Tuesday, January 29, 2008

4 weeks to go

Still just grinding the studying out. The bar exam is a 3 day exam. The 1st and 3rd day are the same format - 3 essays in the morning and then a "performance test" in the afternoon (basically this consists of being given a file to read and then pretend you're an underling lawyer and write a memo, so this part doesn't freak me out as much). The 2nd day is pure multiple guess (yeah, yeah I know it is really supposed to be multiple choice). So yesterday the bar review course gave us a practice multiple guess test.... and I'm not sure if they are trying to freak us out or not but I did worse on this exam than I did when I took the real bar in July after hardly studying at all. From what I can tell from other students in the class, everyone did pretty bad, but it's still pretty dumb to give a practice test that is way harder than anything we'll ever take.

In general this whole process is like one of those graphs we had to do in calculus. Totally up and down (vacilating might be the "correct" term). Some days I feel like I will pass no problem since all I need to do is get one level higher on each essay than I did when I took it in July and I should be able to do that since I'm studying this time. Other days I feel like no matter what I do, I am not going to memorize all of these stupid rules and I'm just destined to keep getting about the same score (this is basically an IQ test after all, and IQs shouldn't change).

Meh - enough whining. Whatever happens, happens. Just 4 more weeks to grind.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I have good moral character

Or at least that's what the state bar of California thinks. To get bar privileges you need to basically tell the state where you've been and what you've been doing since birth, and then give references who will basically say that "yes, it's true, chardrian has never been convicted of a felony." I remember the Wisconsin one being worse than California's but California took longer to determine that I am in fact morally qualified to practice law here.

Now, whether or not I am legally qualified (by passing this stupid test) is a whole other question. At this point I am feeling very overwhelmed, which is a rare feeling for me (I am generally verrrrrrrrrrrry laid back). Mostly because there is just too much stuff and I haven't memorized it yet, but also because I keep turning in these damn practice essays to my Bar/Bri course and keep failing them. Not only did I never fail an exam in law school, but I was usually towards the top of my class and now I keep failing which is not very good positive reinforcement.

Mostly, it's because I need to dumb it down a bit. You are supposed to use a system called IRAC where you first spot the issue, then you state the rule of law that applies to that issue, then you apply the facts to the rule and issue, and finally you give a conclusion. I was taught to give a conclusion at the beginning and at the end because judges want to know up front what you are arguing so I need to stop doing that I guess. And I also will often join the rule with the facts because it makes it a lot quicker and I think easier to read. But my reader doesn't seem to like that either, so I guess I will try and break it down more.

The whole thing is still pretty dumb though I think. A huge part of the exam is simply memorizing rules and their exceptions (e.g. contracts for goods over $500 must be in writing to be enforceable pursuant to the Statutue of Frauds - and then there are a whole bunch of exceptions to the rule). But in real practice, you don't really need to have any of these rules memorized because you can always just look them up. So my law school training focused more on spotting issues and then learning how to apply facts to rules rather than memorizing rules (except for Evidence I can't think of a class where we were not allowed to use an outline). This exam, on the other hand, focuses more on memorizing the stupid rules and there are just kazillions of them to memorize.

Anyhoo, I am still hating studying. But if I pass the exam at least I am now qualified to practice here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Still studying

Well 2 weeks down and I'm still overwhelmed but grinding through it. As homework, the program gives us lots of multiple choice practice as well as practice essays. The problem is I spend so much time doing the questions that I don't have time to memorize the black letter law. So I keep having to cheat on the essays and look up the black letter law and then apply the facts. I am hoping that by doing enough of these the law will start to just sink in. The dumbest part of this bar exam is that it is basically a memorization test and in real life, lawyers don't really need to have anything memorized because you can always look stuff up (the only exception is perhaps knowing evidence if you have to go to trial, since you can't make an objection the day after). I am fine with spotting issues and applying facts to law - but I am bad at memorizing the exact law because I've never had to (even in law school we got to use outlines). 6 more weeks and it will be done.

On another note one of my poker forum buddies directed me to this. I thought it was pretty insightful. At this point in my life I still believe that poker is my calling and I'm looking forward to getting back into it once I'm done with this studying. That doesn't mean that I am positive this will be my calling forever and ever, but for now it is something I am passionate about and I feel fortunate to have a shot to work at something that is my passion. Hopefully it will all work out...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Contracts and Torts

So the first week is over, and I'm still alive, but barely. The course consists of sitting in a law school room (like a big ampitheater) and watching professors ramble on about a whole subject in the matter of 8-12 hours (they usually try to throw some humor in there too). Whereas when I was actually in law school we got like 50-60 hours per subject. Anyhoo, it looks like they try and break most subjects into 2-3 lectures but yesterday we had to endure 8 straight hours of torts and get it all over in one day.

At this point Statute of Frauds, duress, warranties, consideration (that's all Contracts lingo), are still just as jumbled as battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and strict liability (torts) but hopefully it will all come together by the end of next month (if not, I might have to commit some sort of tort against myself). No matter what I'll keep forging ahead.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Let the classes begin

So today was my first day of my bar review classes. And the next two months are going to suck. Looks like 8-12 hours of studying/classes every day. Barf. Reminds me a little bit of my first semester of law school, where I just studied like a maniac because I had not been in school for a while and wanted to make sure I started off well. I know I'll get it done, but I'm not looking forward to it.