Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's In Ink Now

Lisa Duncanson at Bar None Review is going to help me figure out what's wrong with my writing. I like her style because she's not trying to make me completely change my writing to fit what she understands to be what the Bar is looking for. Her plan is to leverage my strengths, eliminate my weaknesses, and guide me towards a writing structure and presentation style that will consistently earn me a passing score.

As we work through this I'll get additional objective feedback from [edit] I'll combine Lisa's feedback with the comments I get from BarGraders' to fine tune my answers. [/edit]

It sounds great at this early date. So far, so good.

For MBEs, I liked the Emanuel program when I used them for the July exam and they helped me get thirteen more questions correct than I did on the February exam.

Regarding the Performance Exams, I'm just going to have to read and outline as many as I can. I don't think any remedial program is going to address my problem there, which I perceive to be simply a matter of inexperience. More exposure is the key, even if I do think it's indecent.

I've begun to integrate the stress reducing audio program into my down time. Time will tell how effective it will be, but I have high hopes for the content developed by the ladies over at PowerDreams. Especially because much of it is personalized, similar to the programs developed by good hypnotists. The difference with this program is that it's much more bar-exam specific.

I've posted links to Lisa's BarNoneReview and to the PowerDreams site on the blog. They're not exactly ads because I don't get click-through compensation. And they didn't ask for the space, I went to them and asked for permission to give them a plug. When they agreed, up they went. Check 'em out if you're interested.


Blogger said...

Hey Neighbor,

I wish you all the best on your journey. You are certainly competent, and if I had to guess, you probably had the same problem I did: packaging. If you don't package it the way the graders want, I think their subconsciousness requires them to issue a 55.

If there is anything I can ever do to help (other than give you well wishes and prayers), any books you want to borrow, etc., please let me know.

Keep your spirits up! And merry Christmas!

Liz said...

Merry Christmas to you!

Thanks for posting about the PowerDreams site. I know my anxiety was killing me during the exam, it's good to know about this company.

Andrew said...

is this the last time you are going to take the exam?

The Grand Poobah said...

Hey Neighbor: Thanks very much! I'll let you know. (;-)>

Andrew: Yes, because I intend to pass it this time.

Alexandria said...

I hope so Grand Poobar.

I took it without back in 2007

Anonymous said...

Hey GP,

Glad to see you are hanging tough.

I won't dispense any really serious advice, as you seem to have a pretty good plan.

I will give you one handy MBE tip:

Blackening, smoke damage, and explosions without combustion do not meet the element of "burning" needed for arson.

"Charring," however, is a burning.

For whatever reason, this topic was tested on every administration of the MBE that I took.

Best of Luck,
Burning Man

Andrew said...


good luck. We will be praying for you. You deserve after all this!!!

Anonymous said...

Did you happen to see this link on Cal Bar's web site. Saw it and immediately thought of you. Good luck in your studies. You can do it!!!

Anonymous said...

Good luck Grand Poobah! I have followed your blog quietly because I found myself in the same boat and could relate to your bar experience. Wish you had posted the bar tutors you were considering because I would have steered you clear of BarNone and Lisa Duncanson. There were many problems that we experienced with her from her writing template books to her unavailability. I sincerely wish that your experience will be better than mine and my classmates. None of us passed in that administration and when we confronted her about our experience, she was nothing short of hostile. Big difference from when she recruited us. I hope your experience is a million times better and that Lisa attends to all your needs! Hopefully she will work hard for your benefit in spite of this post! :)

Hopefully she gave you a nice discount for the indirect endorsement of her program too!

The Grand Poobah said...

Anon: 8:17: I understand that everyone has a different learning style, and that a particular tutor's style doesn't fit every one of us, but when a tutor doesn't work for me I usually leave room in my criticism to allow that my experience may not have been representative.

What works for me may not work for someone else, and vice versa. Rarely is a tutor as universally ineffective as you have portrayed in your comment.

The market has a tendency to weed out those who can't perform, and Lisa has been in this business for a long time despite her apparently minuscule advertising budget.

I like her style so far. And if she's the one who gets me past this damn exam then I'll be directly endorsing her for as long as my blog exists.

Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

A side comment: This is no reference to Bar None because I know nothing about them, other than their website and I was impressed with the critiquing of the essay sample that was shown.

However, there is a dilemma that we face as bar exam candidates. The market doesn't appear to weed out the charlatans--AND THERE ARE MANY.

I truly believe that the Bar should regulate the Bar tutor profession, because a lot are simply con artists and defensive about it.

Anonymous said...

Hello. My name is Lisa Duncanson and I am the owner and founder of Bar None Review.

I am specifically responding to the "Anonymous" posting of January 2nd where Anonymous said that he or she took our program and that no one in our class passed the bar. Furthermore, he or she states that I was "hostile" when "they" confronted me.

These statements are completely untrue. I don't know which part of the person's comments are more offensive - the claim that I was "nothing more than hostile" or the claim that none of my students passed the bar exam.

I will say this, however, neither statement made by Anonymous is true, nor could either statement be a more inaccurate characterization of the success of my company, my students or of my personal character.

There are many other points in "Anonymous's" comment that actually suggest to me they never actually took our program.

One such example is "Anonymous's" claim that "There were many problems that we experienced with her from her writing template books to her unavailability".

First of all we do not have "writing template books" as "Anonymous" suggests. We have one writing template book that includes exam writing templates for each bar tested subject. Perhaps they meant "book" and not "books" but, I am a stickler for the details and the details of this person's comments just don't bear out that they have actually attended my program.

Second, anyone who has taken our course or is currently taking our course can attest to my availability. We are available seven days a week during the bar exam review period. Our students not only know this, they benefit greatly from it.

I can not comment about any of the alleged "problems" "Anonymous" claims to have about our exam writing templates, because they do not cite to anything specific (kind of convenient).

But, I can tell you the following: 1) the University of California, Hastings Law School Bookstore sells 14 of our books on essay writing (as do many other law bookstores), 2) Western State University, College of Law uses one of our texts as a required textbook for their "Basic Bar Review Studies Class" (a semester long course taken by students in their last semester of law school), 3) we do not "recruit" students - instead, our students predominantly come to us via word of mouth as referrals from our past students or from the many law firms that send their law clerks preparing for the bar exam to us.

Not only is the above true, we are the bar review choice of several law firms who pay for their new hires' bar review prep.

I did not graduate from a law school where I was likely to be hired by a big law firm that would pay for my bar review course. But, I am, however, very proud to say that my company does today get hired by these very firms to provide bar review to their new hires and to their out of state attorneys.

Still, the most satisfying endorsements are not those that come from law firms or law schools, but instead are those that come from the students with whom I have had honor of being the person who helped them pass the bar exam (whether it was on their first attempt or coming to me after years of frustrating failures taking the bar).

I will now return to the exams that I must grade for my students because I have promised to return the exams they wrote in todays class by tomorrow. That is my number one goal.

Please feel free to visit my blog (although during bar review I do not have a lot of time to post). But, I will endeavor to do more as time allows.

Incidentally, I did not ask The Grand Poobah to remove the negative posting about me and my company. Instead, i chose to respond as I have done here.

Best wishes to everyone here who is studying for the bar.

Best regards,
Lisa Duncanson
Bar None Review

The Grand Poobah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Grand Poobah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Grand Poobah said...

This is a re-post of the comment I deleted just above. I edited out my reference to JDJinx in the because I had associated it with the late, unlamented, discussion group called 'JDJive'. I think that was the name of that now expired toxic group.

Anyway, JDJinx is a pleasant and useful group that is genuinely beneficial to its members. I still have a link to it on this blog.

I just wanted to clear that up.

I return you now to the regularly scheduled program. (;-)>


Alrighty then ... I'm glad Lisa responded to the negative comments made by "Anonymous."

Now, because I don't want this blog to degenerate into a JDJive-type affair, any further anonymous pointed criticisms of bar prep programs will be deleted out of hand.

If someone wants to make specific criticisms or complaints about a particular bar prep related program or resource, feel free to do so, as long as you; 1) provide facts to back up your allegations; 2) clearly identify yourself, and; 3) provide a legitimate way for others to contact you to verify your issues or clear up misundercomprehensionisms. (;-)>

Otherwise, general opinions and observations are fine, as long as they remain just that - general. When complaints get specific, things get ugly. And on this blog ugly is something, up with which, I will not put. (;-)>