BARBRI: I Passed The Ohio Bar Exam

Yay! I passed the Bar Exam!

[ GUEST BLOG by Sara Valentine, Graduate of Capital University Law ]

Will Farrell ExclaimingHey, BARBRI! I passed the Ohio Bar Exam!

I am so thankful to my mom, my friends, and my support group for getting me to this point. I would especially like to thank Capital University Law School for providing me with a stellar education that allowed me to work fulltime while attending evening classes for law school. The evening program at Capital Law took four long, hard years. It was all worth it for this moment and this day.

Robert Downey Wiping Brow

However, I owe a lot of my happiness today to BARBRI. I still remember how overwhelmed I was starting up that first class. The process this summer was nothing less than grueling, but I am so thankful that I can look back and say that all of my hard work paid off. I stuck to BARBRI’s program, I focused on areas where I was struggling, and I walked into the Ohio Bar Exam confidently. What a relief to be celebrating today. I want to congratulate everyone who got good news this morning and those who have received good news as results have been rolling in.  I am thrilled for you all!

For those of you who did not meet with success, I know it is a very tough time.  Please try to focus on the fact that what you are attempting is something most people never even have the guts to try.  You should feel proud of yourself for making it this far and be confident that ultimately you will absolutely pass this exam.  BARBRI is in your corner all the way.  BARBRI has representatives who can do their best to help you figure out what worked for you, what didn’t, and how to change the result next time around.

Celebratory scene from the Office

For those of you who did pass, 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.

Do you need to take the 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.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my blogs and keep up with my social media accounts over the summer and through the fall. It has been my pleasure. Good luck to you all!

Leo Dicaprio raising a toast

All my best,
Sara Valentine

Last Minute Legal Halloween Costumes

Last Minute Halloween Costumes

[ Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona ]

Last week Mackenzie, @The3LLife wrote about Legally Fantastic Costumes. They included Elle Woods, Lady Justice, The Founding Fathers and more… most required at least a little bit of planning, so I wanted to focus on last-minute suggestions for those that just realized that Halloween is a week away, and likely all of the Halloween parties are 2 days away! After all, we all can’t have a perfect Elle Woods Costumes…

Perfect Elle Exhibit A  and Perfect Elle Exhibit B

Speaking of exhibits…

Exhibit A

The simplest last-minute costume possible. Grab a name tag, label or piece of paper and just write “Exhibit A” and call it a day.

Voir Deer

I never thought I’d say it but thank you stores for stocking Christmas items before Halloween has ended.

Here, you’ll need a T-Shirt, a Sharpie and an antler headband. Stores will have a ton of these in stock, so again, easy to fully create the costume on the way to the party. All you have to do is write VOIR on the T-shirt and add the antlers. DONE!

Right to Bear Arms

Again, super easy. Just get two teddy bears, some ribbon (or some other way to attach the bears) and put them on your arms. You can make this as fancy or as basic as you want to. Here is an amazing creation, that likely took a little bit more time than running to the store on the way to the party, but hey aim high if you like!

Miss Trial…

This is easy as throwing on a nice dress and a sash (or name tag), a sharpie, and write! You can also add a crown if you like, that should be easy to find at Target on your way to the party. You can make this a solo costume or a group one… There are man possibilities… Mistrial, Misdemeanor, Misconduct…


Lawyer Dog

If you’ve taken Criminal Procedure, you have likely read the “lawyer dog” case. Essentially in State v. Demesme, 228 So. 3d 1206 (La. 2017). Demesme said “I know that I didn’t do it so why don’t you just give me a lawyer dog cause this is not what’s up.” The court found that this was too vague to indicate he was asking for a lawyer.

Here is a great example of this costume.

Grab a name tag, and pick up some dog ears (or pons from the top of a beanie) and you are good to go.

I hope you have a great Halloween, and I would love to see your pictures!! Tag me @The2LLife on Instagram or Twitter!

Creating Your Legal Network

Student creating a legal network

[ Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona ]

Building your legal network takes time. The saying goes “in 1L they scare you to death, and in 2L, they work you to death.” It is easy to see how this is true. While we survived 1L, 2L not only has many of the same pressures of preparing for class but add to that writing and researching your note or substantive paper, running or participating in student organizations, working in a clinic or externship (maybe both!), moot court or mock trials, and of course finding, securing and then participating in work events for your summer position… Whew. It is a lot, and it can be exhausting. But… there is one more thing you should not neglect during your 2L, and that is creating your legal network and becoming a part of the legal community, outside of law school.

In many ways, you are already on this path. Here are three tips to help you to begin and continue to build your legal community through networking:

Attend Co-Sponsored School Events

Law school hosted events can range from lunchtime speakers to hosted events in the evening. Even though it can be overwhelming with our current workload, begin to RSVP and attend these events, especially the student mixers. This week at my school, we had two of these special student mixer events. The first was with the Federal Bar Association (FBA). Here, we were able to mingle with lawyers, clerks, and judges of the Federal court system.

For many of us, it was the first time directly interacting with this community. One of my friends made it a goal to speak to at least three people he did not know. While he found it challenging, he was able to make connections. It can be that simple. If you already feel comfortable talking to people at these events, take the next step and try to set up a coffee meeting to learn more about their work, or arrange for a court visit. At this event, the FBA also offered attending students a special (subsidized) membership that will allow 2Ls to have 3 years of membership, at half the normal membership fee! This leads me to my next tip.

Join Professional Legal Associations

SBA (Student Bar Association) is likely our first exposure to a legal association, and perhaps you have joined the ABA (American Bar Association) with their free student membership offer. But there is so much more… and so many more acronyms.  At my school, during orientation, we were offered a free membership to the local Bar association. But as a 1L, this was easy to overlook. I am sure your school provided a similar offer, so check in on that now. Your local bar association is a great way to become connected to local lawyers and judges. They usually host CLE (continuing legal education) seminars, and networking/social events once a month. In addition to joining the local chapter, if you know you are going to practice in another region or county, consider reaching out to that chapter now, and join their association.

For example, I joined both Maricopa and Pima county bar associations, and try to attend events whenever possible. Just like the FBA (Federal Bar Association), many of these organizations offer an additional year of membership after you graduate (as long as you signed up during law school). This can save you a few hundred dollars! Plus, within these organizations, there are often specialized groups like the YLD (Young Lawyers Division). There are also specialty associations that you might be interested in joining, this can be a great place to find a mentor! For example, here is a link to various Women associations throughout the US.

Become Actively Involved in the Community

There are many ways to do this, but I want to focus on the theme of legal associations for this blog. In addition to attending events hosted by these organizations, you can also join committees. The ABA offers student leadership opportunities, and many of the bar associations have positions for student liaisons. This involves usually attending a monthly meeting and reporting on events at your school and possible partnership opportunities.

For example, my school hosts a weekly CLE on criminal law, and until late October U of A will offer a weekly CLE on legal skills building and social issues. These free events are great for lawyers. It allows them to earn required CLEs for free but also brings them to the law school, to create stronger connections with students. Being a student liaison, also helps you become better known within the legal community and a “go-to person” for those already in the profession. Plus it can be a great addition to your resume!

How are you becoming involved in your local legal community and creating your legal network? Let me know over at the @The2LLife on Twitter or Instagram.

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?


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.

The U.S. LL.M | 4 Tips To Get The Most Out of U.S. Law School Class

By Juliana Del Pesco
BARBRI International Legal Manager, Americas

The decision to immerse yourself in a foreign culture and its laws is a bold move. It will also be very rewarding once you are well-prepared. In each U.S. law school class, you will come to understand the language of law in the United States. Strange words such as casebooks, outlines and the Socratic method will soon make good sense to you.

Make the most of what will be an extraordinary international learning experience. Start with our U.S. law school classroom tips.

Here are four ways to get the LL.M. education you desire and be ready to take on a U.S. state bar exam.


Central to your LL.M. education over the next year will be learning to read and brief cases. Most of your reading assignments will come from a casebook, which is a compilation of edited judicial opinions, other supporting text such as statutes and law review articles, and questions or problems. Once you complete a reading assignment before class, you will brief the case during class.

It’s a process that takes practice. Your casebook can be your guide for knowing how to approach an assigned case. Take a look as the chapter headings and table of contents in the casebook when you are given a reading assignment. They are your key to finding the topic to which the assigned case may relate and getting up to speed on it.


We all know how to read. But not everyone knows the nuances of critically reading an assigned case. Speed reading may have been the goal in other aspects of your education. It won’t do here. You will soon discover that it is all about grasping what’s on the written page. Careful and critical reading of EVERY word put in front of you. This will be your most effective way to learn U.S. law, and begin thinking like a U.S. lawyer.

Dictionary with featured term "attorney," which begins with success in U.S. law school class


Law is a technical language with technical meanings, and U.S. law is no different. The sooner you can absorb these meanings, the better. So when you’re reading cases, always keep a good law dictionary at hand. If you don’t understand a word you see, stop and look up its meaning. It could make the difference in your ability to properly interpret the case.

In the beginning, if you are still learning the language, you may also need to have an English dictionary to reference.


The ability to brief, or discuss, a case will be extremely important as you move closer to thinking like a U.S. lawyer. A brief is intended to help you recall the case in sufficient detail to discuss during class and to integrate into your class notes. It’s your best way to analyze the facts and reasoning for a reported case in an organized and manageable fashion.

It will serve you well in your legal career to master the art of reading and briefing cases early on. Law school professors largely base their classroom discussions on the “case method” of analysis and discussion rather than straight lecture. You will be expected to come to class prepared to discuss the assigned cases. That means learning how to read and brief those cases as efficiently as possible.

Law school is your time to develop and polish the skills you will need to pass the bar exam and become an amazing international lawyer. Own your U.S. law school class!

For additional guidance to help make the most of your studies, download the free BARBRI LL.M. Guide.


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

Black History Month: First Black Lawyers

Guest Blog by Courtney Boykin, 3L at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

February is always a special month for me.

Not only does the month hold Valentine’s Day, but it also serves as black history month. As an African American women, I treat the month of February as a time of reflection. I always try to find new African American pioneers to highlight, especially during this month. When it comes to African American lawyers, most people are familiar with Thurgood Marshall. His work and the positions he held are well documented. However, before Marshall presented Brown v. Board of Education or became a Supreme Court Justice, Charlotte E. Ray and Macon Bolling Allen blazed a trail for African American attorneys.

Charlotte E. Ray

Charlotte E. Ray

Charlotte E. Ray was the first female African American licensed attorney.  She graduates at Howard University School of Law in 1872 and was admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia. Her admittance also serves as one of the first women to be admitted to the D.C. bar. Eventually, her work brought her to the steps of the Supreme Court, making her the first woman to present a case to the Supreme Court.

Macon Bolling Allen

Macon Bolling Allen

Prior to Ray, there was Macon Bolling Allen. Allen is considered to be the first black licensed attorney in the US. He studied law, took the bar, and became a licensed attorney in Maine around 1844. He had great difficulties finding work in Maine due to the fact that he was a black lawyer. A year after passing the bar in Maine, he moved to Boston in an effort to find work and passed the Massachusetts state bar exam, after having to walk fifty miles to the testing site. He eventually opened the first black law office in the United States with another black attorney, Robert Morris.

I, personally, owe a great deal of gratitude to both Ray and Allen. Their courage and tenacity to persevere through the turmoil of racial segregation and animosity ease my journey to becoming a lawyer as an African American woman.

Important Takeaways from the Big Screen

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School Law school

Just because we’re law students doesn’t mean we’re immune from falling prey to Netflix’s newest lawyer focused drama. More times than not these shows are filled with unrealistic drama that expands the scope of the law, and makes lawyers out to be more calculating and dubious then we’re allowed to be (or would want to be).

Though the big screen often paints lawyers in colorful strokes, viewing these movies and shows through a lawyers lens does reveal some important takeaways that can be utilized both in law school, and once passing the bar.

The Paper Chase

  • Best known as a tool for demonstrating to family and friends the horrors of the 1L curve, cold calls, and the extraordinarily heavy reading load that law students are saddled with. Behind the ‘1L sucks’ façade,’ the Paper Chase also urges law students to remember that there are more important things than grades and law school rankings.
Timothy Bottoms in The Paper Chase. 20th Century Fox 1973.

My Cousin Vinny

  • At first glance, this humorous movie speaks to the importance of attorney competency, which is certainly an important takeaway for any perspective and/or current attorney. However, for those future litigators out there, this movie also provides a key piece of information regarding expert witnesses – namely, that contrary to popular opinion, expert witnesses do not need to be “professionals in the trade” per se, rather, the standard is sufficiently knowledgeable on the subject matter.
My Cousin Vinny. 20th Century Fox 1992.

The Lincoln Lawyer

  • The vast array of ethical gray zones presented in this movie reminds law students and attorneys alike of the importance of both understanding and abiding by the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
The Lincoln Lawyer. Jesus (Chicago actor Michael Pena), left, protests his innocence on a murder. Lionsgate 2011.


  • Most obviously this hit TV show teaches you that you must, at the bare minimum, have a law degree and/or have passed the applicable state bar examination to legally practice law. Assuming that we all plan to practice legally, Suits also does a fantastic job of showing why lawyers should value and respect their administrative staff.
Suits. Getty Images. USA Network 2011 – Present.

How to Get Away with Murder

  • While this show may be filled with an unbelievable amount of drama, murder, and coverups, it does eventually showcase the importance of balancing your classes and studying against extracurriculars – after all, the majority of the main student characters end up in the bottom of their classes because they’re too caught up working (and committing illegal acts).
How To Get Away with Murder. ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal). 2014 – Present.

What are your favorite law movies or TV shows? What important life lessons, or legal-specific takeaways have you noticed in them?

4 ways to brief cases even faster

As you may have already discovered, your speed-reading abilities won’t help you as much as you think in law school. As you spend hours each night preparing for class, you need to know how to read – really read – the assigned cases. You must now carefully and critically analyze, question and reason every paragraph, sentence and word.


It’s always a good idea to know where you’re going. Before you start reading the assigned cases, look at the chapter headings and the table of contents in the casebook. These will tell you the topic to which the assigned cases relate and where this topic fits in the overall course.


Law is a technical language with technical meanings. When a word is used which you don’t understand, or when a word is used in some unusual sense, stop immediately and look it up. You’ll be spinning your wheels mentally until you absorb the correct meaning. A good way of making sure you remember the meanings of legal terms is to use them in your case briefs (and outlines). You’ll better recall the context in which you used the word and its meaning will sink in.

Consider, also, the value of prepared course outlines included with BARBRI 1L Mastery and 1L Mastery Pro. You can these to supplement your reading if you don’t understand something or want to verify details about a case. If you already have access to 1L Mastery or 1L Mastery Pro, just sign in to utilize these resources today.


Briefing cases is indispensable in “learning to think like a lawyer.” Once mastered, you’ll be able to distill the facts and reasoning of a case down to manageable size. The use of a briefing system will force you to disect a case sufficiently for analytic purposes. Try a format of breaking down the essential elements: Facts, Trial Court decision, Issues, Rules and Rationale.

For help with your own briefing system, contact your BARBRI Director of Legal Education.


The sole purpose of a brief is to help you recall the case in sufficient detail to discuss during class and to integrate into your class notes. Don’t attempt a detailed restatement of the entire case. Avoid copying citations. Simply try to capture the gist of the facts and the court’s reasoning in as few words as possible. Proficiency at briefing cases is absolutely necessary if you’re serious about becoming a lawyer.

Learning how to brief cases is something you can master with reasonable practice and, once you know it, you’re likely not to forget. You don’t need to commit yourself to briefing every case in every class throughout law school – you simply must commit yourself to briefing cases until you’re good at it, which for most students means throughout 1L year.