Saturday, May 16, 2009

Anon 8:35: LOL! Crack me up, you do! I know that your sentiment applies to all of us here, not just me. None of us are going to let the freakin' Committee of Bar Examiners tell us that we can't practice law in California.

This weekend is going to be difficult for a lot of good people who are eventually going to be very good lawyers. The State Bar lets us take the exam until we pass for a good reason. They recognize that the essence of a good lawyer is not measured solely by how many time it takes us to pass the bar exam.

I'll bet that the statistics would show, if anyone has compiled them, that first time passers are disbarred at a greater rate than multiple takers. By that statement I don't mean to cast doubt on the integrity of first-time passers; many of my closest friends are first-time passers. (;-)> In fact, if I ever pass this thing, I'm going to join up with my buddy Paul to form our own little law firm and he was a first-time passer (the bastard!) I'm also going to work with Jonathan Kramer who was a multiple taker like myself. Jonathan persevered and won out over the odds, as will we.

We can't give these little setbacks more control over our lives than they deserve. There is nothing wrong with our exam-taking skills. We should not attempt to adjust our program. We control our analysis. If we wish to make it more broadly applicable, we will explain how the issue and the rule apply to the facts. If we wish to make it more specific, we will cite the appropriate precedent. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the answer, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the three hour session, we will sit quietly and control all that we see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with our exam-taking skills. We are participating in a great adventure. We are experiencing the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... Passage of the California Bar Exam!

Okay, so I plagiarized the Outer Limits opening commentary just a bit there. That doesn't make it any less applicable. The only limits to what we can accomplish are those which we place upon ourselves.

Seriously. The sky is the limit. Push hard. Now.


APGIC said...

GP, I highly recommend putting everything else aside and going with LECC. My friends and I all passed on the 2nd try and I really believe we all owe it to the LECC flash cards and methods.

I graduated from an ABA law school, passed on the second try, worked like a horse for ten months, and got laid off two weeks ago. I am close to $150,000 in debt and freaked out over all the bills!!! Life is not all rosy after the bar pass!

You will definitely pass this time around. This girl from my school passed on her 9th try. She never gave up and kept on trying. It will happen when it is time for it to happen.

Anonymous said...

Hey GP, you'll eventually get it. Here's another abraham lincoln who took 14 times but eventually got it. Very inspirational video.

Anonymous said...

There is something "wrong" with your exam taking skills. If it was right you wouldn't be in this situation.Start studying now. Work on the concepts, start practicing your MBE's and performances. I suggest you look over the Barbri essays book and write the way they do. Just do what the bar wants you to do and you will pass.

Grand Poobah
Attorney at Law
You can do it.

Marsha said...

GP, I wish you the best. I don't know what "the best" is for you or how to achieve it - but you are a decent guy and very dedicated. Good luck to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I took the Feb 09 CBX and was fortunate enough to have passed on the first attempt. I am convinced after reading your blog entries that you are in fact an excellent writer.

If I had to guess, I would say that you typically do well enough on the PT's to pass but are brought down by the Essays and MBE's because you haven't memorized enough law. The bar is pretty much a memorization exercise; the key as other people have said is to hit a lot of issues in a very superficial way. The exception of course is the MBE, where the questions often turn on minor exceptions to a rule.

I am convinced that this test is not a reflection of intelligence. Indeed, I think someone who never went to law school could pass if they put in the recquisite time. I think the root of your problems is just not having enough time to properly prep: if you can resolve this, you will pass.

Anonymous said...

many are giving this sentiment and I agree....

I did pass. first time (already an atty in Arizona (took me twice there). And this site helped me keep my sanity. I felt so depressed on the Tuesday night of the exam, assuming I tanked the PT. I googled around in my hotel room, hoping to find some comments. I found this site, and it calmed my nerves. It really helped me get thru the remaining days, realizing how many people are in the same boat, especially I came from out of state and don't know anyone.

And to be honest, I was pretty sure I failed. I figured if I passed, you would. So you just don't know. Sucks you didn't, but I am sure you will. My heart goes out.

Anonymous said...

A couple of questions to those who will share:

I used PMBR last time for MBE prep which was ok. Anyone have any experience with Rigos or Bar in a box versus PMBR? Any thoughts on the pro's or con's of each? How many total practice questions do you do?

What a good daily benchmarks? Should I be doing 25, 35 or 50 MBE's a day and analyzing them or more. What about essays? Anyone use the Adachi book? How many essays do you write? How many essays do you write a day?

How many PT's do you do and how do you prepare for that gem of absurd exercises?

How many hours do you study and how many days a week?

Much is made about the memorization of the bar law. So what do you do to memorize? Flashcards or writing out definitions or what?

Does anyone really bother with reading the outlines? Do you read them and ditch them or do you refer back if you miss in various areas?

I appreciate any help anyone can offer...can't afford a tutor. Thanks...

Blogger said...

Hey Neighbor,

My heart sank for you when I read your post. There's nothing that I can say that could make you feel better. And I know that from experience. But I am sorry.

I am so proud of you for having the courage and strength for facing it again. That kind of perseverance is a quality that will make you a great lawyer. If there is anything at all that I can do, please do not hesitate to contact me. I still have my books, and you're welcome to them if you think they can help you.

I believe in you, and keep the faith. And again, if I can help, please email me.


Your neighbor.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:59 --

Wow, a lot of questions. I'll offer you one man's opinion.

Short version of my answer:

50 MBE's per day x 6 days, one essay per day x 6 days, one PT on Sunday mornings, and take Sunday afternoon and evening off. Spend the last two weeks memorizing your outlines, one topic per day. You must be able to recite the outlines.

Long version:

I failed the bar twice, and then passed on the third attempt after taking a survey of the bar landscape and seeing what the various recommendations were.

You should be doing 50 MBE's daily and keeping a journal of how you are doing on various topics. You should always review your incorrect answers AT THE END, and then write down the rules that you didn't know in your journal. Study your journal a little bit every day. I only ever used PMBR.

I believe you should be doing one PT per week. I strongly suggest taking a course like BarBri's Performance Advantage, or at the very least, buying one of the many study-aids out there.

You should also be writing one essay per day. will grade one of your essays for free - I'd check them out.

As far as hours per day go, there is no magic number. You just need to spend enough hours to do one essay, 50 MBE's plus journaling, and one weekly PT, plus the memorizing phase (below).

Memorizing: REALLY important. You need some outlines that you can understand. Adachi's law charts were too cryptic for me - I had to translate the shorthand the entire time I was memorizing. [Let me qualify that by adding that Jeff Adachi is a highly acclaimed expert in the area and a really great guy. I liked everything about his course, just not the charts]. So get some good outlines, and MEMORIZE them. You should be able to recite them for the most part.

Finally, I know you said that you couldn't afford a tutor, so let me recommend a book: WINNIN' TIME by Steve Harris. [] The outlines in there are already translated into plain English sentences that makes them easily memorizable.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

To GP and all other repeat takers:

Have any of you tried becoming a professional athlete or a professional entertainer by any chance? No, this is a serious question mind you! Because for some repeat takers, you have the same chance of becoming a Michael jordan or a Robert DeNiro as you do becoming a lawyer. Look, don't take this to herat, but not all of you that are trying to become lawyers, deserve to be lawyers. Passing the exam does attribute to having a bit of a God given talent also, don't fool yourselves. Find somethin you really are good at and do that instead. Quit trying to boost your EGGOOOSSSS by saying to yourselves over and over, that you have to defeat this monster exam. listen even if you did, you probably would suck as a lawyer. So move on and quit crying the blues in this blog every six months.....

Thank you for trying to get real with yourselves.


Practicing lawyer (sometime wishing i was an actor or a dancer or a professional athlete)

Anonymous said...

For all of you female repeat takers, who just can't seem to get the bar done, here is an alternative hobby, that will work out, all your creative juices, well sort of speak.

Anonymous said...

I'll add a NSFW tag to Anon 3:57's link, above.

Anonymous said...

I passed on the first try....after graduating a tier 3 school with a 2.2 GPA. I say this not to piss people off, but to show this is doable.

Here was my schedule.....

Starting on December 15, I studied about 54 hours per week (9 hours per day, 6 days a week). I followed the Barbri schedule faithfully up until the final 2 weeks, when i fell behind and just worked on stuff i was bad at.

One thing I did in addition was to hammer notecards for memorization. And they say to not worry about memorization....i did worry....i was memorizing outlines in December.

And this is the catch to what seemed like a too lax of an approach: in the time I did not study, I would constantly think about my outlines. I would workout, watch basketball, drink beers, lay in bed....always while repeating my outlines....especially the final 3 weeks.

When in doubt, listen to the advice of the guy that teaches the Perf Test lectures.....he is right about chilling out and getting perspective.
(side note: that Essay lecturer, Sakai?, was freaking frustrating/intimidating)

Good luck to everyone. If you keep the passion, you will make it.

Anonymous said...

None of us are going to let the freakin' Committee of Bar Examiners tell us that we can't practice law in California.

Too bad GP, have some respect for the Committee, they prevent people from practicing law (and did a great job on this bar) that probably should not be, and they get it right 95% of the time. I know you are perfectly qualified to be a lawyer in CA and are a good all-around person who we all want to pass. I'm sure you can pass with a little less shit in your answers but you likely never will, that is what is sad about your sitation. You would do fine up in Oregon, I think Nevada may still give you some trouble, but in both places your cost of living would be less and you can still have a decent practice...

Anonymous said...

are yall sure GP is not just pretending so he can keep his blog going??

Anonymous said...

As a long-time reader, I was saddened to read that you didn't reach your goal this time but once again humbled by your attitude and perseverance. I was lucky (and I use that word purposefully) to pass on my first try back in 2006 but feel certain I wouldn't have had the sand to try it again if I had failed.

I wish you nothing but the best of luck and whatever else the Bar gods are demanding these days and will be keeping you in my thoughts as you give it another go!

Anonymous said...

8:07 pm - you're an a-hole. why are you telling Poohbah he will never be able to do it?

Anonymous said...

The more I think about it, there is a certain (for lack of a better word) "savvy" that you need to have to pass the bar exam, at least the written portion. This savvy is impossible to quantify, but it refers generally to the ability to comprehend lots of information and organize it very neatly and coherently in a way that is pleasing to the eye and readly comprehendable. Looking back, I didnt really acquire this savvy until my halfway through my second year of school at a T4 ABA institution. From what I understand, it's possible you never acquired this skill because you attended at an unaccredited school. Though I cant quantify the savvy, I could recognize it in an exam answer (especially the PT's, which to me feel like a very doable open book exam) and thus the graders can too. I think this is what might be holding you back...I guess my point is to not take it personally - the problem might be with your school.

Anonymous said...

i haven't really been following this blog that much. there has been a ton of advice so I don't know if mine will even be noticed. I BELIEVE I CAN HELP.

My take on this guy's situation is, if something doesn't work for like 20 times in a row, it's time to completely change your approach.

Caveat: If the sole reason why you have failed so many times is because you have failed miserably on the MBE portion, i cannot help you because you should be able to do these by now. The focus of my post will be on the real portion of the exam, namely the essays and PT portion.

I'll provide my qualifications. Took the July 2007 bar exam right after graduating in may of that year. Passed it. Lived with roommates that were studying for the exam, they studied every day, I could hear one my roommate's car start up at 7 or 8 am or so, which was about 5 hours before I would even get out of bed. Everyone in my house passed on the first try.

I studied about 2 hours max per day, with the TV on, chatting online, watching youtube, until the last two weeks prior to the exam, then i studied for about 6-8 hours/day (still with the TV on, youtube, chats, viewed porn, constantly refreshed my account, etc). I went to the beach every day, worked out every day, went out on weekends, took salsa classes. I also paid around $3,000.00 for barbri, attended several weeks of it and was so disgusted by the pace (too slow and inefficient) that i stopped going altogether thereafter. I regret spending that $3,000.00 on barbri but was convinced by my friends that it would be necessary. I feel as though I was falsely psyched by all my peers' worries into thinking the bar exam would be some super difficult test that would require some special kind of preparation that I had never needed in the past. After seeing the exam itself, I feel I was right all along. Even when studying for the exam, there was never a single doubt in my mind whatsoever that there was no way I would not pass the second time. I was studying about 1/10th the, amount that most everyone else was, all i needed to do was add an hour or more a day and it would be a lock.

You and other readers might ask yourselves, why am I saying this and what is the purpose of me revealing my study pattern?

The purpose of this post is to say that there are many different ways to study and pass the bar exam. some, arguably, are less efficient than others. I believe that I was able to study a lot less because my system was more efficient. I actually feel as though spent more time than i should have, but did so because everyone I knew had devoted the entire 2 months following graduation to studying, while I was sleeping in, working out, going to the beach, going out drinking, etc.

I hope this post at the very least causes you to re-think your approach. Having failed as many times as you have, you may have begun to feel as though the solution to your problems is that you have to work "harder". Or that this test is extremely difficult and the reason why you did not pass all of these times is because it is so hard and that if you just poured more blood, sweat, and tears into it, you will eventually do enough to pass.

You can continue to do this, and maybe you'll get lucky and pass, or maybe you'll keep failing.

I challenge you, however, to completely change your approach.

I challenge you to view your failures as not resulting from the exam's "difficulty", your lack of sufficient "preparation", or even a lack of God-given "ability". I believe the answer is NONE OF THE ABOVE. You can do it, anybody can do it, you don't need to even go to law school to pass this exam. You just have to clear your mind and open your mind to a new technique.

My suggestion to you is to forget everything you have ever done in the past for this exam. It is clearly a failed method. You need to see how simple it is, it'll be so simple that you probably won't believe it because you've spent so much time studying and have failed so many exams.

Go grab your barbri essay book and look at the sample answers. The answers and analysis contained in these essay answers are so dull and simple that they could have been written by a junior high or high school student.

Think about that, open your mind to a whole new take on the exam, and adjust your study style accordingly.

Anonymous said...

The California Bar Association is the Teamsters Union of the legal profession in California. There are now too many unemployed lawyers in California so as a union responsible to its members in is important to slow the flow of new licensed attorneys. The easiest way to do this is by making the bar exam questions more difficult and by making the curve more draconian.

Anonymous said...

Is there anyway we can ask for a reconsideration of the exam ?

Anonymous said...

To GP and all the other !@#$%^& losers on here...

GP, if you really want to pass this !@#$%^& exam, shut this blog down, once and for all...

For all you other losers on here, if you want to pass this !@#$%^& exam, stop reading this blog...

SHUT THIS FUCKER DOWN and you all shall pass.

Anonymous said...

Hello 9.00AM !@#$%^& loser: Guess the CA Bar shafted you, and that is the cause for you to be so sore... You may stop reading this and go to sleep.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:53am -

My experience with reconsideration is that there must be an actual mathematical error (that is, your scores were added wrong). Pretty unlikely.

Any score within a certain range is automatically re-read, so many of the exams have already been "reconsidered."

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:03--I'm sorry but I laughed out loud at your audacity. I love that you offer GP advice in the same breath you tell us about your and porn problems. Nice. Do you even see the irony?!?! Go launder your wankers hanky and leave this board alone.

Anonymous said...

Check out this site I found. It might be of use.

Anonymous said...

Hey it was a historically low pass rate, 33.5% this time around. Probably to make up for the all-time high in July 2008. Look at the percentages. July bars always have higher pass rates. Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

This is 5/18/09 12:03 again... I was hoping there would be more comment following my original post..

But anyways, grand poopa, I know you get a lot of advice so I'll just say I feel like mine is superior to most of what I've read on here, mainly because it takes less time to do the same thing.

Anyhow, it looks like you had some kind of a technical background in the past, so ponder the following:

7^3 = 343

is the same as

7*7*7 = 343

is the same as

7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7 = 343

But which answer is more efficient and which answer is derived from a more powerful formula? With which technique would you be able to answer more questions in a short, limited amount of time? Is quantity and complexity of an answer necessarily better? If you're playing Street Fighter IV on the XBOX 360 does it matter how much you can squat in real life? How about if you're playing tackle football? Know the game you are playing. Nobody should really need to tell you this. When you become a lawyer, you will constantly have to observe, infer, adapt, and formulate strategies to new games. Nobody's going to hand walk you through the process, and is bound to change at any time. The Bar Exam is timed for a reason, and it tests the way it tests for a reason.

Do you think that judges are particularly psychic as to recognize your argument if you present it the way it makes sense in your mind? will they spend hours hearing your argument? Will they always be completely educated on the particular field of law and legal argument and facts supporting your argument such that you would not need to articulate it to them in a quick, succinct, and simple format?

I laugh at the complainers on this site that talk about the bar exam as if it's the enemy, that it's rigged, and that it's just a hurdle that you need to overcome and then you can go back to your way of doing things that couldn't get you a pass in the first place.

Yes, the bar exam is simple, if you read the model answers, they appear very simple as well. 7^3 is visually simple to look at. That doesn't mean it isn't powerful. Judges won't hear more than 30 seconds of what you have to say and you better make your argument simple, easy to understand, and powerful.


Anonymous said...

The Feb bar pass rate has always been lower for two main reasons, repeaters re-take the test in Feb (meaning they've already flunked it once)and the real students from real schools graduate in June and take it in July, thus contributing to a higher July pass rate.

Go PB!!!!!

kris said...

only a lawyer would openly admit to Match.Com and viewing porn...

You do realise, GP, this shower of gimps you're struggling to join?

I prefer the approach of the guy on your later post who suggests a sharper focus on the Cali subjects.

My only advice is the 1 day, one week, one month rule.

If you learn something one day, you need to ensure you review it within 24 hours. Review again within 7 days, and again within 4 weeks. Once learned, you must keep fresh - once a month - to ensure its kept fresh. Otherwise, one is in a constant state of relearning.

My other bit of advice - look out for "may" and "must", "Always" etc and underline them. You probably already know this, but this stuff pushed my fat anglo-american ass over the top of my exams.

Semper fi

Anonymous said...

kris: those are good tips. I know they may sound simple to you, but already I am revising my study approach. I wasn't re-reviewing things.

Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the disbarment statistics for first-time passers might be, I bet they aren't nearly as high as they are for people who take the view that they aren't going to let the Committee of Bar Examiners tell them what they can and can't do in terms of practicing law.

Brian said...

Anon 11:38. You are correct. I chose my words hastily. My intent was to convey my determination to pass the bar exam. Of course the Committee can tell me that I haven't met the requirements for licensing yet.

They can say that I haven't scored enough points to pass the exam. And when I pass, they can pull my ticket if I do something stupid. But if I'm determined to persevere, and if I continue to meet the requirements for admission, and play by the rules, they can't tell me that I can't keep taking the exam until I pass. Which, I believe, is what I was referring to. That, and the fact that anything can be accomplished by one determined to succeed.