Legally Fantastic Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costumes

[ Makenzie Way, 3L at the University of Pennsylvania ]

Fall is upon us, and you know what that means, right?

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES!!

Now, you could go as your favorite superhero or TV character, admittedly that’s what I normally do. But, if you’re looking to let your inner legal nerd out, below are some ideas to get you started!

1. Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Why not go as the queen herself, and no I don’t mean Beyoncé!

2. Judge: RBG not doing the trick for you? You can still grab a black robe and gavel and dress up as your favorite TV judge, movie Judge, or supreme court justice (or a judge plain and simple).

3. Elle Woods from Legally Blonde: Curly blond hair and a matching skirt suit or the classic pink dress are all you need to transform into this movie character!

Ruth Bader, Legally Blond and Hamilton Costumes

4. The Founding Fathers / Hamilton: Every law student knows about the founding fathers, just as nearly every law student wants to see the famous play, Hamilton. Why not grab some fitting apparel and dress up as one of them yourself?

5. Lady Justice: If you’ve ever wanted to hold to scales of justice, now is your time! A classically simple costume.

6. A Law Firm Billboard: Put your legal writing to work and transform yourself into one of those highway-legal billboards – just make sure not to violate the rules of professional conduct.

Salt and BatteryMy Cousin Vinny Costume7. ‘Salt and Battery’: A perfect couples or friends costume for those who love a good play on words.

8. My Cousin Vinny Character(s): Also a great couples costume – or as a solo costume. After all, what’s more iconic than Vinny’s stellar courtroom performance?

9. Law Student: For those of you who don’t have the energy or motivation to dress up, this is the perfect Halloween costume for you! Throw on some wrinkled clothes – bonus points if there’s a coffee stain somewhere on the shirt – forgo undereye concealer and let those dark circles shine, stick a BARBRI highlighter in your pocket, and a coffee cup in your hand and you’re ready to go.

The Law Students Guide to Thriving at Legal Conferences

Legal Conferences

[ Makenzie Way, 3L at the University of Pennsylvania ]

Legal Conferences Preparation

Last year I had the opportunity to attend a legal conference in Washington DC as a representative of my journal. It was an out-of-state conference and I wasn’t sure what to expect, or what to pack.

Since then, I’ve had the chance to attend multiple legal conferences on behalf of various student groups. With a handful of legal conferences under my belt, I’ve begun to understand how best to prepare and conduct yourself when faced with such an event.

Conduct

When it comes to conduct, you should treat a legal conference much like you would treat a law firm networking event. Attendees, ranging from professionals to academics, will judge your group, journal or school based on your conduct. So much like a firm event, you need to put your best face forward. Furthermore, just like a firm networking event, it’s important to talk to a range of people throughout the conference to make a lasting impression and maximize your chances of securing relationships for your group (or yourself).

Who You Represent

Throughout the conference, you’ll want to make it clear who you’re representing (whether that be your school or a group), and subtly note that you’re available as a resource should they have any questions. That said, you don’t need to spend the entire time trying to sell yourself. There’s a thin line between self-promotion or group-promotion, and annoying the attendees around you – try not to cross it.

Be Forward

Finally, do be forward with attendees or speakers whom you find particularly enticing. It’s expected, and even complimentary, at a conference for student representatives to pull select people aside to express their group’s interest in working with them. You shouldn’t be overly pushy; rather, you need only state why it is you’re interested in them; why you believe they would be a good fit for your group; and how best to get in touch should they want to take you up on your offer.

Now that you’re ready to kill it at your next conference, see the packing lists below to make sure you’re fully prepared.

Legal Conferences
Businessman walking with his luggage

Suitcase Essentials

Assuming you’ll be heading out of the city, or the state, you’ll need to pack a small suitcase. If you know the dress code of your conference then you can alter the clothing to match that information. However, since often-times conferences have no official dress code, you’ll want to pack a range of formal and business casuals outfits.

For a three-day conference a base-line packing list should likely include the following:

One or Two Neutral Suits and Matching Dress Shirts:

  • Obviously, if the dress code says formal you’ll want to pack at least two suits. However, even if the dress code says casual, you don’t want to risk being underdressed. Bring at least one suit in case you need it, worst comes to worst you can remove the blazer, or you can wear it with your business casual outfits below when you’re feeling a little chilly.

Three Business Casual Outfits:

  • You’ll probably end up wearing these to the conference, but if not, you’ll likely want to change into them for evening social events with people you meet at the conference. Note, if you’re staying at the same hotel as the rest of the attendees you’ll also want to wear these when you’re wandering around the common areas since they really don’t need to see you in your sweatpants.
  • If you’re low on space, try to match your business casual shirts to your formal suit(s) to save yourself from having to pack three shirts as a backup in case the conference ends up being more formal.

Comfortable Dress Shoes:

  • Though conferences may seem like the perfect time to break in new shoes since you’ll be seated a fair amount, I strongly urge you not to wear something that you can’t stand/walk-in for a few hours? In between sessions, you’ll find yourself running to and from different rooms or buildings, and there will also be periods of standing when you’re expected to network. Don’t be that person asking for band-aids.

Comfortable Walking Shoes:

  • Staying on target, if you have to commute to the conference every day and don’t plan on taking an Uber, consider bringing a comfortable pair of sneakers or flats to walk to and from the conference in.
  • Bonus: if you’re athletic you’ll want to bring these anyways so you can take advantage of the hotel gym.

One Fancier Outfit:

  • Often conferences end with a “formal” event. Men can easily re-wear their black suits, while women may want to pack to a dress – though a suit is fine too!

One Spare Outfit:

  • I’m all for precise packing, but a conference is not the time to pack only three shirts. Just imagine, it’s day one, you’re eating breakfast at the hotel and BOOM you spill strawberry jam smack dab in the middle of your white shirt. Now you’re forced to wear the shirt you had planned for day two, meaning you’ll either need to re-wear a shirt, purchase a new one, or pay to wash it.

A Presentable Purse or Briefcase

  • Conferences come with a lot of handouts. You’ll want to have something more professional than your backpack to store them alongside your water bottle, wallet and other day-time necessities.

­­A Rain Jacket or Umbrella

  • I don’t care what the weather forecast is, do not go to a conference without a rain jacket or umbrella. Trust me, I was once the girl who got stuck in a torrential downpour without an umbrella on my way to an interview. Dripping hair and a see-through shirt is not a good professional look – learn from my mistakes.

Day-Bag Essentials

Whether you’re attending legal conferences on campus or three states over, you’ll want to bring a well-stocked bag to make it through the day. You know yourself best, but most conference attendees tend to pack the following:

  • Notebook and pen (preferably a presentable one)
  • Battery charger for your phone
  • Umbrella (see above)
  • Snacks – to tide you over between meal times
  • Water bottle
  • Business cards
    • If you have these then they’re a fantastic edition. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been asked for my card at a conference! Personally, I ordered a basic 100 pack from VistaPrint for around $6.
  • Tide To Go pen
  • Advil – because nothing’s worse than sitting through hours of speakers with a headache
  • Wallet, complete with a government photo ID and your student ID for registration

Do you have anything to add to the legal conferences’ packing list that I may have forgotten? Please share it with me on Twitter or Instagram: @The3Llife

Spending 3L Abroad

spending 3L abroad

[ Makenzie Way, 3L at the University of Pennsylvania ]

Considering Spending 3L Abroad?

A few years ago you sat down and picked a law school, decided on a city to call home, and then set off on your law school journey. Maybe the city isn’t all you dreamed it would be; maybe there’s something missing from the course options at your school; maybe you just love to travel.

If any of the above describes you then it might be time to consider spending 3L abroad!

The Application Process

Generally speaking, study abroad programs are offered exclusively to 3L’s. They range from semester-long programs to full-year programs – with full-year programs often culminating in an earned LL.M., or similar executive law degree.

You’ll need to start researching study abroad options now. Applications are generally due at the end of the fall semester or in early spring, so you’ll want to ensure that you have enough time to complete the application, request necessary documents, and get written letters of recommendation.

The applications themselves will likely vary from school to school, but to give you an idea of what you can expect I’ll walk you through my application for the London School of Economics.

  1. First, I submitted an application for consideration to my home university. Within this application had to rank a few programs for consideration. I also had to provide a two-page statement of interest, my law school transcripts, my resume, a degree progress report from the registrar’s office, and a pro bono progress report.
  2. After submitting my applications I was called into my school’s international office for interviews. These interviews took place only for the programs that had limited enrollment capacities.
  3. Around February, I received my offer to formally apply to one of my ranked programs. I was given one-week to formally decide whether to continue with my application.
  4. Next, I had to complete the formal application for the London School of Economics. This application once again required my law school transcripts, resume, and a statement of interest. In addition, I had to provide two letters of recommendation, and complete an online application, and submit proof of language proficiency (this is waived if the teaching language is your first language).
  5. I received my formal offer letter from the London School of Economics approximately three weeks later. I then had to submit a study abroad worksheet to my international office outlining my study abroad plan and goals.

Preparing for the Move

HOUSING
Sooner than later you’re going to need to decide what to do with your current apartment. If you’re studying abroad for one semester then you can choose to sublet or terminate your lease. If you’re studying abroad for a full year you’ll likely want to terminate your lease and find something short-term for graduation.

If you’re subletting then woohoo, all you need to do is find a subletter, confirm with your landlord that you’ve followed the protocol, and move any items you don’t want to be left into your apartment home or to a small storage unit. If you’re terminating your lease, you’ll want to give to your landlord ample notice. You’ll also want to book a moving van, movers and a storage unit at least one month prior to your move date since prices will go up the closer you get. When renting a storage unit, make sure to ask about long-term discounts.

Spending 3L Abroad

After you’ve figured out housing in the USA, it’s time to find housing for your time abroad. Figure out early on if your school offers on-campus housing for visiting students, and if so, whether you’re interested in living on-campus. Keep in mind, many schools have mixed graduate and undergraduate dorms.

If you’re responsible for finding your own housing, start looking early. It may be tricky to find an apartment that’s (a) furnished, and (b) available for less than 6-12 month leases. Personally, I ended up splitting an Airbnb with a friend for our three months in London – if you didn’t know, Airbnb offers great discounts for monthly stays, and your utilities are included!

FLIGHTS
While you’re busy figuring out accommodations, don’t forget to keep track of flights. Since international flights can be expensive it’s a good idea to book early. If you’re okay with booking through a third party, you can set up price alerts on sites such as Kayak or StudentUniverse. When booking, make sure to calculate checked baggage if you need more than the allotted amount.

TRANSPORTATION
Research how to get from the airport at your destination to your new home abroad. In big cities like London, airports aren’t necessarily located within easy driving distance of the airport. It’s good to know whether Uber is financially feasible (or even available) and/or whether you need to book train and/or shuttle tickets in advance.

Likewise, you’ll want to research internal transportation methods since this may impact where you decide to live. For instance, in London tube fares are based on zones, with zones 4-6 being incredibly expensive.

London Taxi

VISA REQUIREMENTS
Lastly, and most importantly, begin to determine whether you require a visa for your study abroad. Visa applications can take anywhere from two weeks to three months, so make sure you give yourself ample time to both apply for and receive your visa.

The Benefits and Downfalls

Before you jump feet first into the whole study abroad experience, you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons. Consider what you’ll be giving up at your home university, whether that’s a position on a board, law school events, personal functions, job loss, etc. Likewise, consider what you truly have to gain from the experience, and how it will benefit you personally and professionally.

For me the pros included the following:

  • Advanced or specialized courses in areas of interest to me;
  • The opportunity to live abroad in a city that I love;
  • Increased networking opportunities;
  • An opportunity to research Ph.D. programs at UK universities;
  • Benefits to my mental health; and
  • Increased travel opportunity (also a mental health benefit).

The cons have included the following:

  • Limited courses that will assist me on the bar exam and/or in practice;
  • Confusing registration process on campus in London;
  • Increased living expenses;
  • Inability to attend multiple functions/events at home and at my home university;
  • Difficulty juggling independent studies, journal, and pro bono / social group responsibilities from abroad.

With that said, nearly one-month into my program, I can honestly say my decision to spending 3L abroad was worth it. The pros greatly outweigh the cons, especially since I have the added perk of being able to embark on cheap European weekend trips! Through my program I’ve managed to connect with so many talented people, including diplomats, practicing foreign lawyers, and academics that I otherwise would not have been exposed to. Plus, the courses I’m enrolled in here aren’t available at my home university, so academically speaking I feel motivated to learn as much as I can.

Deciding to Study Abroad: Is it right for you?

  1. Have you taken all required courses for your degree program(s)?
    a. Not even close
    b. They’ll be finished by the end of 2L
    c. Most of them, but I know the missing ones are available during 3L
  2. Does your journal require 2-years’ service?
    a. Sure does
    b. Nope, I’m free to leave!
    c. It does, but they’re flexible
  3. Have you finished your writing requirement (if required)
    a. Haven’t thought about it yet
    b. Yes /or/ it’ll be finished shortly /or/ it’s not required
    c. I’m planning to do it via independent study or through my journal
  4. Are you on track for Pro Bono?
    a. Ugh, I need so many hours
    b. I am a pro bono wiz!
    c. A few hours left, but I’m not worried!
  5. Financially, how are you doing?
    a. Law school’s expensive … need I say more
    b. I’ve got a fair amount of savings
    c. My loans cover my costs and I haven’t fully maxed them out yet

Mostly A’s: A study abroad probably likely isn’t feasible for you. If you’re dead set on doing one you’ll likely need to increase your workload during 2L. Some things you can do to increase your odds of being accepted into a study abroad program include: registering for any/all required courses available in the spring semester; registering for the spring or summer MPRE; cutting back financially or getting a part-time job; completing some major pro bono hours!

Mostly B’s: Looks like you’re in prime shape for an exchange program! Start researching your options now so you can maximize your chances of getting the program you want. To be extra safe, check in with your registrar’s office and your journal to see if there’s anything you need to resolve before applying.

Mostly C’s: Spending 3L abroad seems quite possible for you. To put yourself in the best position possible, you may want to do the following: check off a few more pro bono hours; register for any remaining required courses or papers during the spring semester; register for the fall or summer MPRE; begin financial planning for a study abroad. You may also want to meet with the registrar’s office and your journal early on to get a head start on the application process.

The Downlow on Clerkships

clerkships

Makenzie Way, 3L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Clerkships Consideration

To clerk or not to clerk … clerkships are a popular debate amongst law students. I myself have not clerked, nor am I planning to clerk, partly because I’m an international student (blog post to come), and partly because I’m just too eager to start my law firm job.

Since I’m by no stretch of the imagination an expert on clerkships, I sought some out! No, I didn’t just swing by the career planning office and ask a few questions. Rather, I found real people, each at a different stage in their legal career, with opinions and advice that may come in handy if you’re thinking about clerking or are already headed down the clerkship path.

clerkshipsFirst up is Kirsten Valania, a 3L from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. As a 1L Kirsten served as a judicial intern at the Delaware Court of Chancery. Prior to law school she worked as a Paralegal at Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella, and was a Marketing Assistant for the Wilmington Blue Rocks. As a 3L, Kirsten has accepted a clerkship with the Delaware Court of Chancery where she will work under a Vice Chancellor for two years. After clerking she’ll transition to firm life at Abrams & Bayliss LLP in Delaware. 

Q: What made you decide you wanted to clerk after law school?

A: I wanted to clerk after law school for two reasons: (1) I was a judicial intern for a Vice Chancellor and realized just how much there was to do and learn as a clerk that one would not be able to do or learn from the litigants’ side of the bench; and (2) just about every attorney I spoke to in Delaware suggested that I clerk.

Q: There’s no shortage of courts or judges, how did you narrow down the selection field when applying for clerkships?

A: I think I am unusual in that I only wanted to clerk in one court, the Delaware Court of Chancery, and nowhere else. Prior to law school, I was a paralegal in Wilmington doing fiduciary litigation, which means that I got pre-law school exposure to the Court of Chancery, the Delaware Superior Court, and the Delaware Supreme Court. My favorite work as a paralegal related to actions before the Court of Chancery. My preference was solidified after being a judicial intern for a Vice Chancellor in the summer after my 1L year. As far as which judges to whom I applied, it is custom to apply to all of the Vice Chancellors and Chancellor when one applies to be a Chancery clerk.

Q: Explain the application process? Is there anything you wish you knew now that would have made it easier?

A: Fortunately, the career office connected me with former clerks who accurately laid out the application process for me. As I mentioned above, a Chancery clerk applies to all seven jurists, typically. With the application, you include two to three references, a writing sample, and your transcript. After a few weeks, you are invited to schedule a number of interviews with different Vice Chancellors (or the Chancellor). These interviews are about an hour long with the judge and may also include an interview with the current clerks, a Bluebook exam, and a writing assignment. You may not get an interview with every Vice Chancellor, but you can still get an offer from one with whom you did not interview.

The Court is small and there is a lot of collaboration in the hiring process. I wish I had a better idea of the overall timeline, because the waiting can be stressful! I knew that applications were due in early February, so I started communicating with the career office and several professors from the beginning of the Fall 2018 semester and by January I had my writing sample proofread and my reference letters finalized. What was unexpected to me is that my interviews were not scheduled until March. My offer was extended in early April 2019. I had heard that the process was fast, but I don’t think I necessarily had a grasp of what “fast” is in the clerkship world. In reality, it is much faster than the process for federal clerkships!

Q: Did you get a sense that any particular area of your application was more important than the others – i.e. grades, recommendation letters, courses taken, past experience, law school ranking?

A: I got a sense that after exhibiting a clear aptitude and preference for Delaware corporate law, by courses, grades, experience, or otherwise, the next most important part of the application were references with connections to the Court. I also got the impression that the application is largely wholistic in the sense that an applicant can compensate for one part of their application with another.

Q: Since you received your clerkship offer after accepting a 2L summer job at a law firm, can you explain the process you went through with your law firm?

A: After getting my clerkship offer, I asked if I could check with my firm and immediately called to ask if they would be amenable to me clerking what would be during my second and third years as an associate. They were very supportive, so I was able to contact my Vice Chancellor and accept that same day.

Q: What are hoping to get out of your clerkship experience?

A: I am, first and foremost, hoping to get an intimate understanding of how Delaware corporate law is developed. I know it will be a very intensive two years of clerking and I will have the opportunity to be immersed in various aspects of this very niche area of law. I do truly view it as an opportunity. My firm is a boutique that only does Chancery litigation, so this will be directly applicable to my future practice. Secondly, I am hoping to become a better writer. The job certainly requires a lot of writing, which must be digestible and precise. Finally, I am hoping to develop a lasting relationship with my Vice Chancellor. I really respect and admire her; I hope to be able to have her as a professional mentor going forward.

Next is a second-year transactional associate at a law firm who prefers to remain unnamed, because privacy matters!! Prior to entering a law firm, this associate clerked for a judge at a state court of appeals.

Q: Thinking back to how you felt before beginning your clerkship, how do you think the experience matched or differed from your expectations? Would you still recommend it?

A: I was less prepared than I expected, and I think that is the case for every first-time clerk. There is no class or practice that prepares you to participate in the legal and (even more so) the operational work of a judge’s chambers. I would absolutely still recommend it, as it is the only way to see that aspect of law besides being a judge.

Q: What’s one thing you wish you’d known about clerking before applying?

A: I’m not sure anything could have better prepared me for the work and I really enjoyed the full year. My successor was surprised that our court system paid every two weeks rather than twice a month, which reduced the paycheck noticeably – check with HR about insurance and payroll to make sure you know what your finances will look like.

Q: Explain the transition from clerking to big law.

A: As a transactional attorney, there was no connection between the work. It has helped me answer a few questions in my first year of practice, and I believe I was a better legal writer and thinker thanks to the clerkship, but otherwise I was starting from ground zero at the firm, just like a first year.

Q: In what ways do you think clerking has helped you in your legal practice?

A: My writing improved significantly, and practice made me much better at breaking apart the facts, law and application in each case, and synthesizing them into a proper analysis.

Q: Regarding mentorship, describe your relationship with the judge whom you clerked for; did the mentor relationship continue after your service ended?

A: I have stayed in touch with my judge, and she helped me with my job search while I was still in chambers. Equally important, I am still communicating with fellow clerks and the interns that came through our chambers – it is a fantastic network.

Q: If you could offer a few pieces of advice for students entering clerkships, what would they be?

A: Read opinions by your judge from the past year, and if you can access the emails between your judge and prior clerks, see what edits the judge offered to their writing to align your drafts with the cambers’ standards. Expect to make big mistakes – every clerk does, and no matter how the judge responds, she knows it is part of the process. Get to know clerks in other chambers to help advise on how to handle issues around the courthouse.

clerkshipsFinally, Mark Batten is a partner in Proskauer Rose LLP’s Labor and Employment group and co-head of the Class and Collective Actions Group. He also writes and lectures on employment-related matters. Prior to joining Proskauer, Mark was a partner at Bringham McCutchen LLP and a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School, Mark clerked for the Honorable Richard L. Williams in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for one year.

Q: Let’s start with the basics: how do you feel clerking has benefited or impacted your legal career?

A: It was an invaluable experience, particularly at the start of my career, in two respects. First, every litigator’s job, until reaching a jury, is to persuade a judge. And this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see how arguments are received. Second, over the course of a year, you get to see a lot of different lawyers, with very different styles, arguing their cases to the judge and trying their cases to a jury, and you also get to study a lot of different approaches to written advocacy. Watching those different styles and seeing what is effective is extremely valuable in crafting your own style.

Q: Looking back on your own experience, can you honestly say you would recommend clerking?

A: I absolutely would recommend it, for the reasons described above. I intentionally sought a district court clerkship rather than an appellate clerkship because I wanted to be a litigator, and it seemed as though clerking at the trial court level would be the better experience. I’m sure appellate clerkships have their own value, from the experience you get at a more abstract, legal level, and because of their prestige. But I think the in-the-trenches experience was more relevant to what I now do day-to-day.

Q: Mentorship is important throughout your legal career, did your judge serve as a mentor for you? If so, explain how the relationship helped you.

A: During the clerkship, he did. He had lunch with his clerks every day at the bank cafeteria across the street, and we talked about what was going on in the cases, what arguments were working or not working, and career possibilities. My judge was also a great storyteller, and we learned a lot from that.

Q: Many law students and junior associates are concerned that accepting a clerkship will mean sacrificing or risking law firm employment. In your opinion as a partner at a law firm, how do you think clerkships impact hiring decisions?

A: My impression is that a clerkship can only add to the perceived value of an applicant, for the reasons described in response to the first question. I gather that some clerkships go on for more than a year, and I’m guessing that there are diminishing returns from those longer clerkships in the eyes of law firms, but a clerkship of a year or even two can only be beneficial, I think.

Q: Relatedly, what value do you think clerkships bring to a law firm or to your practice area specifically?

A: It brings associates with some real-world (or, more precisely, real courtroom) experience which gives them a leg up in the advocacy that is essential to a litigation practice.

Q: Are there any tips you can offer soon-to-be law clerks to help them thrive during their clerkship?

A: Spend as much time as the judge will allow in the courtroom, so you get to see the oral advocacy. When you have time, make similar visits to other courtrooms, both trial court and appellate, to see as much as you can.

Studies Show BARBRI Students Score More Points On The Bar Exam For A Similar Amount Of Effort

The bar exam is arguably the most important and most difficult test of your life. Nobody wants to fail. Everybody wants to walk in to the exam with the confidence that they are going to pass, the first time. BARBRI students are best equipped to perform at the highest levels on exam day.

In all of the studies conducted by our BARBRI team of data scientists, at schools across the United States, it was clear. For similar course completion rates, BARBRI students achieved a higher average score on the bar exam than students using other bar prep courses.

It’s a significant differential. For example, in one study, the non-BARBRI student group cleared the pass line by six points on average. The BARBRI students scored 31 points above the passing mark. That’s 5x the cushion for a similar amount of effort.

On a test where most people who fail do so by just a few points, how thin a margin is worth the risk?

BETTER PREPARATION, MORE POINTS FOR SIMILAR EFFORT

Our in-house data scientists have analyzed four years of BARBRI student data and continue to work closely with law schools nationwide. Among the tens of thousands of data points gathered, they spotted an eye-opening pattern: BARBRI students scored more points on the bar exam compared to non-BARBRI students for a similar amount of study effort.

This means you do study smarter, not harder, with BARBRI. In fact, all activities assigned to you during BARBRI Bar Review, through the powerful ISAAC engine that runs the course, are positively correlated to increased points on the bar exam and, ultimately, bar passage. To  read more about that, click here.

BARBRI students are better prepared among all bar takers and walk into exam day with far greater confidence to pass the bar.

THE TRUE BARBRI ADVANTAGE, IT’S OBVIOUS

Here is a closer look at one study we conducted in summer 2018. First, we see that a greater percentage of assignments completed, within any bar prep course, will generally correlate to a higher average bar exam score. It’s pretty obvious.

In the chart below, all the blue dots are BARBRI students and the dotted line represents the relationship between bar review course completion and final bar exam score. The dotted line slopes upward, which means the higher percentage of BARBRI course completion, the better students do on the bar exam. Simple enough.

When we look at the group of bar takers who did not study with BARBRI, we see a similar upward trajectory.

When we combine both BARBRI and non-BARBRI student scores within the graph, it reveals the true BARBRI advantage – BARBRI students score more points for the same amount of effort and percentage of the course completed as non-BARBRI students.

CONFIDENCE IN THE (HUGE) CUSHION

Now think about the bar exam curve. Generally, when you hear of someone failing the bar, many do so by 10 or fewer points. Wouldn’t you rather go in with the confidence of knowing you’re going to get the most points possible and give yourself the best chance possible?

Another reason why the majority of graduating law students, every year, go with BARBRI to Own The Bar.

Driven By Data: What To Expect During BARBRI Bar Review

At BARBRI, data drives everything we do, and we are guided by one principle: It’s not about pass rates. It’s about passing.

As in YOU passing YOUR bar exam.

There are three overarching ways we keep YOUR INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS front and center:

  • We focus your attention on the material you are most likely to actually see on your bar exam
  • We adjust your schedule based on your strengths and weaknesses as you progress
  • We present content in the best way to maximize learning and retention

NOT TOO MUCH WORK, OR TOO LITTLE, BUT JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT

During BARBRI Bar Review, everything assigned in your online Personal Study Plan (or “PSP”) is carefully curated by an engine we call ISAAC, your Intuitive Study Assistant And Coach.

ISAAC combines proprietary algorithms with our 50+ years of bar exam data and expertise to drive your BARBRI course.

ISAAC keeps you on track, effectively scaffolding your knowledge and skills. It’s meant to motivate and keep you accountable. Remember, generally the higher the percent of course completion, the higher the average bar exam score.

THE TYPES OF ASSIGNMENTS, THE SEQUENCE AND THE TIMING

During this BARBRI Bar Review course, ISAAC assigned more than 7.5 million learning activities. That sounds like a lot, but don’t worry, that’s not any individual student – that covers the tens of thousands of students studying for that bar exam with BARBRI. Let’s dig into the data.

Check out the chart below and see, on average, you’ll spend about 24% of your total bar review course study time learning the law with lectures. About 30% of your time working multiple-choice practice questions. And about 19% of your time in our Directed Essay Grading process (Essay Architect, Practice Essays and Graded Essays). Most importantly, each of these align with the top activities correlated to increased points on the bar exam and, ultimately, bar passage.

That’s interesting, yet it’s not just about the type of assignments you do, but also the sequence and timing in which you do them. The chart below shows how the assignment types will progress and change during your bar review course.

Notice the yellow line – early on in the course, you’ll spend the majority of your time with lectures, acquiring knowledge from the best U.S. law professors and legal experts.

Then, you see from the teal and dark blue lines, you are reading and reviewing your notes and also start to ramp up on multiple-choice learning and practice questions.

Two peach peaks stand out – that’s for the BARBRI Simulated MBE (which by the way is as correlated to the real MBE as the PSAT is to the SAT, and it is the single best way to know where you are on the curve before sitting for the exam. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the Simulated MBE).

Then notice the light blue and pink lines later a few weeks into the course, which indicates movement into our Directed Essay Grading process and practice essays.

None of your precious study time is wasted on activities that won’t help you maximize your point potential on the bar exam. To see how it all works together, check out this 5-minute video: Meet the BARBRI Course.

All this is why, year after year, the vast majority of graduating law students choose BARBRI Bar Review to Own The Bar.

About 9 Out of 10 Average BARBRI Students Pass the Bar … But We Don’t Care and Neither Should You

It’s easy to get caught up in state bar exam pass rates when considering your bar prep options. The reality is that about 9 out of 10 BARBRI students who do the average amount of work in our course pass the bar. That’s impressive … but we don’t care, and neither should you. Don’t put too much stock in a pass rate – BARBRI’s or anyone else’s. That is not a good indication of how YOU will actually perform on the bar exam.

What you really need to understand are the bar prep activities that are most important, and what YOU need to do, to get your highest bar score possible and pass the bar.

OUR 4-YEAR STUDY: WHAT DRIVES BAR PASSAGE

Let’s start where our in-house data scientists did – combing through four years of BARBRI data and working with law schools nationwide to uncover what truly drives bar passage.

BARBRI data scientists researched all activities completed by tens of thousands of BARBRI students, segmenting by UBE /non-UBE states and looking state-by-state to determine the activities and experiences that are more or less important to bar passage. We also looked at the effects of studying overall with BARBRI vs. other courses and you can get that information here.

BREAKING DOWN THE “INDEPENDENT VARIABLES TO PASSING THE BAR”

The great news is that all activities that were assigned by ISAAC in the BARBRI Personal Study Plan are positively correlated to increased points on the bar exam and, ultimately, bar passage.

Some assignments have an even greater impact. These are a darker shade of gray, which means they have an even higher correlation to bar passage.

The data scientists have found the BARBRI Simulated MBE to be one of the most powerful and statistically significant experiences one can have in preparing to pass the bar exam.

In fact, the BARBRI Simulated MBE is as correlated to the actual MBE as the PSAT is to the SAT. There are many reasons why an individual preparing to pass the bar exam should not miss out on the BARBRI Simulated MBE. Check out this blog to learn more.

One more important note: It’s not just about the type of assignments you do, but also the sequence and timing in which you do them. ISAAC, the engine that runs the BARBRI course, takes all of this into consideration as it drives your Personal Study Plan.

We want to ensure you focus exactly where you need to get the most points possible on your bar exam. That’s a measure of success you can trust with a great deal of confidence. It’s also a compelling reason why the majority of graduating law students, every year, go with BARBRI to Own The Bar.

SOS: 3Ls Without Jobs

3Ls

Makenzie Way, 3L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

3Ls – classes are in session

Hey 3Ls, the hustle and bustle of law school life has started up and along with it, the chatter of summer job offers. You’re happy for your 3L friends and peers who’ve landed jobs already, but internally you’re starting to freak out because you don’t have one yourself! What do you do?! How are you going to pay your student loans off? Will your parents be disappointed?

First, take a deep breath, it’s going to be fine.

There is an entire year of law school left, you’ve got time! With that said, start planning now. There may be a year left but jobs get snatched up quick and you don’t want to miss a potential hiring spree.

  1. Begin with the obvious:

    Talking to your school counselor or employment office. They may seem useless at times, but they’re there for a reason, they have connections and experience we don’t. Enter the appointment not in a mad panic, but with a goal in mind (i.e. what sectors of law you’re most interested in, geographical target areas, where you’re flexible and where you’re not).

  2. Draft a firm application plan:

    Research a wide range of law firms in your desired geographic areas (remember New York hires the most, but other states still exist). Consider big firms, medium firms, small firms, and boutique or specialty firms. Document the firm names, practice areas, strengths, recruiting contact information and application deadlines. Most importantly, set a timeline for applying.

      • If you strike out, expand your geographic search.
  3. Law firms may be the most popular career avenue, but they’re not the only one.

    Begin compiling a list of governmental agencies, businesses, and public interest entities that hire new graduates, even if just for a fellowship year. Set a timeline for applying and stick to it.

      • Again, consider expanding your geographic search if your initial search doesn’t yield results after a reasonable period of time.
  4. Since you’re already mass emailing recruiters, why not apply to some clerkships as well!

    The Chancery Courts and Supreme Court clerkships may be gone, but lower courts and courts in smaller states may still be hiring. When applying, keep in mind most judges prefer snail mail to email. It’s understandable that you want a quick response, but when possible send a physical letter or supplement your email with one.

  5. Non-traditional Job Options

    If at this point you’ve applied to every traditional law job you can think of and you’re still not getting favorable responses, then it may be time to consider non-traditional job options. Some ideas include: lawyers without borders; in-house representation at a small startup; legal administrative positions; legal recruiting positions; local bar administration positions; arbitrator or union jobs; university jobs such as a legal librarian or legal counselor; research positions and fellowships; legal database representative, etc.

3Ls, job hunting can be stressful! Especially when people around you have already secured employment. Try to tune the noise out and focus on your own strengths and goals. Utilize the connections you’ve made thus far, and don’t be scared to step outside of the box. You never know, you may end up finding your dream job! And if you don’t there’s nothing stopping you from job hunting down the road.

1L Mastery Package Continues To Carry Over | 3L Student Success Story

by Aaron Feld
University of Illinois College of Law | Class of 2020

Aaron Feld, 3L at University of Illinois Law (Class of 2020) | Using what worked with the 1L Mastery Package, I've implemented an effective study strategy. I’m now in my 3L year of law school and I’m totally ready. I just completed a summer of working in a Chicago-based law firm and plan to go full-time with the firm once I graduate from the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign. My focus will be in the area of Corporate Law with an emphasis in Sports and Sports Facilities. It’s a career path I’m greatly looking forward to. I largely have BARBRI to thank for preparing me.

Right from the start, BARBRI was captivating

I was introduced to BARBRI Bar Review in 2017, when I attended a video demonstration by the BARBRI student representative at the University of Illinois. It was a captivating presentation, and I went on to study using the BARBRI 1L Mastery Package.

It’s an in-depth suite of 1L success resources that includes detailed course outlines and on-demand video lectures paired with ample multiple-choice and essay practice questions.

Online lectures, outlines and practice exams did the trick

I mainly used the BARBRI 1L Mastery Package materials for three classes: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, and Torts. The materials provided a good foundation of each course, especially to bring me clarity in Constitutional Law. I listened to the online lectures prior to studying and creating outlines to learn key principles. The 1L Mastery lecturers were fantastic. And if I didn’t understand a specific topic, I would find a related lecture and listen to it again and again until I grasped it. I could speed up the videos to save time and hone in on just what I needed. This served particularly useful in learning the rules of Civil Procedure.

When it came time to study Torts, BARBRI’s practice exams did the trick. The practice questions were well laid out and exams covered both issue-spotting and multiple-choice analysis. Even the low-hanging fruit, those topics that can often be overlooked during studies, was accounted for.

What I learned my first year in law school, was that there was no set strategy for how things should be done as a 1L. You must first establish what you don’t know, and then figure out how to best learn. BARBRI allows you to be creative in your studies and the scope. You can speed up the video lectures, just read the course book from cover to cover, or work through tons of practice exam questions. All of the 1L success resources are there for you to use in a way that’s right for you.

Using BARBRI study aids as a 1L continues to carry over

Although the results from my July 2019 sitting of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) are not yet posted, I am confident that the free BARBRI MPRE Review prepared me for success on the exam. Everything was online and very convenient. The chapter summaries were compact and the practice exams were helpful in applying the information on the actual exam. Best of all, I was able to implement my own study strategy based on what had worked during my time with the BARBRI 1L Mastery Package materials.

Passing With BARBRI (Twice!) | Tax Attorney Success Story

by Alexandra Zaunbrecher
Senior Associate | Mergers and Acquisitions Tax Group | KMPG US

Passing the bar exam twice as nice for taxation attorney Alexandra ZaunbrecherI chose to sit the Louisiana State Bar Exam right out of law school. Being a Louisiana native and having attended Louisiana State University for my undergraduate and law degree, I thought I would most likely practice within my home state. I also focused the majority of my studies in Louisiana law during my time at LSU. I felt like I had a head start on the Louisiana bar material.

Despite my coursework during law school, the BARBRI Bar Review course best prepared me to take the bar. Before the course, I was most worried about being able to get my hands on the right information. And then sift through it in a way that I could learn what was important for the bar.

Passing with BARBRI, which did all the legwork

My Personal Study Plan, or PSP, was intuitive. It picked up on what I already knew, as well as where I needed to focus more of my time. I simply had to concentrate on managing my time to follow the study plan laid out for me.

After passing with BARBRI on the Louisiana Bar Exam, I was ready to conquer the world. Or at least New York City. I spent a year in the northeast while I pursued my LL.M. degree in taxation from New York University School of Law, specializing in tax law. I was interested in the transactional side of business law and I wanted to position myself as far away from the inside of a courtroom as possible.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I was offered an associate position with KPMG in their Mergers and Acquisitions Tax Group in Dallas, Texas. Working in an accounting firm is more of a consulting role, so I’m not required to be barred in Texas. I advise and consult with a variety of companies and law firms around the world on different transactions and their tax consequences. However, I wanted to be able to take full advantage of my law degree in the state in which I lived and still have options within my career. So I decided to sit the Texas Bar Exam.

I turned to BARBRI without question for my bar exam prep

I didn’t need to make use of any other resources beyond the BARBRI PSP. The PSP fully covered each bar topic with enough breadth for me to feel comfortable not seeking out other materials. And with enough depth that I felt like I fully understood each topic. I loved being able to follow a study plan that I knew was “tried and true.” All that was required of me was to soak up the material that was put in front of me.