Before you get the wrong idea, I have no plans to take the Uniform Bar Examination anytime soon. Nevertheless, it’s great that many states switched to the UBE. I’m all for consistency and leveling the playing field for everyone regardless of jurisdiction. However, I don’t like that many states also have a state-specific component. For instance, South Dakota has an essay question on Indian law. As you may have read in my last post, I failed the essay portion of the Wyoming Bar Examination by one point due to oil and gas law. That was not a subject commonly taught in law school. My law school didn’t offer it and still doesn’t last I checked.
If I recall correctly, back then only Wyoming and Texas tested oil and gas law on the bar exam. That put non-Wyoming and non-Texas law school graduates like me at a disadvantage compared to those who went to law school in-state and thus had three years to prepare for the oil and gas law portion, to include the opportunity to take an oil and gas law class.
I believe that the state-specific components should be done away with and the UBE (meaning only the MEE, MBE, MPT, and/or the MPRE) adopted by all states. In my ideal world, the bar exam would test the same subjects across the board and bar takers would not have to waste their time studying an obscure area of law most attorneys will never use on the off chance that the bar examiners might test it. It’s my understanding that some states, such as Maine, are in the process of eliminating the state-specific component, which is a step in the right direction.
Ten years ago this month, I passed the Colorado Bar Exam on my third attempt. Ten years seems like a long time but it also feels like yesterday that I was frantically hitting refresh on the Colorado Supreme Court website waiting for the bar exam results to be posted. I still remember how it felt to open the bar exam results, scroll down to the names starting with the first letter of my last name, and finally see my name sitting there. I feel a little silly saying this, but reliving that memory in my mind still makes me tear up. I felt such overwhelming joy and relief that day. That was one of the most significant moments of my life.
Since that day, I’ve gone on to pass two more state bar exams. I know, what was I thinking? I took and passed the Alaska Bar Exam on my first try, and then I took the Wyoming Bar Exam. If I recall correctly, the Wyoming bar rules allowed me to transfer my MBE score from the Alaska Bar Exam since it was high enough under their rules, so I only had to take the essay portion. Nevertheless, I failed that essay portion by ONE POINT because of oil and gas law. Are you kidding me? I had never encountered oil and gas law before and tried to familiarize myself with it as much as I could, but I had very little time to study due to changing jobs and moving from Alaska to Colorado only a few weeks before that bar exam. It was a very humbling (and annoying) experience. I took the essay portion again the next go-around and passed it easily. Wouldn’t you know it, I’ve never even used my Wyoming bar license. It’s been mostly inactive since my admission. Sometimes I think about resigning it, but I worked so hard to get it in the first place that I hate to give it up.
I wrote a rough draft of my ebook after my last post, but never got around to finishing it. A friend that I met through this blog told me recently that someone (a law professor, I believe?) mentioned this blog to him, not knowing that he actually knew me, and said that my blog was one of the best blogs out there on failing the bar exam. It felt great to hear that my blog was still being recommended to people having issues with the bar exam even though I haven’t posted in years. It also got me thinking that I should revive this blog. Even though I haven’t taken the bar exam since 2011, and I’ve never taken the Uniform Bar Examination, I still have plenty of things to write about relating to the bar exam. The rough draft of my ebook covered topics such as how to practice law without being barred first. Yes, it’s possible! So, I’ve decided to forget about finishing the ebook and blog about those proposed topics instead.
I really enjoyed writing this blog years ago (although I did not enjoy the reason for blogging) and I look forward to reviving it. If there’s anything you would like me to blog about, please feel free to comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even though it’s been years since the travesty of failing the bar exam twice, I still get hundreds of e-mails a year from people. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to respond to many of the e-mails, and for that I am truly sorry. Life has gotten in the way and I just haven’t been able to keep up with the blog as much as I’d like to. I’ve been encouraged multiple times to write a book about failing the bar exam. I don’t think a book is realistic for various reasons, but an ebook would be much more doable. So, after having been on the fence or the last year and half, I decided to go for it. I’m writing an ebook about failing the bar exam.
Now I’m reaching out to all of you, my readers, to ask you:
What would you like to know? What would you want to read about in an ebook about failing the bar exam?
If you aren’t comfortable posting here, please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.
Thank you in advance for responding! I’m looking forward to hearing from as many of you as possible!
I just logged into the FBE e-mail account for the first time in a very long time to discover hundreds of e-mails. I used to have the FBE account set up to forward e-mails to my personal e-mail account but somehow the forwarding function stopped a long time ago and I never got around to fixing the issue. I’m really sorry for not responding to e-mails in the last couple of years. A lot of the e-mails asked for the materials that I used to pass the Colorado Bar Exam in 2007. I had long ago posted the materials under the “Materials” tab above, and have not e-mailed them out in years. You can still find them there. HOWEVER, these materials are now OUTDATED because Colorado has switched to the Uniform Bar Examination, which consists of the MBE, MPT, and MEE. A coworker and I just had a conversation today about her upcoming attempt to pass the Colorado Bar Exam in July 2013. She’s licensed in another state and we work for the federal government, so that’s how she is able to practice here without her Colorado bar license. I’ll post the same advice here that I just gave to her. If I had to take the Uniform Bar Examination in July, this is what I would do:
- Buy all the released MEE exams and practice, practice, PRACTICE! Type out the model essay answers too after you finish writing your practice essays – don’t just read the model answers, go “oh okay” and then move on to the next question. That constitutes passive learning instead of actively studying and learning the material by practicing the exams and typing out the model answers.
- Try to buy an used copy of BarBri’s Conviser outlines such as this one. I really liked the Conviser outlines because they were short enough that I could type them out as my own outlines and it wouldn’t take forever. Plus, I could organize the outlines in the best format that worked for me. You could also buy the full version of Barbri’s multistate outlines such as this one. Try Craigslist, Amazon, et cetera. I wouldn’t buy outlines older than a couple of years. For example, since it’s 2013, I wouldn’t buy outlines older than the 2012 version. The 2011 version might work as well. Maybe. Also, If I were taking the bar exam again today, I would buy both versions – the Conviser and the full outline – and rely primarily on the Conviser while using the full outlines as a backup in case I had a hard time with a particular subject. However, if money and time were an issue, I would buy only the Conviser outlines.
- Buy the online practice exams from NCBE. Type out the answer explanations behind each answer choice for each practice question so that you’ll understand why certain answers are wrong while others are correct. Type them out, write them out, say them out loud, whatever. Don’t just read and then move on because then it won’t really sink into your brain and you won’t remember them the next time you come across a similar question.
- Buy the Strategies and Tactics for the MBE books – this one and this one. Practice the exams, type or write out the answer explanations, same as the above paragraph.
- I would study and use the Conviser outlines (or the outlines you made using the Conviser outlines) for this one as well.
- Buy two or three MPT exams and take them. If you don’t feel good about your performance on these, buy one more exam at a time until you feel comfortable with it.
These are merely just suggestions of what I would do if I were taking the Uniform Bar Examination in July. This is not a guarantee that you will pass the bar exam if you follow my suggestions, so don’t hold me to it. I am an active learner and don’t do well with sitting in a classroom being spoon-fed information. That is why I typed out outlines and answer explanations, and also practiced exam questions over and over again. I hope this helps.
Someone asked me if it was too late to order the Strategies & Tactics for the MBE book with only 9 days left until the MBE. Instead of wasting precious time searching for the book at a local bookstore or library, I’d suggest using the MBE online practice exams offered by NCBE. You can order them online and start practicing questions right away. They use actual released MBE questions and my past experience was that they also explain answer choices – why they’re correct or incorrect. I took the first MBE online exam when I took the MBE over two years ago, and it was extremely helpful. They’ve since then released the second practice exam. So if you’re scrambling at the last minute, order those exams, practice the questions, and THOROUGHLY review the answer explanations.
I’m still getting e-mails with requests for my materials. I uploaded the materials several months ago. You can find them under the “Materials” tab above this post.
Or just CLICK HERE.
I hope it helps!
I apologize for not having updated this blog in a year and half. I’ve been a public defender attorney for the last two years, a job that has kept me incredibly busy with many long hours. I love it anyway!
I just checked my FBE e-mail account (which I hadn’t checked in many moons) and I’m embarrassed to say that there are quite a few e-mails that have gone unanswered for too long. I’ll do my best to clean up my inbox and respond to e-mails but because there are 195 unread e-mails, it might take me a while. Not to mention that some e-mails might already be “moot”. Sorry about that.
I had previously attempted to post my MBE outlines to this blog but when I tried to convert them for uploading, the formatting got messed up so I put aside that effort with the intention to fix the problem later. Obviously I’ve procrastinated on that. But I’ve converted everything to PDF format and posted them on the Materials page, so they’re available for downloading and you don’t have to e-mail me to get them anymore. My essay boilerplates and MBE outlines have not been updated since 2007 or early 2008 so be warned that they might be out of date and you should verify them yourself.