Admission to the bar is conducted through the Board of Bar Examiners of the state in which you are applying. While the admission process may vary significantly from state to state, the process usually involves:. For LL. Bar Examiners Review Of 1st Year Law School E Books Contracts Torts Criminal Law Reviewed Issues Def Because the processes vary by state, you will not receive emails from Harvard about upcoming deadlines, but there are a number of resources available to help you navigate the process. The following chart will give you a quick overview of relevant resources and offices at HLS. Begin your search by visiting the NCBEX site, which contains information about deadlines and requirements for different jurisdictions.
You are now logged in. Forgot your password? A lot of recent law school graduates are going to be taking the bar exam in less than two weeks. I can relate. I took the bar exam just last summer, twenty years after I took it the first time. Here's what happened, together with some possible lessons about the experience. I'll start with the obvious question: Why? I took the exam because of a job change. I accepted a teaching job last June to start teaching at the University of Southern California in January You don't need to be a bar member to teach law.
But I do occasional part-time legal work in addition to teaching. I wanted to keep that up when I moved to California, so I wanted to join the California bar.
But there was a complication: California rejects bar reciprocity with other states. I passed the New Jersey bar exam inafter I graduated from law school.
I later waived in to the District of Columbia. But California doesn't let out-of-state lawyers waive in. If you want to practice law in California, you have to take and pass the California bar exam. One way out of taking the bar would have been to rely on the federal practice exception. Technically, state bars can't really regulate purely federal law practice in their states.
If you're a member of the United States Supreme Court bar, for example, in theory you could go to any state and maintain a U. Supreme Court practice there without needing a state bar membership. But the federal practice exception is surprisngly murky in scope when you get down to the details. And I didn't want to rely on it given even just the theoretical risk that it might expose me to unauthorized practice of law claims.
So I decided to sit for the California bar, which was coming up in less than two months after I signed up to join USC. The California Bar exam is known to be pretty difficult. Part of that is because it has a lot of topics. The topics include:.
California has in the past had a three-day bar exam, but that has recently changed: The exam is now two days. The sort-of good news is that I was able to take an additionally shortened exam, the Attorney's Exam, that California permits for lawyers who have been practicing elsewhere for a few years.
The Attorney's Exam is just one very long day. It's the regular written essay exam minus the multiple choice Multistate Bar Exam. You show up for the first day and take the essays, and you don't have to take the second day that is the multiple choice part. At first blush it seemed like a blessing to be able to take the Attorney's Exam. I didn't have to suffer through a second day of testing. Over time, though, I came to think the Attorney's Exam is actually harder to study for than the regular exam.
The multiple choice Multistate Bar Exam only covers seven topics that are 1L and core subjects. Knowing that lets you focus your efforts; you know you'll be tested on those subjects. In contrast, the essay exam draws from all of the topics, and the only subject that always appears is something on Professional Responsibility. That meant you had to spread your efforts out widely, as you mostly had no idea which of the many topics might be tested.
I didn't need help with Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. Constitutional Law wasn't going to be too hard for me, either, and I had taught federal Evidence Law a few years back and could dust that off pretty easily. But I had never studied a bunch of the topics on the bar exam. And although I had once studied 1L subjects like Property and Contracts, that was over twenty years ago. I didn't remember very much. I needed some bar prep help.
Yup, just like old times. I had taken it inand I became a repeat customer last summer.
It was a strange experience. But I confess I found it underwhelming in Part of that may have been that I was a nontraditional student the second time around. For understandable reasons, they don't pitch bar prep classes to professors.
Recent law grads usually have been exposed to most of the topics on the bar relatively recently; they often need mostly refreshers of stuff they have more or less seen within the last two years. Professors twenty years out are in a different place. We know an insane amount about a few topics, but next to nothing about others. So I needed to learn a bunch of subjects from scratch and to do it quickly.
For me, at least, the fastest way to learn a new area of law is to first learn what the law is trying to do. Most fields of law are trying to achieve some goals or balance some interests in a way that you can state in a sentence or two. Once you know the goals of the law, you can understand the rules in that field as an effort to achieve the goals. It becomes a lot easier to learn the rules because they tend to fit the goals.
The rules were just rules, hundreds or thousands of rules to memorize, presented rule after rule after rule. It was something like memorizing Pi to a thousand places. It may have been a good fit for students who have recently taken classes in related subjects.
But from my odd perspective, at least, it was frustrating. I was interested to see, when I signed up to take the bar, if it would be as stressful as it had been the first time.
educational requirements to take the bar exam, there is a Waiver Process and Policy in effect Mr. Freehling noted that the ABA has considered the issue of distance learning, .. Mr. Freehling referred to law school, especially its first year, .. The MBE covers contracts, torts, constitutional law, criminal law, evidence, and.
When I was a student, way back when, I didn't test lightly. I would go all out, being super-stressed for weeks. So I wondered if taking the bar exam a second time would be a lot easier and less intense twenty years later.
I wish I could say I was pretty chill about the whole thing. But nope, I wasn't. Yup, it was just as stressful in as it had been in I had more or less set aside about four weeks to study for the exam, and that meant about two days for each subject. I tried to spend roughly one day learning the basics of each subject, and then one day just memorizing the rules for that subject.
But it was hard, and stressful, just as it had been right after law school. Part of the problem was that intense memorization seemed so foreign.
I wasn't worried about writing a nice lawyerly answer if I knew the rules. But studying meant trying to memorize a few hundred rules about random subjects I would never need.
My middle-aged brain didn't take kindly to that. In my world, you pretty much never need to memorize anything. You can always consult your notes. Getting back into the memorization mindset after two decades off was harder than I expected. Granted, I had the luxury that I didn't actually need to pass for my job. Most professors are not members of the state bars where they teach. So no worry if I failed, right? Well, yes and no. A lot of people were quick to remind me that former Stanford Law Dean Kathleen Sullivan had failed the California bar the first time.
Many remembered that about her despite her brilliant academic and professional career.A lot of recent law school graduates are going to be taking the bar exam in less than two weeks. I can relate. Forgot your password? Here's what happened, together with some possible lessons about the experience. You are now logged in. I took the bar exam just last summer, twenty years after I took it the first time.
I could see how it happened, too; if you don't spend enough time memorizing the silly rules you know you won't need IRL, you're unlikely to pass. So while I didn't need to pass the bar, I also kinda did. The actual process of taken exam was pretty similar to what it had been in The biggest difference was that inyou either wrote your essays by hand as I did or you used a typewiter.
Bythe standard was to use laptops, and that meant getting used to the ExamSoft software. As luck would have it, my laptop froze about 10 minutes into the exam. I was able to get back up and running without losing much time, though, and fortunately it didn't freeze up again.
The exam itself went fine. It was strange to be back in the position of legal exam taker instead of legal exam writer and legal exam grader. But I figured that was sort of an advantage, too. When I wasn't sure about a rule, I knew from experience how to write an answer that best obfuscated my lack of knowledge by burying it in a sea of otherwise-seemingly informed and intelligent words.
In the problem, you are a defense attorney and you are writing a letter to an AUSA about why he shouldn't bring a case in light of a Fourth Amendment violation you articulate your letter.
They give you a fake Fourth Amendment opinion to rely on as precedent in your letter.