California Bar Exam Tips: If Civil Procedure Were Tested . . .

Hello All,

If you have been following my blog you will know that I do not really like to call my “predictions” predictions. I do not claim to be able to predict the bar exam. I have simply come up with what I call essay scenarios that I think might be worth considering. I made these “essay scenarios” available during the past week. And, since so far the subjects tested on day one were all expected subjects, I am not varying my predictions much.

Here is an excerpt from an earlier approach about the possibility of Civil Procedure being tested (including a California unique concept you might want to take a few minutes to review):

As far as subjects that could repeat from the July 2012 bar exam round – this time, I feel that of the subjects that could repeat, that Civil Procedure is a very good possibility as is Community Property.

Possible Essay Scenarios (from my previous posting earlier this week):

If Civil Procedure were to repeat: The most commonly tested issues in civil procedure are: jurisdiction and collateral estoppel and res judicata. Last bar round, personal jurisdiction was tested (along with subject matter jurisdiction and supplemental jurisdiction). The essay was primarily about personal jurisdiction (and had a full discussion of minimum contacts). Prior to July 2012, the last time in personam jurisdiction was tested was in 2006. As a result, it would certainly not be unusual if you were tested on Civil Procedure again and in fact personal jurisdiction again. This happens. So – be prepared for it. Most would not be expecting it. However, if Civil Procedure were to repeat then I would expect an essay exam that possibly tested either some of the California specific areas (the California bar examiners have yet to test anything California specific in Civil Procedure – take a look at demurrer and SLAPP Suits and the responsive motion to a SLAPP Suit called an “Anti-SLAPP” motion – incidentally the area of SLAPP suits would be a great cross over with the First Amendment – I am not saying you will get this on this bar round – but some day it is coming) and/or some of the other issues that were not tested on the last bar administration. For example – collateral estoppel and res judicata. I thought both were a good possibility for testing (along with personal jurisdiction) on the last bar exam.

One of the last times collateral estoppel and res judicata were tested was in the context of in personam jurisdiction. I have a past essay exam from the bar exam that tests both together. This exam is no longer on the California bar website. Incidentally, that administration tested Personal Jurisdiction (specifically: IPJ with a full minimum contacts analysis) and Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata.

Another area within Civil Procedure that I would suggest you take a look is the area of “interlocutory appeals” – this is usually tested briefly as a fairly short “tack on issue” in a Civil Procedure exam. The issue is usually tested in this way – one of the parties is appealing prior to there being a final judgment (could even be on the basis of the court’s denial of one of the parties wish to use collateral estoppel or res judicata to bar the re-litigation of an issue or a claim). Since the party is attempting to appeal prior to a final judgment in the instant case – this generates an issue with respect to interlocutory appeals. It is a short discussion, but one that must be had and one that has certainly come up many times on the bar exam in the past.

Class actions has not been tested in a very long time – I keep thinking that is due, but, If you look at what is most often tested in Civil Procedure it is jurisdiction (PJ and SMJ and Venue) and Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata. So while class actions has been absent for many bar rounds, it is still no more likely in my mind, as Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata. Since jurisdiction is such a heavily tested area, it would not be unusual to see an exam on this bar administration that tested (in a more emphasized way) subject matter jurisdiction. This could easily be done and tested with other typical issues like: Venue, Remand and/or Removal.

Incidentally – with respect to issue and claim preclusion – be sure not to mix up Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel – make sure you know which one is issue preclusion and which one is claim preclusion. Here is one way to keep the two straight: the “C”s do not go together – in other words: Collateral Estoppel is Issue Preclusion and Res Judicata is Claim Preclusion. Should you get tested on this area – be certain to make note of the California (and minority) “primary rights” view with respect to claims (Res Judicata).