If you plan to take the California bar exam, here is an important update and link to more information: Special Notice.
Will you graduate this May? Do you plan to take a bar exam this summer? If so, now is the best possible time for you to focus on getting ready to pass the bar the first time you take it, if you haven’t started already. Time after time, we see that the law students who start planning for the bar early in their 3L year have a much higher chance of passing the first time. In January, you have plenty of time to diagnose any weaknesses you might have and work over time to address them. Many law students have factors that put them at risk of not passing the bar first time — but virtually all of those factors can be readily addressed if given time and attention.
As we did last year, Emory Law is offering all our students who will graduate this spring the opportunity to gain some of those insights by taking an MBE diagnostic test of 100 practice questions with a follow-up workshop to discuss correct and incorrect answers, and the strategies to achieve your best scores. They will take place in January and February; the first one is on January 20. Students can sign up HERE for 1, 2 or all 3 of them! Last year, many students took all three and got great results on last summer’s bar exam. We are very happy to be able to offer the same opportunities again this year!
If you took any state’s bar exam in July 2016, you likely have your results by now. Most of you are thrilled and relieved; some of you are not. Let me share some wise words and advice from Scott Johns, a law teacher who posted this on the Law School Academic Support Blog :
First, if you passed the bar exam, congratulations! What a wonderful accomplishment! As you celebrate your success while waiting to take your oath of office, here’s a quick suggestion. This a great time to reach out to your support team (family, friends, colleagues, mentors, etc.) and personally thank them for their encouragement and inspiration. And, with respect to your law school colleagues that did not pass, its important that you reach out to them too. Send a quick email. Invite them for coffee. Let them know that you personally stand behind them and for them no matter what. Most importantly, just listen with kindness, graciousness, and compassion. In short, be a friend.
Second, if you did not pass the bar exam, please know that the results are not a reflection of who you are as a person….period. Lots of famous and successful people did not pass the bar exam on the first try (and some after a number of tries). Yet, they are some of the most outstanding attorneys and successful leaders. So, be kind to yourself. Take time to reflect, cry, and ponder. Most importantly, just be yourself. Then, in a few days or a few weeks, reach out to your law school. Make sure you order your exam answers if they are available in your state because looking at your exam answers can give you inside information on what you did that was great and where to improve too. Contact your bar review company for a one-on-one chat. Overall, though, the most important task at hand is to be kind to yourself, and please remember, your value comes from who you are and not from the bar exam at all. Period.
We are proud of all of you for undertaking something as challenging and exhausting as preparing for a bar exam. We will be offering resources to those who did not pass, but feel free to contact us yourself for support, whether in bar passage, employment or a fellowship. To the advice above, I would add that you should absolutely get as much information about your own answers as you can from your bar jurisdiction; make sure you know the deadline for making that request. In New York, for instance, it is 60 days after the date of notification that you did not pass. Also, in most jurisdictions, you can request hand-scoring of your MBE answer sheet if you think that would make a difference. Contact your state bar jurisdiction for instructions on how to do that, as each of them has different rules. In Georgia, the process is:
Send a request in writing to the Office of Bar Admissions containing:
Your Name/Address/Phone Number/Email and Applicant Number
Month/Year Bar Exam Taken
Include a money order made payable to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE): $50
The address is:
Office of Bar Admissions — ATTN MBE Hand Score Request
244 Washington Street; Suite 440
Atlanta, GA 30334
If you passed the Georgia bar exam, you should have heard from our Alumni Relations team inviting you to join your classmates and members of the Emory Law community to be sworn in at a special ceremony hosted here at the law school next week. If you did not get that information, please contact Bethany Glass at bethany [dot] glass [at] emory [dot] edu. You must RSVP and bring the original of your Georgia Bar certificate to Rm. G120 in Gambrell Hall. We look forward to hearing from you or seeing you soon.
Featured image provided by Al Haidar.
The State Bar of California has previously announced that it will include a new California “Performance Test” on its bar exam, starting in July 2017. The new CA PT will be 90 minutes long, and there only will be one CA PT, instead of two MPTs (Multistate Performance Test) as in the past. According to the California bar admissions website, http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/:
General Bar Examination The examination will be administered over two days with the following components:
1. One morning session during which three one-hour essay questions will be administered;
2. One afternoon session during which two one-hour essay questions and one 90-minute Performance Test will be administered; and
3. Morning and afternoon sessions consisting of three hours each, during which 100 multiple choice items for each session will be administered [the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)].
The current understanding among law schools is that there will not be many differences in format between the new CA PT and the MPT, but there may be differences in the instructions. All of this is subject to change once the California State Bar releases more information. Check www.calbar.ca.gov and admissions.calbar.ca.gov regularly and be ready to read the new instructions very carefully.
If you are planning to take the MPRE in November 2016 (it is offered three times/year), the deadline for regular registration is this Thursday, September 15. Detailed information about how and when to register, fees, deadlines, etc. is on the National Conference of Bar Examiners website. From that website:
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is a two-hour, 60-question multiple-choice examination developed by NCBE that is administered three times per year. It is required for admission to the bars of all but three U.S. jurisdictions (Maryland, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico). (In addition, Connecticut and New Jersey accept successful completion of a law school course on professional responsibility in lieu of a passing score on the MPRE.) Because MPRE requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another, examinees are advised to check with the bar admission agency in the jurisdiction to which they seek admission before registering for the MPRE. Passing scores are established by each jurisdiction.
Remember that from now on, you will have various deadlines and requirements to meet for purposes of registering for, preparing for and taking a bar exam. It is your responsibility to research and keep up with those requirements, including by getting information directly from official sources. The only authoritative official source of information about the bar exam and bar admission in a given jurisdiction is that jurisdiction’s own Office of Bar Admissions or Board of Examiners website. Please make sure to bookmark the one for the state where you plan to take a bar exam, create an online account if that is available, and check both regularly. If you’re taking the November MPRE, good luck!
The National Conference of Bar Examiners alerted law school deans yesterday about another change to the MBE starting in 2017 (they had previously announced an expansion of the scope of topics that might be tested in the category of Real Property). The 2017 MBE will still contain 200 questions, but unlike prior years, when 190 of those were actually scored and 10 were unscored experimental questions, the new MBE will only score 175 questions and 25 will be unscored experimental questions.
This means that each individual multiple choice question will count a bit more than in the past; and cumulatively, it will be more important for a bar taker to answer each one correctly. What this means for you, as an individual test-taker, is that test-taking skills and strategies will become even more important. In addition to paying attention to the added scope of Real Property topics and making sure you study the new topics, it will be more important than ever for you to do as many practice MBE questions as possible and review what strategies were most effective for you.
We will be offering (again) free MBE workshops for graduating students in the spring semester, so please plan to take advantage of at least one of those. You can come to all of them at no cost to you. Also, be sure to ask bar review course vendors for details about their MBE practice questions, such as how many of them are actual former MBE questions released by NCBEX, and how many will address the added subjects in Civil Procedure (added in 2015) and Real Property. Be aware that older MBE review materials will likely not include those new topics, including some that are on reserve for your use in the MacMillan Law Library.
As you shift more and more of your time toward doing practice questions and mock exams, it is useful to practice with sets of earlier, actual MBE questions which are released for that purpose by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. You can either buy sets of 100 as online practice exams (OPEs) at their website, www.ncbex.org, for your personal use, OR you can check out either or both of the Emanuel books “Strategies and Tactics for the MBE”, the fifth and sixth editions, which I’ve put on reserve at the law library circulation desk. The sixth edition has OPE Set 4 and the fifth edition has OPE Set 3, both with answer keys and explanations. You can also buy a personal hard copy of those books online through Amazon et al.
Thanks, to all of you who are working so hard and entered the drawing for the Critical Pass MBE flashcards! The winner, drawn at random via random.org, is Raquel L., who will get an email confirming her win. Congratulations to all who are exceeding the statewide average completion for their bar courses!
And for those who are not: please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you get and stay on track. These next five weeks are crucial to making sure YOU have maximized your own chances for first-time success on the bar exam. And that’s not random, it is within your control! Hang in there!