July 2015 California Bar Exam

ashle484
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby ashle484 » Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:28 pm

robinhoodOO wrote:
InTheWideLand I Walk wrote:
SpAcEmAn SpLiFF wrote:
InTheWideLand I Walk wrote:
SpAcEmAn SpLiFF wrote:So I've been listening to the Barbri lectures on my commutes to and from work, and I'm about halfway through the CA civ pro lecture. Apparently CA civ pro has never actually been tested on any exam. How much time are you guys gonna devote to memorizing any of it?


now I hope I dont decrease my score on the july 2015 by telling everyone in the world this, but....

yes it has been tested. february 2009 question 5. Its funny, almost EVERYWHERE on the internet says it hasnt been tested, and all of my bar review "professors" I have had over the years said its never been tested..

Its funny I am able to notice subtle nuances like this and I still failed this exam twice. Makes me think its all luck. According to the news, I think its just a matter of getting an essay grader who isnt drunk.

Thanks, good to know.

Speaking of CA distinctions, how important are the CA evidence distinctions? Barbri has a decent amount of lecture time devoted to it.


no idea dude. honestly at this point... even after taking this exam twice already the essay portion of the exam still is a complete mystery to me. some people say you "dont even need to know the law AT ALL" to score high on the essay portion it and that your score is determined by "how you use the facts" in your analysis. One guy who told me this was getting consistent scores of 80 on practice essays and passed. he looked me in the eyes directly and said "you need to know ZERO law to score high on the essays"


I smell bullshit.


I don't consider myself an expert, but here my two cents on those comments based on my experience. I've taken two bar exams, California and NY over the past year, and passed first-time. I don't consider myself an extremely smart person or one of those people who just gets it, and there is no question I had to work my ass off. I can tell you one thing for sure, "you need to know ZERO law to score high on the essays," is simply false; and the last time I checked, the only way you can do sufficient analysis is knowing the law. That said, if you haven't practiced a sufficient amount of essays (50 or so essays) going into the exam, the law you do know will be relatively useless. The same issues and sub-issues are tested repeatedly, and if you don't practice, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. I recall last year the weekend before CA i was going through the last few practice essays I hadn't done in the Barbri book, and one of the evidence questions ended up mirroring the one we got on the exam. Thus, I already knew exactly all the weird hearsay exceptions they were looking for, which was a huge advantage. In fact the common thread in my study methods for California and NY, beside memorization, was going through as many past essays as possible and at the very least outlining/issue spotting.

Also, you can't get around studying subjects. Everything is important, because at the end of the day on test day you are going to forget stuff, even the stuff you studied hard, because of nerves, and so you need a decent handle on everything to at least write something down. On CA I had to make up a few rule statements here or there, and I definitely missed issues on a few of the essays, and my essays did not look like the models, but its all about doing "decent" across the board--and the same went for NY. The bottom line is practice is one of the most important things, analysis is key because that's where you actually show you studied and you understand it, and don't underestimate any one part of the exam, i.e. the performance exam.

I'm sure repeaters would agree, you don't want to get to the third Friday in November and think, well I could have done this. Give 110%, you have around 6 weeks left and it goes by in a flash.

Bar Slayer
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Bar Slayer » Sat Jun 13, 2015 12:48 pm

atticus89 wrote:
I mean, this is helpful, but I'm not sure where I said you should listen to the advice of bar passers. I did say using Baressays for passing essay examples is helpful. And talking to repeaters is nearly as useless as talking to people who passed -- people fail for a variety of reasons that they're not 100% in tune with. They may have failed by 20 points the first time and when they pass they might have passed by 5 points.

Instead of talking to anyone, why not just look at examples of essays that were clear passes and clear fails at 65 and 55. It becomes pretty clear that if you're in the ballpark and you write well (those 3 suggestions you listed are ways to ensure that) you're going to get a clear pass. Just look at the clear fails on Baressays -- the 65s vary widely in quality and content but the 55s are noticeably terribly written, even if they got the issues and had some of the rule statements.


Yes, my fault for appearing to disagree with your post, I actually think yours was spot on and I just wanted to add to it. I was really writing in response to the person listening to the guy who said you need to know zero law.

atticus89
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby atticus89 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:25 pm

Bar Slayer wrote:
atticus89 wrote:
I mean, this is helpful, but I'm not sure where I said you should listen to the advice of bar passers. I did say using Baressays for passing essay examples is helpful. And talking to repeaters is nearly as useless as talking to people who passed -- people fail for a variety of reasons that they're not 100% in tune with. They may have failed by 20 points the first time and when they pass they might have passed by 5 points.

Instead of talking to anyone, why not just look at examples of essays that were clear passes and clear fails at 65 and 55. It becomes pretty clear that if you're in the ballpark and you write well (those 3 suggestions you listed are ways to ensure that) you're going to get a clear pass. Just look at the clear fails on Baressays -- the 65s vary widely in quality and content but the 55s are noticeably terribly written, even if they got the issues and had some of the rule statements.


Yes, my fault for appearing to disagree with your post, I actually think yours was spot on and I just wanted to add to it. I was really writing in response to the person listening to the guy who said you need to know zero law.


The additions are important. The general idea here is that 'you need to know zero law' is hyperbole -- obviously if you don't put in the time to practice writing out the rule statements, you're not going to be able to spot ANY issues. However, perfect knowledge is absolutely not necessary. By doing several essays for each topic, you get a really good idea of the broad topics that they test on. If you can get spot on rule statements for those, you'll be able to wing it on the issues you can spot but don't necessarily have proper rule statements on.

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a male human
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Sun Jun 14, 2015 1:14 am

My general recommendation (i.e., what I would do but tweak based on the situation), as I recently told someone, is this:

Have a good, broad knowledge of the rules (not necessarily memorize the CMR but be able to give a decent explanation of the law in most areas), and practice as much as you can to familiarize yourself with frequently tested areas (issues, sub-issues, exceptions, rules—and try to know those areas cold).

redblueyellow
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby redblueyellow » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:09 pm

Can someone break down character evidence for me when it comes to extrinsic evidence and specific acts?

For example, once the D in a crim case has introduced a witness commenting on D's good character, the P can rebut this during cross-examination by showing reputation, opinion, or specific acts, but not extrinsic evidence.

What is the difference between specific acts and extrinsic evidence?

Isn't a specific act by default extrinsic evidence? Or am I not understanding the basic definitions of both?

If I'm P's counsel cross-examining D's witness, and I ask something like "Are you aware that D had committed battery/crime five years ago?" then isn't that both a specific act (D's battery) and extrinsic evidence (something that is not related to the matter at hand)?

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Pleasye
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Pleasye » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:45 pm

redblueyellow wrote:Can someone break down character evidence for me when it comes to extrinsic evidence and specific acts?

For example, once the D in a crim case has introduced a witness commenting on D's good character, the P can rebut this during cross-examination by showing reputation, opinion, or specific acts, but not extrinsic evidence.

What is the difference between specific acts and extrinsic evidence?

Isn't a specific act by default extrinsic evidence? Or am I not understanding the basic definitions of both?

If I'm P's counsel cross-examining D's witness, and I ask something like "Are you aware that D had committed battery/crime five years ago?" then isn't that both a specific act (D's battery) and extrinsic evidence (something that is not related to the matter at hand)?


I'm not sure if I'm exactly following your question, but generally when it comes to specific instances of conduct you can ask the witness about the specific instance (if that's deemed permissible), but you are stuck with whatever answer they give you. For example, you ask the witness if they committed some specific act, and they say "no," you cannot then bring in extrinsic evidence to prove that the conduct occurred, you have to accept the "no" answer.

redblueyellow
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby redblueyellow » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:59 pm

Pleasye wrote:I'm not sure if I'm exactly following your question, but generally when it comes to specific instances of conduct you can ask the witness about the specific instance (if that's deemed permissible), but you are stuck with whatever answer they give you. For example, you ask the witness if they committed some specific act, and they say "no," you cannot then bring in extrinsic evidence to prove that the conduct occurred, you have to accept the "no" answer.


That kind of makes sense, actually.

Specific acts (according to your explanation above) would mean that P's counsel can ask a W about a literal specific act that the D did previously (and consequently, whether or not the W knew about it).

Extrinsic evidence would be anything P's counsel would then want to show in order to disprove W's or D's testimony. So if D's W said "D is a great guy," then extrinsic evidence would be P bringing another W ("W2") who would testify that D is not a great guy? Additionally, extrinsic evidence could also be something like D's diary that indicated something to the contrary that D or D's W testified?

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Pleasye
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Pleasye » Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:18 pm

redblueyellow wrote:
Pleasye wrote:I'm not sure if I'm exactly following your question, but generally when it comes to specific instances of conduct you can ask the witness about the specific instance (if that's deemed permissible), but you are stuck with whatever answer they give you. For example, you ask the witness if they committed some specific act, and they say "no," you cannot then bring in extrinsic evidence to prove that the conduct occurred, you have to accept the "no" answer.


That kind of makes sense, actually.

Specific acts (according to your explanation above) would mean that P's counsel can ask a W about a literal specific act that the D did previously (and consequently, whether or not the W knew about it).

Extrinsic evidence would be anything P's counsel would then want to show in order to disprove W's or D's testimony. So if D's W said "D is a great guy," then extrinsic evidence would be P bringing another W ("W2") who would testify that D is not a great guy? Additionally, extrinsic evidence could also be something like D's diary that indicated something to the contrary that D or D's W testified?


I think you are kind of confusing or mashing together the rules as to the admissibility of character evidence and as to impeaching a witness' character for truthfulness. Specific instances of conduct are not admissible to prove that a person has a certain character trait (a propensity for violence, for example). However, specific instances of conduct are permissible in a civil case if character is an element of a claim or defense OR to impeach a witness' character for truthfulness.

W1 saying "D is a great guy" is just an opinion and P having W2 come in and say "D is not a great guy" is just a rebuttal witness, not improper extrinsic evidence. "D is a great guy" is not a specific instance of conduct that cannot be rebutted by extrinsic evidence... A question about for example, whether W1 knew about D going to a bar and getting into a fight on Halloween is a specific instance of conduct. There, if W1 answered "no I don't know anything about that," then P would not be able to introduce a police report about that incident as that would be extrinsic evidence.

redblueyellow
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby redblueyellow » Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:41 pm

Pleasye wrote:W1 saying "D is a great guy" is just an opinion and P having W2 come in and say "D is not a great guy" is just a rebuttal witness, not improper extrinsic evidence. "D is a great guy" is not a specific instance of conduct that cannot be rebutted by extrinsic evidence... A question about for example, whether W1 knew about D going to a bar and getting into a fight on Halloween is a specific instance of conduct. There, if W1 answered "no I don't know anything about that," then P would not be able to introduce a police report about that incident as that would be extrinsic evidence.


This makes a lot more sense--I had used a bad example earlier, but essentially, anything that is used to prove a specific act is extrinsic evidence. That could be in the form of a police report that you mentioned earlier, or even another witness testifying to the contrary. Right?

InTheWideLand I Walk
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby InTheWideLand I Walk » Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:51 pm

atticus89 wrote:
[previous and subsequent quotes omitted]
...
The graders have an idea of what the answer should look like, but in CA they don't use an issue checklist. They just grade it 'holistically'.
If you've seen the Wills/Property lecture with Professor Shafiroff, he claims to know bar graders and he said that although they have a scale of 40-100 to work with, they're told to give scores of 55 for clear fail and 65 for clear pass and just make a final decision on it. If you did something exceptional, you could get over a 65. He claims that they're told the standard is 'would you trust this person'. It is possible to pass every essay without knowing the law (perfectly) if you get the format down and you use the facts and analyze well.
...


not only that, but a grader could literally go "50-50-50-50-50-50" on all of your essays just because they had a bad day and want to take it out on you.... and there would be no oversight to this. yeah sure, if u score 1390, u can have another grader look over ur answers but ud have to get like 6 straight "75's" in a row just to pass the essay portion in this case. and even then that might not be passing depending on the curve

sorry to abandon the bandwagon but im studying solely for the MBE and PT for the next 6 weeks!

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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby redblueyellow » Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:22 am

InTheWideLand I Walk wrote:sorry to abandon the bandwagon but im studying solely for the MBE and PT for the next 6 weeks!


That seems incredibly risky

InTheWideLand I Walk
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby InTheWideLand I Walk » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:11 am

yeah i know i wasnt serious when i said that- just frustrated with essays. but nonetheless I'm considering tapering back with the essays a little bit to focus heavily on MBE/PT. im already getting passing scores consistently on the practice essays closed book, so its like if the real graders automatically give essays 65 or 55 absent unusually extraordinary circumstances then it might be worth it to utilize my final 6 week burst of energy and determination to get into the 75+ range on the MBE and PT instead of beating a dead essay horse.

hotsummer
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby hotsummer » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:54 am

Those of you who took Barbri before or currently (not sure how they changed their books though), there is the MBE book called Multistate Testing Practice Questions MPQ1, I assume. What I got is from 2013 though. Any idea how good it is? Worth of going through those questions? Or should I get MPQ2 instead?

RaiRai
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby RaiRai » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:26 am

This is for those using Barbri books.

For the CA subjects, do you only rely on the lecture handouts, only the CMR or do you use both? The CP handout seems sufficient, the agency, partnership and corp handouts seem kinda oversimplified, and Shafiroff's wills and trust handouts are a harder read than the CMR. BTW, i'm using 2010 Barbri books.

horrorbusiness
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby horrorbusiness » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:35 am

RaiRai wrote:This is for those using Barbri books.

For the CA subjects, do you only rely on the lecture handouts, only the CMR or do you use both? The CP handout seems sufficient, the agency, partnership and corp handouts seem kinda oversimplified, and Shafiroff's wills and trust handouts are a harder read than the CMR. BTW, i'm using 2010 Barbri books.


for what purpose?

I think I'll use both when I'm learning the subjects for the first time, as I am with a few of them. Then I'll probably switch to the lecture handouts/the brief outlines in the "california essay testing" book when i'm trying to memorize.

also, it seems like shafiroff's only goal here is to read through his outline, verbatim, as fast as possible. not a good lecture.

RaiRai
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby RaiRai » Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:20 pm

horrorbusiness wrote:
RaiRai wrote:This is for those using Barbri books.

For the CA subjects, do you only rely on the lecture handouts, only the CMR or do you use both? The CP handout seems sufficient, the agency, partnership and corp handouts seem kinda oversimplified, and Shafiroff's wills and trust handouts are a harder read than the CMR. BTW, i'm using 2010 Barbri books.


for what purpose?

I think I'll use both when I'm learning the subjects for the first time, as I am with a few of them. Then I'll probably switch to the lecture handouts/the brief outlines in the "california essay testing" book when i'm trying to memorize.

also, it seems like shafiroff's only goal here is to read through his outline, verbatim, as fast as possible. not a good lecture.



mainly to memorize elements and come up with lead in sentences/paragraphs for the essays. i think we're better off reviewing past essay questions and released answers.

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Worker and Parasite
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Worker and Parasite » Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:24 pm

I cannot believe we have to do the CPT. I wish this state would dry up

duskfall
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby duskfall » Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:57 pm

InTheWideLand I Walk wrote:yeah i know i wasnt serious when i said that- just frustrated with essays. but nonetheless I'm considering tapering back with the essays a little bit to focus heavily on MBE/PT. im already getting passing scores consistently on the practice essays closed book, so its like if the real graders automatically give essays 65 or 55 absent unusually extraordinary circumstances then it might be worth it to utilize my final 6 week burst of energy and determination to get into the 75+ range on the MBE and PT instead of beating a dead essay horse.

You should at least outline essays, which doesn't take too much time.

californiabarprep
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby californiabarprep » Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:17 pm

Which bar prep company has the best MBE questions - Themis vs. Barbri vs. Kaplan?
I've heard Barbri's Questions are very outdated, and Themis so-so, and that Kaplan offers the most comprehensive (and NCBE-accurate) questions.

RaiRai
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby RaiRai » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:28 pm

californiabarprep wrote:Which bar prep company has the best MBE questions - Themis vs. Barbri vs. Kaplan?
I've heard Barbri's Questions are very outdated, and Themis so-so, and that Kaplan offers the most comprehensive (and NCBE-accurate) questions.


Barbri's explanations are too long for me. I'm using Adaptibar (after reading other posts here) and i'm liking it so far. I can email you a $50 discount code too. No idea about Themis or Kaplan.

horrorbusiness
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby horrorbusiness » Fri Jun 19, 2015 12:52 am

does anyone have predictions of what our essays will be on? besides professional responsibility, which seems like it certainly will be. can we assume they won't test on the same exact subtopics as july 2014? lol.

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a male human
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:26 am

horrorbusiness wrote:does anyone have predictions of what our essays will be on? besides professional responsibility, which seems like it certainly will be. can we assume they won't test on the same exact subtopics as july 2014? lol.

Remedies appeared in every one of the past 5? administrations, so I'd keep an eye out for that. PR is practically a given.

Generally I wouldn't worry too much about predictions and instead do your best to broadly learn everything. Going off predictions is too risky because no one can predict with 100% accuracy.

Instead, you can try to compensate for any lack of skills or confidence in a particular subject DURING test day (which I've mentioned before and will again next month if I remember).

redblueyellow
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby redblueyellow » Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:14 am

What does liquidated damages mean in this context?

"A debtor's liquidated and undisputed $2,000 debt to a creditor was due on March 1. When the debt was still
unpaid on April 15, the creditor told the debtor that if the debtor promised to pay the $2,000 on or before
November 1, then the creditor would not sue to collect the debt. The debtor orally agreed. On May 1, the
creditor sued the debtor to collect the debt that had become due on April 1. The debtor moved to dismiss the
creditor's complaint."

Should the court grant the debtor's motion? 

Answer:

No, because there was no consideration to support the creditor's promise not to sue.

Explanation: The law supports the settlement of debts and claims. However, consideration is required
for a settlement to be enforceable. Under the preexisting duty rule, the creditor's promise to forbear from suing
to collect was not supported by consideration from the debtor, because the amount due was liquidated and the
debtor promised to do nothing more than he was already obligated to do. The creditor's promise was not
supported by consideration from the debtor because it allowed for payment of an undisputed amount, $2,000,
after the time for payment of the debt had passed. 

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Pleasye
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby Pleasye » Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:54 pm

redblueyellow wrote:What does liquidated damages mean in this context?

"A debtor's liquidated and undisputed $2,000 debt to a creditor was due on March 1. When the debt was still
unpaid on April 15, the creditor told the debtor that if the debtor promised to pay the $2,000 on or before
November 1, then the creditor would not sue to collect the debt. The debtor orally agreed. On May 1, the
creditor sued the debtor to collect the debt that had become due on April 1. The debtor moved to dismiss the
creditor's complaint."

Should the court grant the debtor's motion? 

Answer:

No, because there was no consideration to support the creditor's promise not to sue.

Explanation: The law supports the settlement of debts and claims. However, consideration is required
for a settlement to be enforceable. Under the preexisting duty rule, the creditor's promise to forbear from suing
to collect was not supported by consideration from the debtor, because the amount due was liquidated and the
debtor promised to do nothing more than he was already obligated to do. The creditor's promise was not
supported by consideration from the debtor because it allowed for payment of an undisputed amount, $2,000,
after the time for payment of the debt had passed. 


There are no liquidated damages in this question. The debt is just liquidated, meaning it is clear and undisputed by both parties (the debtor does not claim to owe less/not owe any money at all).

ilovetheatre
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Re: July 2015 California Bar Exam

Postby ilovetheatre » Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:21 pm

Where do I go to purchase/download SofTest for the CA bar? When I took the bar in another state, the SofTest registration link was sent in early June. I paid the CA laptop fee, but how do I get SofTest for the exam? TIA.




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