Archive for January, 2010

The Bar Exam Writing Process

Posted in Uncategorized on January 31, 2010 by barprofs

Once you read the fact pattern, you will organize your essay, then you must analyze.

This is where you make the outline looking for issues. Look back to the fact pattern for facts which should be used for applying the law and then you can apply the facts to the law.

The Keys to Passing the Essay Portion of the Bar Exam: The System

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2010 by barprofs

First, to be successful on the essay portion of the bar exam, you must organize your essays.

Once you read the fact pattern, you will organize your essay, then you must analyze.

This is where you make the outline looking for issues. Look back to the fact pattern for facts which should be used for applying the law and then you can apply the facts to the law.

The Bar Examiners Have No New Tricks on the Multistate Portion of the Bar Exam

Posted in Uncategorized on January 26, 2010 by barprofs

The Bar Examiners frequently test the same areas over and over again.  Part of your preparation for the bar exam is knowing the areas in which the Bar Examiners like to test.  Here are some of the more heavily tested areas on the Multistate.

Constitutional Law

Individual rights matter a lot.  These range from Equal Protection, to Due Process, to the Privileges and Immunities Clause to, of course, the First Amendment

Property

Property law covers a wide variety of subjects and often feels like a fast road trip through ten states in five days.  While basic Property concepts, such as easements, covenants, adverse possession, estates in land and future interests, are covered, the examiners have taken a liking to mortgages in recent years.  For many students, mortgages were not even included in their basic property class.

Contracts

The most tested area in contracts is basic formation issues.  Conditions and remedies also matter.  Also, memorize third party beneficiaries.

Torts

Torts on the bar exam emphasizes negligence, just like in law school.  Of course, negligence comes in many shapes and hues, including negligence per se, res ipsa loquitur and differing standards of care.

Evidence

When you think of evidence the only thing that should be ringing in your ears is the word hearsay.  The vast expense of hearsay requires knowledge of what out-of-court assertions are not hearsay, as well as what statements fall within the exceptions.  The Best Evidence Rule is on the exam, but not a highlight for examiners.

Criminal Law and Procedure

It is important to know search and seizure issues from the Fourth Amendment as well as Miranda issues from the Fifth Amendment and right to counsel issues from the Sixth Amendment.  Also focus on common law crimes, such as criminal homicide.

29 Days Until the Bar Exam: Strategies for the Performance Test – California and Multistate

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24, 2010 by barprofs

The California Performance Test and the Multistate Performance Test (the MPT) is designed to test your proficiency in the basic skills you’ve developed in the course of your legal education and not just your ability to memorize.  The goal of the MPT is to test an applicant’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation.  It seeks to evaluate your ability to complete a task which a beginning lawyer should be able to accomplish.

In most jurisdictions, you’ll have 90 minutes to read through 15 to 25 pages, analyze the problem, outline an answer, and write a response.  In California, you’ll see one long MPT for 3 hours.  Thus, the MPT is a test of your ability to work within time constraints and remain focused and organized.

The MPT tests the following:

1)      Reading Comprehension

You must read proactively, with a critical eye toward solving a specific problem rather than answering a professor’s questions in class.  You must read carefully and quickly, while you search for useful information and answers to the particular issue you’ve been asked to resolve.

2)      Organizational Skills

You must organize your time and the materials effectively to complete the required task in the time allowed.  The MPT is extremely time-sensitive.  You must analyze an assortment of unfamiliar materials and compose either a memorandum of law, a letter to a client, a persuasive brief, a contract provision, a will, a settlement proposal, a discovery plan, or a closing argument, to list but a few of the possibilities.

3)      Communication Skills

You must write concisely, coherently, and in  a tone and manner consistent with the nature of the assignment.  You must demonstrate your mastery of the language of the law and convince the bar examination that you “sound” like an attorney ready to begin the practice of law.

4)      Ability to Follow Directions

The MPT is task-specific.  You must perform the task identified to receive credit.   If you are instructed to write a letter to the client, do that.  Do not do a brief or a memo; write the letter.  Show the bar examiners that you can read and follow directions.

Essay Writing for the Bar Exam – Organization and Analysis

Posted in Uncategorized on January 22, 2010 by barprofs

In order to write a successful essay answer you must learn to organize your answer as your analyze the fact pattern.

Once you read the fact pattern, you will organize your essay, then you must analyze.

This is where you make the outline looking for issues. Look back to the fact pattern for facts which should be used for applying the law and then you can apply the facts to the law.

Bar Exam Examiners and Essay Writing

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2010 by barprofs

Once you organize your essays,  then you must analyze.

Look through the fact pattern for facts which should be used for applying the law.

Then, start writing your analysis, blending the law with the facts.

Know the Black Letter Law and Test Your Way to Success on the Bar Exam

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2010 by barprofs

In addition to putting in the study time, you need to learn how to maximize your study time. How do you go about getting the biggest bang out of your study time? 

First, build a good, solid foundation of the black letter law.  In order to have a good foundation, you must review each bar exam subject.  Go through each subject, one by one and absorb each subject as best you can.  As you go through the subject, make sure you understand the basic law before you move on.

To build a foundation of the law, you need to break the subject areas into more manageable components.  Break your subject into topics. And go through the elements of the topics of each subject.

What I mean by that is to take a subject, like Torts.  Then break the Tort subject down to topics, i.e. Negligence.   Do you know all the elements of negligence?  Do you know the elements of battery?  You can outline it and/or make sure you know it by heart before you move on.  You can do that memorization by reciting it or writing it down without looking at your notes or outlines.

Once you feel you know that topic, do a few essay questions and some MBE on that topic just so you know you have it.   

Don’t scatter-shoot your studying.  Learn the topic thoroughly before you move on to your next topic in the subject area.  Don’t go through the topics of the subject areas all at once, i.e. don’t go through battery, assault, false imprisonment and not know each one by heart.  Stop at battery, recite it, do some MBE and then move to assault, and false imprisonment and the other topics of Torts.  Do this for every topic in every subject.  You do not want to read your subject outlines like a novel. 

Read, learn, recite, memorize, test yourself and move on.

Study Your Way to the Bar Exam

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2010 by barprofs

Today marks 41 days to the February bar exam.  Study, sleep, eat, and exercise. That is all you should do.  The temptation to stray or take a few hours or few days off will be with you for the next 41 days.  You will be tempted at every turn to allow distractions from studying.  Well-meaning people who love you will say, “Oh but it’s just one party, one night.  You’re studying all day; you can take off this one night.  It means so much to me….”  Resist those voices.  That same person who wants you to take time off will not be around or will not understand your devastation when you fail the bar exam.  Accept that you have 41 days of study ahead of you. In the scheme of your lifetime, the next 41 days are  not a lot of time to get yourself ready or to sacrifice to get yourself ready.  It’s worth your time to have a lifetime career as a lawyer. 

 It’s all about getting yourself ready for the best performance of your life in February.  Keep your focus.

Happy Studying!!!

The First Week of January – Do You Know Where Your Bar Exam Books Are?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 5, 2010 by barprofs

It’s time for you to start studying for the February Bar Exam now.  There are 7 weeks left to the start of the bar.  In 7 weeks you will be sitting for the first day of the bar exam – and, as you know, the first day is the state portion of the bar which consists of essays, short answers, multiple choice or performance tests.

In order to pass the bar, you need two things:  time-management and discipline.  Sticking to a study plan will conquer both requirements.  Thorough preparation is the key to passing the exam and having a plan in place will allow you to manage your time and using your discipline to stick to the study schedule. For a plan to work, you have to address your learning style as well as the substantive areas you will be tested on.

What do I mean by learning style?  Ask yourself, how do you learn?  What worked for you in law school?  Some people like reading outlines, some like to do practice questions and then read the answer explanations, some like to do their own outlines, or make up flashcards.  You should know the answer to this question by now.  How do you best learn or memorize the substantive law?  Also, ask yourself, when do you best learn?  Know all of that before you write your study plan. 

 For your study plan, you should first start with relearning and reviewing the outlines with some practice questions thrown in and as you pick up the pace, you’ll reverse it and do more practice questions and essays and only use your outlines for clarification on questions you get wrong or confused about. 

In the beginning, you are going to struggle with the voluminous materials, but keep at it and keep pushing the pace.  It’s like training for a race.  You first have to struggle through the repetition until it starts feeling right and you start performing at your optimal level.

Be realistic with your goals and your study habits.  For example, you can’t go throughout the entire day with no lunch or no exercise or no breaks because you were unrealistic in the time aspect of your plan.  You have to write a study plan that suits you and your personality without slacking off.

Don’t ignore your weak areas or your strong areas.  You may not need to schedule as much time in your stronger subjects, but review them as consistently as you do all the other subjects.  You may not need to read or reread the outlines of your strong subjects, but during those time periods, practice your questions.  You may need those extra points on the bar.  For your weaker subjects, don’t spend too much time obsessing on your lack of knowledge or take away from other subjects you also need to study; and do not ignore your weak subjects.  All bar examinees have weak subjects.  Again, spend time on those subjects as you would other subjects and just keep practicing.  You’ll be surprised at how much you really do know in those weak subjects. 

Where should you study?  Make sure wherever you go that it is quiet.  Turn off the phone, the text messaging, and the internet.  This is too important for you and your career to be easily distracted.  Let’s face it – none of us what to spend the next 7 weeks in constant study – it’s torture.   Just remember this is your career you are talking about.  You sacrificed to go to law school, you can sacrifice for the next 7 weeks and you’ll be a lawyer for the rest of your career.

If this is your second or multiple time taking the bar, get a bar tutor now.  Don’t fool around hoping you’ll do better the next time.  Hire a bar tutor and pass the bar.

Please note Bar Professors offers private tutorial for the Florida 2010 bar.  Send inquires to pass@barprofessors.com.