I’m an LL.M.! Now what?

GUEST BLOG by Ambar Rossi, Esquire
Associate Attorney at Sobosik Law, Massachusetts

With graduation day around the corner, it’s now time to pursue our plans post-LL.M.

Some of us will return to our countries, others will try out luck in the U.S. labor market, and the most adventurous will sit for the Bar Exam in July. To all: good luck! To the latter: let’s chat…

I’m not going to sugar coat it for you all: the Bar Exam is no joke! Even for our fellow JDs the next two months will be full of stress, countless hours of study, no sleep and contact with the world whatsoever. They will breathe, drink and eat Bar Prep materials like there’s no tomorrow. Multiply all that by a million and you’ll get the full LL.M. experience. The good news (yes, there is such a thing!) is that the Bar exam is just a test and, just like you, this too shall pass!

Now to the million-dollar question: how to prepare for the Bar Exam?

There’s certainly not one correct answer to this question, but as a foreign-trained attorney trying to pass the Bar I know that the struggle is real! So, I will leave you with 4 things that worked for me:

  1. Do not try to read ALL your Bar prep materials: I am going to assume that all of you will take a Bar Prep Course. That’s a no brainer because you will need the training and technique to learn how to take (and pass) the exam. But getting those 25lbs of books can and will be very overwhelming. No matter what you do, learn when and how to use each book. Some of them will be our companions throughout the entire process but others are there only for reference or in case you need a better understanding of certain issues.  Trust me, you don’t want to become a master in one subject; you want a basic understanding of all of them (key word = basic).  Use your time wisely and read only what you need to pass the exam. No more no less!
  2. Grab your Dictionary: Seriously. This exam is also a cultural challenge. No matter how good your English is some words and sentence construction will make no sense! If, like in my case, English is not your first language it’s a good idea to have your dictionary handy. After all, you don’t want to risk getting a question wrong because you didn’t understand what was being asked.
  3. Practice, practice, practice: Imagine like your new full time job is to prep for this exam. Imagine that this exam is your favorite sport or whatever you want to accomplish the most. You will only achieve your goal by practicing every day. Time yourself, read the explanatory answers of your practice books, do as many assignments as possible. You will feel like you’re not getting anything out of it but, trust me, you are.
  4. Do your own thing: Everybody has his or her own learning methods. Preparing for the Bar exam is not the time to learn a new one. You are a successful attorney and LL.M. graduate. You made it using your own methods; it doesn’t have to be different now. Take the materials and do whatever works for you. It will work this time, too!

fotolia_109834265OK, OK, I’ll give you a bonus tip, perhaps the most important one: don’t be afraid to ask questions and talk to your instructors about your struggles. I remember when I took the BARBRI simulated MBE I was extremely nervous about my – less than ideal – results being a forecast of the inevitable. I shared my concerns with a professor at the review session. He not only gave me useful advice but he even offered additional materials to help me get through the most challenging subjects to me. That’s when I knew I had a true support system that was going to hold my hand throughout this experience. That, to me, made all the difference in the world.

I think you can! #ownthebar

First CILEx Qualified Lawyer to Sit the California State Bar Exam

I’m John Dickens and I recently became the first CILEx qualified lawyer to be deemed eligible to sit the California State Bar Exam.

At the time of writing the good people at BARBRI International are helping me towards my goal of being the first CILEx lawyer practising in both the U.K. and U.S.

I am an employment lawyer originally from sunny Yorkshire. The academic and professional route I took to become such was in the form of the traditional LLB three-year law degree, the Legal Practice Course, interspersed with seven years working in my chosen field of employment law as a Litigation Executive for both national and boutique firms.

I decided to undertake the bar in California as it had always been a dream of mine to move to America. While I was happy with the work I was doing in the U.K., I felt strongly that the remuneration was not what it should be. I also believe that a better work/life balance is possible as an Attorney, in addition to increased earning power and the peripheral benefit of swapping rain and cold for sunshine and warmth.

Having recently secured a job offer in Los Angeles contingent on my passing the bar, I am now very excited to progress with my studies and have found BARBRI International to be a most excellent partner in preparing me for the bar. In providing its wealth of knowledge and experience going back nearly fifty years, BARBRI International not only helped me to become the first CILEx lawyer to be eligible to sit the bar but I believe it will be instrumental in my being the first to pass it also.

Foundations in U.S. Law

Alia DeBellotte,
BARBRI International Marketing Assistant


BARBRI International has introduced a new Foundations in U.S. Law Course: your first step in preparing to sit a U.S. Bar Exam. This program is specially designed to prepare you, a foreign educated law graduate or lawyer, to pass the Bar Exam.

A little history first – BARBRI has been preparing students for Bar Exams for over 40 years. In recent years, the number of foreign educated students taking the Bar Exam has increased. It is those students who told us what they needed:

A longer period to study for the Bar Exam

  • Basic understanding for the Multistate subjects
  • A method to help memorise large amounts of information
  • A framework for how to read and understand Multistate (MBE) questions
  • Essay writing instruction that addresses what the bar examiners look for in student essays
  • Insight in the performance test
  • And all in a manageable time frame.

That is what BARBRI International will provide you, and it all starts with the Foundations in U.S. Law Course designed to help you lay a foundation in the substantive law tested on the Bar Exam, introduce you to how you tackle each part of the exam, and give you some practice in each subject area.

With the Foundations in U.S. Law course, students will (1) work on starting to develop the skills needed for all parts of the Bar Exam, (2) get a broad understanding of each Multistate subject, and (3) dive more deeply into the heavily tested topics of each subject so you can build confidence in your abilities. The course is self-directed, so students can dip in and out of it in your own time.

With the Foundations in U.S. Law Course you can get started on honing your foundational skills now.

  • Systematic Problem Solving: teaches you how to read questions critically and efficiently.
  • Essay Writing Workshop: teaches you how to organise relevant law and facts.
  • Essay Architect: tests your reading skills, reviews essay answer organisations and gives you the opportunity to build a lawyer-like answer from component parts. You will also receive immediate feedback on your personal performance.
  • Performance Test Skills Workshops: gives you an overview of the exam and how to tackle one of the most important parts of the exam.

For each Multistate subject, you’ll get an overview of the subject explaining what the subject broadly covers as well as areas that are tested and/or how one should approach each subject.

The next step looks deeper into each of the MBE subjects. We have selected highly tested or particularly difficult sub-topics for you to focus on during your studies.

MBEYou will get an alphabetically ordered subject-based syllabus as part of the online Foundations course. The format is as follows:

  • Read an excerpt to become familiar with terminology
  • Listen to a modularised lecture
  • Assess your knowledge with BARBRI AMP to build and test understanding of the black letter law
  • Test your knowledge with a short quiz
  • Work on issue spotting and organisations with essays in each subject.

The BARBRI commitment is to assist you in every way possible to ensure you pass the Bar Exam. The qualifications of New York Attorney-at-Law and California Attorney-at-Law, once obtained will open many doors to you and the effort you put into the course will be repaid many times over throughout your professional career. If you have any concerns, do not hesitate to contact us (www.barbri-international.com).