Dramatically Raise Your Bar Exam Scores With BarWrite®'s Supplemental Boot Camps
BarWrite® offers intensive full-day supplemental classes and boot camps for bar candidates. Learn exam-taking techniques and tactics for foreign-trained lawyers, retakers, and first-timers. Enroll in these classes as a supplement to Pieper, BarBri, or similar full courses.
To: Faculty Using the Book Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT) as Course Text/Host Law Schools for MPT Workshops
From: Mary Campbell Gallagher, J.D., Ph.D.
Re: Proposed Intensification of MPT Courses
Date: March 4, 2014
Students' response to the MPT methods I teach in Perform Your Best on the Bar Exam Performance Test (MPT) continues to be outstanding. Last week a New York bar candidate told me that he had left the MPT to last, and so he had been 10 minutes short of time. He said, "I could not imagine finishing the MPT" without using those systems. Another bar candidate said that before taking my MPT Boot Camp the MPT had been "a black hole."
Believing nonetheless that we can always improve even on success, following are several intensifications I plan for my MPT courses, at BarWrite® and for host law schools.
1. Limit class to 25 students, except where an assistant circulates in the room looking over students' shoulders and assuring that every student's work accurately reflects instructions.
2. Add course segment where students not only practice responding to the Partner Memo by including a separate row for each instruction in the MPT-MatrixTM, but they also practice separately numbering and underlining the corresponding topic headings in the work product.
3. Add segment on creating the MPT-MatrixTM for challenging MPT tasks that are neither a brief, a memo, nor a letter: (a.) the notorious "leave behind;" (b.) a will; (c.) jury instructions; (d.) Other.
4. Add exercise in drafting the final paragraph of a brief ("For the foregoing reasons . . . .") and the signature ("Respectfully submitted . . . .").
5. Add segment in which students practice using different tones for different audiences: clients, other lawyers, or courts.
### *** From Bar Write Blog's sponsor:
PERFORM YOUR BEST ON THE BAR EXAM PERFORMANCE TEST (MPT): TRAIN TO FINISH THE MPT IN 90 MINUTES "LIKE A SPORT(TM). A Study Guide for All Bar Exam Performance Tests, and for Law Students and Practitioners, to Develop Strong Organizational Habits "Like a Sport" and Produce More Efficient Work Products. One reviewer called it the Swiss Army knife of the MPT. SCORING HIGH ON BAR EXAM ESSAYS. This book "may be the best money you can spend on bar exam preparation." -- The St. John's Law School Forum. BARWRITE® TEN-DAY COACHING GROUP helps you pole-vault the bar. "My MBE went from a 126 to a 149!" - Gemma Waananen Kenney (Member, New York and New Jersey Bars). BARWRITE® THREE-DAY NEW YORK ESSAY AND ONE-DAY MPT BOOT CAMPS boost bar scores. "Dr. Gallagher takes the mass of information studied and teaches her students how to apply it effectively in essays." Christina Valentine, Australian solicitor (Member, New York Bar).
Do foreign-trained attorneys who want to become members of the New York bar need to take a full bar review course?
Yes, indeed. First, the New York bar exam is notoriously difficult for most foreign-trained lawyers, and they fail at twice the rate of JDs. Not knowing enough law has to be a major reason, but there are at least five additional reasons why taking a full New York bar course is vital, not optional. And BarWrite® is objective on this question, because it does NOT offer a full bar review course. BarWrite® offers only supplemental courses, specializing in helping foreign-trained lawyers and retakers pass the bar exam. When I refer to full New York bar courses, I mean Pieper or BarBri or Themis or Kaplan or one of the newer courses.
Here are five reasons why you must take a full bar review course:
1. A full bar review course can explain what is important for the New York bar exam and what you don't need to worry about. The amount of material is enormous, you can't possibly learn it all, and in fact, not all of it is important on the exam. You need help sorting what is important from what is unimportant. You also need help sorting what is unique to New York law from what New York law has in common with the law of other states where you may have taken the bar exam or from the law on the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE).
2. A full bar review course can give you structure, requiring you to attend lectures, hand in essays, and do practice tests. Studying for the bar exam is stressful, lonely, and exhausting. Without structure, the days melt into each other, and you aren't sure whether you have covered material or not, or whether you have mastered it or not.
3. A full bar review course can give you feedback, telling you what you are doing right and wrong. This is key. You absolutely cannot do this for yourself. On your own, you have no way of knowing whether you are doing things right or not. You may be tempted to use whatever standards were successful on a licensing exam in your home country, or in law school. But they may be different from the standards on the New York bar exam. Not only must you take a full bar-review course, accordingly, but you must do all the exercises and hand in all the essays. Otherwise, you lack the feedback you will need.
4. A full bar review course can give you a daily plan for studying, telling you what to study and when. Having a daily plan is vital to success. You must be learning new material and reviewing old material every single day. Without a daily plan, you won't finish all of the work you need to, and you won't be ready on time to take the New York bar exam.
5. A full bar review course can give you a reading on your own rate of progress, so you know whether you are on track to get ready in time. How are you going to tell whether you are mastering the material quickly enough? You can't wait until you take the exam, because then it's too late. Tests, feedback, and structure are all key, a full bar review course can give them to you, and you cannot supply them for yourself.
What about supplemental courses? The New York bar exam is different both from U.S. law school exams and from the law exams foreign-trained lawyers have taken in their home countries. So although a full bar review course is necessary, it is often insufficient. That is why foreign-trained bar candidates may want to supplement their full bar review courses with courses that stress the key skills for the New York exam and that understand the differences between foreign and US legal training. I would be remiss not to point out that BarWrite® teaches key skills for American test-taking, and that our students practice them every day in our BarWrite® 10-Day Coaching Group and our 4-Day Essay-MPT Combo.
To make sure that foreign-trained lawyers can learn the most-frequently tested law and learn essay-writing the American bar exam way, BarWrite® provides a number of systems, plus its "World Cup Rules"TM. These are the most-frequently tested rules of New York law in easy-to-memorize form. Thus, a lawyer who is less familiar with New York law, and especially one whose first language is not English, need not try to paraphrase, let alone do translations, during the bar exam. BarWrite also teaches useful systems for structuring the essays and the MPT and finishing on time, systems that are useful not only on the bar exam but in law practice.
But however helpful BarWrite® may be, a full bar review course is the necessary foundation. It is key. Everyone--both JDs and LLMs--needs to take a full bar review course and LLMs often need supplemental courses. For a foreign-trained lawyer who wants to pass the bar exam and become a member of the New York bar, the full bar review course is the sine qua non, however, an absolute necessity.
One of the benefits of belonging to the New York State Bar Association is receiving the Journal. The content is often excellent. Each month, Gerald Lebovitz, a New York City Civil Court judge, presents "The Legal Writer." Last March, for example, Judge Lebovits continued his series on Summary Judgment. "Drafting New York Civil-Litigation Documents: Part XXIII -- Summary-Judgment Motions Continued." Those who are not members of the NYSBA should re-read the rules of civil procedure (in New York, CPLR secs. 3212 and 3213) to refresh themselves on what the motion requires.
Summary judgment comes up a lot on the bar exam, as it does in real life. Judge Lebovits stresses that the evidence the moving party submits must be admissible. That is, the evidence in support of the motion, if introduced at trial, would be admissible at trial. For hearsay to be admissible, for example, it must fall under an exception to the hearsay rule. "You must explain in your motion that the document falls under a hearsay exception and how you've met that exception." He also stresses that you must include both parties' pleadings with your motion. Among other reasons, because for the sake of fairness and due process, your adversary should not have to "wonder whether the court will rely on papers outside the four corners of your motion." NYSBA Journal, March/April 2013, at 64, 58.
In that same issue of the Journal, John R. Higgitt offers "Summary Judgment Do's and Don'ts" NYSBA Journal, March/April 2013, at 26. He stresses, among other points, the importance of correctly calculating the deadline for seeking summary judgment, which under the CPLR is usually within 120 days of the filing of the note of issue. Summary judgment is a substitute for trial, and so mastering the rules of procedure is key.
*** From Bar Write Blog's sponsor: SCORING HIGH ON BAR EXAM ESSAYS. This book "may be the best money you can spend on bar exam preparation." -- The St. John's Law School Forum. PERFORM YOUR BEST ON THE BAR EXAM PERFORMANCE TEST (MPT): TRAIN TO FINISH THE MPT IN 90 MINUTES "LIKE A SPORT(TM). A Study Guide for All Bar Exam Performance Tests, and for Law Students and Practitioners, to Develop Strong Organizational Habits "Like a Sport" and Produce More Efficient Work Products. BARWRITE® TEN-DAY COACHING GROUP helps you pole-vault the bar. "My MBE went from a 126 to a 149!" - Gemma Waananen Kenney (Member, New York and New Jersey Bars). BARWRITE® THREE-DAY NEW YORK ESSAY AND ONE-DAY MPT BOOT CAMPS boost bar scores. "Dr. Gallagher takes the mass of information studied and teaches her students how to apply it effectively in essays." Christina Valentine, Australian solicitor (Member, New York Bar). Read the announcement here about those new BarWrite Three-Day New York Essay Boot Camps.
Good writers have strong writing habits. Writing is not just intellectual work. As Professor Richard K. Neumann, Jr., of Hofstra once said to me, I teach legal writing "like a sport." He was right. I teach by
My observation from more than 20 years of teaching legal writing is that people who write slowly rarely have slowness in their DNA. More often, slow writers are really doing different things from the students who write faster.
Paris has had height limits for hundreds of years, producing the
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Council want to build new skyscrapers that will pierce the historic
horizon. Parisians oppose skyscrapers, but the Mayor is adamant. The architectural preservationist association SOS Paris, of
which I am a member, is vigorously battling this threat, and
On June 24, in Fisher v. University of Texas, No.11-345, the United States Supreme Court avoided re-visiting the question of whether racial preferences in state college admissions are unconstitutional.
To my great delight, last year The Lawyerist Blog invited me to publish a series of guest blog posts to help law school graduates prepare for the bar exam. These guest blog posts are crammed with the fruit of my more than 20 years of experience preparing candidates for the bar exam. Enjoy.
Many law school professors work to train students to do legal analysis, but both judges and bar exam graders complain that they too rarely see any analysis at all. Writers either repeat the story, stating the facts again without making any connection to the law, or else they are conclusory, stating a conclusion without
PERFORM YOUR BEST ON THE BAR EXAM PERFORMANCE TEST
SCORING HIGH ON BAR EXAM ESSAYS: Book and CDs
Mary Campbell Gallagher, J.D., Ph.D., Founder and President of BarWrite® and BarWrite Press
About BarWrite® Blog
Welcome to BarWriteBlog.com, the blawg about the bar exam and the first year of law practice, including researching and writing memoranda, briefs, and letters.
BarWrite® and BarWrite Press
OUR IN-HOUSE COURSES: For law schools and law firms By practicing basic skills with a variety of materials, students in BarWrite®'s intensive one-day and two-day boot camps, for legal education and continuing legal education, learn to organize work products more efficiently, "like a sport."
OUR BAR-PREP COURSES BarWrite® means results-driven supplemental boot camps, workshops, and 1-on-1 coaching that prepare students to dominate the bar exam essays, the MBE and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT).