Why the New York Bar?

Harry Illingworth,
BARBRI Legal Co-ordinator

I spent a large amount of my youth travelling around the U.S. because of my dad’s profession.

I always knew I wanted to study law at university and I suppose the childhood connection with the U.S. led to my initial interest in qualifying in New York rather than the U.K. However, the process of qualifying in America wasn’t a familiar one. The only route pushed by the careers department at my university was the standard LPC one, this being a route I was not interested in taking.

To me, there are several attractions to sitting the New York bar. The most significant attraction being, if you pass the examination, you will be admitted to practice law in New York. This essentially means there is no training contract requirement, which was extremely alluring to me. New York is home to the world’s most important legal market, with most top-tier firms having an office there. New York also seemed like a practical option as not only is it an English-speaking country, but also has a legal system based on common law.

The cost of the programme also came into light, being significantly cheaper than the LPC or the BPTC and so the New York bar route made financial sense to me as well as durational. The bar could be sat straight out of graduating from my LLB, with no requirement to be qualified anywhere else or have any PQE. Essentially, you could pass the bar and b­ecome qualified within a year after graduating, as opposed to the 3-year training pathway required here in the U.K.

Putting the practicalities aside for a moment, the idea of living and working in the iconic New York City was an option too attractive to ignore. Who wouldn’t want to be the next Harvey Spectre?

As for me personally, in full disclosure, I was fortunate enough to successfully secure a position with BARBRI straight after graduation. BARBRI provides the #1 Bar Review Programme both in the U.S. and internationally. Using the expert knowledge and tested methods studying with BARBRI, I just sat the New York bar myself in July 2017 and will hopefully be admitted as an attorney in New York.

FRENCH ATTORNEY ACHIEVES GLOBAL LEGAL CAREER

Parisien, Nelson Dijoux Coquillas, uses his New York qualification to practice in international arbitration – the international setting of his dreams.

My name is Nelson Dijoux Coquillas and I am an Associate in International Arbitration at White & Case LLP.

I have always imagined myself working in an international legal setting interacting with colleagues and clients from all around the world. After earning my bachelor and master’s degree from Paris Dauphine, I went on to obtain a second master’s degree and an LL.M. from U.C. Berkeley.

I knew I would take the New York Bar Exam because, in my desired field of practice, it was a go-to, especially for big law firms at which I was applying at the time. Additionally, the bar exam itself provided me with some useful exposure to federal and state subjects that I did not take in law school, but which proved useful at the beginning of my career (conflicts of laws for example).

Today, I get the pleasure of working in a truly international setting. The clients I help on a daily basis come from all around the world. The wonderful team with which I work is truly a global team as only 5 or 6 of my 45+ colleagues are 100% French. My international arbitration practice is truly a global career and I could not be happier.

When it comes to preparing for a U.S. state bar exam, BARBRI was and still is the #1 course. The vast majority of my friends, American or foreigners, relied on BARBRI to help them through the bar exam. The BARBRI Personal Study Plan was tailored to my particular needs: I wanted to go at my own pace yet still be assisted if necessary, and I also needed a lot of practice. BARBRI ticked all the boxes: Reliability, tailor-made program, individual assistance, and substantial practice.

The Personal Study Plan constantly directed me toward the specific areas and subjects on which I needed more practice, which did a lot to make me feel comfortable about the actual exam. The Simulated MBE made a huge difference as well as I arrived at the real exam completely familiar with the exam format and structure. I just had to focus on my answers.

If you’re wondering which bar preparation course is for you, wonder no more. Chances are that BARBRI will be a perfect fit for your study habits and needs.

What if I Don’t Pass the Bar Exam?

Rob Dudley,
BARBRI International Director

When I’m talking to lawyers or law graduates around the world who are considering sitting a U.S. State Bar Exam and qualifying as a U.S. attorney, one question that I hear occasionally is, “What happens if I study and sit the California or New York Bar Exam and I find that I do not pass?”

This is a very fair question.

Most of you are incredibly busy and have many obligations and demands on your time. Once you decide to study and sit a U.S. Bar Exam, you are making the decision to dedicate a portion of your precious and limited time toward this endeavor.

First, you should know that, should you choose BARBRI as your partner to prepare for the New York or California Bar Exam either through the 6 or 10-month international program, via Home Study or Classroom format, we provide you every level of support to help ensure you will pass the exam.

The sole purpose of the BARBRI International Bar Preparation program is to teach you the specific information that is needed to pass the exam. The program is designed to utilize your time in the most efficient way possible during the process. Additionally, there are real people, like me, who’s job it is in life is to support you in this endeavor every step of the way.

We are very proud of the fact that 70% of the students who completed at least 75% of the work assigned through their BARBRI Bar Preparation Personal Study Plan passed the exam the first time. This is an incredible success rate for people who were not educated in the U.S. seeking a U.S. qualification.

Even so, yes, there are candidates who put in the time and energy and ultimately fall short on the actual exam. This is why, for a bit of extra reassurance, we offer the BARBRI Guarantee.

The BARBRI Guarantee means that, if you complete our study plan but you do not pass at the first attempt, we will provide a second preparation course free of charge.

I’m here for you and ready to partner on your route to qualifying as a U.S. attorney.

PASSING THE NEW YORK BAR HELPS TEL AVIV ATTORNEY ADVISE INTERNATIONAL TECH CLIENTS

Koren Grinshpoon, Tel Aviv native, and an Israeli lawyer is using his New York qualification to provide broader services to tech clients in New York as a corporate associate at one of New York’s biggest law firms.

MY NAME IS Koren Grinshpoon and I was admitted to practice in Israel in 2016 after receiving my LL.B. and a graduate diploma in Economics from Tel Aviv University. Following my graduation, I worked at the hi-tech department of Herzog, Fox & Neeman, Israel’s top law firm. I noticed firsthand the innovative nature of tech law and of the global tech industry, as well as the predominance and preeminence of U.S. based tech companies and venture capital firms. I needed to become intimately familiar with U.S. law as it governs many transactions made in the course of a tech company’s life cycle. I found that the best way to accomplish this goal is by sitting or the New York Bar Examination and becoming licensed as an attorney in New York. Since Israel is a common law jurisdiction, graduates of accredited schools from Israel can qualify to sit for a U.S. state bar, particularly New York, with relative ease.

THE LEGAL MARKET IS BECOMING MORE GLOBAL, WITH TRANSACTIONS TAKING PLACE IN MULTIPLE JURISDICTIONS AND BY MULTIPLE PARTIES FROM ACROSS THE WORLD.

Understanding the governing laws of different jurisdictions, as well as being able to advice on such laws, allows me to provide better and broader services to my clients. After researching many programs to help one  pursue his or her goal of passing the New York Bar Exam, I chose the BARBRI International program without hesitation. BARBRI is well known for its exam preparation courses for the New York Bar and is the only program that provides an international learning experience which allows lawyers to study for the exam in their country of origin as well as anywhere else in the world. The BARBRI team was extremely supportive and helped me and many of my peers navigate the tedious registration process for foreign-educated applicants. Also, the BARBRI lectures and practice questions were fantastic tools for preparation for the exam. By following the BARBRI International study schedule, specifically designed to prepare international students for the exam, I felt confident in my ability to pass the exam on my first try. I was indeed admitted to practice in New York in May 2017 and went on to practice law as a corporate associate at one of New York’s biggest law firms.

MAKING THE MOST OF BARBRI

Guest Blog by Tiffany Khoo, LLB,
London School of Economics and Political Science graduate

When I first signed on for the BARBRI 10-month Home Study Program, 10 months felt far away yet it went so much faster than I expected.

Almost silently, the last few months passed one after another and the New York Bar Exam had suddenly arrived. It’s truly been a wonderful journey, learning law from a different jurisdiction, especially one as influential as the United States.

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Throughout the 10 months of bar study, I found myself getting involved in situations where my (limited) knowledge of U.S. law helped me out. For example, in work, I’ve had to look at Secured Transactions, one of the subjects tested on the New York Bar Exam. I was assigned to conduct research on Article 9, which thanks to my bar preparations through BARBRI, I already had some knowledge about. In my personal life, I had a relative going through some legal issues while residing in the United States. When she hired a U.S. attorney, it was so reassuring to know that I recognized the legalese he was using and I could really offer some helpful advice to a family member.

As this is my final BARBRI blog post, I leave you with some tips on making the most of BARBRI:

Use the BARBRI Network

I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll say it again: BARBRI sets up a WhatsApp group chat for those interested to communicate with other BARBRI students. This network has been a wonderful support system as you’re joined by others from around the world that are going through the same struggles. People share tips, encourage each other, remind each other about important deadlines and, of course, share a relatable meme every so often. It is a great resource and a wonderful way to feel less alone in the bar prep journey.

Email the lecturers

Although you have the vast BARBRI Network of students to lean on, sometimes that just means there’s many confused students all at a time. A lot of the BARBRI lecturers give out their number and email addresses for those who have questions. I’ve emailed the lecturers before and they have been exceptionally helpful and kind.

Practice and start early

BARBRI comes with an abundance of practice questions and it would be a huge shame to not take advantage of them. My advice: as much as possible, start practicing and start practicing early.

Build up endurance

A big part of the New York Bar Exam requires endurance – 12 hours of testing over two days. I remember when I first started attempting the 18 Multistate Practice Questions (MPQs) that BARBRI provided. It would take me well over an hour to complete, which was definitely much too long. But over time, I could do it more quickly. Build up your endurance and speed slowly – it will get better over time.

With that, all the best! I’ve had a blast writing here and I wish everyone the best of luck!

IN PURSUIT OF A DREAM – FROM HERZLIYA TO PASSING THE NEW YORK BAR

Israeli attorney Elena Goor Barron prepares to embark on a legal position in the U.S. and help people all over the world after securing a job as a Litigator at a New York law firm. Find out how she passed the New York Bar Exam on her first attempt.

MY NAME IS ELENA GOOR BARRON and my dream has always been to help people from different countries and backgrounds. I graduated with a Bachelor of Law LL.B. and B.A. in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy with Expertise in Terrorism & Homeland Security from IDC Herzliya, Israel. During my work in Personal Injury Law in Israel I decided to further my legal education in pursuit of my dream and to practice law internationally.

I felt that becoming an attorney in the U.S. would give me an opportunity to expand my legal career to an international level and to handle complex cross-border legal matters.

When considering my options for qualification, I determined that applying to sit for the New York State Bar Exam was the right path for me.

I did some of my own independent bar exam preparation course research, as well as spoke to my American friends who had taken a U.S. Bar Exam, and learned that BARBRI is widely considered the best bar exam preparation available if you want to pass on the first attempt. I was also impressed with the flexibility of BARBRI study tools provided and the success rate of their students.

WHAT ESPECIALLY CAUGHT MY EYE was the BARBRI International Home Study Program designed specifically for foreign-educated lawyers who want to prepare for a U.S. Bar Exam while maintaining their practice in another country.

Each week, I utilized various tools and resources such as the video lectures, reading assignments, multiple-choice practice questions and essay practice questions. It was apparent that each member of the BARBRI faculty put an enormous amount of thought and time into preparing every lecture.

I also had a direct line of communication with BARBRI, both in Israel and the United States. They were always ready to offer guidance and support. When I arrived in New York for the exam I felt confident, well prepared and passed on my first attempt using the BARBRI International Home Study Program.

SUBMIT PRACTICE ESSAYS TO DEVELOP SKILLS

By Steve Levin,
BARBRI Director of Essay Testing

DON’T WAIT TO BUILD UP YOUR BAR EXAM FOCUSED WRITING SKILLS.

When I ask students who scored lower on the bar exam or were just below the threshold of passing, whether they submitted practice essays during bar prep, often the answer is “no” or “not many.” I’ve heard from students, in the past, that they felt the need to know all the rules of the law before they could or should submit a practice essay during bar review.

The written portion of a U.S. Bar Exam is critical to your overall score in every state and in some states, there is greater weight on the written portion compared to the MBE. (Download the BARBRI Bar Exam Digest for details.) Essay writing for a U.S. Bar Exam is an acquired skill you must strengthen during bar prep.

You’ll need to know how to provide an answer to the call of the question in the format U.S. state bar examiners want to see. The best way to achieve proficiency is to tackle practice essays multiple times during bar preparation and submit them for personal feedback – even while you are still learning the substantive material.

You’ll experience optimum results with BARBRI’s Directed Essay Grading.

This consists of, first, working with the BARBRI Essay Architect online tool to enhance your high-level essay writing skills. And then writing answers to the practice essays assigned throughout the BARBRI International Bar Preparation program. You’ll be directed to submit some of those for feedback that will enable you to continue your essay writing skill development.

Note that I said, “skill development.” Do not hold back on submitting a practice essay just because you are still learning the black letter law. When reviewing your essays, we aren’t just looking at your substantive knowledge – we also focus on feedback that helps refine your essay writing skills.

With each submitted essay, you’ll benefit from personalized input from a trained bar exam writing expert. You’ll come away knowing where you will capture points and where you may lose points, as well as how to frame a better essay answer. Submitting essays as they are assigned during bar preparation, over time, will allow you to incorporate previous feedback into the next practice essay. You’ll move along an upward trajectory of continuous improvement and U.S. Bar Exam readiness.

LEARN ABOUT U.S. BAR EXAM ELIGIBILITY RIGHT AWAY

By Robert Dudley,
International Director at BARBRI

TIMING IS EVERYTHING.

There’s great appeal to qualifying as a U.S. attorney, particularly the impact it has on increasing earning potential and broadening the scope of job opportunities on a global scale. These reasons alone are enough to prompt many foreign-trained attorneys and law graduates to continue their career aspirations abroad with plans to sit the New York or California Bar Exam. Whilst the end goal justifies the journey, the first step requires determining your U.S. Bar Exam eligibility and it can appear complicated. This shouldn’t keep you from pursuing U.S. qualification, of course. It’s just vital that you start to gather the right information and proper guidance as soon as you’re decided.

This eligibility process doesn’t happen overnight, either. It takes time, especially if you’re currently working full time. Remember, too, that the U.S. Bar Exam is administered only twice a year: in late February and late July. Even if you’re simply entertaining the idea of U.S. qualification at this point, it’s prudent to learn about your eligibility right away. Should you wait too long, you might miss an upcoming window for the next scheduled U.S. Bar Exam. There really isn’t a downside to get going on it now.

It’s paramount to understand that, although New York and California are most popular with foreign-trained attorneys and law graduates, each state has different eligibility requirements. For example, is your law degree equivalent to a U.S. law degree? Are you prepared to provide the required supporting documents, which can include your original law school transcripts, law degree certificate and/or practicing certificate?

Timing is key. It‘s worth repeating, since this is your future. BARBRI recommends that you submit your supporting documentation for eligibility at least six months before you plan to sit the bar exam. It will generally take about 4-5 months to confirm your New York eligibility and between 2-3 months for California eligibility. And then there is the time to study and prepare for the exam with the BARBRI International Bar Preparation programme – offered over a 6-month or 10-month timeframe – which you must consider in your timeline.

With all that in mind, don’t get too caught up in feeling as if you really must immediately grasp all the details and instructions for U.S. eligibility. You have resources and one-to-one support available through BARBRI. All you need really are your questions and some time to speak with us – we’ll answer everything and walk you through it. And if, later in the process, the U.S. bar examiners require anything extra or happen to toss an obstacle your way, we are here to help.

MEET YOUR BARBRI CLASSROOM FACILITATOR IN DUBLIN

Gordon Wade is the head of KPMG Ireland’s team of data protection lawyers. He’s also a Dublin facilitator for the BARBRI International Bar Exam Preparation Classroom Lecture course. Find out how he passed the New York Bar Exam on his first attempt, landed a prime role on a top global firm’s international arbitration team — and is now here to help you.

Gordon gained his Master of Laws from Trinity College Dublin in 2009 and started the BARBRI International Bar Preparation course in October of that same year while working full time. Upon passing the New York Bar Exam on his first attempt, he was admitted to the State Bar of New York in 2010.

“After entering law school, it was always my ambition to practise internationally. During my LL.M., I specialised in International Commercial Arbitration and began researching careers in that field. It quickly became clear that the vast majority of the top practitioners either had a U.S. law school education and/or were U.S. qualified. So I decided to enrol in the BARBRI International New York Bar Preparation course, which was instrumental in my securing a place on the International Arbitration team at Wilmer Hale in London. It was also a reason why I was selected to join KPMG’s Thailand legal team in Bangkok as part of a worldwide network building programme,” Gordon said.


Today, Gordon leads KPMG Ireland’s team of data protection lawyers and is aiming to grow the practice both in Ireland and within the KPMG global network, particularly in light of Brexit and the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation. Gordon is also one of the BARBRI facilitators you’ll personally work with while preparing for a U.S. Bar Exam in Dublin through the BARBRI International Bar Exam Preparation Classroom Lecture course.

BARBRI facilitators are your mentors throughout BARBRI International Bar Preparation. They are present in the classroom and lead interactive workshops and skills sessions. They have been in your shoes so they understand the demands, physically and emotionally, that are involved in this pursuit.

Gordon’s Advice: “If you want to pass a U.S. Bar Exam on your first attempt, BARBRI International Bar Preparation is a very effective form of brain training. Make the time, do the work, apply the BARBRI techniques, lean on people like me – your classroom facilitator – and pass the exam. It’s your gateway to a career as an international lawyer.”

LEARN TO BE AVERAGE

By Matthew Nash,
Legal Manager at BARBRI

REMEMBER, THE BAR EXAM IS ULTIMATELY PASS-FAIL.

Indeed, it’s perfectly acceptable to strive to land in the passing margin of the U.S. Bar Exam’s graded curve. There’s no need really to overwork yourself into oblivion to achieve a top percentile ranking. If you can (and want to), that’s commendable – yet not necessary. You see, when U.S. Bar Exam results come out, you’ll either have passed or failed.

That’s precisely what you need to realize and remember during the bar prep process: the U.S. Bar Exam is ultimately a pass-fail test. Approaching it as such will make your study time that much more efficient and productive. It will help mitigate stress, too.

Yes, perfection does sound like a worthy endeavor. You’re likely accustomed to scoring high marks on exams. But, in the case of the U.S. Bar Exam, perfection is not truly the end goal you want to target. You want to be extremely prepared, of course; however, the idea of perfection may lead you to place too great an emphasis on one individual area of the law. It may seem somewhat counterintuitive but you want to learn to be average across the vast number of areas of the law that will be covered on the exam. You’ll still be in good shape to pass the bar exam.

What does it mean to be “average” exactly? Not to put too fine a point on it, you’ll want to aim for about 65 percent correct on practice questions, over time. That should position you confidently in the passing margin. For example, if you work 25 practice questions, look to answer 16 or 17 correctly. You will have missed 8 or 9 questions – but that 65 percent correct is going to be enough to score the points you need to pass. Don’t expect to get there right way, it will take time to get there – particularly on subjects that may be completely unfamiliar to you when you start your U.S. Bar Exam studies.

The massive volume of U.S. Bar Exam material you’ll encounter during your preparation requires manageable and realistic expectations. All you need to do is make it on the pass list. Learning to be average – achieving that 65 percent or better, patting yourself on the back and making progress every day (without burning yourself out) – will get you there.