By now you have completed day two of the California bar exam! Congratulations on all of your hard work! You are nearly done!
I promised to write more about what to expect for tomorrow and to provide some advice on how to prepare this evening.
First, any topic can be tested. That being said, there are some subjects that seem to be more likely than others. I still stand by the predictions I have released to date – so I please review my previous posts (links to my earlier “predictions” are below). You will see that so far three of the areas that I have suggested were tested on day one. Review my earlier posts below (“predictions – part one” and “predictions – part two”). Also, bear in mind that often the bar examiners will test a full blown Professional Responsibility essay on day one and then repeat it again as a cross-over on one of the essays on day three. This is not unusual at all.
When you go back and read the two earlier posts (links to each above) you will see that I have suggested Evidence and Property (I belive there is almost an equal likelihood that either could show up – with just a slightly higher preference towards Evidence being more likely) AND that either Civil Procedure or Criminal Law (specifically murder + Criminal Procedure or Criminal Procedure alone) could show up tomorrow. The bar examiners have tested the same subject on three bar rounds, back to back. Civil Procedure has been tested three times back to back in the past and so has Criminal Law. Either could show up tomorrow – so be ready for it. For a free approach handout for Evidence, see my earlier post below – fill out the form and we will send you the approach and additional tips via email 🙂
With respect to Criminal Law – murder has not shown up in a while. The last two bar exams both tested Criminal Law (but focused on possession crimes like larceny, embezzlement on the July 2012 exam and accomplice liability on the February 2013 bar exam). Neither exam tested any Criminal Procedure and neither tested murder. Therefore, I would most definitely review the murder approach (for a 10 minute coverage of a basic murder approach, click here and scroll down the page just a little and you will see a video of yours truly). Bear in mind this is a brief approach – but it does give you something to work with. We also have released portions of our Criminal Procedure Exam Writing Template on the Bar None Review website – you can download the exam writing templates for the 4th and 5th Amendments here and you can download our 8th Amendment Exam Writing Template here
I could absolutely envision and essay that tested both murder and either the 4th and 5th Amendments (this is one of the most common ways to see a cross over in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. However, another option – that has not shown up in some time – is the following scenario:
A murder exam (where you have to develop a murder discussion – this includes common law murder, which is a killing committed with malice aforethought, malice aforethought is proven four ways – you need to list all four and apply one or two, then address the statutory degrees of murder – first or second, address whether there is a basis for manslaughter – voluntary or involuntary and of course apply any available defenses – ALSO – be sure to follow the call(s) of the question as this may change your order or organization) plus 6th Amendment peremptory challenges or other jury issues and 8th Amendment capital punishment (review the 8th Amendment Exam Writing Template – see link above – for how to address this issue). These areas have been tested together on multiple occasions – but not in some time. As a result, I think it is due – at some point.
Other things to consider: Regardless of what anyone thinks is going to be on the exam, you need to be prepared for essentially any topic. It never hurts to spend a little extra time on areas that seem to be more likely than others. BUT, be sure to spend time on any area(s) that you feel are your weak areas. This is critical. The last thing you want to see is the subject you are least prepared for showing up tomorrow. Therefore, spend some time reviewing whatever subject you would consider being your “worst nightmare” and that way, if it does show up on the essays – you will be better prepared for it.
IF CIVIL PROCEDURE shows up tomorrow . . . I mentioned above, and in earlier posts, that Civil Procedure was a possibility. Civil Procedure has been a three-peater in the past – so it certainly could show up tomorrow. If it does, Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata are areas that I think are likely. I say this for a couple of reasons: 1) Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata have not been tested in a while, and 2) there is a California distinction that is testable – the Minority, Primary Rights Rule – it is worth a mention if you get an exam in this area. And, the Primary Rights Rule has been tested for years – well before the California bar examiners added California Civil Procedure. Class actions has also not been tested in some time. And, to date, the bar examiners have yet to test the concept of a “demurrer” or the responsive pleading available in California known as an “anti-slap suit” (note: an “anti-slap suit” is not a suit – it is a special motion that a party can file in response to a claim that is viewed as a SLAP Suit – an example of this would be something like this: plaintiff files a law suit against defendant for defamation and seeks (and obtains) a preliminary injunction to stop the plaintiff from publishing a newspaper (the subject of which Plaintiff claims contains defamatory material). In California the defendant can answer the complaint, can demurrer to the complaint or could file what is called an anti-slapp motion (or suit). This latter option would be on the basis that the original law suit was intended to harass the defendant and to prevent the defendant from doing something they were legally allowed to do (for example, exercise their right to speech).
Okay, I think this is enough for now . . . 🙂
I wish you all the very, very best of luck tomorrow. Trust your instincts and write, write, write!
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Best of luck to you all!
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