Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Bar Exam

I thought I'd post a couple thoughts here on the bar exam. It's getting close (9 days) and I want to talk about what it's been like for me this summer, and how awful it is.

Studying: I spend most of every day studying. At the beginning it was 6-8 hours, and now sometimes it's twelve or so. It's really easy to get burned out and I have to accept that I can't work non-stop or I will probably implode. 


The Bar Exam is a fifteen-hour test that breaks down like this:

1. Tuesday July 26th:
       9:00am-12:00pm: The Ohio State Bar Exam (essays)
       1:00pm-4:00pm: The Multistate Performance Test

2. Wednesday July 27th:
       9:00am-12:00pm: First Half, Multistate Bar Exam
       1:00pm-4:00pm: Second Half, Multistate Bar Exam

3. Thursday, July 28th:
       9:00am-12:00pm: The Ohio State Bar Exam

As you can see, the Bar Exam in Ohio has three parts:
1. The Ohio State Bar Exam: these are a series of twelve (6 Tuesday, 6 Thursday) essays, all on a specific subject. They are almost like short-answer questions on a test and are usually broken down into multiple parts ("what are Patty's rights? What are Dorothy's rights?"). You have 30 minutes and 3900 characters (including spaces) to answer each.*
Subjects include: Business Associations, Civil Procedure, Commercial Paper, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Legal Ethics, Property, Torts (personal injury), Wills. There are eleven topics, so one topic gets two essays.

2. Multistate Bar Exam: This test, like the name states, is administered pretty uniformly across the states, and tests general common law that applies to most states. There are 200 multiple choice questions, administered in two 3-hour sessions. Each question is very specific and applies to: Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Real Property, and Torts. These ones are hard because you need to know very specific common law issues--some of which are different than Ohio law, and some of which are directly opposite of Ohio law. One of the trickiest things for me to remember is that in Ohio, common law assault (threatening to hit someone) and battery (actually hitting someone) are both called assault in criminal law. In tort law, they are still assault and battery.

3. The Multistate Performance Test: This test is gaining more widespread acceptance across states and you don't really have to know anything to take it. (But somehow, it's still really hard). It's a 90 minute essay test that's based on a pretend assignment given by your pretend boss. You have 90 minutes to read through a bunch of legal documents and other case papers that are included in your packet, figure out the law, and make a pretend legal document for your boss. There's no space limit but the time limit is BRUTAL. There are two of these back to back on Tuesday. They're hard because sometimes they're memos to an attorney, but sometimes they might be discovery requests or other things that you might not have seen in practice before.



* The following is 3900 characters:

Not all that Mrs. Bennet, however, with the assistance of her five daughters, could ask on the subject, was sufficient to draw from her husband any satisfactory description of Mr. Bingley. They attacked him in various ways–with barefaced questions, ingenious suppositions, and distant surmises; but he eluded the skill of them all, and they were at last obliged to accept the second-hand intelligence of their neighbour, Lady Lucas. Her report was highly favourable. Sir William had been delighted with him. He was quite young, wonderfully handsome, extremely agreeable, and, to crown the whole, he meant to be at the next assembly with a large party. Nothing could be more delightful! To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love; and very lively hopes of Mr. Bingley’s heart were entertained.
“If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield,” said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, “and all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for.”
In a few days Mr. Bingley returned Mr. Bennet’s visit, and sat about ten minutes with him in his library. He had entertained hopes of being admitted to a sight of the young ladies, of whose beauty he had heard much; but he saw only the father. The ladies were somewhat more fortunate, for they had the advantage of ascertaining from an upper window that he wore a blue coat, and rode a black horse.
An invitation to dinner was soon afterwards dispatched; and already had Mrs. Bennet planned the courses that were to do credit to her housekeeping, when an answer arrived which deferred it all. Mr. Bingley was obliged to be in town the following day, and, consequently, unable to accept the honour of their invitation, etc. Mrs. Bennet was quite disconcerted. She could not imagine what business he could have in town so soon after his arrival in Hertfordshire; and she began to fear that he might be always flying about from one place to another, and never settled at Netherfield as he ought to be. Lady Lucas quieted her fears a little by starting the idea of his being gone to London only to get a large party for the ball; and a report soon followed that Mr. Bingley was to bring twelve ladies and seven gentlemen with him to the assembly. The girls grieved over such a number of ladies, but were comforted the day before the ball by hearing, that instead of twelve he brought only six with him from London–his five sisters and a cousin. And when the party entered the assembly room it consisted of only five altogether–Mr. Bingley, his two sisters, the husband of the eldest, and another young man.
Mr. Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. His sisters were fine women, with an air of decided fashion. His brother-in-law, Mr. Hurst, merely looked the gentleman; but his friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.
Mr. Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with all the principal people in the room; he was lively and unreserved, danced every dance, was angry that the ball closed so early, and talked of giving one himself at Netherfield. Such amiable qualities must speak for themselves. What a contrast between him and his f
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1 comment:

Phlane Baboyd said...

My favorite part was the P&P selection.