The2Llife: Reflecting on 1L Summer

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
Attorney Advisor at Los Angeles Immigration Court
(written as a Rising 2L entering the start of the fall semester, exclusively for BARBRI)

It’s time to take stock of what happened during the summer.

I worked for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (a component of the Department of Justice) in Immigration Court. The Court was attached to a detention facility, so all of the respondents in court were detained. I served as sort of the clerk to the clerk, since there was only one law clerk for the four Immigration Judges. Since there were only two of us, I got tremendous legal research and writing experience, and also learned substantive criminal immigration law along the way. I also made really meaningful personal connections. All in all, I had the best 1L summer job experience I could have hoped for.

Did you have a great summer, too? Tips to keep floating on Cloud Nine:

  • Thank your supervisor and those who made your experience possible. An email is nice for a coworker with whom you worked a couple of times, but I recommend a handwritten card for your supervisor. After all, taking on an intern is a lot of extra work for an organization and for the person supervising you. Furthermore, let them know that you really enjoyed yourself.
  • Keep in touch and follow up. If someone in the office offered their help to you in the form of a letter of recommendation, reference or just making a connection, be sure to follow up. While you are back in school living the good life, they’re still on the work grind and may already have another intern. Send an email to confirm their willingness to be a reference or remind them of the connection you were hoping to make.
  • Be introspective. Did you expect to like your work? If so, was it the content of the work or the type of work? Did you enjoy an aspect of the work you didn’t expect? How does this inform the types of work opportunities you will look for in the future?

Was your summer not as great as you had hoped? Consider this:

  • Thank your supervisor and those who made your experience possible. An email is nice for a coworker with whom you worked a couple of times, but I recommend a handwritten card for your supervisor. Even if it was not the best experience for you, taking on an intern is a lot of extra work for an organization and for the person supervising you. Furthermore, just because you left with a bad taste in your mouth does not mean you should leave the organization with one in theirs.
  • Keep in touch and follow up. If someone in the office offered their help to you in the form of a letter of recommendation, reference or just making a connection, be sure to follow up. Although the organization you worked for may not be the best fit, if you are candid with someone there, they may be able to refer you for a job better suited to you. Send an email to remind them of the connection you were hoping to make.
  • Be introspective. Did you expect to like your work? If so, what made you dislike your experience? Was it the content of the work, the type of work, the environment, the people? Did you enjoy any aspects of the work? How does this inform the types of work opportunities you will look for in the future?

If you didn’t cheat and read both sections, you’ll notice I gave the same advice, although worded slightly differently. This is because I firmly believe that it is just as important to learn what you don’t like as to learn what you do like.

You’re not married to your 1L summer job or your 2L summer job or the first job you get after graduating. Thus, every experience gives you more information about what work makes you happy and what gets you down in the dumps, leading you ever closer to the job that is right for you. I hope you’re able to view your summer experience in this light.

Bar Exam: DONE, FIN, COMPLETE!

barbri

GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Don’t forget about BARBRI!

I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think that I’ve ever slept as well as I have slept since the bar exam has been done. I am SO excited to be done with the bar! Some words of advice: don’t obsess over what you could have or should have done on the exam. The bottom line is that you did your best. That’s all that you can ask for. Regretting things that you could have done differently isn’t going to help you. We have a while to wait, so the best thing that you can do is put the experience out of your head. You’re free (for the time being). Make sure that you’re recovering by sleeping enough, drinking water, and taking some time for yourself to recuperate.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to take some time off to decompress from the bar exam. You just spent almost three months studying as you’ve never studied before. Not only are you suffering from extreme mental fatigue, but the physical aspect of sitting down and staring at a computer screen for months on end isn’t necessarily healthy.

Make some time for yourself! Get back into eating a bit healthier, get enough sleep, maybe start some yoga or go back to the gym. One of the most important things that you can do for your long-term success is to ensure that you’re not going to burnout during your first six months to one year of practice. You don’t want to end up in a position where you’re not going to be able to give your all because you’re still exhausted from the bar exam.

I get it! I’ve spent the past week sleeping as much as possible. I’m looking forward to binge-watching Stranger Things, reading books that are not law-related, and getting back into yoga. The last thing that you want to do is risk not taking enough time for yourself now and realize in October that you’re starting to burnout and that you need to take some time off.

Remember, putting your health, both mental and physical, will be incredibly important to start off your career on the right foot. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you can’t perform because of the bar exam, especially when you can take time off now to relax.

So, what’s next? Did you know that BARBRI is here for you even after you’ve become a licensed attorney?

You’re going to be getting BARBRI’s post-bar email about QLTS and BARBRI’s Attorney’s Course. If you’re interested in practicing abroad, BARBRI has a prep option for the QLTS exam. If you’re interested, you can find out more about the exam and what BARBRI offers by clicking here.

Let’s say that you want to stay stateside, but you want or need to take a bar exam in another state. BARBRI is still here for you! The BARBRI Attorney’s Course is a streamlined, online course designed to save you time. The BARBRI Attorney’s Course bypasses some basic bar exam test-taking skills that are critical for first time takers, it gets your quickly to the most highly tested areas of the exam overall and within each subject, and it pinpoints your topic and subtopic weaknesses so you can spend time working the areas of law that will most benefit your exam score. You can find out more about the BARBRI Attorney’s Course by clicking here.

I know that the idea of taking another bar exam is what nightmares are made of. However, getting licensed in other states or abroad is only going to benefit you in the long run. You’re going to set yourself apart by being able to hit the ground running in states where firms only have a few attorneys practicing or no attorneys at all. Although doing this all over again isn’t necessarily appealing, especially so soon after the July bar exam, you will be able to set yourself up for long-term success if you are able to get licensed in more states.

The bottom line is that BARBRI has been here for you and it will be here again for you in the future when you need it. Keep BARBRI in mind!

It’s Bar Exam Time – Let’s Do This

bar exam

GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Bar Exam is Next Week…

This post is all about your ability to crush the bar exam. Regardless of whether you haven’t been doing your best leading up to this point, you’ve been learning and putting in the time. You know that you have this and you’re going to do it.

Be Confident!

Obviously putting in the work is a large part of passing the bar exam, but it’s also a mental game. You have to be confident walking into the bar exam. If you engage in negative self-talk, now is the time to stop. Telling yourself that you’re going to fail or that you don’t know enough only causes you to have more anxiety going into the room. You have to be confident that you’re going to pass this thing. You’ve put in the work. You’ve sacrificed your summer to be an attorney. You’re going to do this. You’re going to pass.

Stay Calm

We’ve all heard the stories of a bar examinee freaking out and not being able to write something coherent on their essays. Odds are that if you don’t know what the essay is asking about, a lot of other examinees don’t know what it’s asking about either. If this happens, take a second to regroup. Think about the policy behind the law and come up with your best answer. Remember: your goal isn’t to ace this test! Your goal is to pass. You’ve put in the time. You’ve put in the effort. You can do this!

You Don’t Have to Get a 7 on Every Essay. You Don’t Have to Get 200 Points on the MBE.

Okay, so what if you’ve been reviewing essays and missing things that you know, but you missed for other reasons? What if you haven’t been scoring your greatest on the MBE? It is okay. Again, your goal is not to be perfect! I know that the goal in law school was to be as prepared as you could be; you needed to study all of your lecture notes, your outlines, your textbooks, and your hornbooks. The bar exam is not a law school exam.

It is impossible to know everything. There are going to be some subjects that you know inside and out, and there are some that you’re just familiar with. That’s okay. You cannot know everything walking into the bar exam. What you can do is continue to put in the work and review. Have a good understanding of the topics that you need to know and stay confident.

Make Sure That You Take a Break on Monday.

Yes, the day before the bar exam begins is going to be incredibly stressful. You’re going to be tempted to spend the day attempting to review everything that you can. You’re going to want to put in a full day of studying so that you can walk into the exam with as much information as you can handle. It’s important to review before Monday, but it is just as important to take a break. The bar exam is intense. It’s going to be stressful. You’re going to be tired. The last thing that you want to do before heading into the bar exam is to be suffering from burnout. You’re going to need to give yourself a break so that you have enough stamina to last you through the bar exam. Wearing yourself out before the exam is probably one of the worst things that you can do.

If You Have a Bad Day…

The bar exam lasts more than one day for a reason. Regardless of which state you’re taking the bar exam in, you can have a bad day and still pass. First, you don’t know what your score is when you walk out of the room. You could have done better than you suspected that you did. Second, you have another day (or more than one day) left to recover. The bar exam doesn’t come down to how you did on one day and on one performance. You have multiple days and multiple chances to do well. If you think that you did poorly, do not give up. Do not engage in negative self-talk. Stay positive! You didn’t fail the exam after one day. You can do better the next day and you could have done better than you thought.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Stay positive, stay calm, and walk in the bar exam with confidence. If you do, you’re going to #OwnTheBar.

BARBRI SCHOLARSHIPS & BAR REVIEW OPTIONS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT

1. PUBLIC INTEREST SCHOLARSHIPS

Year after year, BARBRI supports thousands of students who seek to change the world. Last year alone, BARBRI awarded over $4.5M in scholarships to public interest students and other world-changers.

To apply for a BARBRI Public Interest scholarship while they are available, submit your application briefly describing your public interest work, and attach a resume evidencing such work, a formal offer of public interest sector employment, or evidence of participation in a school-sponsored public interest scholarship/fellowship program. If selected, you will receive an email from BARBRI outlining your scholarship award and your final BARBRI Bar Review tuition rate after the scholarship is applied.

View the Public Interest scholarship application, deadlines, and requirements here.

2. SAVE A TON OF MONEY ON A 2ND BAR EXAM COURSE

If you’re pretty sure that you’ll be taking another state bar exam in the near future, the BARBRI Ultimate Decision Tuition decision can save you a lot of money. The BARBRI Ultimate Decision Tuition offers the choice of a bonus option – one of which is to take a second bar exam course within 2 years of your original course.

So, if for example, you’re getting ready to prepare for the New York Bar Exam and you know that you want to also get licensed in California within a couple of years, then go ahead and sign up for BARBRI Ultimate Decision Tuition. You can select any two state exams as part of this option. Check out BARBRI Ultimate Decision Tuition here.

You’ll have 2 years to complete your second course. And, even though it might sound grueling, we’ve found that it’s easier to get a second bar exam out of the way when the material is still relatively fresh in your mind. Many times the application process for your second state will also be easier as well since you have everything in one place from your first state submission.

3. BILL YOUR EMPLOYER AND PAY NOTHING UP FRONT

When you select a BARBRI Bar Review Firm Decision tuition and provide the firm or employer you are billing, you are not required to make an initial payment or deposit toward tuition. And you can begin using materials such as 2L / 3L Mastery immediately and BARBRI Early Start Bar Review when it becomes available for your course administration.

BARBRI 2L / 3L Mastery contains outlines, on demand expert video lectures and multiple-choice and essay practice questions covering Evidence, Wills, Trusts, Taxation, Secured Transactions, Corporations, Family Law, Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure.

BARBRI Early Start Bar Review is on-demand, self-directed and focuses on the 25 most frequently tested bar exam subtopics. Students who spend a total of 24 study hours with Early Start prior to the start of the BARBRI Bar Review course are statistically much more likely to pass the bar exam, the first time. Early Start access is included in BARBRI Bar Review and is typically open several months before the actual course begins.

Check out BARBRI Bar Review Firm Decision tuition options by selecting “I would like to bill my employer” tab here.

4. PAYMENT PLANS OR FINANCING YOUR BARBRI TUITION

If you are paying for your course (not billing an employer), you can either:

  • Finance your tuition with Affirm for longer-term monthly payments OR
  • Create an interest free, custom short-term installment payment plan

Many BARBRI Bar Review tuition types allow you to “Finance with Affirm” during or after enrollment.  The rate (0-30% APR) and term options (3, 6 or 12 months) you are offered is based on the tuition type you are choosing and on a credit check. You can check your eligibility during enrollment and it will not affect your credit score – provide some basic information and get a real time decision to split your purchase into 3, 6, or 12 monthly payments at 0-30% APR.

If you Finance with Affirm during enrollment, you can include any initially required BARBRI down payments in your loan. Or, you can make the minimum required payment toward your BARBRI tuition at the time of enrollment and decide to finance the remainder with Affirm at a later date. Either way, after you choose this option, you will begin making payments immediately to Affirm, but the entire balance of your tuition does not need to be paid prior to your course starting or ending. When you finance, a down payment may be required and Affirm loans are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey state-chartered bank, Member FDIC. Learn More about Financing with Affirm.

Another option is to create a custom installment payment plan when you pay with a debit or credit card. Pay your initial required BARBRI down payments (depending on the course you’re selecting) and then split up the remainder of your tuition payments over time.

A custom installment payment plan is not a loan – no credit check is required and there is no interest applied to the custom installment payment plan. Your total tuition must be paid in full per the payment deadlines prior to the beginning of your BARBRI Bar Review course.

All of us at BARBRI are looking forward to helping you Own The Bar

If you’d like to take advantage of one of these options or have additional questions, please reach out to us at 888-322-7274 or service@barbri.com. You can also find your BARBRI Director of Legal Education here.

The U.S. LL.M.: 6 Tips for Choosing Your Classes Wisely

By Juliana Del Pesco, BARBRI International Legal Manager, Americas

LL.M. programs at some U.S. law schools allow students to create their own curricula. This is a great benefit, but it can also make selecting classes overwhelming. There are many interesting classes, professors, and visiting faculty from which to choose, and it can be difficult to decide on teachers and whether to focus in U.S. Law or subjects that will be more useful when working back home. Additionally, there are bar exam requirements to be considered when selecting courses.

Choosing your curriculum wisely is critical to securing the necessary requirements to take the bar exam and still maintain a balance between your studies and your personal life. After all, you want to have time to get fully immersed in the American culture while earning your LL.M., right?

Along with the many tips available in the free BARBRI LL.M. Guide that can be downloaded from this page, here are some extra hints for making the most of your LL.M. education while maximizing your international experience.

#1 – Credits and timing matter

Registration for classes usually opens 2 to 3 weeks before the beginning of each semester. To get a spot in the most-sought-after classes, it’s best to start the registration process as soon as possible.

Generally, you will need 24 credits to graduate and be eligible for most U.S. state bar exams. It may be tempting to try to squeeze as many classes as possible into one semester; however, law school classes demand thorough preparation and a lot of reading―which takes time. Twelve credits per semester may be a better target to give you the time to properly prepare for class and still engage in extracurricular activities.

#2 – Check course evaluations to delve deep into classes

U.S. law schools offer an array of classes. When selecting classes, be aware of the frequency of the classes, the class types, how the professor grades (participation, exam, paper, assignments, and presentations), and always check the course evaluations if available. The course evaluations provide invaluable insight.

The different class types can be characterized as:

  • 1L Subjects: These classes are mandatory for first-year U.S. law students (a.k.a. 1L) and cover the foundations of U.S. law―Civil Procedure, Contracts, Torts, Property, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, and Legal Writing and Research―all of which are tested on the bar exam. The Socratic Method and the infamous “cold calls” are heavily applied, and professors usually assign a large amount of reading. Typically, the more credits a class offers the more frequently it will meet.
  • Upper-Level Lectures: These are usually smaller classes during which a more specific area of law is taught (for example, Corporations, Professional Responsibility, Federal Income Tax, and Employment Law). Cold calls still exist but are done in a more relaxed setting with some advanced notice. Credits can vary.
  • Clinics: During clinics, you will represent real clients under the close supervision of faculty and lawyers. This type of hand-on experience can include not only aspects of standard courses such as classroom time and preparation but also clinic work and meetings with clients. Usually 5 to 7 credits, so plan accordingly!
  • Seminars: These present an opportunity for greater interaction and students are required to participate in a more collaborative way. Seminars are often offered for a smaller group of students and specific subjects. Be prepared to deal with assignments throughout the semester as well as a final paper.

#3 – Seize opportunities to learn from experts

Stay abreast of unique opportunities to have classes with renowned professors and visiting professors from other countries and prestigious universities. These professors are usually experts in their fields and have written books about a given subject. Do not miss the opportunity to engage with them.

#4 – Choose based on bar exam requirements

It is paramount that you know the requirements for the bar exam, if you are planning to take it, and include in your curriculum classes required by the state in which you will sit the bar. This will help avoid any future issues with eligibility. Find more about the bar exam requirements for New York, California, and Texas in the free BARBRI LL.M. Digest.

#5 – Consider the season

Make sure you know the semester in which a class you want will be offered, and when that famous professor from another school will be teaching. Some classes are only offered in fall or spring.

#6 – Don’t shy away from classes with J.D. students

One of the best parts of an LL.M. degree is the complete immersion in the culture; therefore, it is a great opportunity to have a real law school experience that includes discussions with Juris Doctorate (J.D.) students. Plan to take as many classes with the J.D.s as you feel is right for you. It’s time to own your educational experience. Best of luck!!

About BARBRI

BARBRI has helped more than 1.3 million lawyers around the world pass a U.S. bar exam. The company also provides online J.D., post-J.D., and international programs for U.S. law schools and specialized ongoing training and certifications in areas such as financial crime prevention and eDiscovery.

To determine which BARBRI course may be best to help you pass a U.S. state bar exam, check out the blog: BARBRI EXTENDED BAR PREP AND 8-WEEK BARBRI BAR REVIEW: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

BARBRI Mini Review

GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Okay, let’s talk about the BARBRI Mini Review. First, you may not know much about the BARBRI Mini Review, but I promise that it’s worth learning about. It has increased my confidence and my understanding of the topics that I need to have a firm grasp on when I walk into the bar exam less than two weeks from now (I know, we’re close, we’ve got this).

What is the BARBRI Mini Review?

The BARBRI Mini Review is like your last line of defense from BARBRI. This is the cup of coffee in the morning to get your day started, it’ the hype music before the game starts, it’s that one final push to give you what you need to succeed on the bar exam. The BARBRI Mini Review is a mini-review course of your Multistate topics: Torts, Civil Procedure, Real Property, Contracts, Criminal Law/Procedure, Evidence, and Constitutional Law.

What does that mean? Isn’t that what the Conviser Mini Review is for? The Conviser Mini Review is excellent for times when you’re in the weeds and learning nuances. The BARBRI Mini Review includes short video lectures for each of the Multistate topics. The best part? Each lecture has an accompanying handout to follow along with.

Essentially, it’s an online-only lecture that covers the significant aspects of the topics most frequently tested on the Multistate portion of the bar exam. You can either watch the totality of the eight-hour course in one day or split it up like I’ve been doing. Each topic has its own lecture and handout to follow along with. You can also print off the handouts to have for quick review sessions like I’ve been doing.

Why do you need the BARBRI Mini Review? We’ve been studying so much.

I KNOW! I know how much time we have been putting in. I know that we have been working like crazy to learn as much as we can. Think of this as the last highlight of the Multistate topics that you’re going to need. We’ve been in the weeds learning so many different things. But let’s say that you’re still not 100% on a certain topic or not feeling incredibly confident on various portions of the exam (seriously, who is at 100%?)—the BARBRI Mini Review is going to give you an overview of exactly what you need to know for these topics.

Even if you are feeling great and feeling as if you’re going to rock the bar exam (go you!), this is going to be the reassurance that you needed. You know these topics. You know what they’re going to test on. Now, with the BARBRI Mini Review, you’ll have a last-minute refresher of the topics that are going to be covered with their corresponding rule statements. Seeing the rule statements and seeing how they’re used in examples provided by the BARBRI Mini Review has been instrumental in my studies. The BARBRI Mini Review is short, sweet, and to the point. The best part is that the lectures and slides are incredibly easy to understand and straightforward. If you watch these lectures and follow along with the handouts then you’re going to be confident walking into the bar exam. I know that I will be.

Should you get it?

Yes? Absolutely. One of the best things that I have done in July was using the BARBRI Mini Review. Yes, I’ve been using my Conviser Mini Review and writing essays and following my Personalized Study Plan, but this is different. These are short and sweetvideo lectures with handouts to give you that one final push over the finish line. I know that our Personalized Study Plans are going to be guiding us up until the bar exam, but this extra little bit of help, this one last broad overview of what you need to know, is going to give you just a bit more confidence walking into the bar exam. Who doesn’t need that?

One of the best parts about the BARBRI Mini Review is that if you do not end up using the BARBRI Mini Review after you’ve purchased it, you can send a letter of withdrawal by August 15 to BARBRI and your full payment will be refunded. How sweet is that? Follow your Personalized Study Plan, use the BARBRI Mini Review, and you will #PassTheBar

Headed into Bar Review Crunchtime, the BARBRI Simulated MBE is Crucial

BARBRI Simulated MBE

GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Okay, let me just be the first to thank BARBRI for the Simulated MBE. I know, that seems like an odd thing to say, but nothing could have better prepared me for the bar exam than to sit down for six hours and do 200 multiple-choice MBE questions.

Yes, it was awful. Yes, I was tired. However, now I know what to expect on the bar exam. We’re getting into the home stretch here, and I feel confident in my ability to perform well. Why? Because I’ve been practicing (and you have, too!).

SO HOW DID YOU DO?

I’ll be honest, there were some questions on the BARBRI Simulated MBE that I definitely should not have missed. I knew the answer to them and I could recite the correct answer now for you with the correct rule statement.

Why did I miss the question? Because of reading comprehension. I know that you’ve heard “reading comprehension is key” or something to that effect since Kindergarten and it seems redundant, but seriously, the majority of the questions that I missed were because I was rushing. I got in the heat of the moment, had a knee-jerk reaction and picked what I thought was right. Sometimes I even did that without looking at the other answer choices. DO NOT DO THAT.

BARBRI Simulated MBE

Regardless of how you did, even if you did really well (yay, go you!), your scores are going to go up if you put in the time to get them where you need them to be.

The best part about the BARBRI Simulated MBE is that you get a chance to not only see how you did and where you could improve, but you also see how you react under pressure for six hours. Tbh, I have test anxiety so I knew that it would come up. However, I didn’t expect myself to get so tired through the exam. Answering 200 questions is easier said than done.

It is difficult to sit and look at questions with intense focus for hours on end.

It is difficult to keep focused and ensure that you’re doing what you need to do to answer the questions on the page.

If you need some help staying focused, I’d like to offer some advice. To ensure that I’m reading and understanding all of the important parts of the question is to underline and circle the things that are important. I underline the topic of the call-of-the-question so I know exactly what to look for when I’m reading the question. Also, if you read the call-of-the-question and you don’t know what subject it’s referring to, skim the answer choices. It’s a waste of your valuable time to read the question without knowing to which subject it’s referring.

The bottom line is now you know what it’s going to be like to sit in a room while focusing intently in three-hour blocks. We can do this.

DID YOU WATCH THE REVIEW VIDEOS?

Let me just say this: you aren’t going to get better if you don’t know what you did wrong.

Let me repeat it: you aren’t going to get better if you don’t know what you did wrong. These videos are GOLD. Not only do you get the chance to review all of the material, but you also get some GREAT tips and tricks for approaching questions. You also get some incredibly helpful mnemonics to remember crazy rules and exceptions. You know that you need to watch the videos. If you haven’t yet, you need to.

DID YOU WATCH MIKE SIMS’S WEBINAR?

Y’all need to watch Mike Sims’s webinar. Here’s the link to the on-demand replay. I don’t care if you are one of the super impressive people who got 100% on the MBE (like, how…?). Even if you did, the webinar put me at ease and gave me some peace of mind going into my last couple weeks of bar prep. It’s worth your time. Maybe you didn’t do the best on the BARBRI Simulated MBE.

Maybe you’re a little lower than you would like and you’re slightly freaking out, etc. Okay, look, we have over two weeks until the bar exam. Your scores are going to go up if you put in the time to review what you did wrong. The webinar definitely helps with that.

Y’all, we are almost there. Now we’re in crunch time and need to do what we need to do. We got this! Put in the work and you’ll #OwnTheBar.

Buckle Down: It’s Time to Get Serious BARBRI Friends

GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Lol, like we haven’t already been serious about this, right? Welcome to July. Let’s do this. Go Team BARBRI!

I’m going to go more in-depth on the MBE after we’ve done the analysis, but now you know what it feels like to sit for 6 hours and do 200 questions. The bar exam is no joke. We know that, but now it somehow feels a little more real now that we’re in July and have done the MBE. So, what now?

What Worked for You in Law School?

I’ve heard this so much recently. Now that we’re in July (the homestretch, dare I say?) we need to prep as we did in law school. This isn’t to say that you should divert from your BARBRI Personal Study Plan (see supra), but you need to start incorporating study methods that have worked for you in the past if you haven’t done so already. Are you a visual learner? Start making those graphs, flow charts, or whatever else it is that you may need! Maybe you’re an auditory learner? Start reading your outline to yourself, out loud. You know yourself best. You know what worked for you and what didn’t work for you while you were in law school. Don’t start something new. Use BARBRI’s tried and true plans and supplement with how you need to learn and we’ll get there.

For example, I’m a visual learner. The walls in my house are literally covered with different flow charts for each subject. I take a little tour of my house each day and look at each subject. Yes, it’s a bit much. Am I allowed to be a bit much when there’s less than a month left before the bar exam? Yes. Do I remind myself of the meme below a little bit? Also, yes. It’s fine. Moving on…

The Conviser Mini Review

We love it, we hate it, we can’t live without it: the Conviser Mini Review. I’ll be the first to admit that reviewing the Conviser Mini Review is one of my least favorite things to do. It’s dense and it contains a lot of information. I find myself asking wondering if I am going to be able to remember all of this material…no. Not the point and not what you should be focused on. NO ONE is going to remember everything! The bar exam is a minimum competency exam. You need to know, understand, and be able to comprehend what the Conviser Mini Review is offering you. The Conviser Mini Review is the HOLY GRAIL of your bar prep from here on out.

This is what you need to be looking at and going over constantly (the number of tabs that I have in mine is hilarious). This is what’s going to get you through until the end. It’s what you should be referencing (obviously if you need to go further in-depth then consult the full outline, but we should be mainly using the Conviser Mini Review in July).

DO NOT Freak Out and Stop Following BARBRI!!!

I’ve heard horror stories (and I’m sure that you have to) from people who didn’t pass the bar exam. There are varying reasons why one doesn’t pass, but without fail the most consistent reason that I’ve heard is that it was because that person stopped following their BARBRI plan. NO. Don’t do that! If you’re feeling like you need to supplement with something else or maybe focus more time on a different subject then do that AFTER you’ve finished what your Personal Study Plan has set out for you for the day!

BARBRI is a proven way to help you pass. You’ve been using your Personal Study Plan since May. Why are you going to stop now? Do not do that! Don’t let your anxiety or fear of failing the bar exam take you into a direction where you’re lost and don’t know what to do. Relax. Follow your plan. We’ve got this.

Beware of Burnout

My last thing: you have to beware of burnout. I’m sure that we’re all experienced varying levels of burnout during law school, I know that I have. With the bar exam looming, it can be tempting to start pulling some pretty crazy hours to try and get down everything that you need to know. Don’t start pulling all-nighters. Don’t lose your sleep! If you need to take a half-day to relax then do it! If you’re not studying when you’re at your best then you won’t process the information as well and you won’t remember it as well on test day. You know yourself best—if you need a break then take it. Follow your plan. Know yourself. If you do, then you’ll be able to #PassTheBar.

Major OCI missteps to avoid

By Samuel Farkas,
BARBRI Curriculum Architect and Instructor

At some point during law school, every student will attempt to dazzle potential employers as the perfect candidate. Here are few common missteps that will get your resume tossed quickly after you exit – and what you can do to avoid them.

“Surely you’ve heard of ME.”

You may have a stellar resume, grades and smile, but no one – most of all, future employers – find cockiness appealing. They do, however, like to see confidence. You’ll want to deliver “in the middle” with cautious confidence. Remain humble and ready to soak up precious legal knowledge. Present a firm handshake, make eye contact, sit up straight and be assertive in your responses and questions. Showing gratitude for your achievements and accolades, while underscoring how receptive you are to learning and growing professionally, will help you make the right impression.

“I want to work for you because I need a job and money!”

During On-Campus Interviews (OCI), you’re going to get asked over and over again: “Why do you want to work for us? Why would you like to be in [insert city name]?” Unless you’ve had your eye on a firm for a while, you’re probably looking for any good employment opportunity, wherever it may reside. But be honest with yourself. Do you really want to live in the office’s location permanently? If not, don’t waste your time interviewing with that firm. Sure, you can make up stories of relatives who’ve relocated there. However, you’ll do yourself and the employer a disservice. And if the actual office where you are interviewing does not practice the law you are interested in, keep looking. Pick firms where you would actually like to live, and then narrow down the firms you would actually like to work for.

“My apologies … I was actually raised in a barn.”

If you’re lucky, you may have the opportunity to interview with potential employers over a meal or call-back interview. Even though these may feel informal, maintain a respectable level of etiquette. Most students think they have good manners already, even if they don’t – because it’s in bad taste to point out bad manners, you’ve probably never been told that you chew with your mouth open or hold a fork incorrectly. Do yourself a favor, read an etiquette book or take a friend to dinner for a critique of your manners.

“You know like cellophane… ”

One of the worst things you can do in a job interview is to leave no impression at all. Many students try to morph into some expected version of the ideal candidate. This is not a good strategy. Try to stand out in some way. Wear a unique accessory, work in an interesting story or discuss a special hobby. Don’t veer into the bizarre, yet communicate something memorable. Simply allow your true self to shine through, keeping in mind that you need to filter it through a professional lens.

“What firm are you with again?”

The surest way to ruin your chances with a firm is to come unprepared. Knowing the firm name, office locations and practice areas are necessary but not sufficient. Do additional research on your interviewers and read any press the firm has recently received. Talk to former summer associates or clerks to get their experiences. Look at LinkedIn, the Martindale-Hubble Law Directory and other online resources to gather some data.

Be sure to reach out to your BARBRI Legal Education Advisor for additional help and advice on how to refine your job interviewing skills.

Tips and tricks when dealing with family members and friends during bar prep

bar prep

GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law School

Guest insight: What they think about bar prep and Tips and tricks when dealing with family members and friends

Hey, everyone! Today I met with my friend Scott to discuss his experience with bar prep and his tips and tricks. I wanted to pass along some of his advice and give you some more insight on the ~bar prep experience~


Me: “Scott, what has your experience with the course been like?”


Scott: “The course has given me the opportunity to review in ways that I didn’t think that I needed. I’ve grown a lot, not only as a bar taker but as a problem solver. BARBRI gives me what I need and nothing more. This might sound negative, but it definitely isn’t. Because BARBRI gives me the tools that I need when I need them, I don’t feel overwhelmed or that I need to do more than what is given to me…although I do end up doing more because stress, anxiety, you name it, BARBRI hasn’t been overwhelming and that has been key to my success in studying so far. I feel as if I know what I need to do and have the tools to do just that.


Me: “Exactly! I’ve been so pleased with BARBRI’s study plan. I love how it adjusts to me and my schedule and it doesn’t give me too much to do so that I feel overwhelmed. Scott, let’s talk about something that I had a little bit of trouble with during the first few weeks of bar prep–tips and tricks when dealing with family members or close friends. It was so hard for me to set proper boundaries to ensure my success. A few folks had some issues with me not being available, but the bottom line is that this takes priority. It was hard to digest for some people who are close to me.”


Scott: “I completely understand. I had to sit my family down and explain to them what was going on. I’m taking a huge test that determines my future at the end of July. The test is three days long—I think that by giving them stats and an ability to appreciate the magnitude of what this is, they were better able to understand why all of my time had to be given to myself and bar prep. Anything outside of that comes secondarily. You know, I also had to appreciate the fact that my friends and family aren’t experts on the bar exam or what it takes, so I can’t expect them to appreciate what it is. I had to let them know that I need my space, but I’ll reach out if something is needed.”


Me: “Okay. I know that some people have had problems when friends and family don’t get it even after they had a conversation. What happens if those who are close to you keep bugging you or demanding your attention?”


Scott: “You have to remind them that this is part of your growth as a person. If they love you and support you then they will back off and do what it takes to support you during this time, and that includes backing off if they need to. Taking this time for you will help you reach your goals and as a result, they should respect that. You’re still going to have some folks that just don’t get it. That’s okay! If that’s the case, the most important thing that you can do for yourself is to remember that it’s okay to be selfish right now. You need to be. The most important thing in your life at this point in time is studying for this exam. You have to put your well-being first for two months, well one month now. It’s a short time. You can do it and they will be fine in the long run.”


Me: “That’s a great point, Scott. What if they’re just trying to help? What are some different ways in which they can help you?”


Scott: “They can be there for you during those non-bar exam moments. It’s critical to take some time away and the best way you can get your mind off of the stress of the exam is to spend time with those who aren’t engulfed in studying. It’s important to have those friends and family during this time because you’re so immersed in bar prep that you have to remind yourself that you’re still a human. You still need time away to decompress and they can help you with that.”


Me: “Exactly. It’s so nice to be able to ‘get away’ sometimes. Do you have any specific examples of ways in which your friends and family can help?”


Scott: “By bringing you food and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle through bar exam prep. One of the most important things is to keep a healthy body and mind. You aren’t going to have that if you’re eating like crap every day–you won’t feel like studying and you won’t do your best because of it. I also know that some of my friends who took the exam last year had their friends and family do their laundry when their time was limited. That’s another great way to assist with chores that need to get done, but they take so much time.”


That’s it!

Keep these tips in the back of your mind and you’ll be able to #OwnTheBar!