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The Bar Exam. Learning for the Bar Exam Differs from learning in law school Six to seven weeks of continuous preparation 50 – 60 Hours per week (minimum)

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Presentation on theme: "The Bar Exam. Learning for the Bar Exam Differs from learning in law school Six to seven weeks of continuous preparation 50 – 60 Hours per week (minimum)"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Bar Exam

2 Learning for the Bar Exam Differs from learning in law school Six to seven weeks of continuous preparation 50 – 60 Hours per week (minimum) Two Most Popular Bar Prep Courses – BarBri and Kaplan Bar exam learning, particularly for the Multistate Examination (MBE), involves mastery of legal rules and principles in particular contexts and formats. Course-spotting (not just issue-spotting) is required. Uncertainty as to what will be tested. Requires both global (“big picture”) and sequential learning (“small details”).

3 Testing Differences Essays are different – shorter in duration (30 or 45 minutes as compared to an hour or more in law school). Call of the question is also different – In law school, professors often simply ask students to “Discuss.” The call of the question on bar exam essays is generally a complete sentence, directing students to respond in a particular manner. The MBE is a 200 question multiple choice exam that requires students to answer questions in 1.8 minute segments with four options, often two “yes” responses and two “no” responses. The amount of time each essay grader has to read each essay is typically minutes.

4 Why Students Do Not Pass Typically two general reasons why students fail the bar exam: 1) not studying enough or 2) studying ineffectively. Examples of problematic attitudes/circumstances: I’m good at cramming. I need to work/I have a family obligation. I’ll do what I did in law school; skimming and note-dumping worked okay for me there. I never did well in x course, so I am just not going to deal with it until later. I have great outlines and am taking every bar course offered. Therefore, I don’t have to write answers to practice essays or do many or any multiple choice practice questions.

5 MPRE 60 Questions (50 scored, 10 unscored) Two hours and five minutes Administered three times per year The purpose of the MPRE is to measure examinee’s knowledge and understanding of established standards related to a lawyer’s professional conduct. Costs Before regular receipt deadline - $70 After the regular receipt deadline but before the late receipt deadline - $ Administrations November 3, 2012 April 6, 2013 August 17, 2013

6 What is Tested? How? Based on the law governing the conduct of lawyers American Bar Association (ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC)) ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct (CJC)

7 MPRE - Jurisdictions of Interest Virginia requires that you take the MPRE within 2 calendar years prior to or after passing the Virginia Bar Exam New York applicants must take and pass the MPRE within 3 years either before or after passing the New York Bar Examination, measured from the date the applicant sat for each exam. Maryland does not require the MPRE. Minimum Score by Jurisdiction: Virginia - 85 New York - 85 California – 86 Pennsylvania – 75 Controlling constitutional decisions and generally accepted principles established in leading federal and state cases and in procedural and evidentiary rules. Each question contained in the MPRE provides a factual situation along with a specific question and four possible answer choices. MPRE scaled score is a standard score. Standard scaled scores range from 50 (low) to 150 (high). The mean scaled score was established at 100.

8 MBE 200 multiple choice questions, 190 of which are scored. The 10 unscored questions are being evaluated for future use. The exam is divided into morning and afternoon testing sessions of three (3) hours each, with 100 questions in each session. The 190 scored questions on the MBE are distributed as follows: 31 Con Law 33 Contracts 31 Criminal Law/Criminal Procedure 31 Evidence 31 Real Property 33 Torts

9 Example MBE Question By state law, no movie theater may admit anyone under age 18 to any movie classified as “adult” by the state ratings board. In response to a survey on the effect of adult entertainment on people under age 21, the legislature proposed to amend the statute to prohibit admission of any male under age 20 and any female under age 19 to any theater playing adult-rated movies. A theater owner operates a theater showing only adult-rated movies. Because it is located next to a college campus, he stands to lose nearly half his patronage if this statute is enacted. The theater owner brought an action in federal court to restrain its enactment, arguing that it would amount to unconstitutional sex discrimination. The court should: A) Dismiss the action for want of a case or controversy B) Dismiss the action because it does not present a substantial federal question C) Abstain from hearing the case, pending an authoritative construction of the proposed statute by a state court. D) Hear the case on its merits, because the proposed statute would deny males the equal protection of the law.

10 Example MBE Question An airline passenger nearly killed in a crash is suing the airline for personal injuries. To prove the extent of his injuries, the passenger offers a videotape taken by a local news station immediately after the crash that shows serious burns covering much of the passenger’s face. The airline moves to exclude the videotape on grounds that its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. In making his ruling, it is inappropriate for the judge to consider that: A) The videotape will make it more likely that the passenger will win the suit. B) There are other methods of proving the passenger’s damages. C) The videotape can be restricted to its proper purpose by instructing the jury to disregard any possible emotional appeal. D) The videotape will encourage the jury to decide the suit on an emotional basis.

11 “Hardest” Bars by Passage Requirement Delaware (145)* California (144) Oregon (142) Alaska (140) Idaho (140) Nevada (140) Virginia (140) * Please note the values represented on this slide (and all subsequent slides) represent a rough approximation of the score that would be required to meet the jurisdiction’s minimum passing standard. Please note that this value is not applicable to individual bar examination components, nor it used to determine actual pass/fail outcome. In addition, local grading policies, bar exam characteristics, and other statistical factors may lead to fluctuations in these values and may affect the comparability of these scores across jurisdictions.

12 Washington, DC To waive into DC from another jurisdiction, may be eligible for admission without written examination, upon: Proof of admission in another jurisdiction Proof applicant received sealed score of 133 or more on MBE taken as part of and at the same time as essay or other written exam given by other jurisdiction. Proof of MPRE passing score of at least 75 Graduate of ABA-approved law school

13 Virginia Bar Deadline for July Exam: May 10 Passage Rate First-Time Takers (July 2012): 78.95% Application Fees $775 - $375 plus $400 for Character & Fitness evaluation Minimum Passing Score: 140 MBE/Written Essay Scoring Breakdown: 40/60

14 What is Tested? 25 Subjects plus Multistate Portion Agency Conflict of Laws Constitutional Law Contracts Corporations Creditor’s Rights Criminal Law Criminal Procedure Domestic Relations Equity Evidence Federal Practice and Procedure Local Government Law Partnerships Personal Property Professional Responsibility Real Property Sales Suretyship Taxation Torts Trusts Uniform Commercial Code Virginia Pleading, Practice and Procedure (in law and equity – including appellate practice) Wills & Estate Administration

15 How is It Tested? Two day exam Day One - 9 essays and 20 short answer questions Day Two – Multistate Bar Exam

16 New York Bar Deadline for July Exam: April 30 (Application Filing Period: 4/1- 4/30) Passage Rate First-Time Takers (July 2011): 86.1% Application Fees $250 Minimum Passing Score: 133 MBE/Written Essay Scoring Breakdown: 40/60

17 What Is Tested? 17 Subjects Plus Multistate Portion Contracts Constitutional Law Criminal Law and Procedure Evidence Real Property Torts Business Relationships Conflict of Law Family Law Remedies Civil Jurisdiction and Procedure Professional Responsibility Trusts Wills and Estates UCC Articles 2, 3 and 9

18 How Is It Tested Two Day Exam Day One – New York Section – Five Essay Questions, 50 multiple choice questions and 1 MPT question Day Two – Multistate Bar Exam

19 Maryland Bar Deadline for July Exam: January 16 (Normal) or May 20 (Late). Passage Rate First-Time Takers (July 2011): 82% Application Fees $225/$275 for late deadline (5/20) Minimum Passing Score: MBE/Written Essay Scoring Breakdown: 33/67* *67% is broken into 58% MEE and/or local essay and 8.7% MPT

20 What is Tested? 12 Subjects Plus Multistate Portion Agency Business Associations Commercial Transactions Constitutional Law Contracts Criminal Law and Procedure Evidence Family Law Maryland Civil Procedure Professional Responsibility Property Torts

21 How Is It Tested? Two Day Exam Day One – Maryland Portion – 10 Essay Questions and 1 MPT. Morning session is the MPT and essay questions 1-3. The afternoon session is questions minutes is recommended for each of the essay questions. 90 minutes is recommended for the MPT. Day Two Multistate Bar Exam.

22 California Bar Deadline for July Exam: April 1. Applications may be filed late with an additional fee but no later than June 15. Passage Rate First-Time Takers (July 2011): 74% Application Fees $614 (plus other fees) Minimum Passing Score: 144 MBE/Written Essay Scoring Breakdown: 35/65* *39 MEE and/or local essay and 26 MPT

23 What Is Tested? 16 Subjects Plus Multistate Portion Business Associations Civil Procedure Community Property Constitutional Law Contracts Criminal Law and Procedure Evidence Professional Responsibility Real Property Remedies Torts Trusts Uniform Commercial Code 1, 2, 9 (Fixtures) Wills and Succession

24 How Is It Tested? Three Days, Three Parts 6 Essay Questions, the MBE and 2 MPTs. Tuesday – 3 Essay Questions in the morning (3 Hours) and 1 MPT in the afternoon (3 Hours) Wednesday – MBE Thursday – 3 Essay Questions in the morning (3 Hours) and 1 MPT in the afternoon (3 hours)

25 Pennsylvania Bar Deadline for July Exam: April 15. Three additional late filing deadlines with escalating fees accepted until May 30. Passage Rate First-Time Takers (July 2011): 85% Application Fees $500 Minimum Passing Score: 136 MBE/Written Essay Scoring Breakdown: 45/55

26 What Is Tested? Business Organizations Employment Discrimination Professional Responsibility Civil Procedure (Pennsylvania and Federal) Evidence (Pennsylvania and Federal) Real Property Criminal Law (Pennsylvania and Federal Constitutional Issues) Family Law Torts Conflict of Laws Federal Constitutional Law UCC Art. 2 – Sales Contracts Federal Income Taxes Wills, Trusts and Decedents’ Estates

27 How Is It Tested? Two Day Exam Six Essay Questions, Performance Test (90 Minutes, Pennsylvania uses its own) and MBE Day One – Six Essays and PT Day Two – Multistate Bar Exam

28 North Carolina Bar Deadline for July Exam: First filing deadline for July Exam is January 3 rd (postmarked). Late Deadline is March 6. Passage Rate First-Time Takers (July 2011): 82% Application Fees $700 (plus $250 if choose late deadline) Minimum Passing Score: MBE/Written Essay Scoring Breakdown: 40/60 MPRE – 2 years before exam, 1 year after (Min. Score – 80)

29 What Is Tested? Business Association Civil Procedure Constitutional Law Contracts Criminal Law and Procedure Evidence Family Law Legal Ethics Real Property Secured Transactions (including the UCC) Taxation Torts Trusts, Wills, Decedents’ Estate Equity

30 How Is It Tested? Two Day Exam Day One – 12 Essays Day Two – Multistate Bar Exam

31 Georgia Bar Deadline for July Exam: Two Steps – Regular Fitness Application Deadline is December 5. Late Fitness Application Deadline is March 6 (late fee required). Bar exam application filing deadline (post- Fitness review) is June 5 Passage Rate First-Time Takers (July 2011): 84% Application Fees: $500/$700 (plus $350 (GA Bar) plus $82 (NCBE)) Minimum Passing Score: 135 MBE/Written Essay Scoring Breakdown: 50/50 MPRE – Minimum score 75

32 What Is Tested? Contracts Torts Property Constitutional Law Evidence Business Organizations UCC Articles 2, 3 and 9 Criminal Law and Procedure Federal Practice and Procedure Georgia Practice and Procedure Non-Monetary (Equitable) Remedies Wills, Trusts and Estates Professional Ethics

33 How Is It Tested? Two Day Exam Day One – 4 Essay Questions and 2 MPT Questions Day Two – Multistate Bar Exam

34 Florida Bar Deadline for July Exam: May 1 (June 1 with $325 late fee, June 15 with $625 late fee) Passage Rate First-Time Takers (July 2011): 80% Application Fees: $1,000. Other fees depend upon timing of registration and filing of application. Minimum Passing Score: 136 MBE/Written Essay Scoring Breakdown: 50/50 MPRE – Must be taken within 25 months of the date of the administration of any part of the examination that is passed. Minimum score 80.

35 What Is Tested? Contracts Torts Property Constitutional Law Evidence Business Organizations UCC Articles 2, 3 and 9 Criminal Law and Procedure Federal Practice and Procedure Georgia Practice and Procedure Non-Monetary (Equitable) Remedies Wills, Trusts and Estates Professional Ethics

36 How Is It Tested? Two Day Exam Day One – Part A consists of three hours spent answering essay questions and three hours of 100 multiple choice questions. Day Two – Part B is Multistate Bar Exam

37 Bar Exam Resources National Conference of Bar Examiners has a webpage that details admissions requirements for all bar exams in the country: GuideCompGuide.pdf GuideCompGuide.pdf Bar Passage Rates for 2011: stics.pdf stics.pdf


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