Let me say up front that if I end up with a score of less than 1440, it will be because of my performance on the PTs. On PT-A, I had no trouble finding the issues but I only left myself 75 or 80 minutes to write and I failed to control my tendency to elaborate on my reasoning. I’ve been so conditioned to not be conclusionary that I struggle to find a point past which further explanation is redundant, and therefore damaging to my cause.
Anyway, I decided that I wasn’t going to make the same mistake on PT-B so I went through it, determined to develop my attack plan in just over an hour. And I succeeded. I had two hours to write. Good Idea? We'll see. The challenge I found in that problem was that, at first glance, everything seemed to be material. I refocused my efforts after I started writing but I still wasted time on making my case for every claim I brought. I could/should have been more concise. But I think I did the right thing by attacking the capacity/marriage/annulment issue first. The other two items; the codicil and the rest of the estate, were handled by statute and didn’t require much discussion beyond recitation of the code and an explanation as to what result would occur.
Or, at least, that’s the way I handled it. I really have no clue as to what kind of score I’ll get on those. I hope it’s at least a 60, but if it’s that low on both then I’m sure I’ll be taking it again.
Can I get a “Blah?”
And now, on to the essays…
I went into the morning session with then intent to kick Major Bar Butt. But I couldn't find a Major so I settled for the closest 2nd Lieutenant I could sneak up behind. (;-)> I knew I needed to score some big points. Obviously, intent has nothing to do with reality but it speaks to my state of mind.
When I opened up the first essay I was surprised to see a Crim Law fact pattern in essay 4, with a murder call to boot! Everyone, and I mean “Everyone!” thought Crim Law had been hit hard in February so they wouldn’t have to bring it up in July in order to make room for the new stuff. Well… so much for conventional wisdom. I then looked at essay 5 and 6 and decided that I was going to rock this thing. Hey, sometimes it’s easier to be delusional than it is to be realistic.
Essay 1 – Criminal Law (murder)/Con Law (1st Am., free speech)
I started the first one by describing CL murder as an unlawful homicide with malice. I skipped the in-depth homicide explanation because it didn’t seem appropriate there so I just included it in the definition of murder. I went through the malice stuff and explained why I didn’t think it was present in any form. Then I defined 1st degree murder and said that P’s representative would claim that felony murder applied because of the “arson”. I then had D rebutting with the lack of malice, or even recklessness, not to mention the rest of the prima facie elements of arson, both at CL and ML. Next I had P’s rep claiming liability per se because of the statute violation, which D defeated by noting that this was not the harm the statute was designed to prevent.
I talked about voluntary manslaughter and dismissed it, then involuntary manslaughter and said maybe.
I forget exactly which way I went on the statute violation itself but I think I said he could be found liable because mistake of fact is no defense. Even if he only actually burned the Declaration of Independence, he thought it was the Constitution, and it would have been a crime but for that mistake so “guilty”.
Regarding the Con Law calls, I went through content related restrictions, protected and unprotected speech, and said the state needed a reason that was substantially related to a compelling state interest, and that wasn’t present. I then talked about conduct related, reasonable time, place, manner, restrictions and mentioned rational relationship to a legitimate state interest. And I forget on whose side I came down there. Probably the state’s. It didn’t appear that the state legislature was in session because there were only a few passersby and the steps of the capital building (or whatever it was) are a traditional public forum and despite the fact that he might have been more effective protesting federal spending in DC, he was within his rights to do it here.
Or something to that effect.
Essay 2 – Agency/Contracts
I opened this one up and immediately saw Agency. I know there have been different descriptions of what this was, but that’s what I saw.
I started by defining Specific Performance. At least, I started that way. I think my shaky definition started to veer towards sounding like an injunction so I stopped and hoped I’d remember it later, and that if I didn’t remember any more of it later, that what I had put down was sufficient.
Then I described how an Agency is formed and went into the fact pattern. I had a hard time deciding which way to go with this but I recognized the importance of talking about the contract through the filter of the Agency. My answer looked more like some of the old style (70’s and 80’s) answers in that it wasn’t the typical Contracts rule/element driven answer but more of an event driven answer with the pertinent rules woven in for emphasis.
I just went with my gut on this one. I truly adopted the attitude of, “Screw it. You know what you’re talking about. Just tell the grader what you see here.” I’ll probably read it in January and say, “What the hell was I thinking?!?”
But I talked about elements of the agency relationship and the fraud and misrep of the, what I thought was material, issue of Sally’s desire that the painting remain in private hands. And at the end, I tried to prove a writing enforceable by the statute of frauds through the check. But in the end I think Sally kept the painting.
Essay 3 – Community Property/Partnership/(Professional Responsibility?)
The CP fact pattern was easy to spot. I didn’t see the partnership element until after time was called but I did talk about the Firm’s fraud and H’s attempted improper gift of CP and W’s ability to get it back. I hope that was enough of a peripheral nod to the issue that the graders will give me partial credit for seeing it. Then I think that I should probably have mentioned PR in there because it was a law firm and they were acting badly. But, I had no time and, again, I hope what I did discuss was enough to tip the graders that I was going there. We’ll see,
The child support was basic. I talked about it being an SP debt that the CP could get reimbursement for and that the act of putting CP money into the account in H’s name only was not a valid transmutation because it was post-‘84 and a writing was needed.
Tuition was reimbursable to the CP at 50% because 5 years had passed since graduation. I think I said that the court would reimburse based on the entire balance because it was paid using CP funds. I'm not sure that my reasoning was clear on this but I think I came to the correct disposition. And while some subjects don't require a correct conclusion, I believe it's important in CP to get that right.
The law degree is obviously H’s SP. But W’s spousal support would be increased because of the imbalance. Again, a little fuzzy now. I know it was only 24 hours ago that I was writing the darn thing, but it seems like it was so very long ago. And it wasn’t the tequila because I had to drive home and the last thing I need is to get a DUI on the way home from the Bar exam, although I’m sure it’s happened.
And then I closed with the bad faith of H and the firm. That’s where I see that some PR could have been discussed, but I didn’t tumble to that until later.
And so ends the journey of The Grand Poobah, "To and through the July 2007 California Bar Exam."
I've enjoyed this blogging experience and I'll keep posting until ... I stop, I suppose. But that's likely to be down the road a ways. I've still got to find a job. If anyone out there knows of someone who's looking for a 1st career IT guy/2nd career attorney (soon to be, knock on my pine noggin'), please point them in my direction. I'll work for peanuts. Solid gold peanuts. Or silver if there's enough of 'em. Of course, cash is good too.
Thank God the Bar Exam is over. Now we can get on with the rest of our lives. And let's hope "the rest of our lives" doesn't include the Feb '08 exam (knocking.)
Again, please feel free to opine on my hazy recollections, and remember to "Mind the Gap". I mean, mind the prohibition against salty language and defamation.