ONE person’s account and it is fairly detailed. If reading this causes you anxiety – then do not read it):

Essay One – Criminal Law

Max and sons A B and C operate an art store. As partners. Max
regularly purchases stolen art and resells for profit. Max didn’t tell
sons of his illegal activities.

Sons suspect art is stolen.

Max contracted with Ted to buy a stolen painting. Max and sons picked
up the painting.

Allen read an article about the stolen painting and suspects that the
painting is stolen but didn’t discuss with anyone.

Burt contacted Ted and asked him to send a copy of the painting
instead to Max and planned to keep the real painting for resale.

Carl regularly sold information about Max’s illegal activities to law
enforcement and was continuing to participate for that purpose.

Discuss m a b and c’s:

1. Possibility of Conviction for conspiracy to receive stolen goods.
2. Possibility of conviction for receiving stolen property
3. Possibility of conviction of attempt to receive stolen property.

Essay 2 – Professional Responsibility

Carol applied for rental of an appartment from Landlords inc. Carol
had small children and believes that she was denied because she has
small children.

Carol hired Abel to represent her in suing Landlords for violating the
statute of anti-discrimination.

Landlords retained Barbara. Barbara told A that she is representing L.

Abel took Ford to lunch. Ford is a previous employee of L who
participated in the decision of C’s application and A asked about L’s
practices and what F and B talked about in their conversation.

B took deposition of C. During deposition A suspected that C was
falsifying her income but didn’t say anything.

After the deposition, B offered to settle for 5k. A agreed and signed the offer and
told C about it that night. C was not happy about the amount.

What ethical violations?

Essay 3 – Tort Remedies*

Mary and frank orally agreed to purchase property in 2004 jointly. They
agreed that F would occupy the property and if sold, M would receive
half of the sales price.

M gave $40k and F paid 40k, that he embezzled from Tanner, to purchase
the property at $80k.

F sold the property in 2012 for $300k. M asked for $150 and F offered to
pay back 40K.

M and T sues F for conversion. Court finds liability for conversion on F.

Discuss what remedy or remedies m has and what defenses f can assert
and the probability of success.

Discuss what remedy or remedies T has and F’s defenses and
possibilities of success.

*Many are in agreement that “Tort Remedies” was tested. However, other examinees have reported Contract Remedies coming up as well as a Statute of Frauds issue being a possible discussable point. The thing to remember is that there IS latitude with respect to discussions – proof of this is pretty evident from the released answers from the California bar exam. So, if you disagree with any of this, do not panic.

Another Examinee’s report of what was tested on Day One’s Essays:

Essay 1: Criminal Law: Conspiracy, attempt, impossibility, mistake, partnerships?

Essay 2: Professional Responsibility: settlement offers, communications with represented client (former employee), suspected perjury (in deposition)
Essay 3:  Remedies: replevin, equitable lien, constructive trust, quasi-contract
Another Examinee’s report of what was tested on Day One’s Essays:
Essay 1: Crimes (no crim pro) – conspiracy, accomplice liability, receipt of stolen property, attempt.Essay 2: Professional Responsibility:  Lawyer had lunch with former employee of represented organization; lawyer didn’t communicate settlement offer to client and made the decision to accept it on his own; lawyer suspected client lied during deposition testimony.

Essay 3: Remedies – D was liable for conversion against 2 Ps.  Call was to discuss all remedies and defenses to remedies and decide who will prevail.

The whole thing felt like a major time crunch!  Hoping I did good enough! Thank you for all you do!

So, now what?

Well, on to day two (for those of you who are taking the MBEs tomorrow). And for those of you who are attorney takers, you will likely be spending the day tomorrow studying and would like to have some ideas as to what might be coming on Thursday’s Essays.

I want to know what was tested on today’s performance test before I commit to what I think might be likely/possible essay scenarios for Thursday. But, for now, I am still leaning towards Civil Procedure as a likely repeat from the July bar exam. I am also still thinking that Constitutional Law is likely (see my earlier posts that include a past Constitutional Law essay for your review as well as an approach). I think that Commerce Clause and/or Equal Protection is very possible. Remember that Due Process includes both Procedural Due Process and Substantive Due Process). Privacy is an area that has not shown up in a while and often when it does it is in the area of rights to familial decisions, having children etc. and therefore involves both a fundamental right (Privacy) as well as a potential Equal Protection claim – in particular if girls/women are being treated differently with respect to these rights – and if it is any other group – that is not a suspect class – but whose rights are being infringed upon – there can still be an equal protection claim (although not likely win-able) applying the rational basis test.

With respect to Constitutional Law – please review my prior posts from earlier this week. I am still leaning towards what I stated previously.

Now, what about Torts? I mentioned in an earlier post that I was a bit suspicious of Torts – it was too obvious and I was inclined to think that Tort Remedies might come up AND that if it did you could STILL see Torts again. (Review prior posts from the past week – past bar rounds examinees were tested on Contracts on Day one and then a full Contracts/Remedies essay on Day three – this is also possible with Torts and Tort Remedies). So, just don’t dismiss Torts.

My thoughts on Property – While I still see it as a possibility – it feels a bit less likely to me now given the context of today’s remedies essay. However, you know that anything is possible.

I will write more about my thoughts on “predictions” later after I hear what is/was on today’s Performance Test A.

For example, if it tested Professional Responsibility heavily – then I would not expect to see much in the way of Professional Responsibility on Thursday’s essays (remember, PR repeats from day one to day three – very often it is a cross over on one of the days and a full PR essay on another).

So, I am waiting to hear more about what was tested this afternoon before I weigh in more heavily.

Congratulations on being one third of the way done with the bar exam!

All the best,

Lisa Duncanson


  1. Hi there, I’ve been following your predictions and have found them helpful. I was not prepared for the crimes essay today, but I think I hit most of the major issues. However, that remedies essay was a hot mess. It threw me for a loop…a big one, so we’ll see. I wasn’t sure what to discuss; I spent a lot of time on the SOF issue although, in hindsight, I do think it was a torts remedies essay. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t freeze up and stare at the blank screen, so that’s a positive. As for accuracy, your first informant must have a photographic memory because that is pretty much verbatim what the questions were.
    The PT was an objective opinion letter. It took a lot of time, as the one case that was provided detailed an extensive test with many many subparts, but it seemed a little too straight forward, which makes me nervous. The issue was whether a non-compete agreement could be upheld (at least, I hope that was the issue)! The client also asked us to tell him if he would be held to a liquidated damages clause, but the task memo made no mention of that as one of the things to discuss, so that was a little unnerving. Hope that gives a little more information; I don’t know how much detail you need. I better get on Civ Pro…and, if Evidence has even the slightest chance, on that…and Will/Trusts…errr, oh wait, and Property; Ahh! Neverending! Thanks for all your pointers, though!!

    • Hello Marriane,
      Congratulations on being done with 1/3 of the bar exam! And, congratulations on not freezing up – that is definitely a good thing.
      As for the Performance Test, I will wait on any discussion of that here until after tomorrow as there are examinees who are taking the exam over six days (due to testing accommodations) who will be taking the Performance Test tomorrow (the PT that you took today). So I am going to keep that off topic until tomorrow.

      I will say this, that the essays today were not likely easy for anyone. I also know that essay three (which was very similar factually to essay number 2 on the July 2003 bar exam) will most likely generate multiple responses – all of which would be in the passing range. So I would not worry about that too much.

      Thank you for commenting on the blog and for following the blog – I really appreciate it. I know everyone was pretty much expecting a Criminal Law Murder essay – but, it has been so long since that has been tested that perhaps it was just too obvious . . . of course anything is possible on day three . . .

      Hang tough, you can do it. And, remember, if it seemed hard today (on the essays) that is because it was hard. Let today go (not that you are dwelling on it – just good advice in general) and forge ahead. It sounds like you did just fine.

      All the best to you tomorrow and Thursday!


      Lisa Duncanson

  2. PT #A was preparing opinion letter for Sr. Partner to sign on issues of enforcement of a restrictive non-compete covenant in emploment agreement  between a gastro doctor and his former employer a gastro clinic.  The task memo gave instruction to address issues, apply the law to the facts, reach conclusions, and suggest resolutions. The file has Sr. Partner’s client interview transcript, excerpt of the non-compete covenant, and a medical economist memo prepared by  another associate attorney.  The library has an appellate opinion which was factually similar to the subject case here. I do not recall anything else. My brain needs some rest. My apologies if I am incomplete or inaccurate. Please let me know. Thank you.

    From my Android phone on T-Mobile. The first nationwide 4G network.

    • Hello and thank you for your comment and for following my blog.

      Yes, from what you describe, this is what the PT from day one was about. I did not approve your post until today because I really don’t want to post about anything that is still – for some – about to be tested – for example – there are examinees who have testing accommodations that extend up to six days. In instances where someone has a six day exam – they are actually taking the performance test on “day two” – as a result, I limit my discussion of the PT until today since to do otherwise would allow someone to stumble upon a “preview” of the test they were taking today – which would not be fair or right. So, that is the reason for my delay in replying to your comment.

      I hope you are feeling good about the exam. You are half way done now, so congratulations!!!

      All the best to you and thank you again for following the blog and for your comment.


  3. Oh wow, I thought I missed the boat on that remedies essay until I saw this blog post. I had the exact same answers for Remedies (I still defined conversion and went through tort remedies, but the stuff below was the meat of my essay):
    Essay 3: Remedies: replevin, equitable lien, constructive trust, quasi-contract