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Preview: Passing the California Bar Exam

Passing I Passed the California Bar Exam!



If you like to slow down on the freeway to gawk at accidents, you're going to love this blog.



Updated: 2018-03-23T07:45:44.215-07:00

 



Busy, Busy, Busy ...

2017-09-26T05:19:46.100-07:00

Like a mole in the middle of your back - one you can't ever see but know is there - the thought has occurred to me from time to time that I should have it taken care of. 

In other words, I occasionally think about shutting this Blog down.  But then I get busy again and that thought vanishes. 

Decisions, decisions ...



Bar Exam Numbers Dip Again in February

2016-06-01T16:29:22.507-07:00

From the June 2016 California Bar Journal (http://www.calbarjournal.com/June2016/TopHeadlines/TH4.aspx) ...

"February’s bar exam pass rate slid again for the second year, ending an upward swing that reached its peak in 2014."

The percentage of candidates who pass in February has always been lower than the July exam but this is one of the lowest - "According to the State Bar’s Committee of Bar Examiners, 1,700 of the 4,758 people who took the general bar exam in February passed, or 35.7 percent. The results mark one of the lowest pass rates since February 2009, when only 33.5 percent passed the exam. Only two years ago, February bar exam results peaked with a pass rate of 45.3 percent."

All the more reason to sign up with OneTimers.com.



Shameless Plug

2016-04-28T14:59:38.604-07:00

Hi Folks,

This is a "shameless plug" because I am advertising my legal practice and asking for referrals. 

My practice focuses on the recovery of civil money judgments.  After a judgment has been entered, and the losing party has been ordered to pay the winning party some amount of money, I use the legal remedies available to the winner to compel the loser to pay what he owes. 

Naturally the loser doesn't want to pay, so I levy bank accounts, garnish wages, take assignment of streams of income, seize and sell property, etc., in an effort to get the winning party's money back.

It's a tough proposition in this economy, so most judgment creditor's could use some help in getting this done. 

Lest you think ill of me for adding to the hardship of people who are already in dire financial straits, I don't enforce judgments against people who already have no money.  Besides, the old saying about not being able to squeeze blood from a turnip (or money from someone who is broke), is applicable here.  It costs money to enforce judgments, and another old saying is applicable in that I don't like to throw good money after bad.  As such, I focus on enforcing judgments against the bad actors who take advantage of others by not following through on their promises. 

For example, I recently recovered a $40,000 judgment for a company that performed work on a construction project but wasn't paid by the project owner.  The project owner had plenty of money, but thought he could save money by not paying the sub-contractor.  This happens all the time and I enjoy holding the bad actors to their promises. 

I am also a Licensed Private Investigator (CA Lic #27613), so I can easily locate a debtor's assets (if any).  This helps me to screen out the debtors with no money and lets me focus on those who can afford to pay (but choose not to!)

Also, as both an Attorney and a Private Investigator, my clients get the benefit of the Attorney/Client privilege.  Regular Private Investigators don't get this privilege and anything their client reveals to them can be used in court.  A P.I. without this privilege cannot refuse to disclose details of their conversations with the Creditor/Client.  But as an Attorney, my clients automatically get this protection.  

So if someone you know has a judgment that they cannot collect on, I can help.  And when you get your license, and win cases for your clients, I can help make the time and money spent on suing the debtor worth the effort. 



Good Luck to Everyone Next Week! (Especially to you, Farah!)

2016-02-19T10:26:56.145-08:00

My buddy, Farah, is taking the exam next week (GOOD LUCK, FARAH!)  I know she'll do well because she studied with Jason Tolerico and all the other well-prepared students in his One-Timers California Bar Review course.

Happy Bar Exam Week, Everybody!



Congrats to Those Who Received Good News Last Friday!

2015-11-23T10:19:07.337-08:00

I heard that another few friends of friends I referred to Jason, passed this last exam.  Yay for them!

And for those of you who who are still struggling, the path is clear.  You now know where to go, who to call, to get you over that elusive 1440 mark.

GP



I Was Asked to Comment About the New Two-Day Bar Exam Format, So ....

2015-08-06T10:41:00.388-07:00

The CA Bar Exam is going to be shortened to two days starting July 2017?  Yeah, well, what can I say?  The fact that the the State Bar decided to shorten the Bar Exam from three days to two days obviously does not impact me at all, but I am curious about the format for the new Performance Exams.  I suppose they're going to be using the Multi-State Performance Exams (MPTs) that are common in other states.

When I was studying for the exam I remember seeing the 90-minute exams discussed in the commercial study guides I bought, and wondered how rigorous they could be.  I imagined they were nothing more than a glorified essay, but I suspect they're actually quite different because, after all, they're measuring "performance" in a real-world scenario.  I don't really know though because I never looked closely at one.

I've read some of the commentary about the new format and it appears the State Bar is determined to keep California at the top of the difficulty scale, so they're going to have to do something to keep the "bar" for admission as high as it currently is.  If I was really interested in the new format, I would dive into the MPT issue by doing some of them.   But as busy as I am with the work I currently have, I'm not really that interested.

I read in the latest edition of the California Bar eJournal that one of the motivating factors for the change was cost.  The new format will save the State Bar about $1.1 million dollars annually.  I can't imagine though that this was the primary reason for the change (but I could be wrong!)

Another reason given was that they wanted to put California in line with the other state's bar exams. Someone commented that this would reduce the "rigorous" nature of the exam, and the reply was that it is not intended to be an endurance test, but simply a minimum competency test for knowledge of the law.  I suppose this is valid, and I'm sure the reason some of the people have failed was that they were burned out by the third day.

Some of my peers have already been talking about how they are going to needle people who pass the "easy two-day" bar exam, while "real lawyers" had to pass the "horrible, no good, very rotten" three-day exam.  But knowing these people as I do, all of this will be done with a sense of humor.

Personally, I don't think it would make a difference which version of the exam I was taking.  But with all of the conspiracy theories surrounding the exam, I know I would be distracted by the thought of all the ways the State Bar could make the new format even more difficult.

It's all theoretical though until July 2017.  We should begin to get a picture of the new testing requirements during the preparation period leading up to July 2017, and then everyone will be curious to see the Released Answers.  And, of course, the pass rate.




Great News! (for me, anyway)

2015-07-28T19:45:17.502-07:00

Got a regular paying gig again.  :)

And I just realized that today is the first day of the July 2015 CA Bar Exam!  Yippee for all of you taking it! 

Hang in there.  Two days to go.  Study your MBEs tonight. 

And I want to make a comment about this profession.  There are a lot (A LOT!) of attorneys who are fargin' ice-holes (Johnny Dangerously quote).  Don't be one. 




And The Beat Goes On ...

2015-07-06T16:05:04.148-07:00

In case anyone is interested (and I'm not sure anyone is!), my tenure as a "Litigation Attorney" has come to an end.  The client decided it was no longer financially prudent to sue his customers so he stopped filing suits against them.  Good for him, bad for me.  As such, I'm trying to meet my own financial obligations by doing contract work, and I'm talking with a couple of other attorneys about starting our own small firm. 

Tough times, but it should be easier to endure as an attorney than it was as an "attorney candidate!" 

Good luck to those of you studying for the July 2015 exam.  Keep your head down, limit distractions, and know in your heart that you CAN pass this thing! 

Cheers!   GP




The Other Day a Newly Admitted Attorney Asked Me a Question About ...

2015-05-19T20:37:52.264-07:00

... how to find a job.  She went to an out-of-state law school and so has no local network of law school buddies or attorney friends to help her out in her search for gainful employment.  She has an LLM in taxation so she definitely has skills, she just lacks a network in CA to help her find a job. 

And did I mention that she speaks three languages?  If I didn't, let me tell you that she speaks three languages.  I don't know what those languages are, but I suspect they're useful in California (i.e., not Portuguese, Latin, or the Language of the Ancients.)

So, if anyone has any useful suggestions on how a newly admitted attorney, who speaks three languages, and who has an LLM in taxation, can go about finding a job around these here parts, please leave them in the comments.


Your sage advice is muchly appreciated!

GP, Esq!




Congratulations To My Buddy and Overqualified Paralegal, Larry!

2015-05-17T17:00:57.141-07:00

He Killed it DEAD!

And Thanks Very Much to Jason Tolerico!  Larry finally got it done (after four (or five)) attempts, after taking Jason's class.

Larry Killed the Bar Exam, and Jason is da' BOMB!



Good Luck Everyone!

2015-02-24T10:05:07.827-08:00

Especially to my buddy and overqualified paralegal, Larry!  Kill it Dead, Larry!  





Congratulations To All Of You Who ...

2014-08-19T17:49:10.632-07:00

... made it through the July 2014 CA Bar Exam!  May the "Luck O' the GP" be with you when your answers are assigned to happy graders!

As for me, my career path has changed yet again.  A couple of months ago I was offered a position with a small firm as a Litigation Attorney, handling civil complaints for the firm's primary client.  The client is a medium-size business, and I've been tasked with filing cases against its customers who have breached their contracts.  I've been very busy over the past couple of months and I'm going to be much busier soon as these cases churn their way through the courts.  Exciting, it is! 

I'll pop in from time to time with comments and opinions about ... stuff.   Mostly about the Bar Exam, and a little bit about my law practice.

Later!



Take a Deep Breath ...

2014-07-30T11:30:32.388-07:00

... you're half way through!



Feedback on Jason's Outlines, Anyone?

2014-06-09T15:26:23.905-07:00

For those of you who availed yourself of Jason's Free Outline Offer, remember that you promised to come back here and post a comment on what you thought about them. 

The offer has been in effect since May 1st and I've only seen one comment.  I don't know how many people have requested and received the outlines but I suspect it's more than one (1)!

C'mon everyone!  Wossamotta U

The July exam is only still almost two months out.  You have plenty of time to prepare but you need to be diligent.  If you've received Jason's outlines but haven't opened them then you need to get busy! 

One month from now you'll wish you had heeded my advice.  There's nothing worse than realizing the Bar Exam is only three weeks out but you still have six weeks worth of material to cover. Trust me on this.  I've been there.



A Few Items of Note ...

2014-04-29T22:10:54.556-07:00

First, Jason Tolerico's latest Free Outline offer opens on May 1, 2014.  Get 'em while you need 'em.  Links to his site are just over there towards the top on the right side of my page --->.

Second, I am transitioning my practice from Judgment Recovery to Disabled Student Advocacy.  I'm partnering up with another attorney who has a very busy practice representing students with learning disabilities.  We step in when the school district fails to implement an appropriate learning program for the child.  It's much more satisfying than trying to squeeze money from bad guys.

Third, the actual practice of law is much more enjoyable than trying to pass the bar exam.  "What's that," you say?  "You can't be serious!"  Yes, folks, I'm serious.  (;-)>  Besides recovering money for people who have won their case, I'm handling a couple of civil matters.  It's not the easiest thing I've ever done - I'm sure it would be easier if I wasn't doing it solo - but there are enough resources out there, including other friendly attorneys, to make it manageable.  I'm not rich (yet!), but things are coming together. 

And I still receiving the occasional email from people looking for advice on how to pass the CA bar exam.  I always begin my reply by reminding them that, given my history, I might not be the best person to ask, but I am happy to relate to them the things that I did differently on the exam that I passed.  I believe I've actually helped some people and that makes me feel good. 







Does It Seem Like the February Bar Exam ...

2014-03-24T23:37:46.915-07:00

... was just yesterday, or just last week?  Or does it seem like you took it months ago? 

Towards the end of my 5-year ordeal I can remember normal space/time becoming warped and twisted.  Time would slow down for the month of the exam, as I prepared for those three days, then it would speed up to normal again the day after it was over.  It would remain normal until about a week before results were released.  And when I found that I had failed yet again a weird Twilight Zone effect would descend on me which would last until the first day of July or February.  It seemed odd to me (in a not-good sort of way) that I only felt normal when I was preparing for the bar exam.  But those last few weeks before the exams were the only times I felt like I was in control of my destiny.   As for the months between the exams and the day the results were released ... I felt like I was living in a kind of demented purgatory. 

Bizarre, I know. 

But that's all over now.

Speaking of it being over, your wait is almost over!  Jason Tolerico will again be offering his most excellent outlines for FREE starting May 1, 2014 (But only for a limited time!)

Actually, they're not quite FREE.  Sure, he's not going to charge money for them, but he is going to ask that you come back to my blog and post a comment with your opinion on them. 

And when you call (or email), if you mention that you heard about his FREE OUTLINE offer from THIS BLOG they'll be DOUBLE-FREE!  (Just kidding.  I'm pretty sure there isn't any such thing as "DOUBLE FREE", especially not in ALL CAPS(!), but, hey, it couldn't hurt!)

P.S. Being a lawyer is a good thing.  I like it.



Last Minute Study Suggestions

2014-02-23T10:47:43.299-08:00

I know a lot of people suggest not studying on these last couple off days before the exam, but I could never do that. It was easier for me to study than it was to pretend that I was relaxed!

So, my recommendation for today and tomorrow is to do MBEs for about 30 minutes, review Jason's outlines (if you have them) for one of your weaker subjects for about 30 minutes, then take a break for about 30 minutes.  If you do this, these last two days will fly by and you'll keep the material fresh in your head. 

Also, do not stress out about memorizing the rules.  The graders are not looking for perfect rule statements - they're looking for solid analysis.  On my last exam I spent much less time agonizing over the rule statements and much more time thinking about the relationship between the facts and the elements of the rules. 

Best of Luck to All!





Hey, Wasn't That ...

2013-11-24T19:11:29.757-08:00

... the results for the July 2013 exam that went flashing by my window just now?   Man, if you aren't looking  for it, it just zips by without making a sound. 

I hope everyone passed!  

But I know that's not the case. 

Down, butterflies.  Down!  That's better.  Every time I think about the moment when I saw my results last year I get an attack of the butterflies.  Trust me when I say the post-passing butterflies are much friendlier to your stomach lining than the pre-test butterflies.  In fact, the pre-test butterflies were more like moths for me because they tended to eat holes in the lining of my stomach.  Bah.  Good riddance to those.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!



The "Free Outlines" Offer Has Ended ...

2013-11-18T16:50:37.356-08:00

... for now, at least.  Apparently quite a few people were impressed by them.  I suspect the offer may be reinstated at some point between the February Exam and the release of results, but all I know now is that the offer for free outlines has been withdrawn.  They can be purchased, of course,. but you'll have to contact Jason to get all of those details. 

On another note, Dustin Saiidi's book is available for those who cannot afford a full-blown bar prep program.  Dustin did not graduate near the top of his class yet he still passed the bar exam on his first attempt.  In his book he tells you how he prepared for his bar exam, and truth be told it sounds a lot like the approach I finally settled on.  Anyway, if you don't have the resources to spring for a full-blown bar prep program you might want to take a look at Dustin's book.  A link to Dustin's book is, or soon will be, in the top right corner of this blog.



A Big THANKS To Those Folks Who ...

2013-10-21T10:05:30.538-07:00

... followed through and commented on Jason's outlines.  Your feedback helps everyone.  Here's a link to an interesting article in today's Los Angeles Daily Journal entitled: "Slow bar exam results upset law deans, recent graduates. Law deans complain that State Bar's lag hampers students' job searches."And to answer the commenter who asked my opinion about the actual practice of law now that I've earned my license, it's everything I expected it to be, and more, and less (sort of.)First, not one client has asked me how many times I took the bar exam.  Not one.  And my client base includes other attorneys, whom I suspect would be the persons most interested in that number (if there were any interest, which it appears there is not.)  Second, it helps to have an aggressive entrepreneurial spirit if one is going to start one's legal career as a sole practitioner.  Either that, or have a lot of friends in the business.  I'm not very entrepreneurial, but I do have quite a few friends, and I suspect a large part of my new business is from referrals by my friends.  I say this because I've received more than a few phone calls from people I've never met, and who have no reason to know of me unless someone pointed them in my direction.  I am puzzled by that, but I am also very grateful.  Third, it's expensive to start and maintain a sole proprietorship law firm.  Not only does a sole proprietor have to pay the mortgage/utilities/etc. at home, there are all the expenses associated with being an attorney, which include office space rent, insurance, utilities, subscription fees, membership fees, association fees, and all the other typical costs of practicing law (filing fees, process service fees, investigation fees, ad nauseum.)  Fourth, the many and varied types of people who want and/or need the services of an attorney, and their reasons for so wanting/needing, has surprised me.   I'll try to post more on this later.[...]



What?!? Don't Tell Me That Only Three Of You Took Jason Up On His Offer!

2013-10-14T19:54:52.322-07:00

Seriously? 

Are you telling me there were more people interested in getting their hands on the mythical, magical, mystical BC outlines (that were never proven to actually exist) than on Jason's real-life outlines?  Tell me it ain't so!

I don't think anyone expects a subject-by-subject critical breakdown style evaluation, but a mere thumbs-up or -down would be better than the cricket sounds we're hearing now.

And I'll personally say THANKS to the three people (three crickets!) who did fulfill their end of the bargain since I created this situation when I stuck my neck out (okay, my reputation out, such as it is) when I recommended Jason's outlines (not to mention the rest of his program.)

Hang in there folks!  The results of the July 2013 exam will be released in, what, about six weeks?



Free Outlines! Limited Time Offer! Jason Tolerico's Updated CA Subject Outlines! Did I mention that they're FREE!

2013-09-10T20:15:09.626-07:00

I was asked again last week for my opinion about Jason Tolerico’s outlines.  My challenge in rendering such an opinion is that I didn’t really get a chance to use his outlines in depth when I was in his program because at that time he hadn't completed them for all of the subjects.  The ones he did have completed, however, were excellent.  I found that the biggest difference between Jason’s outlines and the other ones I’ve used is that Jason provides more than a simple list of the issues, rules and elements – he cites actual cases so you can see how the rules are used in real life and he provides links to statutes so you can look at the source of what you are learning.  Seeing this stuff in context made a huge difference to me.   Anyway, when I asked him how his updates were coming along he went ahead and sent me his outlines for the CA subjects.  Man, I can’t believe how hard this guy works on this stuff. You can tell he has pride in ownership.  He should, of course, because his reputation is on the line, but he’s really done a great job on these.  They're clear and concise, they tell you when each individual concept was tested last, and they show how frequently those issues show up on the exam. As we talked, Jason mentioned to me that he was thinking about using his outlines as a marketing tool for his One-Timers bar prep program and I came up with the bright idea of using the readers of my blog as guinea pigs ... um, intelligent and willing test subjects(!) to get valuable and honest feedback on them.  So we came up with this idea - Jason has offered to send a set of his updated outlines for the CA subjects to anyone who requests them, but you have to mention in your email that I referred you.  His email address is jtlaws@gmail.com.  In exchange for his outlines he asks you to return to my blog and post your thoughts, comments, opinions, and critiques on them.  It seems like a fair trade off – he gets free publicity and you get free outlines. I know I’ve given Jason a lot of free advertising here over the past couple of years, but it’s justified because he was the reason I passed the CA bar exam.  And now that I don’t have the time to blog properly I am very comfortable using my blog to refer people to his program.  So send Jason an email today, mention me (the Grand Poobah!), and get a free set of his most excellent outlines for the CA subjects.In the end, anyone who is serious about passing the CA Bar Exam should seriously consider Jason’s One-Timers program.  It worked for me.Oh, one more thing, this is a limited time offer - it's only available until whatever day the February 2014 CA bar exam starts.  So get 'em while they're hot![...]



The Best of Luck to Everyone Tomorrow!

2013-07-29T14:26:52.707-07:00

May you all find a way to peacefully coexist with the exam over the next three days.  But if you can't find common ground with it, then kick it's butt!

Now go do that voodoo that you do so well!
(Hedley Lamarr, Blazing Saddles)



A few weeks ago someone asked me to ...

2013-06-27T10:27:30.017-07:00

... post links (or something) to my website, or to something that shows the kind of law I am practicing. 

So without further ado (or any ado for that matter), here is the link to my website: http://www.brjohnstonlaw.com/



My Interview With Dustin Saidi from www.IPassedMyBarExam.com

2013-06-12T18:39:22.785-07:00

So, what with all of the hoopla, ballyhoo, frolicing, merriment, festivity, merrymaking, tomfoolery, falderal, and fiddle dee dee that went on after I passed the July 2012 bar exam, Dustin Saidi of www.ipassedmybarexam.com sent me an email asking if I would be interested in being interviewed about my experience.  

After scratching my head for a few weeks, wondering what interest anyone could have in the exploits of someone who only passed after 11 attempts, I agreed.


The result is posted here: http://tinyurl.com/lqu9bs3

In all honesty, I can't think of anything to say about the interview except that Dustin did a great job with the technical aspects of recording, editing, and producing the final product.  Other than that, it's all about me, and despite the existence of the blog, I am not a person who seeks the limelight. 

So for all those who are interested in hearing me describe my ordeal, in a positive way I believe, please take a listen.  Dustin has some other good interviews too so your time may be well spent.  

Oh, he's got a book too.  I don't have an interest in any book sales as a result of your visiting his website, but he's a good guy and you might just find his book useful.