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Law School Bar Skills Foundation 2015 Resources

 

IMPROVE YOUR LAW SCHOOL'S PASS RATE WITH OUR BAR SKILLS FOUNDATION RESOURCES

To: Law School Academic Support Faculty

Have you thought of starting your own bar exam skills foundation effort at your law school?  Such an effort could increase your school's pass rate and send the positive message to the students, faculty, and alumni that bar exam performance is important at our law school.  This movement is becoming more prevalent as students and accreditors focus on success metrics to justify the high cost of a legal education.  The November 2011 National Jurist at page 24 identified a law schools' bar pass rates along with costs as the most important factors students look at in deciding which school to apply to and attend.

Law students assume their law school will prepare them for a legal career.  That includes teaching them the stuff that is necessary to pass the bar exam and get admitted to the profession.  Student class action lawsuits complaining of this deficiency and no jobs for students have recently been filed against more than a few law schools.  See http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/law_firms_announce_plans_to_sue_15_more_law_schools_over_job_stats.  Lack of bar exam passage is a better student claim against their law school than the scarcity of legal jobs after they graduate over which the law school has no control.  Forward thinking schools realize proactivity is necessary.  Yale Law School professors are suggesting "Any student who has less than a 50% chance of passing the bar in three years' time, based on the statistics, should have to sign waivers acknowledging the risks of their education investment."  Click here to see the full article.  Some affirmative program is desirable to demonstrate your law schools committment in helping your students pass.

ABA OKs Required Law School Bar Exam Foundation Courses for Graduation

More Schools Offer Bar Prep Courses

Part of the reason why students struggle with passing the bar exam is that the bar is unlike a traditional law school exam.  It is multiple exams and covers numerous subjects in rapid fire that law schools teach in depth in many separate courses.  Further, knowing the law is not sufficient without practicing working thousands of bar-exam style and degree of difficulty questions.  And the questions should relate to legal issues popular with bar examiners, which may differ from law school exams and law school hornbooks.  The Rigos UBE texts all have question maps that make this cross-relationship quite easy.

Upon graduation students are thrown in the deep end of this complex new exam without a good grounding in the necessary bar exam skills and without enough time to practice working thousands of questions. Traditional bar review courses need to cram the depth and breadth of all the substantive coverage and exam strategy into a few weeks' time.  This may overwhelm the students.  In comparison, New York Law School recently introduced a law school "bar prep" foundation program aimed at the bottom third of the class and raised the school's pass rate from 58% to the mid-80s.  See November 2011, National Jurist 19.

One fundamental misperception that perpetuates use of the "cramming" technique is students have already studied these topics in law school, so Bar preparation is really just a "refresher course."  This philosophy is dead wrong.  What students learn in law school courses bears only a passing resemblance to what they must know to survive the Bar.  The tricks, red herrings, and fine-line distinctions that are the hallmark of bar exam multiple-choice questions are not usually included in the traditional Socratic law school teaching and learning method.  The bar exam emphasis and depth of essay questions/answers and performance task questions is also much different than what most students learn in law school.

Many law schools now see they need to develop their own "bar foundation" program independent of Barbri.  In truth to raise your metrics in your state you need to do more and better than Barbri since they are the state average.  More Barbri does not really add much value or move your students up the grading curve.   Independence also helps credibility.  But they are not mutually exclusive and there are thousands of students using Rigos as a second source to Barbri.  Law students often use more than one horn book to prepare for exams.  The whole may be greater than the sum of the parts.

There are various law school bar foundation approaches and possible ingredients we identify below.  Start modestly, but any effort is better than none.  Usually it is best to approach this effort on a student year-to-year basis as follows:

First Year Students

  • Companion to Case Books:  An easy start is to focus on only one bar subject such as contracts while the students are taking the related law school class.  You can produce your own subject chapters using our license including text, question maps, and questions and answers.  These can then be sent electronically to the students you choose.
  • Assessment Helpful:  We have a 50-minute multiple-choice exam to establish student's beginning competency in the basic six MBE topics.  You can give the students the full answer rationales as they leave the room or collect their bubble answer sheets if the law school wants to grade the exam.    They can also just be assigned to do on their own.  See our on-line MBE Assessment Exam.
  • First Year Review:  1L's can use our whole MBE books for succinct review of first year topics and to prepare their contracts, torts, and property outlines on our powerful software for their spring final exams.
  • Spring Law School Exam Resource:  Our MBE Volumes build students' knowledge from the ground up.  First, students learn and memorize the MBE-tested substantive law using our innovative, interactive teaching tools.  Second, students work practice questions using our unique software that allows them to (1) create their own subject outlines, (2) focus their practice on challenging issues, (3) practice at random in question set sizes of their choosing, and (4) culminate their hard work in two full 3-hour final mock MBE exams.  This focus tracks their mistakes and allows them to identify any remaining weak areas.

Second Year Students

  • MPRE Course:  Many 2Ls sit for the March MPRE exam right after their law school PR class. Your PR professor could present the MPRE material in a few sessions after the course or work the MPRE coverage right into his class.  This resource produces high MPRE scores and introduces your students to the multiple-choice bar exam question style and characteristics, and makes a huge statement with 2Ls that the "bar exam is important."  We also have online MPRE  instruction lecture assistance.
  • MPT Course:  As a supplement to a legal writing class, the law school may give the students a chapter or whole MPT Volume and have your writing instructors introduce the NCBE's Performance Task questions covered in the book.  Some schools present a chapter in the MPT book per class, assign two tasks, and then hold a second class two weeks hence.  This second class reviews the two assigned tasks and suggests improvement.  Grades can be assigned.  This writing course could go beyond the Task answers style and apply writing principles to the MEE questions or your Bar's state essays.

Second to Third Year Students

  • MBE Course:  2L's can use the Rigos UBE Series over the summer before their last year to gain a head start on the real bar review and a refocused review of the 1L subjects as tested on the MBE. A law school could require this summer project of 2L students in the lower third of the class and offer/require the two 3 hour final exams when they return for their final year.  If an actual grade was assigned to each student's performance (v. Pass - Fail) the law school should expect better bar exam results the next summer.
  • MPRE Course:  Many 2Ls sit for the March MPRE exam right after their law school PR class. Your PR professor could present the MPRE material in a few sessions after the course or work the MPRE coverage right into his class. This resource produces high MPRE scores, introduces them to the multiple-choice bar exam question characteristics, and makes a huge statement with 2Ls that the "bar exam is important." We also have online MPRE instruction lecture assistance.

Third Year and Post Graduation

  • MPRE Course:  For students who did not take the MPRE in their second year we recommend they sit in March of their third year.  It is usually a mistake to wait and take the August MPRE exam just after the students have completed the full bar exam in July.  The lawyer disciplinary rules are tested in the performance and some essay questions, and after the two day actual bar exam the students may be too burned out to get up for another UBE test two weeks later.
  • Individual Subjects:  Many law schools start their 3L foundation course in the spring semester and cover two or more of the six MBE topics.  In these courses the students learn how to outline for the bar exam and practice working bar exam style questions.  Our subjects modules contain all this and more, such as acronyms and detailed Question Maps that cross-reference the text to the bar questions.
  • Home-Stretch Sprint: The law school provided resources will be helpful after the students graduate and prepare to write the real bar.  3L's can actually complete their own MBE preparation using your distributed material as their total resource.  Their previously learned knowledge base will provide an advantage and allow them to spend extra time on the non-MBE sections of the exam.  Students can also use your law school licensed Rigos resources as a companion or second source to your local review course.
Law School Full Course
  • Your Law School may also start its own full review course.   We don't recommend you start this full-blown effort right away, but after you try the above components it might naturally develop in a few years.
  • We can help your foundation spark plug person organize your own course using the Rigos material and our "seamless process" student learning system.
  • ABA Standard Interpretation 302-7 now allows accredited law schools to offer bar preparation classes for academic credit.

LOPR "Seamless Process"

Rigos Law School UBE Series Foundation products use a systematic four-ingredient approach that helps students achieve the four necessary LOPR elements to improve their chances of successfully passing the bar exam.

LEARN THE LAW: Our texts provide succinct yet thorough exposition of all subjects tested.  This includes integrated practice "learning questions" to reinforce the legal rules.   By pointing out common MPRE and MBE pitfalls, nuances, and fine-line distinctions, students learn how to select the best answer on difficult and uncertain multiple-choice questions.

OUTLINE THE LAW:  The Magic Memory Outline prepared by the students on our software accomplishes both the understanding of the law and necessary issue memorization (see MPRE Magic Memory Outline Example).  Acronyms and Mnemonics help candidates quickly and accurately recall information, and Magic Memory Outlines® aid candidates in memorizing the material.

PRACTICE:  Built into the text is 75 multiple-choice "learning" questions in each MBE subject's chapter. This reinforces the law and helps show students how the examiners test the subject.  The MBE volumes also have over 1,700 questions and full answer rationales.  Practice questions are presented at all levels of challenges, including some that are more difficult than the actual MBE. All have detailed analyses/rationales of each alternative. Students can thus receive feedback on error rate and by topic.

REVIEW:  Students must continually review their Outlines and missed questions as they progress through the subjects tested.  Our "Learn Your Mistakes" technique helps avoid past mistakes and reinforces the ability to score high on the most difficult questions.  The last 10 days should be a "review of the review."

Other Bar Exam Synergism Tips

SUPPLEMENT TO BARBRI OR KAPLAN: Your licensed foundation review books have over 1,700 different MBE questions and 100 essays, which make them a great source of additional practice questions for your students enrolled in a traditional bar review course,  especially if they became exposed to same in your Foundation program.  Go to www.rigos.net/uniform-bar-exam.

START EARLY:  From our review course experience, the effort that students must make to improve their bar exam results is easier if it is not restricted to an 8 week period.  Your law school foundation effort could make the difference because the students gain some of the bar exam necessary knowledge and skill.  We can share with you positive experiences at other law schools that are currently using our resources in their foundation classes and/or recommending our books to their 2L students during the summer of their second year.  If they follow this program, the students will review and relearn the black letter law that they studied as 1L's, not in the Socratic method, but rather in the way it is to be tested on the MBE.

SUMMARY OF OPPORTUNITY

If  your law school uses our learning tools in your foundation course you will give your students a head start on bar preparation and an increased awareness of the high level of competition they will face on these all-important exams.  Students will gain an early appreciation of the bar exam's fine-line distinctions and question tricks and traps.  This creates a student enlightened foundation for the commercial live or home-study bar review course students will take after graduation.   If a law school purchases our inexpensive license you will have multiple resouces available.

SEE FOR YOURSELF

Don't take our word for it. Evaluate one of the Rigos UBE Review Series Volumes for yourself.  To receive your FREE PDF copy of the 2015 edition of our MPRE for your law school's best professional responsibility professor's review please send an email to admin@multistatebarreview.com with your name, address, and email.   Ask him/her to conduct a detailed review on the quality and suitability of using this text in a law school conducted MPRE class.  Send us an email at admin@multistatebarreview.com or call 1-800-636-0716 today to get more information on how we can help you raise your law school's bar passage rate.

 
Last updated on 9/3/2014 11:05:42 AM