Study + Work: How to Successfully Do Both

By Hemant Chauhan, Legal Coordinator, BARBRI International

If you are looking to internationalise your legal career as a foreign-trained lawyer or law graduate by pursuing qualification as a U.S. attorney, you’ve made a wise decision. Know that preparing to sit a U.S. state bar exam doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Although you may grapple with how best to study while working and fulfilling other commitments, options exist that provide both study flexibility plus the opportunity to still have a life. Who would have thought!

As someone who is preparing to sit the N.Y. State Bar Exam, I can tell you there is no single path that makes sense for every professional trying to juggle work and study. I can also tell you that the BARBRI International Bar Preparation programmes are designed to fit your needs for balance, whatever they may be. The programmes are geared for non-U.S. nationals and focus on the frequently examined topics that international students find most difficult.

Unless you have studied many of the subjects tested on the exam, or English is your first language, it will likely be rather difficult to make a realistic determination of how and how long to prepare. I offer up the following information and account of my own international journey to help guide you in yours.

Choose Bar Prep for the Real World

Because we are all at a little different stage in our careers and have different commitments, BARBRI International offers 6-month and 10-month international bar review programmes. The 6-month programme estimates 25-30 hours will be dedicated to learning per week, and may be best suited to those who can study on a full-time basis and/or who prefer to get qualified more quickly.

The 10-month extended programme estimates 10-15 hours will be dedicated to learning each week. Although both programmes offer the same comprehensive curriculum, the 10-month programme is offered at a slower pace. It’s for this reason that I have chosen the 10-month programme for my bar prep.

Commit Accordingly

As you work to determine the course of your studies, you may want to ask yourself some questions:

  • How much time will I have (realistically) to devote to my studies each week? How much flexibility will I need during the course?
  • Will taking an intensive, timed multiple-choice and essay exam all in English be challenging for me?
  • How much support will I likely need during the course?
  • Will I study for a U.S. state exam in California or Texas, or one that utilises the Uniform Bar Exam (such as New York)?

If you find yourself thinking you will need a good amount of time, flexibility, and support during your studies, then the BARBRI International Bar Preparation programme done over the course of 6- or 10-months may be right for you. Careful planning, discipline, and time management will all be important factors when fitting in study around employment. By adopting a methodical approach to studying and committing from the outset, you will become more efficient at juggling your many commitments and put yourself in the best position to pass the bar exam.

Use Your Resources Wisely

I’ll be the first to admit that workplace deadlines and distractions, the general demands of a full day on the job, and the commute home have taken a toll on my study plans at times. The 10-month programme with BARBRI allows me more time to engage with the materials and offers a flexible, intuitive Personal Study Plan (PSP) so I can study anywhere at any time and focus my time where it is most needed. The fact that 76% of international students who complete 80% of the PSP have passed the bar exam is encouraging to me—and I hope it is to you, too. During my morning and evening commutes, I also listen to lectures in substantive law delivered by top U.S. law professors on the BARBRI App, and review the available handouts and outlines. I then study the multiple-choice practice questions on the weekends.

BARBRI offers unique LawMaster Study Keys, which have been particularly helpful for my MBE prep in connecting the law to the facts, analysing complex fact patterns, working on issue-spotting, and recalling the rules. The simulation exams will ultimately allow me to do a complete timed exam and submit it to BARBRI for grading. The simulation will show me where I am on the bar exam curve with enough time to modify my studies before the actual exam.

Let’s just say I fully utilise the resources at my disposal with BARBRI, including access to a 1:1 personal coach whenever needed. These U.S.-qualified mentors are very supportive and have years of teaching expertise and knowledge in exam eligibility. They know what it takes to pass the bar exam, and they have helped me when I’ve struggled on subjects and study techniques. All of this combined is an approach that is allowing me to fulfil the 10-15 weekly hours of learning, and feel confident in my quest to pass the U.S. state bar exam.

Best of luck to you as you commit to a programme and prepare to become an amazing international attorney.

Understanding the Bar Exam Character and Fitness Process

By Hemant Chauhan, Legal Coordinator, BARBRI International

If you are thinking about sitting a U.S. bar exam to qualify as an attorney in the United States with your current legal credentials or after obtaining your LL.M. degree from a U.S. law school, you should know that there is something that will test your character and fitness (beyond the bar exam itself). No, you won’t be required to prove you can run a mile without collapsing or debate your ability to exercise good judgment. However, you will be expected to show by clear and convincing evidence that you should be admitted to practise law in any U.S. jurisdiction.

The bar exam can differ greatly from state to state, but one common thread is that all applicants to the bar are required to complete an attorney application―as it is a privilege to practise law. For California, you will need to also complete a moral character application after sitting the bar exam and prior to becoming sworn in as a fully licensed U.S. attorney. These requirements are designed to protect the public from individuals whose past conduct demonstrates they may not be sound lawyers and to protect the legal profession’s reputation of integrity and trustworthiness.

When it comes to the character and fitness process, New York doesn’t begin the inquiry until after the bar exam is taken. Other states, such as California, begin the character and fitness screening when the applicant signs up to take the bar exam, usually at the end of law school.

The free BARBRI International Bar Exam Digest can give you all you need to know about every bar exam in every state. Here, we’ll focus on what to expect and how to best approach your character and fitness portion of the exam.

Candor is Critical

It is often said that honesty is the best policy, but I would emphasise that honesty is the only policy when it comes to answering the character and fitness questions. I’ve had attorneys within BARBRI tell me they’ve had to go so far as to list every credit card they’ve ever had and the current balance on each of those cards.

Suffice it to say that the character and fitness questionnaire can vary by jurisdiction, but the typical questionnaire will ask about:

  • Criminal and civil violations, including everything from convictions down to traffic tickets that led to fines or a suspension of your driver’s license
  • Academic attendance records
  • Exact addresses of where you have lived
  • Compliance with court orders
  • Mental health or substance abuse issues
  • Financial irregularities with regard to student loans, past due accounts, and more
  • Disciplinary actions during employment or in other professional situations

What you included in your law school application addendums will be scrutinised against what is found in your bar application and independent review. Nothing will send up a red flag to a character and fitness committee more than discovering you failed to disclose any past misconduct in your application.

If the character and fitness questionnaire raises concerns about your character, the bar admissions board may decide to conduct a more in-depth investigation. Usually, this is a face-to-face interview during which you will be required to produce evidence demonstrating current good moral character.

Don’t panic if you have something to report. If you are candid during the character and fitness process, can show that you have accepted responsibility for your actions, and have no immediate issues pending, then past missteps should not be a barrier to admission. If you have questions about whether or not to include something in your character and fitness application, the BARBRI International team can help guide you. You can also contact the bar examiners in the state in which you plan to sit the bar.

Project a Positive Presence

This probably goes without saying, but your social behavior—the image you convey online―is extremely important. Before entering the bar application process, or law school for that matter, make sure nothing you present publicly would call your character into question. Your social media presence should not raise any concerns about your character, professionalism, integrity, or overall fitness to join the legal community. To the extent there are any red flags, such as an ill-advised photograph or a misguided comment, now is the time to clean up your act.

The character and fitness process can be challenging but it doesn’t have to be a hurdle in qualifying as a U.S. attorney. By being open and honest on the character and fitness questionnaire, you can show that you are poised to become a respected and valuable member of the U.S. legal profession.

From the NYSBA President: Greetings and welcome!

BARBRI and the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) are offering BARBRI International Bar Prep and QLTS Prep students and alumni a free 2-year membership to NYSBAthe International section and one additional section of your choice.  We are very excited about the arrangement and I’d like to welcome you to our organization.

ABOUT NYSBA

For more than 140 years, NYSBA has been the voice of the legal profession in New York State. Our mission is to shape the development of law, educate and inform the public and respond to the demands of our diverse and ever-changing legal profession. NYSBA advocates for state and federal legislation and works tirelessly to promote equal access to justice for all. The tens of thousands of NYSBA members from around the world offer unprecedented networking and other opportunities, along with periodic meetings in many jurisdictions.

> Learn More

NYSBA is organized into sections, each of which covers a substantive practice area. The free 2 year NYSBA Membership offered to BARBRI International Bar Prep and QLTS Prep alumni and students includes one additional section of your choice.

NYSBA International

NYSBA International is comprised of about 2,000 members, approximately half of which are located outside the United States, with approximately 65 chapters outside of the U.S generally organized by country. NYSBA International substantive committees cover topics such as transportation law, trusts and estates, and cross-border litigation. Chapters have regular meetings and events such as receptions and seminars.

NYSBA International is involved in a wide range of substantive activities, including commenting on pending legislation, representing NYSBA at the United Nations (where we have observer status and are delegates to the U.N. Committee on International Trade Law), and promoting the use of New York law in international matters. The International Section also has two publications, the New York International Law Review, and the International Law Practicum.

Each fall, NYSBA International holds a Seasonal Meeting outside the United States rotating between Europe, the Americas and Asia. The 2019 Seasonal Meeting will be in Tokyo the week of 4 November, 2019.

The International Section also holds a Regional Meeting many years, typically in Europe. Smaller in scope than a Seasonal Meeting, the regional meeting are usually about 2 days and are intended to engage and invigorate our chapters in the regions and to identify possible Seasonal Meeting locations. As a NYSBA International Member, you may register for these meetings or any other activities at the Member Rate.

As a BARBRI International Bar Prep or QLTS Prep student or alumni, I look forward to welcoming you as a new member!

Michael  Miller,
President, New York State Bar Association

California Bar Exam: Trouble Spots and How to Conquer Them

By Steve Levin, BARBRI Senior Director of Essay Testing

Unless you’ve already taken a different U.S. bar exam, the California Bar Exam probably is unlike any exam you’ve ever taken in your life. It’s certainly more expansive than any exam you faced in law school and makes finals week look like child’s play.

Imagine preparing for finals in about 18 subjects (technically 16, but you have to know both the California rules and the federal rules for two of them). Challenging? You bet, but not impossible. I’d like to go over some of the details of the exam to make you more comfortable and to help improve your outcome.

The Exam at a Glance

The California Bar Exam is a two-day exam (breathe a sigh of relief—until recently, it was a three-day exam) comprised of three pieces:

  • The MBE (Multistate Bar Exam): A 200-question multiple choice test given in 2 three-hour sessions
  • The PT (Performance Test): A 90-minute practical exercise in which you will be asked to do something a first-year lawyer might be asked to do using a file and library containing all the information you’ll need to respond
  • The California Essays: Five essay questions designed to be answered in one hour each (three in the morning and two in the afternoon, along with the PT) on any one or more of the following subjects:
    • Civil Procedure
    • Agency
    • Constitutional Law
    • California Civil Procedure
    • Contracts (including Sales)
    • California Evidence
    • Criminal Law
    • Community Property
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Corporations
    • Evidence
    • Partnerships & LLCs
    • Real Property
    • Professional Responsibility
    • Torts
    • Trusts
    • Wills

Issue Spotting

The essays present a few trouble spots for many students. The first involves issue spotting. Most of the questions are short—less than a page long, including the interrogatories at the end of the stories. But they are packed, and I mean packed, with issues. And while some exams hand you the issues “on a silver platter”, in many California questions you have to work just to figure out what the issues are.

For example, the following two interrogatories were in a February 2018 question:

  1. What challenges under the United States Constitution, if any, could Ivan reasonably raise to the dining hall quotations, and what is the likely outcome? Discuss.
  2. What challenges under the United States Constitution, if any, could Ivan reasonably raise to the denial of his requests for the book and the tea, and what is the likely outcome? Discuss.

Do you have any idea what is at issue? Also, note how the interrogatories say “what challenges”—as in, there could be (and on the California Bar, likely are) more than one. And, how much should you write; how many issues should you be looking for? When is enough, enough?

How will you know what issues to look for? Look at questions from previous exams and review answers addressing them. The California Bar Exam has been around a long time and there is not much new under the sun. What has been tested in the past is a pretty good indicator of what is likely to be tested in the future.

Formatting

The second stumbling block is formatting ―how should answers be formatted? This is a trick question to some degree. Many students (and some instructors, too) think there is a magic formula, but there really isn’t. If you check out the California Bar Examination instructions website, you’ll see a lot of gobbledygook about this.

The important thing to note is that the examiners want answers written in a “lawyer-like manner.” This is a logically written answer that sets out a conclusion and supports it by discussing the applicable law and the facts that lead to the conclusion.

Now you know issue spotting is important for your score, and analysis counts too. Be prepared to note what the issues are, tell the examiner what law controls, and state what facts are important in reaching whatever conclusion you reach. And, yes, you should reach a conclusion. All of these things are important.

Timing

Another stumbling block for some students on the essay portion of the exam is timing. Students often run out of time. Despite how it may seem, each question is worth the same number of points. So you really should be spending no more than one hour on any particular question and should avoid skipping questions of which you are unsure. This will keep time on your side.

Keep BARBRI in Mind

To help you in your preparation, BARBRI selects California essays for practice that cover the issues most likely to arise on the bar exam. If you prepare with BARBRI and work through the practice essays assigned, you will have seen a majority of the issues that will appear on your essay exam and will be ready to conquer them.

About the author: Steve Levin has passed the bar exam in 10 U.S. jurisdictions with scores in the top 1% of the exam takers.

How to Succeed on the MBE

By Roger Meslar, BARBRI Senior Director, Assessments and MBE Content

What are three things we know about the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)?

Well, with 200 questions to answer over a period of six hours, we know it’s a demanding test. With seven major areas of substantive law tested, we also know there are questions on a wide range of issues and sub-issues within those areas of law. And with each multiple-choice question drafted by a committee of law professors, we know your reading comprehension skills will be tested like never before.

That may be a lot to take in but know that BARBRI has you covered. With our expertise and guidance, you will be ready when the MBE time comes. Here are some ways to prepare for success on the exam.

Practice to the Clock

To help you build up the physical and mental endurance you will need for the MBE, BARBRI provides you with thousands of MBE practice questions, including two complete 200-question practice exams and three complete 100-question half exams. The secret to success here is to do practice exams under timed conditions to replicate, as much as possible, the actual bar exam experience.

BARBRI’s 200-question simulated MBE provides you with a detailed score analysis comparing your performance to every other BARBRI student taking the exam. This score report highlights how you are performing on every topic and subtopic, so you can adjust how you are studying based on this report. So, make sure you take this exam when you see it on the schedule.

Focus Where It Matters Most

A smart study strategy is to focus on the areas of law most heavily tested on the MBE. BARBRI’s MBE subject matter experts have analyzed the MBE for decades and have identified the most important areas to target. Don’t try to master every single one of the thousands of rules and concepts that could be tested, or you may find yourself overwhelmed and anxious about your preparation.

BARBRI’s adaptive Personal Study Plan (PSP) focuses your assignments on the core areas that are most heavily tested to help you allocate your time most efficiently. And when you read the Conviser Mini Review, you will see a host of charts and exam tips that zero in on the issues that come up regularly on the exam. Also, just like with the simulated MBE, the percentile rank information you get on all of your online MBE assignments tells you where your weak areas are. Use this information to study smarter, not harder.

Learn from Each Question

Learn how to read and analyze MBE multiple-choice questions. MBE success is not about how many questions you answer each day or throughout your preparation; it’s about how much you learn from each question you answer. BARBRI’s MBE Workshops teach you a systematic problem-solving strategy you can use on any question you encounter on the bar exam. This strategy helps you quickly identify the issue being tested and the key facts that point you to the correct answer.

For each question you work, you should also determine whether you got the question right or wrong, whether your analysis of the question was on-point, and whether you identified and understood the narrow rule being tested in the question. Reading through the explanatory answer for each question is vital to your success.

One more thing we know about the MBE: BARBRI has decades of experience helping students all over the world pass it. Trust us to help you do the same!

New York Bar Exam: How to Apply for Eligibility without a 3-Year Law Degree

By Aoife Keenan, LL.B., LL.M.
Legal Advisor, BARBRI International

I started working with BARBRI in 2015. At the time, I was not aware of the U.S. route to qualification. Naturally, as a law student, I was intrigued. The thought of qualifying in two jurisdictions was really appealing to me. I had always been interested in working at an international level. A qualification from one of the most influential countries in the world was something I thought would increase my employability outside of my home jurisdiction of Ireland.

Upon further research into the eligibility requirements, I was disappointed to discover I did not meet the criteria set out by the New York State Board of Law Examiners. Despite this fact, I was determined to apply anyway.

What I Had vs. What I Needed

A standard, full-time three-year common law degree is required to meet the eligibility requirement set out by the New York Board. I completed my undergraduate degree through law and business so I did not have enough credits in law modules. At first glance, this meant I did not meet the necessary criteria to take the New York Bar Exam.

Combining qualifications to cross the line: I wanted to find out if the New York Board was strict on the three-year law degree, so I began talking with BARBRI students (and there were some) who were deemed eligible even though they didn’t exactly meet the criteria set out by The Board. What I found was whilst my undergraduate degree did not meet the criteria outright, I might be considered eligible if I added my postgraduate law degree to the exam application. This can work for various reasons, but it appears consideration may come on a case-by-case basis.

My application at a glance

Documentation: Feeling a bit more optimistic, I submitted my dual-modular undergraduate degree and my postgraduate law degree to the New York Board, along with evidence that I was studying for my FE1s (Irish solicitor exams).

Employer references: I included two references with my application. The first was an academic reference. This was from my university lecturer and intern advisor. The letter referred to my grades in university and indicated that I was capable of passing the exam. Further, it referred to my legal experience at the law office based in Seattle in which I had interned. The second reference was from my current employer and referenced my legal experience, work ethic, and future ambitions.

Final touches: I submitted my own letter, along with my qualifications and references, and included the following points.

  1. A list of the criteria set by The Board, followed by details of how I met each of the criteria. Here I referenced my qualifications and experience.
  2. All of my legal experience, in particular, my work on U.S.-based cases.
  3. My future ambitions and how I planned to use the qualification upon admittance.
  4. My assumption that I could pass the bar based on my results to date.
  5. Finally, I politely requested that the New York Board grant my eligibility based on the information provided, which evidenced that I did in fact meet the criteria. I emphasised that an affirmative decision would greatly enhance my career opportunities.

I sent off this documentation in one package to ensure my information would be available at once, rather than received at intervals.

The Waiting Game

After nearly six months of waiting, I finally heard back from the New York Board. My eligibility to take the bar exam was confirmed.

As I look back, I can safely say that the extra paperwork I added to my application was certainly worth the effort. I would advise any student in a similar position to get in touch with BARBRI. We can advise on the best route for applying to the New York Board if you lack the exact criteria. A positive result can open many doors for law graduates and qualified practitioners alike.

Just remember, you may have to wait until you hear back from the New York Board of Law Examiners to start studying. So if you want to qualify sooner rather than later, make sure you give yourself plenty of time for the eligibility application.

Passing the New York Bar Helps Attorney Sharpen Her Global Skills

Successful foreign lawyer Alexia Maas benefits from her dual qualification as the global General Counsel for Volvo Financial Services in Greensboro, N.C.

I am Alexia Maas, Senior Vice President, General Counsel for Volvo Financial Services. I lead the global Legal & Compliance Function, which supports the business across the 48 countries in which it currently operates.

I originally qualified to practise law in Scotland in 1997. I then spent 16 years in private practise with large law firms in the U.K. and Norway as a corporate and banking lawyer. After working with CHC Helicopter as a client — at the time the world’s largest helicopter operator — I decided to take my shipping and aircraft finance experience in-house and went to work as European Counsel for the offshore transport company.

I developed a real passion for in-house work and, four years later, I was approached by Volvo Financial Services to join them as their Regional GC for the EMEA region based in Gothenburg, Sweden. I spent a year there before being promoted to SVP General Counsel for VFS and relocating to the company’s global headquarters in Greensboro, N.C.

Although there is not a strict requirement in North Carolina for foreign in-house lawyers to be dual qualified, I thought about the possibility of this changing in the future and ultimately decided that it would be in my best interest to become U.S. qualified. I chose to sit the New York Bar Exam because of its recognition in international law and commerce. I felt it was important from both a licensing perspective and in my new role as Global GC to be as well-versed in U.S. law as I was in U.K. and European Union law.

I looked around at the various online bar review programmes and found there wasn’t much structure to a lot of the materials. One evening over dinner with some fellow GCs, the subject came up and many who had previously gone through the process recommended BARBRI.

I began with the Foundations in U.S. Law programme as a first taste and then went all-in with the 6-month extended programme. In order to make the most of my time on top of a very demanding day job, I fully immersed myself in the programme and tuned in to lectures while in my car, traveling, at lunch, and generally on the go. It’s amazing what you can absorb while just getting around and listening.

Whilst the overall preparation for the bar and the time commitment were challenging, the actual part of studying wasn’t a difficult process with BARBRI. I used the BARBRI Personal Study Plan, Mini Review, and the BARBRI app to listen to the lectures whenever and wherever to dive in and zip through topics. As a foreign qualified lawyer, I found the course content to be right on point with regard to teaching the foundations of U.S. law and the need-to-know principles for the bar exam to quickly get up to speed.

The interactive learning tools were extremely effective, both for teaching the substantive law and for acquiring essential exam techniques. I watched and listened to the online lectures multiple times. Not only were they superbly delivered by excellent teachers, but they were highly entertaining as well.

I noticed right away after diving into studying that what I was learning was already useful in my day-to-day work as a global GC. The programme helped me develop new knowledge and new expertise that was immediately relevant and helpful. Now I have this additional qualification that adds to the depth and breadth of my existing skills and competencies as a lawyer.

Taking the New York Bar Exam was definitely a commitment. But with BARBRI, it was a combination of everything that led to my success. The way it’s put together, by giving you what you need in little doses and not just through books to read, made such a difference.

Having graduated with my first law degree over 20 years ago, I felt far removed from being a student. Getting back in the mindset of studying and sitting an exam was quite the challenge, but BARBRI clearly knew just what would work. I wasn’t sure I would even pass the bar when I started the process. I ended up doing very well and passed the first time — thanks to the BARBRI methodology. It works!

Making it in Manhattan

Aoife Moore Kavanagh,
Associate Attorney, Law Office of James G. McCarney

Making It In Manhattan

Following on from the brilliant news that I had passed the New York Bar exam, I channeled all my excited energy into the next obstacle I had to overcome: Getting a job in New York City. There is no quick fix for landing an attorney role in the Big Apple. It’s fiercely competitive, hugely oversaturated and as a non-U.S citizen, there is the whole visa process to consider. I spent 5 months applying for jobs on every jobs website I could find. When I ran out of vacancies to apply for, I googled “litigation firms in New York City” and started sending my resume and cover letter to every single firm on the list, from A-Z. I was offered an associate position quite early on in my search which I decided to turn down after much deliberation. I wanted to be a lawyer in New York so badly it felt wrong to not take the offer but I knew I wouldn’t have been happy there. The firm was located outside of the city and I really wanted to be in Manhattan. If I had ignored my gut feeling I wouldn’t have ended up where I am today! I probably sent over 1,000 applications and had around 12 interviews before I finally landed my dream job.

Manhattan

I am now typing this from my desk at the Law Offices of James G. McCarney where I am an associate attorney. I work in the Financial District in Manhattan right across from Wall Street. On my second day, I had my very own case which I handled in court by myself, and I won! It felt amazing, walking in there in my new suit, the clerk referring to me as “counselor”, the judge calling my case and my very first time approaching the bench. The place where only lawyers are allowed to go! Walking out and calling my client to give them the good news, then calling my boss to tell him the same. I’ll never forget it. It was in that moment that I knew it was all worth it, all the studying, the endless paperwork, the dedication and perseverance, the disappointment when it didn’t go to plan, dusting myself off and trying again. It all led me to where I am now, exactly where I’ve always wanted to be: Practising law as an attorney in NYC.

International Student Sits New York Bar: A Personal Insight

Hemant Chauhan,
Legal Coordinator — BARBRI International

Having recently sat the New York Bar exam in July 2018, I can certainly tell you that was the most difficult legal examination I have sat to date.

International Student Sits New York Bar

Having arrived at JFK Airport from London Heathrow a week before the exam, I felt it important to be in a relaxed mind-frame before sitting the bar examination, having prepared 10 months of U.S. law beforehand. I spent some quality time in Brooklyn, New York, and explored the city for all it was to exhibit. New York City is truly the city that never sleeps!

There is certainly a buzz and a positive vibe that transcends throughout, and it is reflected in the people. Seeing the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Central Park and other attractions all made me realise why I was preparing for the New York Bar Exam. It certainly put things into perspective, drawing law to fact patterns, and to the practice of life.

Passing the U.S. Bar Exam is about your competency to practice law, and knowledge of the law with all its nuances and complexities; being able to deal with people from all walks of life. Those are the key ingredients of a successful attorney.

That being said, the New York Bar Exam was difficult. There were hundreds of students packed in my particular exam centre in Albany, New York. A mixture of international and domestic JD candidates. Security was tight, ensuring fairness and equality.

The first day comprised of the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) and Multistate Essay Exam (MEE). A number of examinees found that it took them longer than the allotted 90 minutes to complete the persuasive brief. And many examinees found the uncommon task to be especially tricky. Taking the MPT is about preparing for the unknown.

On the whole, the issues tested on the essays were slightly more challenging those on the February 2018 exam. The Examiners certainly favoured the MBE subjects on the essays this time around, continuing the trend from February 2018.

The second day was the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). The crucial day of 200 multiple-choice questions. It was difficult to sleep; I had a restless night. I knew I had revised constant amounts, but knew it was impossible to remember everything. I had to trust my preparation.

It was an exhausting day. The proctors constantly walking down the centre, the clock ticking away, all heads down into complex fact patterns, spending no more than 1.8 minutes per question. I had prepared well with BARBRI International, having spent numerous amounts practicing MBE questions for an entire 10 months. I was disciplined and kept within the time limits.

It is difficult to ascertain how I scored.  At this stage, it is too early to tell, or predict. I am just glad to be on the other side of the exam. For now, I am enjoying my work within the New York offices and enjoying the city. I am preparing for other admission examinations in the meantime, and glad I had thoroughly prepared with BARBRI International. Practice makes perfect!

The One Thing You Need to Know / Do to Pass the Bar Exam

By Sam Farkas, Esq,
BARBRI Curriculum Architect and Instructor

As you approach the bar exam, you’re likely to hear all kinds of “quick fix” advice, which often sounds something like, “to pass, all you really need to do is ________.” You are a trained critical thinker, so hopefully, any bar success claim beginning with, “all you have to do is…” triggers suspicion.

As the old saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

At BARBRI, we’ve heard everything from “create your own study plan” to “you only need this book,” “you only need to work 1,000 multiple-choice questions,” or “you only need to study for 100 hours.” The list goes on and on. Assuming these claims are even true (dig in a bit and you often find that those making these claims actually worked harder than they suggest), why experiment and risk your one opportunity to be a first-time bar passer?  Sure, an applicant with a strong knowledge of the law, excellent study, reading, analytical and writing skills, who faces no real consequences if he/she fails, and who is committed to proving all the doubters wrong, might be able to eke out a passing score. But, like all dubious advertisement claims, such advice should come with that fine print disclaimer: “individual results may vary.”

For any significant achievement like passing the bar exam, there are no simple one-size-fits-all shortcuts to bypass the work required for success.

There is simply no amount of “good luck” that can overcome a deficit of knowledge on this exam. When you walk into the exam room, you want to know that you gave it your all. You want to know that you followed an effective bar prep plan, did the work and took ownership of your success. BARBRI Bar Review provides you with a Personal Study Plan (PSP) that maximizes your study investment by focusing you on what is most important for you to pass the exam. It leverages science and technology to boost learning and progress, and it works in partnership with you, adjusting to your schedule, strengths and weaknesses, and performance. With the PSP, you will not stress about what law to focus on or what practice questions to work. You will not have to worry about whether you are on track for success. You will not have to wonder how you are doing in comparison to the vast majority of applicants taking the exam with you. When you allow the experts to guide you through your preparation, you get to focus on what matters most— learning what you need to pass the bar.

So, here’s one thing you really do need to know to pass the bar exam.

There is no such thing as luck. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Your opportunity is set. What are you doing to prepare for it?