Alternative Bar Review Courses

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Geat27
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Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:26 pm

Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby Geat27 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:57 pm

I am trying to identify approaches to studying for the New York bar exam that do not involve paying tuition of ~$3,000 for a bar review course.

However, I realize even self-study requires some investment in materials. And I wondered if there might be insurgent bar review companies that offer courses at less than the cost of the three established companies.

Does anyone know of choices other than the products provided by Kaplan, BarBri and Themis?

Sup Kid
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby Sup Kid » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:05 pm

Kaplan is $2200 for the non-classroom NY course; Themis is $1400. If you were told either of those cost $3000+, someone lied to you. FWIW, I recommend Kaplan, since then you also get the PMBR MBE prep.

LawIdiot86
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:28 pm

Sup Kid wrote:Kaplan is $2200 for the non-classroom NY course; Themis is $1400. If you were told either of those cost $3000+, someone lied to you. FWIW, I recommend Kaplan, since then you also get the PMBR MBE prep.


Ignoring the PMBR benefit, what are the comparative pass rates among the three you mentioned? I know the companies won't tell you, they'll just release carefully worded charts like "Highest Bar Pass Rate* *Among white females aged 20-22 from Iowa taking the Alabama bar.. I just want the overall pass rate for all first time takers who used a particular service in a particular state.

Sup Kid
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby Sup Kid » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:54 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote:
Sup Kid wrote:Kaplan is $2200 for the non-classroom NY course; Themis is $1400. If you were told either of those cost $3000+, someone lied to you. FWIW, I recommend Kaplan, since then you also get the PMBR MBE prep.


Ignoring the PMBR benefit, what are the comparative pass rates among the three you mentioned? I know the companies won't tell you, they'll just release carefully worded charts like "Highest Bar Pass Rate* *Among white females aged 20-22 from Iowa taking the Alabama bar.. I just want the overall pass rate for all first time takers who used a particular service in a particular state.

I'd imagine that BarBri's is pretty high, since so many people continue to use them, and Kaplan gives you your money back if you don't pass, which means they'd be out of business if it wasn't also pretty high. No clue about Themis.

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DrGuano
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby DrGuano » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:43 pm

BarBri is the way to go. At the top schools, something like 90% of the students take BarBri. I know at my T30 BarBri's pass rate is 2% higher than the school pass rate, even though 420/460 students take Barbri. The other 40 take Kaplan/Themis. Neither of those programs release their pass rate.

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Wellsfargowagon
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby Wellsfargowagon » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:46 am

DrGuano wrote:BarBri is the way to go. At the top schools, something like 90% of the students take BarBri. I know at my T30 BarBri's pass rate is 2% higher than the school pass rate, even though 420/460 students take Barbri. The other 40 take Kaplan/Themis. Neither of those programs release their pass rate.


Uhh... http://www.themisbar.com/state-bar-exam-pass-rates

BarBri is "the way to go" only if you're risk-averse and your firm is picking up the tab. Granted, that describes many bar takers. Not me, though. I did Themis because I had to pay for bar prep out-of-pocket, liked the format (10-30 min lectures with short multiple-choice quizzes in between), and figured that no one bar-prep class will differ much from any other.

Turns out I was right about the lack of difference. Of my close law school friends, some did BarBri, but most did Themis. Both courses taught basically the same stuff. This is only anecdotal evidence, but everyone in the group who did Themis, passed. Plus, at least last year, Themis gave a public-interest discount to the tune of several hundred dollars to folks entering public-service jobs, including clerkships. I passed the Bar after having spent less than $1,000 for prep.

In short, don't let BarBri's stranglehold on the bar-prep market deter you from giving other courses a hard look.

BeautifulSW
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby BeautifulSW » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:24 pm

The folks that are recommending spending thousands of dollars on a bar review course are probably correct. There's been a bit of actual research on the question and taking a review course greatly improves your chances of passing the first time.

However, there IS one option that I have not tried (they didn't exist when I took the Bar): http://www.baroutlines.com

Bar Outlines claims to have a high success rate and you certainly can't beat the price; well under $100 for a complete course. Now just what "complete" means, I couldn't say.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:23 pm

The third year of law school should include a final term consisting only of bar preparation & internships/externships, in my opinion.

BeautifulSW
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby BeautifulSW » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:37 pm

That would entail hiring tenure-track professors who actually know something about the law. Never happen.

LawIdiot86
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby LawIdiot86 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:24 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The third year of law school should include a final term consisting only of bar preparation & internships/externships, in my opinion.


My friend at a TTTT has a course this semester that's about half his credit-load called something like "American Legal Systems," which is actually a bar review course.

LordBeric
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby LordBeric » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:09 pm

Why does Themis have its pass rates posted and not Barbri. Trying to compare the two company pass rates yet cannot find anything on the Barbri rates. What's going on here, even as a person with firm job somewhat second guessing Barbri if I cannot have this info.

Black-Blue
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby Black-Blue » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:33 pm

90% of all law students take barbri. So Barbri's pass rate is probably the same as the state's pass rate.

However, the Themis crowd is more elite, and would naturally yield higher pass rates than the state's.

LordBeric
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby LordBeric » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:48 pm

The above statement makes zero sense. The product that is cheaper (and chosen when people cannot get Biglaw) is somehow more elite? Students graduating are just able to fork over the 2300? Why do I find this hard to believe?

Anonymous User
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:03 pm

My biglaw firm does a lump sum stipend rather then pay for bar review directly, so I'm strongly leaning towards Themis. Figure I can save close to 2k and the product won't be much different. Themis was founded by former barbri bros and everything I read is favorable. Does anyone have any experience with them?

I think the only reason barbri has been able to maintain its high price is because until a couple years ago, there were no alternatives, and because most law students are risk averse lemmings who will choose what they know.

BeautifulSW
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby BeautifulSW » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:56 pm

If they were risk averse, how did they end up in law school in the first place? A J.D. can be a very risky investment these days.

One reason BarBri and others can charge so much is because the economic consequences of failing the first time around can be pretty horrible. A J.D. with no law license isn't a very salable asset and you don't get another shot at it for six months.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:36 pm

I know you are seeking alternatives, but why tempt fate?

Barbri. If you fail, you can retake the class for free and try again. It works, its #1 for a reason, and as the bar is the last single barrier to practicing law, I still will never understand people who want to cheap out at the last minute.

Suck it up. Its not $10,000, and you'll have a whole career to make back the $2,200 or so you'll spend on Barbri.

Watch the videos at home and speed them up by 1/3 so 3 hour lectures are done in 2 hours. I don't know why anyone actually goes to the classroom sites anymore, when most are just a video being played on the screen. At home you can pause, rewind, whatever.

yoyoyoyoyo
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby yoyoyoyoyo » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:36 pm

Any word on KAPLAN?

Anonymous User
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Re: Alternative Bar Review Courses

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:48 pm

yoyoyoyoyo wrote:Any word on KAPLAN?

Full disclosure, I'm a Kaplan rep. However, here are some benefits of Kaplan:

- First, it's actually Kaplan PMBR. For decades, PMBR taught law students the MBE section of the bar exam while BarBri taught students the state portion. Then there was an antitrust lawsuit that essentially forced them to compete with one another. Now, both Kaplan and BarBri teach both sections of the exam. As a result, BarBri is more experienced in state-specific prep, while Kaplan is more experienced in MBE. However, I personally feel Kaplan is better because of this because of how states release questions. States release their essay questions for each exam to companies willing to pay for them, so all major bar prep courses provide the same essay questions to their students -- for example, all courses will be able to provide you with the 2007 California Torts essay question. This is not so for MBE questions; they are NOT released, and therefore all companies have to create their own MBE practice questions. Kaplan (through PMBR) has been creating these for over 50 years, and are widely considered to be extremely beneficial in studying for the bar. In fact, many BarBri takers also take Kaplan's supplemental MBE foundation and final review courses.

- Kaplan provides unlimited essay grading, with a guaranteed 24-48 turn-around time, even days leading up to the exam. They also have an "Ask a Lawyer" online form, where you can ask any question regarding the bar exam material and receive an answer within 48 hours.

- Kaplan is significantly cheaper than BarBri, and offers a full money-back guarantee. BarBri only offers the chance to retake their course if you fail. Additionally, Kaplan's online program is as cheap as $1500, and includes everything in the in-class option, except for actually sitting in a classroom.

I'll be happy to try to answer any other questions that you post, but I'm not going to debate with anyone the pros or cons of different courses. I fully understand and acknowledge that people may disagree with me (lots of BarBri reps out there :D).




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