Pro Tips to Creating the Perfect 3L Schedule

Guest Blog By Lauren Rose,
3L at University of Detroit Mercy

As a 3L, you’re seasoned in the art of scheduling and time management.

Don’t rule out the obvious questions

As they say, there is no such thing as a stupid question. Is this class notoriously difficult, and will I be taking it in tandem with equally, if not more, difficult classes? Am I interested in the topic or think a deeper understanding of it could prove useful later in practice? Do I like the professor, or if not, would the friction cause unnecessary stress in an already challenging semester?

Take classes that are bar tested

Take the classes that are bar tested. Take the classes that are bar tested.  This cannot be repeated enough. This will help you in the long run.

Look at the final exam schedule

While creating your schedule, keep the final exam dates in mind. There is nothing worse than having back to back law school exams. Consider this while looking at the course offerings. If you take certain classes and the exam schedule is not ideal, talk to your law school’s registrar. It is possible that the registrar can help you adjust your class schedule or make accommodations for your exams.

Honestly evaluate your extracurricular activities – include time for work

Make sure there is still time for everything else in your schedule, including law review, moot court, clerking, work – and yourself. Many students fall prey to the optimistic idea that they can do it all, or that they’ll figure out how to make it all work as they go. Map out the typical week on a spreadsheet to ensure you’ve got enough hours in the day.

Are there other options?

Before committing to a schedule, look at all the options. Maybe you want to work in an internship/ clinic time or you might want to do an independent study if you’re a credit or two short. Your school likely has a lot of different ways you can get your credits. Talk to the registrar or your advisor about your goals and what you’d like to learn. Part of their job is to help you, so take advantage of it!

An Eventful Road to Becoming a Successful Health Care Attorney

GUEST BLOG by Jackson Long,
1L at SMU Dedman School of Law

image001.jpgBrian Higgins, Esq. took an eventful road to becoming a successful health care attorney.

Originally from Buffalo, New York, Brian went to Denison University located outside of Columbus, Ohio. In college, Brian earned his B.A. in Spanish while playing for the school’s soccer team. Upon graduation, he decided to take a teaching position in Spain for a year.

Now for the eventful part.

Upon graduation from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Brian faced the daunting challenge of the July 2015 Bar exam. He studied for fifty consecutive days with a bar prep company (that wasn’t BARBRI). His preparation wasn’t as clear or concise as he would have hoped and it led to a “super nervous” feeling heading into exam day.

After the agonizing wait, Brian had to take in the bad news of a failed attempt. “It felt like a death,” he said. “It was debilitating for a few days. I always thought I was smart and I couldn’t believe other people passed when I didn’t.”

That’s when Brian found BARBRI’s online course. It was important to him to seek out another prep strategy to improve his results. BARBRI worked with Brian throughout the process before his second opportunity at the Bar exam.

“The fill-in-the-blank outlines, the elements of the law, the organized structure of BARBRI all stick out,” Brian says. “It’s easy to digest and seeing BARBRI’s program allowed me to identify some of the flaws of my previous preparation. BARBRI is the master of bar exam prep.”

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Brian’s results from his next bar exam were masterful as well. He finished in the 98th percentile of all test takers statewide and the feeling of that kind of success made the long journey worth it. “I was overwhelmed with joy; so happy to have overcome that hurdle. It made me feel like I had nothing left to prove.”

He says the impact of BARBRI’s preparation was paramount in his stellar performance. “Do BARBRI 100 percent. Don’t mess around. They will work with you and truly care about your success.”

Currently, Brian works at one of the biggest firms in Cincinnati with the health care services team. His goal is to become an expert in the health care industry and eventually advise hospital systems and life sciences companies. Now that he’s in the door, his options are limitless.

“After passing the Bar exam, I felt like I could do anything. BARBRI opened up that door for me – a door that has led to so many incredible opportunities.”


#The1Llife: Memo Time

Guest Blog By Jackson Long,
1L at SMU Dedman School of Law

I can’t speak for everyone; I don’t know what your first semester law school writing class entails or how it dishes out its final grade. But I’ll tell you about mine. Hopefully there are some similarities.

We get our final memo assignment Tuesday. It is the culmination of 10 weeks of learning about research and writing. We have 14 days to complete the assignment, completely closed off from the outside world with no help.

Our class has heard all the tips and tricks from the 2 and 3L’s: Take a break from outlining, just skim reading for your other classes, spend all your free time on the memo. It seems like we have a big deal ahead of us.

Lesson: Don’t take this thing lightly.

Get ahead on this project. Wouldn’t it be better to be “done” (more on this in a sec) a few days early and then get back to outlining than to be pushed right against the deadline because you spent time on other things? Make a calendar, stick to it and try to have it completed a few days before deadline. The spare time can help buffer you from any unforeseen emergencies (my friend just tore his Achilles. The struggle is real right now).

And about the “done” part. Of course, you’ll never feel done. There will always be room to improve. But at some point, you’ll need to put it down. You will have researched enough, written enough, edited enough and polished enough. There will be a time to move on. Stick to that calendar.

Finally, give it your best shot and accept the results. Part of that is because you won’t know the results for a long time. The important part, however, is the reason why you are here. Our Civ Pro professor gave us a nice pep talk to lead us into this part of the semester: you are here to study the law; the most powerful single component that civilization has ever created. I think that’s an amazingly powerful way to look at your studies.

Best of luck to everyone on whatever your writing assignment entails. Let me know if you have any fun stories! (Near miss car accidents can be included).

In the words (kinda) of Otto from Rocket Power… Write On!


5 Strategies I Used to Get My 2nd Law License Faster

By Sam Farkas, 
BARBRI curriculum architect and instructor

I took my first bar exam in the state of Florida in 2012.

Through my role at BARBRI, I help students every day prepare for success on the bar exam; however, when I personally began preparing for my second state bar exam (Georgia), I seriously questioned whether I was up for it—particularly given the demands on my time and my work responsibilities.

I invariably recalled the stressful and angst-ridden few months following graduation from law school when I marshalled every ounce of effort to pass the most important test of my professional career the first time.

As I began studying for the exam though, I realized that the skills, knowledge and grit that I had cultivated over the past few years impacted how I prepared for the exam.

5 ways in which I approached studying for my second bar exam differently:

1. I treated the bar exam like a client

Every minute matters. Most of us have learned how to maximize efficiency by putting every minute of available time to good use. Moreover, many of us are well practiced at juggling multiple client matters throughout the day, moving seamlessly from one task to the next.

I treated bar preparation like a client matter and decided how much time per day I could spend on it. I kept track of my time and moved on when I needed to work on something else. Where I could, I filled breaks in my day with some focused study. A half an hour of review during my lunch break or answering practice MBE questions on my mobile device while waiting for an appointment were great ways to maximize what limited time I had to devote to studying.

2. I obtained the right preparation resources

Of course I had access to BARBRI materials; however, I didn’t need the exact same materials that I needed my first time around. I wanted the right combination of the best study resources so that I could study the most efficiently.

These insights went directly into the development of the new BARBRI Attorney’s Course. This Attorney’s Course is all online and provides a streamlined study plan that allowed me to pinpoint my personal topic and subtopic weaknesses so I could spend time working on the areas that would most benefit MY personal exam score. This strategy was critical in maximizing my time while still putting me in the best position possible to be successful on the exam.

3. I maximized efficiency

To make the best and most efficient use of my limited study time, I had to determine which subjects deserved the most effort and prioritize my study accordingly. I found, like most of you likely will, that I had developed a very sophisticated understanding of a few areas and a better understanding of many additional areas of law since my first exam.

All subjects are not necessarily treated equally on the exam based on jurisdiction; therefore, I evaluated which subjects required a more in-depth review and prioritized those over other subjects that required (or deserved) less time. The benefit of the BARBRI Attorney’s Course is that we’ve already figured out that weighting for you.

For me, and I believe for most, familiarity with the subject and the amount of time I needed to dedicate to learning the rules in a subject dictated the best method of study, and it was a little different for each subject. Sometimes I relied more on the lectures during my daily commute and other times I really needed to review written materials.

4. I played to my strengths

The bar exam is a test of legal problem-solving. Sure, knowledge of the law is important, but well developed legal problem solving skills, strong reading comprehension skills, and sheer endurance will take a person very far on this exam.

As licensed attorneys, we have spent our professional career sharpening these skills and are adept at breaking down even the most complex of problems. Luckily, legal problems on the bar are much more straightforward and simple than what we encounter in practice.

In practice, I am accustomed to studying the law through the context of actual legal problems. Therefore, when preparing for the exam, I strengthened my knowledge of the rules by frequently working practice problems—both multiple choice and essay.  I also made good use of the model answers to reinforce my knowledge of the black letter rules.

5. I kept the big picture in mind

Above all, I maintained my focus on the goal: passing the exam, which I did.  The bar exam is a test of minimum competency. Expertise and specialized knowledge are not required for success. I had already passed the bar once and am already a licensed attorney. Sure, I may have had to learn some state-specific law or brush up on the common law majority rules, but mastery of every rule— or even every subject—was not necessary! I just needed to earn enough points to get a passing score.

If you find yourself contemplating another state bar exam, we at BARBRI wish you all the best and always know that BARBRI is here to help you Own The Bar….again.

About the BARBRI Attorney’s Course:

The BARBRI Attorney’s course builds upon your knowledge and skills to get you to your next law license, faster. This attorney-focused course saves you time by:

  • Providing a streamlined, all online experience constructed to save you precious, valuable time
  • Bypassing many basic bar exam test taking skills critical for first time takers
  • Getting you quickly to the most highly tested areas of the exam overall and within each subject
  • Pinpointing your topic and subtopic weaknesses so you can spend time working the areas of law that will most benefit your exam score.

Licensed attorneys studying for the exam in a state in which the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) is administered or California may enroll in this course at this time.

Learn more here: Attorney’s Course