Bar Exam Tips List & Murder Approach

Leave a comment

Hello All,

Just a reminder that you can still sign up for our February bar exam tips list for the February 2017 bar exam. The first set of tips provided sample Evidence Essays as well as predicting Evidence as well as sample Criminal Law Murder essays that cover areas that I think might be a bit more likely this bar round. If you sign up for the tips list, you will receive this email along with all future tips emails. I will be sending out additional tips, predictions and handouts based upon what I think may be more likely to be tested on Thursday’s essays. Also, see below for an easy approach for Criminal Law Murder Essays.

To sign up for the February 2017 Bar Exam Tips email list, click on the link below:

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-2-09-48-am

Here is a quick, basic essay approach for murder. (Note that you should use a lot of headings and have a physical structure that evidences your approach – this will give the graders a sense that you actually know what you are talking about and it will make your essay far more appealing to read, it will appear organized and it will make it easier for you to write your answer because you have an approach).

Approach for handling a murder question:

First of all, should you begin with homicide or common law murder? Well, that depends upon the fact pattern and the call of the question. If the fact pattern poses the cause of death as an issue (for example, defendant shoots Victim in the arm. Victim was not expected to die from her gun shot wound. However, while being treated in the hospital, Victim gets an infection, goes into a coma and is later determined to be “brain dead” – now we have a causation issue (albeit, an easy one to deal with and prove that defendant is is the cause of the Victim’s death), you should address homicide. However, if your fact pattern does not pose causation as an issue, then you may want to start with Common Law Murder. But, always pay attention to the call or calls of the question to help you decide whether you start with homicide or common law murder. If there is no causation issue on the fact pattern, then starting with common law murder is generally fine.

Address: Common Law Murder – Common Law Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Malice aforethought is proven four ways: 1) intent to kill, 2) intent to inflict great bodily injury, 3) depraved heart killings, and 4) felony murder.

(Address the above and then if you have a felony murder issue, prove up the underlying felony (BARRKS – Burglary, Arson, Robbery, Rape, Kidnapping or Sodomy – incidentally, if this area is tested, the examiners may not test one of the above common law inherently dangerous felonies – watch out for a dangerous felony like drug trafficking or another dangerous (but not enumerated as a FMR felony) felony – it forces you to reach a bit and explain that the prosecutor could charge the defendant for felony murder on the basis that it was an inherently dangerous felony, but not a common law enumerated (BARRKS) felony)

Then move onto:

Statutory Degrees of Murder

First Degree Murder: First degree murder is the intentional killing with malice aforethought, premeditation and deliberation. (here do not spend all day on defining or explaining premeditation or deliberation – it either was premeditated and deliberate (lying in wait, planned, thought out etc.) or it wasn’t – address the issue and conclude and move on).

Second Degree Murder: (here is the quick way: “all murders that are not first degree are second degree unless mitigated down to some form of manslaughter”).

Manslaughter

There are two types of manslaughter (Voluntary and Involuntary). If you know right away that the facts support a heat of passion killing, then address that first under Manslaughter as: Voluntary Manslaughter. (By the way, anytime there is a fight that results in a death – you should address heat of passion/voluntary manslaughter).

Voluntary Manslaughter: is a killing that would be murder but for the existence of adequate provocation and insufficient cooling time. (there are other elements here that you could develop, but, the reality is that if you have a cross over exam and it involves a full murder discussion – from common law murder to manslaughter – then you simply do not have a lot of time. So spend your time focusing on whether what happened would arouse the passions of reasonable person to kill AND whether or not the person did not have time to cool).

Involuntary Manslaughter: A killing is involuntary manslaughter if it was committed with criminal negligence or during the commission of an unlawful act.

There is also the concept of Misdemeanor Manslaughter Rule – it is simply an accidental killing that occurs while the defendant is engaged in a non-dangerous felony or misdemeanor.

Obviously there are defenses like: Intoxication, Insanity (know the four tests as best you can), self defense, defense of others etc. that can all word to either relieve the defendant of liability for common law murder and reduce the crime down to some form of manslaughter. Keep in mind the above is a basic approach. But, sometimes that is really the best thing to have in your head on the day of the exam. You should have a framework or basic approach and then allow yourself the freedom to write your answer based on the particular fact pattern you face.

If you were to get a murder essay, I am thinking it could be Criminal Law alone (which would mean discussions of issues like conspiracy and perhaps other inchoate crimes and would likely be heavier on the defenses when it is not a cross-over essay. However, it could easily be tested in the context of Criminal Procedure (possibly in the long overdue context of the 8th Amendment and/or 6th Amendment). A bit more on this via the tips list!

Stay tuned for more and be sure to sign up for the free February 2017 Bar Exam Tips list!

Best of luck to you all!

Lisa Duncanson

Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990
http://www.barexamcramsession.com and http://www.barnonereview.com

Day 1 February Bar Exam is Done: Full Steam Ahead

2 Comments

Hello All,

By the time you are reading this, you will have completed day one of the California Bar Exam!  Thank you to everyone who wrote in with their recap of what was on the exam today.

As you likely know, today’s essays were: 1) Wills, 2) Remedies, and 3) Evidence.

Understand that I did not see the essays, so I am relying completely on examinees’ recaps that have been sent in to me. While I have not seen the exams, I have heard from many examinees and believe I have a pretty good sense of what was tested today on the essays. I have heard about many other areas that may or may not have been tested along with Wills and Remedies.

Everyone agrees that the third essay was Evidence. I say this simply because I know that there are variations in how to interpret the essays. I do not want to throw anyone off by suggesting cross-overs that may or may not be there. And, the reality is that you can write on many things that your colleagues do not write on and all of you can pass. That is the nature of this exam, it is not about surgical precision or about everyone agreeing on the supposed right answer. However, I think everyone would agree that the three main topics for today were: Wills, Remedies, and Evidence.

From the reports I have received, there were likely several different ways Essay Two could be handled (either as Contract Remedies or involving Tort Remedies or both). From everything I have heard, it sounds like the Remedies essay was the “oddball” or at least perhaps the more challenging essay of the day. In any case, it is very likely that there were multiple ways to handle this question successfully. This is often the case with Remedies exams.

Let it go . . . It is very important that you put today behind you. Simply be glad it is over, move forward, do not dwell on what you wish you could have written . . . let it go. This is key. Day one is behind you, there is nothing you can do about whatever you wrote or did not write. So move forward and focus on what is ahead.

Okay, moving on from day one . . . Your focus now should be to move forward and do your very best in the days ahead. No matter how you feel Day One went (good or bad) put it behind you and focus on doing your absolute best on Wednesday and Thursday!

Thoughts on what might appear on Day Three’s essays . . . 

So far there have been no real surprises – the subjects that showed up on the essays were in line with what was expected. But, as I write this post, I have not yet heard what was on the PT subject matter wise. Understand, I will not discuss the PT until after everyone has taken the PTs (this means not until after this Sunday). However, what is tested on the PT subject wise, does affect how I might revise or not revise my “predictions” for Thursday’s essays. So, I will wait until I hear what was tested subject matter wise before I weigh in on any new or revised “predictions” for Thursday’s essays (I will elaborate more on this once I hear which subject was tested on this afternoon’s PT).

What should I study tonight (Tuesday night)? I would focus on the MBE topics because you know you will be tested on these tomorrow.

I would reserve most of my studying for Thursday’s essays until Wednesday however, here are a few thoughts until then:

Don’t put Evidence away just yet . . . obviously you will see Evidence on the MBEs tomorrow but, there is also a chance that you will see Evidence again on Thursday on one of the essays. It is not my first choice but, you should be aware that on past bar exams, Evidence was tested on day one and then again as a cross over on day three. So, just keep this in mind. Again, not my first pick but, my point is that you need to be prepared for the possibility so that you are not surprised by it, should it show up on day three.

Criminal Law Murder (perhaps crossed with Criminal Procedure and/or Evidence). This is very possible. Nothing that was tested today really changes my initial list. These are not the only areas that are worth taking a look at. But, I would spend any review time this evening on the MBE topics since you know that you are going to face those tomorrow. This is an MBE topic so study of it will be doing double duty for you since it will be on the exam on Wednesday and may  be on the exam on Thursday.

Then, worry about what to study on Wednesday for Thursday’s essays.

So, what should you study on Wednesday night before the exam on Thursday? For now, that should be in this order: first, you should review any subject that you feel is weak, or that you would fear seeing an essay on that topic. This is far more important than reviewing all of the “predicted” topics. Remember, no one can predict what will be tested, you should be ready for anything. Second, you should look over any of the predicted subjects that were not tested on day one’s essays. I will post more (after I hear what was tested subject wise on this afternoon’s PT) about what you might want to focus on in preparing for Thursday’s essays.

I will continue to post here in the coming days. For those of you who are just signing up for our Bar Exam Tips List, we are sending out my initial predictions email (that was sent earlier) and  then you will receive any subsequent emails.

Thank you again to everyone who sent in reports of what was tested today! I try to respond to every email. This becomes increasingly difficult as the traffic grows. But, I will do my best to get back to everyone. The blog has received thousands and thousands of views in just the past couple of days. I am truly honored to have this following and grateful to be able to offer some help. There is still time to join our February 2017 bar exam tips list (see earlier post below).

All the best to you on the MBE section tomorrow. And, for those of you who are taking the Attorney Taker’s exam, I would spend day two studying in this order: 1) review the topic(s) that you are least comfortable with, and  2) Review any of the “predicted” topics. Above all, review the areas that you feel the least secure about so that if you do see one of these areas, you will have a better opportunity.

I will keep posting and keep sending out emails. Stay tuned. If you have a question, please feel free to send me an email at: barexamguru@yahoo.com. I will do my best to get back to you personally, my enrolled students taking priority of course.

All the best of luck to you tomorrow! Stay positive!

Lisa Duncanson

Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990
http://www.barexamcramsession.com and http://www.barnonereview.com

California Bar Exam: Day 1 Essays

2 Comments

Hello All,

By now, those of you who are taking the California bar exam have either finished or are about to finish day one’s essays! As soon as I hear from students as to what was tested on today’s essays, I will start working on updated predictions for Thursday’s essays.

I will not address or write about the performance test until after everyone has completed the entire bar exam. There are examinees who have accommodations that will be taking the bar exam over a six day period. Some examinees with accommodations will be taking the performance test next weekend. As a result, I will not discuss this portion of the test, or write about it, until after everyone has taken it.

However, the essays are fair game as everyone takes these on the same days. So, if you have a moment to send an email with what was tested on the essays today, please do so at: barexamguru@yahoo.com

Obviously, do what YOU need to do on your lunch break. I put no onus on my students to report in. But, some will, as will many of my blog followers. I greatly appreciate this as I am able to then provide some additional tips. Of course, there is no way to predict what will be tested on the essays or PTs. But, considering some possible essay scenarios is never a bad thing and simply gets you thinking.

Wishing you all the best,

Lisa Duncanson

California Bar Exam: Good Luck Tomorrow!

Leave a comment

Hello All,

I want to wish everyone who is taking the bar exam tomorrow the very best of luck!

Remember to stay positive and keep your head above water tomorrow – don’t let the test get to you and remember that a big part of succeeding on this exam is simply not giving up and continuing to write and write and write. You can do it!

I do have a few final thoughts before day one’s essays . . .

Every bar round there are subjects that repeat from the prior bar round – not just Professional Responsibility, but other subjects as well. Therefore, it is always a good idea to consider what might be tested if a subject repeats. If you are a follower of my blog, then you will know that it is my opinion that you need to be prepared for every subject because the bar examiners can test anything they want to test. Your job is to be prepared for all of the bar tested subjects, regardless of whether it was just tested or not.

A good way (but, certainly no guarantee) of thinking about the subjects that might repeat and trying to figure out what might be more likely to show up should a subject repeat, is to consider what is most often tested within that subject. For example, on the essay exams one of the most commonly tested area within Property is the area of Landlord/Tenant. Property was just tested on the July bar exam (easements). So, if Property were to repeat I would not be surprised if you were to get Landlord/Tenant. Of course, there is no way to know if you will get property or if you would get landlord/tenant. But, historically landlord/tenant has been tested a great deal, so it is (like anything) a possibility.

If Civil Procedure were to repeat (and I think there is a good chance that it will) then I would consider jurisdiction issues (as these are tested very heavily) and in particular, I would not be surprised if you were to see diversity jurisdiction with an issue with aggregation (perhaps two defendants being sued but, neither for the jurisdictional amount required (exceeding 75,000.00) and so you would have to address aggregation. Often when this is tested, the plaintiff is seeking money damages against one defendant (but, the amount plead does not exceed 75,000.00) and is seeking against another defendant injunctive relief. The problem then becomes – can you aggregate the claims of the defendants. The answer is likely no. But, what the examiners want to see is a discussion of the issue – aggregation as well as a discussion of the injunction being given some type of valuation that could possibly be then aggregated to meet the amount in controversy. The problem however, even if the injunctive relief plus the damages can somehow meet the amount in controversy, is that the only way the claims against the defendants can be aggregated is if they were joint tortfeasors. Typically they will not be joint tortfeasors.

This is a key point to make – that often the answer may be clear, but it is not the answer (yes, or no) that the examiners care about as much as they care about the path. It is like showing your work on a math problem. It is key that you have the discussion. And, the discussion (your analysis and resolution of the problem) is worth far more than your actual answer/ conclusion.

Of course, there is no way to know whether you will have Civil Procedure or Property repeat from the July bar exam to the February bar exam. But, not a bad idea to consider it or think about it.

Above all, write your heart out tomorrow. Really, I mean it, write your heart out. Don’t leave anything out that you think about. If you dismiss an issue, then dismiss it on your paper/laptop screen. The graders don’t know if you left something out because you chose to or because you forgot or didn’t think about it. So, if you are dismissing something in your head, be sure to dismiss it on the page so that the grader knows what you were thinking.

All the best to everyone taking the bar tomorrow!

Remember, you can do it!

California Bar Exam: 4 Days to Go!

2 Comments

Hello All,

The California bar exam is just four days away! At this point, it is normal for anxiety and nerves to run high. But, you need to channel that nervous energy into something positive. Instead of focusing on how little time you have left to prepare, focus on what you can do. And, put to rest those things that you had planned to do, but did not get around to doing during your bar prep. You know what I am talking about: “I will write 25 timed essays” or “I will do 50 MBEs every day” So, you didn’t do that. So, maybe you didn’t do anything close to what you thought you were going to do to prepare for this exam. That does not mean you can’t pass it. Let that stuff go. It is over and there is nothing you can do about it now. So put it behind you. What can you do now? You can make use of every (waking) minute between now and the bar exam.

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE NEXT FOUR DAYS! Read as many essays as you can. Reading essays is a fantastic way to prepare for the California bar exam. There are several reasons (and I have written on this quite a bit) for why this is true. One is that the California bar examiners repeat the same essays over and over. The odds of their being essays on the February 2017 bar exam that are very similar to essays that were tested on prior exams is very high. In fact, based upon bar exam history, it is pretty much a guarantee that many of the essays that are on day one and day three of the bar exam will be essays that have been tested pretty exactly the same way in earlier exams. As a result, the more essays you see now, the more likely you will see something on the actual exam that is like what you reviewed and studied. This is a big deal. Think about it – you could walk into the test on Tuesday morning, open the exam booklet and see three essays that were virtually identical to essays that you had read and studied the answers to – now how great would that be? Pretty great!

So, read essays and study the answers to essays. That is probably the single most effective thing that you can do right now to increase your score and increase your chances of passing this exam.

PREDICTIONS:

Here are a few more predictions (and I will write more soon). So far, I have suggested that you might get a Criminal Law/Murder exam. This could be all Criminal Law or crossed with Criminal Procedure and/or Evidence (see earlier post for more details on this). I also suggested that you might see Evidence and Wills. I think both topics are likely.

If you were to get Evidence just know that it is typically a racehorse type of exam. It goes fast and so must you! You need to get in and get out quickly. If you were to have a transcript style essay, then the pacing and speed is even more challenging as these types of essays can have as many as 11 calls. Yes, 11 calls! I know that sounds crazy, but it is true and if you have never seen one, well you need to see one so that you know what to expect and how you can successfully navigate it on exam day. And you can do it. But, if the first time you see a transcript style exam is on the actual bar – well, that is less than desirable. So make sure that you get your hands on one of these and study the answers (preferable – study the bar examiners’ released answers as this is the far more realistic version of what you need to and can do). We haven’t seen an Evidence transcript style essays in quite some time. So it is due. That doesn’t mean that you will get it this bar round, but I would be prepared for it. This means that you should a) review a transcript style essay so that you can see how these are answered and b) review and memorize the form objects (as these come up quite a bit on transcript style essays).

If you join our tips list (see previous post) I will send you our 9 step approach to Evidence.

WILLS:  Wills is certainly a possibility. Of course, there is no way to know for sure what will be tested on the bar exam. However, it has been a will since we have seen Wills tested as whole essay. Instead, it has only (in the past several bar rounds) shown up as a cross over with Trusts. This is fairly common (to see Wills and Trusts as a cross-over essay). And, in fact, it is the most common way to see Wills or Trusts tested – together as a cross-over. However, the bar does test both topics separately (for example, a Trusts only essay or a Wills only essay). It has been a while since the bar examiners have tested just Wills, all by itself. As a result, I think this may be due.

If you see a Wills only essay then I would expect to see some of the typical repeating issues/favorites. These include: pretermitted heir, omitted heir (these are a frequent flyer for Wills essays), DRR (remember, you have to have TWO purported wills on the fact pattern for DRR to be an issue), integration, incorporation by reference and acts of independent legal significance (highly, highly testable), undue influence (the bar examiners LOVE this topic within Wills. Know the test: SOMU: Susceptibility, Opportunity, Motive and Unnatural disposition – meaning the gift(s) go to a non-relative) and Will Formation. If Will formation is at issue, you may very well have an issue with DRR (but, again, only if there is another will on the fact pattern).

Other topics that you might see on the exam (and that I will write more about) are: Torts. Constitutional Law or Civil Procedure. With respect to the latter two, these were both on the July bar exam. However, if you have been following this blog, you will know that subjects always repeat from the prior bar round to the next (and I don’t mean just Professional Responsibility – that almost always repeats, we all know that). But, other topics repeat as well. I think Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure and even Property are all possibly candidates. I will write more on these topics and what might be more likely in terms of testing if these show up on the bar exam.

Until then, keep reading past essays! This is so key and can make such a difference in you passing or failing – really, it really makes a difference. So do it!

Also, the last day to register for the LIVE STREAM of our Final Bar Exam Review session on Saturday, February 18th is today at 1:00 pm. We overnight materials to you, so today is the final cut off for live stream program. For more details about this program, see my earlier post. If you want to attend in person, you can register now online all the way through Saturday at 11:30 am. We also take registration at the door on the day of the event.  (but we recommend that you pre-register online).

All students who attend in-person will receive our latest Cram Sheets and predictions.  They will also be able to ask me their last minute questions, and get in-depth insight on topics that are predicted to be on this upcoming Bar Exam.  Spots for this session are limited!  One of the reasons of this session is that it builds confidence – something I feel is really necessary in order to navigate the exam. The confidence comes from the fact that you learn how to put the material that you have been studying all of this time, together into a manageable approach. For example, what if Constitutional Law repeats (and it absolutely could, and SOMETHING is going to repeat) would you know how to write a First Amendment Speech essay? Would you know how to write Products Liability (now this a real race horse exam, and the bar examiners look for and want certain things addressed – if these things are missing from your answer – then it simply isn’t likely be a passing answer). Again, read more essays! This is SO important. But, if you are looking for a guided review and a way to walk into the exam with approaches for what may very will come up on your exam, then consider attending our Final Bar Exam Review (either in person in Los Angeles) or via LIVE STREAM

Click Here to Pre-Register Now for the Final Bar Exam Review on February 18th!

Deadline register for the live stream option is today, February 17th @ 1:00pm PST.

 

final-bar-exam-review-flyer

If you are unable to join me on Saturday, please be sure to sign up for my February Bar Exam Tips List.  You can do that by following the link below.  After that, you will be added to our exclusive list of examinees that receive daily tips and “how-to’s” for test taking up until the day of the exam. The first set of tips will go out a bit later today.

Sign Up For the February 2017 Bar Exam Tips

The most important thing you can do for yourself is to believe in yourself and to remain positive. You are the only person that can control how you feel, put a positive spin on this and actively work at telling yourself that you can do this. YOU CAN DO THIS!

I will post more predictions and essay scenarios. Until then all the best in your studies. And, I hope to see some of you in class this Saturday!

All the best of luck!

Lisa Duncanson

Bar Exam Guru
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990
www.barnonereview.com

Bar Exam: Join Our Free Tips List!

2 Comments

Hello All,

With the February bar exam just 8 days away, most bar review courses have long since wound down and you are kind of on your own. It can be a time where many examinees feel lost. So to help you feel a little less lost, each year I send out tips to those who want to sign up for our tips list. And, of course I continue to write posts here on the blog.

 

Stay tuned for more Bar Exam Predictions and essay scenarios! Also, I will be posting a step by step approach for writing a Criminal Law Murder essay. I will also post a step by step approach for writing First Amendment Speech essays (yes, Constitutional Law was tested last time and YES, it could repeat and often repeats, so you need to be prepared)!

Don’t want to wait for the predictions? It is not too late to become one of our enrolled students!

Our enrolled students receive detailed predictions along with possible/likely essay scenarios and past California bar essays based upon the areas that I think might be more likely. While I do not, nor would I ever, claim to be able to predict what was going to be on the bar exam, I do think that it is helpful to consider essay scenarios that are either more  that we simply have not seen in some time and that many would, therefore, consider due.

We have two options available in these final days leading up to the bar exam.

Option One: The Final Bar Exam Review class You can attend in person in Los Angeles or via LIVE STREAM on February 18th. But, sign up today and you will receive our Extensive Predictions Email with Selected Sample Essays and Answers right away, along with a suggested study plan for the days leading up to the bar exam.

What is the Final Bar Exam Review? In the Final Bar Exam Review, I teach my students live, how to actually write likely essays, how to identify sleeper/hidden issues that most people miss, how to get the points you need – the points that can make the difference in re-read and make the difference between passing comfortably and not passing, how to use the proper form for the essays and the performance test. Our students love this session, and many say it was the one thing that pushed them across the finish line. This time, anyone, while space allows can join (in person or via live stream). For more information, a complete list of what is included and to sign up, click on the image below!

final-bar-exam-review-flyer

Option Two: Is a materials only version of our Bar Exam Cram Session that was offered earlier in the bar round. Both options include the extensive Predictions/Essay Scenario Email along with Selected Essays and Answers and a suggested study plan for the days leading up to the bar exam. Both programs include our Bar Exam Cram Sheets. The “10-Day Study Plan” is adaptable to having fewer days of study remaining. Our cut off for enrollment is Wednesday, February 15th at noon or when we run out, whichever is first. For more information and a complete list of what is provided, click on the image below:

 

Cram Session Materials

 

Lisa Duncanson

Bar Exam Guru
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990
http://www.barnonereview.com

California Bar Exam Predictions Feb 2017 Part One

Leave a comment

Hello all,

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.

Stay positive, YOU CAN DO THIS!
Wishing you the very best in your studies!
Sincerely,
Lisa Duncanson
Bar Exam Guru
Founder/Program Director
213-529-0990