California Bar Exam Essay & PTs Released

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Hello all,

The California bar examiners have released the essays and performance tests from the February 2017 bar exam. You can find all six essays, as well as performance test A and B, here: February 2017 Bar Exam Essays and PTs

Bar results for the February 2017 bar exam will come out on May 12, 2017 – just one month from today!

As of July 2017, the California bar exam will cease to be a three day bar exam. Will it become easier? Will pass rates go up? How should examinees prepare differently for a two day bar exam? My thoughts on this soon in a future post. In the meantime, we will be providing issue analysis for the essays from this last three day bar exam. Stay tuned as I will be posting these soon!

All the best of luck to those who are waiting on results!

Sincerely,

Lisa Duncanson
Bar Exam Guru
Founder/Program Director Bar None Review and Bar Exam Cram Session
www.barnonereview.com
www.barexamcramsession.com
213-529-0990
pass@barnonereview.com

California Bar Exam: Day 1 Essays

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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: Free Workshop

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Hello all,

Thank you for following the Bar Exam Guru blog! We have now had over 870,000 views. I am humbled and grateful for your following.

If you are taking the February 2017 bar exam, you will not want to miss out on our upcoming free, “How to Pass the California Bar Exam” Workshop on November 22, 2016 from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm. This session will be held in Los Angeles.

Class fills up quickly, so be sure to reserve your space as soon as possible.

Students will receive a free copy of our Guide to Passing the California Bar Exam as well as free bar exam writing templates. The workshop will provide substantive coverage on how to successfully write for the California bar examiners. Get answers to when and where you should include California distinctions, how long is a typical passing essay answer, learn the proper form and structure of a solidly passing essay.  And, as time allows, we will discuss strategies for the Performance Test and the MBE.

Come and learn how to develop a plan for succeeding on the February 2017 bar exam. Space is limited. Reserve your space today!

BNR Classroom Image

California Bar Exam Predictions: July 2013 Bar Exam – Part Two

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Hello All,

The test is five days away.  It is normal to have some anxiety right now (okay, it is normal to have a lot of anxiety right now).  But, there is still time to review, and still time to gain a better understanding of how areas are tested, and still time to continue to memorize the law. You need to believe that in order to make the best use of the remaining time. Actively work at remaining calm and maintaining a positive attitude – it will only lead to a better study period in these next few days.

If you would like to be added to our July 2013 Bar Exam Tips Email List, click here.

A bit about writing for the California Bar Examiners and how to prepare in the final days leading up to the exam:

I highly recommend that you review as many essays as you can. Of course, continuing to work on memorization is important. But, anyone who has reviewed past California bar exam released answers will tell you that the graders’ focus is not on perfect rule statements. The bar examiners know that you can go look up a rule.  A passing answer will evidence that you know what the issues are and that you know how to resolve the legal problems. This is key.

I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t strive to write perfect or near perfect rule statement. But, it is more important to evidence a true understanding of the legal issues presented by each fact pattern and to resolve these issues to your best ability. Your focus should be on issue coverage (identifying as many of the relevant issues as possible) and on the analysis (fully explaining why something is an issue and how it could be resolved). All too often examinees write towards the answer – by this I mean that many examinees first (before writing anything) try to figure out what the correct answer is and then write towards that conclusion. A better approach is to present all possible issues and to discuss all possible resolutions of those issues.

Okay, I promised more “predictions” . . . so here we go . . .

Property – Property is a possibility. I think that Constitutional Law, Evidence and Property are all about equal in terms of the chances of each subject showing up on your next bar exam (and that Criminal Law is a possible topic that might repeat – although I do not necessarily think you are likely to have four MBE topics – but it is possible). What is most likely for Property (if it were tested): Easements is very possible (either on its own or – in a possible land sale contract setting). I also think that Covenants and Equitable Servitudes are possible.

Also, if you were to get an essay on Easements and it was in the land sale context – the scenario could go like this: Betty is granted an easement by Grant for a 20-foot road. She receives this easement by express grant, but never records. Betty uses the road and ultimately paves a thirty-foot wide road and begins using it for part residential and part commercial use. Grant sells his land (the servient tenement, the land that is burdened by the easement) to Buyer. The issues become 1) Does Betty have a valid Easement, 2) Does Buyer take the land subject to Betty’s easement etc.

The above scenario generates many discussable points. To determine whether Betty has a valid easement you should follow the Easements approach:

1. Is the easement appurtenant or in gross, 2. Is the Easement affirmative or negative easement, 3. Creation – how was the easement created (PING)? 4. Scope – what is the scope of the easement and was the scope exceeded – or was the easement overburdened? 4. Was the easement terminated.

With respect to whether Buyer takes the land subject to Betty’s easement will likely require a few discussions: 1) a discussion of notice and potentially recording act statues and 2) a potential Warranty Deed discussion where you discuss the present and future covenants. **Incidentally, I think this is as likely an essay testing scenario in Property as a straight Covenants/Equitable Servitudes essay. Bear in mind that in Property, the favorite area of testing is the area of landlord tenant. While this was tested recently, it does not mean the examiners could not do it again. It is just not my first pick for what will come your way. However, be ready for it.

Community Property – most are “predicting” community property. I do think it is very likely. There is not a lot to community property (in terms of what the California bar examiners test). So, like all subjects, you simply need to know it. However, I would be certain to know the Accounting Methods for Value Enhanced Separate Property businesses (Van Camp and Pereira). Simply know this topic. Because there is not a lot to this subject, we typically see the same issues tested over and over from one testing round to the next (transmutations come up a lot, the fiduciary duty between husband and wife and rights to equal management and control also come up a lot). In addition, I would be mindful of the following scenario (this would just be one part of a Community Property Essay): husband sells diamonds to a third party way below market value. Wife wants the diamonds back. The issues that come up are: 1) equal management and control, 2) fiduciary duty (the duty owed between husband and wife is of the highest level), 3) whether the third party buyer is a “Super BFP” (a buyer who purchased for value without notice of the marriage). Keep in mind that if the buyer paid way below market value, then they probably are not a “purchaser for value” and so whether they knew of the marriage or not, will not likely matter. You could then potentially discuss remedies – the remedies available would likely be a constructive trust or tracing (if the buyer sold the diamonds for cash). Yes, remedies concepts can show up pretty much anywhere. The key is to simply use your common sense – don’t write your answers in a vacuum – rely on both your knowledge of the law and common sense and focus on resolving the legal issues at hand (this is something that applies to all subjects).

Professional Responsibility – Professional Responsibility is tested on the essay section of the bar exam on virtually every bar examination administration. In fact, the California bar examiners have only skipped Professional Responsibility from the essay portion of the exam twice since 1994. It will be tested on either the essays or the performance test (as that is what the bar tells us – from 1994 tested every bar round on the written portion – this can be either the essays or the performance tests or both). So, not a real surprise that I would be predicting this topic. However, there are some areas that are favorites (typically) and some areas that have not been tested as recently as others. Bear in mind, there is only so much to Professional Responsibility – so the same issues repeat frequently. Therefore, a review of any of the recent Professional Responsibility Essays would be appropriate.

Professional Responsibility in the context of a corporationSome are predicting that you might see PR in the context of a corporation. The scenario is often this: where the Lawyer is representing a corporation and then a lower level employee meets with Lawyer (perhaps offsite) and confides in Lawyer about a past or ongoing fraud on the part of the corporation). This is being predicted because it is a past favorite and we haven’t seen it for a while. In this scenario the Lawyer’s client was supposed to be the corporation and now the issue or problem that arises in the facts is that Lawyer – in meeting with the lower level employee – is also the lower level employee’s attorney – that an attorney-client relationship formed when Lawyer met with lower level employee. And, of course there is now a conflict of interest. You might also have the opportunity to discuss the rules about crimes that the client has committed, is committing or is about to commit and the rules with respect to what Lawyer may or must do. This area has been tested quite a bit historically, but not recently. Therefore, it is a very likely possibility. 

Other Professional Responsibility favorites are: 1) Mom hiring attorney for her son and 2) Lawyer engaging in a sexual relationship with his/her client. All of these areas present many of the same issues: breach of the duty of loyalty, breach of the duty to give candid advice, and especially – conflict of interests. Keep in mind that when dealing with conflict of interests in Professional Responsibility, the bar examiners embrace answers that discuss both potential conflicts and actual conflicts. 

Okay, that is it for today. Remember that these are just possible scenarios. I do not have a crystal ball.

Be positive, believe in yourself, and know that you CAN do this. The bar examiners are not looking for perfection. Simply do your best and trust that you are capable and that your best will be more than good enough.

All the best,

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(213) 529-0990
barnonereview.com

Bar Exam Tip: The Most Popular Question of the Day: “What Should I Study Today”

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Hello All,

I have been asked this question by many examinees and so I thought I would take a moment to answer it here for everyone to see.

Many people are writing in asking what subjects they should study today. I recognize that the reason these individuals are asking me this question is because they think that they should study today what is most likely to show up tomorrow . . . and they are asking me because I have had a reasonably good track record of “predicting” the essay topics. Well, that is risky business . . . studying around what anyone might say is going to be on the test. First of all, I do not claim to be able to predict what you will see on the exam. I spend time coming up with what I think are possible essay scenarios (incidentally, one of my competitors is now calling it that: “possible scenarios” . . . interesting . . . but, I digress). My point is that while it feels good to go into the exam with these potential essay scenarios and it will feel even better if you see even just one of these essay scenarios tested – you should study what is the weakest subject for you.

Now, that is assuming you are studying at all today. I did not study the day before the bar exam. I planned on it, but when I got to the day before the exam, I simply decided not to study anymore. I passed. I have friends that continued to study up into the evening prior to the exam and they too passed. You really have to do what feels right for you. I personally think that you should not stay up late studying.

And, with respect to predictions and how you should study today (assuming you do study today) you should take a look over the “predicted” possible essay scenarios. But, your time should be spent reviewing any subject you would be afraid to see tomorrow – that is where you should focus.

Remember, no one has a crystal ball with respect to this exam. Therefore, while I think it helps calm students down to have some areas of focus – you should really think about the following:

1) Do I need or want to study today? (really – it is okay not to study today – sometimes rest is the best thing and just a light review of topics or no review), and – If you are planning on studying today then:

2) Focus on an area that is one that you are hoping you will not see on the essay exam. You may not be able to resolve every aspect of that topic or subject in your favor – but at least you can go into the test knowing that you gave it some extra attention close in time to the actual exam.

Above all, do things today that are good for you. Do not panic. You might say: “Easy for you to say . . . you are not taking the test tomorrow”. You are right, I am not taking the test tomorrow. But, I have taken and passed two bar exams. Some degree of panic is normal. But, do not allow it to overwhelm you. Push it away. That is imperative and will do far more for your likelihood of success on the exam than virtually anything else you could do today.

All the best to all of you who are taking the exam tomorrow! Be positive, trust your instincts and remain as calm as possible.

Best of luck!

California Bar Exam: Evidence Outline With California Distinctions

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Hello All,

We have had many requests for our Evidence Outline. As a result, we are now making our Evidence Outline available for sale outside of our bar review program. Bar None Review’s Evidence outline is the only outline available for the California bar exam that combines both the Federal Rules of Evidence and California Evidence Code into one, comprehensive outline including color coded distinctions (all California distinctions are in red and highlighted in yellow (see excerpt below).

We have done all of the work for you. The outline is easy to follow and is printed in color so that the California distinctions are easy to review. This outline is excellent both for the MBE as well as the Essay portion of the California bar exam (for the MBE portion, simply ignore the red California distinctions, for the essay portion, the California distinctions are incorporated into the body of the FRE outline where ever there is a distinction to be made).

BNR’s Evidence Outline with California Distinctions. We’ve done the work for you and incorporated all of the CEC distinctions into the Federal Rules, including Calif Prop 8.

Evidence Outline Excerpt: All California distinctions are noted in red and highlighted in yellow to make for easy review.

To order your outline, call 949-891-8831 or send an email to pass@barnonereview.com

The Evidence Outline with California Distinctions is available for $129.95 plus shipping.