Posts

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.

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.

Click for more information

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.

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.

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.

In a Rapidly Global World, Being Qualified in the United States Worth Considering

GUEST BLOG by Tiffany Khoo, LLB
London School of Economics and Political Science graduate

When overseas, we see time pass by in seasons, in the changing hours of the day, the layers we wear.

blog_1But here in Malaysia, with its ever constant sun and rain, October crept upon me like a surprise and here I am, a month into working life.

One of the most common questions I get from those who know I’ve done law is about taking the UK Bar. After all, I studied in England, and qualifying for the Bar in the UK would qualify me as a practicing lawyer in Malaysia as well. Although I would eventually like to qualify, certain work obligations necessitate that I won’t be able to. In the mean time, I’ve decided to take the New York Bar Exam instead.

Although this route is less popular amongst Malaysians as it does not allow us to qualify locally, in a rapidly global world, being qualified in the United States is another pathway worth considering. And of course, alongside London, New York is an incredibly cosmopolitan city and it isn’t unlikely that arbitration work could involve some international work. Also, instead of having to attend physical classes, qualifying just requires passing the relevant exams.

As I’ll be working alongside my studies (hopefully for the July 2017 paper), I decided to enlist the help of BARBRI International, a Bar Preparation guide that provides online material. I first heard of BARBRI International at LSE, where we were told of many who had dual qualifications. I decided to enrol for the 10 month Home Study Program (This means that I would be starting in September) which would allow me to study part time with the aid of online help, question banks, and even personalised essay feedback.

There are other options available too – like a 6 month option for those who want a quicker course, as well as some physical classes, depending on the country you’re in.

I just felt that doing it on my own would require so much discipline, and as the exam would be in a foreign jurisdiction, guidance just seems like the best option. I went with BARBRI International because they seem to offer really comprehensive help (I probably won’t need to buy anything else!) and they have lots of great online reviews. Their website is incredibly helpful as you can send in a query about eligibility and you will then be put in touch with one of BARBRI’s representatives. I found that I could ask anything, and all of my concerns were taken seriously.

You can find out more HERE and HERE. (Website and Facebook)

Fingers crossed for the entire process to go well! If you’re studying for the Bar as well, drop me an email and we could always start a conversation!

Yours sincerely,
Tiffany