First of all I want to thank you for following my blog. It truly is humbling to see so many followers. And now for some predictions!
As I have explained in earlier posts, my enrolled student are always my first priority. They also expect a period of time where my “predictions” are available only to them. However, I do release predictions on this blog every year and today is the first set. I will continue to post on the blog up through the bar exam, including providing revised predictions based upon day one’s testing.
A bit about my “predictions”
First of all, I do not claim (nor would I ever claim) that I could predict what is going to be tested on the bar exam. However, I do think it is worthwhile to think about some possible essay scenarios when studying in the coming days. I also think that it makes sense to spend some time on topics that we have not seen on the exam in some time. However, any topic could show up on the bar exam. And, you should expect to see some of the topics that were tested on the July 2016 bar exam, to repeat on the February 2017 bar exam. Typically two or even three subjects will repeat from one bar exam to the very next bar exam. Also, out of six essays you should expect to see testing of about 8 topics (this allows for cross-over essays).
Additionally, any topic that you are worried about, or that you are hoping does not show up on the bar exam – deserves your attention!
Okay, so that being said, here are the first areas I would begin to start thinking about in terms of what might be possible on the February 2017 bar exam:
Criminal Law Murder – either all by itself, without any Criminal Procedure or Crossed with Criminal Procedure (a very common way for testing of murder on the California bar exam). See the tab to the right on this blog and you will see an approach for writing Criminal Law Murder Exams. Also, I will post it again in the coming days, just for ease of reference. This prediction should not surprise you, most would predict this area. And the bar examiners know this. So, my thoughts are this: if you get a Criminal Law Murder exam on the bar this round, I think it is going to be a tricky one. I know you don’t want to hear this, but it is what I would expect if I were you. Of course, the California bar examiners could choose to leave murder of the exam again. But, if you do get it, I would expect it to be a racehorse (because these exams generally always are race horse style exams) AND I would expect it to be perhaps a bit awkward or different than your everyday, run of the mill, more straightforward type of Criminal Law Murder essay. Again, it could be just Criminal Law or it could also test (and this is typically more likely) Criminal Procedure issues.
What if you see Criminal Procedure?
If you were to get a cross-over with Criminal Law Murder what would it likely be? Well, usually it involves a Fourth or Fifth Amendment issue. That is how it typically gets tested. But, here are a few wrinkles as I see it: The last time Criminal Procedure was tested, it was an entire essay devoted to the Fourth Amendment. While this has been done before, it isn’t your every day, run of the mill Criminal Procedure essay. Add that to the fact that the last time Murder was tested (February 2008) it was tested with a pretty challenging 5th and 6th Amendment issue with respect to right to counsel. Also, not your everyday, run of the mill call of the question. But, not really that far out of bounds – did you see that, I just said the bar examiners were out of bounds . . . 🙂 I digress.
Thinking about all of this (and I do think about all of this – a lot) it suggests to me that there are other things coming. That perhaps this time, the examiners will resurrect an area of testing that has also been ignored for some time and put it back into play. When I say resurrect, I mean that it simply hasn’t figured into the essay lately in the way that it has in past years (but, is still highly testable). These areas are: 6th Amendment jury issues (including peremptory challenges based upon race and/or belief or non-belief or opposition to the death penalty) and the 8th Amendment – specifically either a capital punishment issue (whether the imposition of the death penalty is constitutionally permissible) or bail issues (right to bail, right to reduced bail – by the way – there is no constitutional right to “affordable bail” – no outline will tell you that and yet, it has been asked as a call of the question on the bar exam in California many, many times with respect to in pro se defendants – now you know the correct answer).
Understand that statistically, the most common way to see Criminal Law Murder crossed with Criminal Procedure is to see a 4th or 5th Amendment issue (or both). So you certainly could see that and should be prepared for it too. But, given what I have seen and that some day the bar examiners have to test 6th Amendment jury issues and 8th Amendment issues on the essay again – well it could very well be this February.
The other topics I am suggesting you review in the coming days are: Wills and Evidence. I will write more on both of these topics soon.
But wait, there’s more! We are LIVE STREAMING our Final Bar Exam Review!
We are live streaming our Final Bar Exam Review that we provide to our enrolled students on Saturday, February 18th and making it available for purchase to either attend in person or now, via live stream, from anywhere. This is a course that takes you through the topics that I think are most likely, provides you with how to attack these topics and how to basically survive, successfully, the California bar exam. We are excited to be able to make this available online as a live stream. It has been requested from our blog followers and from our students that fly in from out of state that we provide it this way and so we are doing it!
If you are interested in this program, you can learn more about it here:
Final Bar Exam Review – Live Stream
Additional Option – available while supplies last is our Bar Exam Cram Materials only (no video included, no live instruction, but access to our predictions and cram sheets and selected essays and answers).
The Bar Exam Cram (materials only option is intended for students who were unable to attend our Bar Exam Cram Session but, still want the course materials. It is NOT the same program as the Final Bar Exam Review. This is available for a limited period of time and while supplies last – this also includes our Predictions and Sample Answers and the Bar Exam Cram Sheets Book as well as a ten day study plan that can be continued to be adapted for use up until about 5 days before the bar exam (hence the limited availability). For more information, see Bar Exam Cram.