Monday, July 27, 2015

The Bar Exam In July


  • Golightly & Vannah got a $684K judgment in their first Reno jury trial since opening a Washoe County office. [CVN]
  • Nearly 9 in 10 students drop out of unaccredited law schools in California. [LA Times]
  • Here's a look at some new drone law in Nevada. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Wayne Howle will be Nevada's new Yucca Mountain attorney. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • The July bar exam starts tomorrow. Any fond memories or advice you want to share?

40 comments:

  1. Even thinking of the bar exam makes me want to hurl. "In the day" to view model answers, you had to make an appointment and go to the bar to see the suggested answer. Now, they are on line. You had a choice between typing (Yes! A typewriter!) and writing. Now, I imagine almost all use a lap top. Typists (or laptop users) had a 10% higher pass rate. I used a lap top. To make sure that I was comfortable with the lap top, it was the only computer I used for 2 months before the exam. And, then I studied, studied and studied some more. My neck hurt so much from leaning over books that the pain made me cry. I passed and never looked back.

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    1. Laptops are much more prevalent, but not without flaws. During my exam, the kid next to me hit the start button to begin the first essay and his laptop crashed. I don't think he ever recovered.

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  2. "In the day," as late as 2008 when I took the bar exam, you had to make an appointment with the state bar. Happy to hear they are online. Now if only they could get the attorney search working again that'd be great!

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  3. Hey crazy person who keeps bitching about the attorney search program. Who are you looking for so hard? If Googling him/her doesn't work, just let us know who it is. We will hunt him/her down for you.

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    1. I switched firms 5 months ago and google brings up my prior firm information.

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    2. It is weird that it's been down so long. I like to use it just to get a hold of opposing counsel some times - easier than finding my phone directory. So even though I can't claim the title of "crazy person who keeps bitching about the attorney search program," I would like it to start working again.

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    3. State Bar registration is important, because this is the official registration for attorneys. Want to send a notice to an attorney who is counsel of record on a dormant matter, or who is moving, etc. you can "rely" upon the state bar as the arbiter of the appropriate address to defend against claims that the attorney no longer is at that address, works there etc. Nevada Legal Directory, while more handy, can't serve that purpose.

      The directory also serves an important public purpose, as it allows potential clients to see disciplinary action taken against attorneys where that has been required to be noted in the Attorney's public record.

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    4. I had an out-of-state client who wanted to know why she couldn't find my current information on the State Bar's website if I'm (still) validly licensed to practice here. This was prior to hiring me. Had to ask her to please call and confirm with a real person in the office. Not a huge deal, but a bit embarrassing still (no, trust me, I'm really licensed here!).

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    5. I completely agree with the person who keeps bringing up the non-functioning atty search. Was reasonably up to date and i don't have to mess with avvo ads or other nonsense. Was the only thing I ever used the site for and has be the easiest thing in the world to operate properly. The Bar failing to have this one simple thing work for months on end is a giant middle finger to us.

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    6. Agreed. This is the single most important online function that the Bar provides to its members and the public. Totally unacceptable that it's been down this long.

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  4. The whole concept of group bar review classes just adds to the drama and confusion. Self-study (with professional outlines) is the way to go. For one thing, the people in the group bar review class who knew the least tended to talk the most. For another, all that giddy nervous chatter just takes time away from actually learning the material. After a week or so I left the class and started reviewing on my own just to get away from you whining little bitches.

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    1. I did self-study because I was moving to Nevada from out of state and couldn't be here for the Bar Bri classes. It worked out, but the whole time I was thinking "everyone else is getting the answers spoon fed to them while I'm reading commercial outlines," which caused a bit of anxiety. I ended up just focusing on PMBR/sample MBE questions which cover most of the essay subjects as well. I passed, but I don't know if it was a better method of studying.

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  5. Bar-takers, planning your answer is just as important as your answer itself. Count the parts and sub-parts of each question and divide your time accordingly. Take a few minutes to outline your answer. Break it up into digestible paragraphs with titles so the grader doesn't get bored and miss points while skimming a giant paragraph. Most importantly, answer every part of every question. It's better to say something semi-intelligent on each sub-part of each question (even if you don't know what you're talking about) than to totally skip a sub-part because you spent 5 minutes pontificating in detail on some other sub-part that was more interesting to you. If you have written full speed on a sub-part for a proportionate amount of time, you have gotten all the points you can possibly get on that sub-part. Move on. Also, the model answers are better described as "good sample answers." They aren't that great. I'm pretty sure they're just copies of answers that did well on the exam, not "model answers" written by the examiners. If they are, that's sad, because they often contain flat out incorrect statements of law and weird typos. But it proves that good outlining and commenting semi-intelligently on as many issues as possible is the most important thing on the bar exam.

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    1. I totally agree with 8:55. I actually wrote "Issue, Rule, Analysis, and Conclusion" as headings in my answers so that the reviewer(s) could easily find the various parts of the response.

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    2. This is spot on. Show your work. Make sure to write your outline in your book (do they still use books?) so if you run out of time, the examiner can see where you're going with it and still give you some points. Some points better than zero.

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  6. At this point, you're either prepared or you're not. There's really not much you can do in the last couple of days. It's sort of like training for a marathon. If you've got a BMI of 45 two days before the run, you're screwed and there's nothing you can do about it.

    If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear. For those of you who diligently studied, and more importantly, took full practice exams, you've already done the hard work. The exam itself is a mere formality compared to what you've already done.

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    1. Yes - listen to the mormon boy!

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  7. Just remember as you're battling the clock that there are a bunch of folks in the ADHD room with unlimited time.

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    1. Equality requires that the less able are provided help so they can compete with the more able. Get with the times.

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    2. Sadly, I think 11:01's statement could probably be formally proven to be indeterminable as to whether it is intended sarcastically.

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    3. Glitter! Oh wait, it's a unicorn! I think I'll go buy a diagnosis the next time I take a bar exam.

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    4. @ 11:01 - Assuming your comment was serious, does an ADHD doctor's note entitle me to unlimited deadline extensions in my cases? "You see your honor, I have ADH... Squirrel!"

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  8. How in the living ---- does such an accommodation further the Bar's supposed mission of ensuring quality legal services for the people of this state? Shouldn't there at least be a caveat on the bar license that says, "Warning: Your lawyer has ADHD and probably only passed the bar exam because he had unlimited time. Proceed with caution."

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    1. You are either old or have a bad case of logic that affects your thinking. Stop thinking and fit in.

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    2. "Stop thinking and fit in." LOL!

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  9. Quality attorneys in Las Vegas, you are funny

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    1. I understand that 10:37 and 11:34 are being sarcastic and intend no ill will. However, these comments raise serious concerns and I would like to correct two misconceptions.

      First, 10:37 and 11:34 are undoubtedly referring to individuals with learning disabilities, which is very different than attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While some individuals have been diagnosed as having both a learning disability and ADHD, the terms are not the same and should not be confused. This is not the appropriate forum to discuss the intricacies of the different types of learning disabilities and ADHD, but suffice to say that many individuals with diagnosed learning disabilities and/or ADHD are licensed professionals who excel in their fields and successfully ameliorate their challenges through alternative ways of learning and management, and when necessary, reasonable accommodations (such as separate testing rooms and extended time) on examinations including the Bar Exam.

      Second, individuals with a diagnosed learning disability who qualify for special accommodations that include extended time do not receive "unlimited time" on the Bar Examination. Rather, the amount of time is determined on a case-by-case basis and may include a specific amount of additional time on one or more sections (e.g., 15 minutes), time-and-a-half, or double time, all depending on the individual candidate. I do not know if the same holds true for individuals diagnosed with ADHD, but the answer likely depends on the individual candidate.

      I was diagnosed with a learning disability over forty years ago. In spite of my visual processing disorder (in which I process information at a slower and more laborious rate than others), I successfully completed law school and have had a productive career as a Nevada attorney for close to 20 years. I know a number of colleagues who have also been diagnosed with a learning disability and are successful practitioners. While our legal community (in all states) was far less welcoming of attorneys with disabilities 20 years ago, we have made great strides since then and I expect the same to continue.

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    2. With all due respect and in all seriousness, if there are non-disabled candidates who can do just as good a job as you, why are you taking that candidate's spot? The bar exists to erect barriers to entry into the profession. I personally do not think there should be barriers and everyone and his uncle should be able to practice law. Nonetheless, we operate in a system of forced scarcity, and there are only so many slots available. Why should you get one? It's like the 4 foot woman who wants to be a firewoman. Some able-bodied 6 ft tall guy with a higher written score and who can dead-lift 500 lbs gets passed over for mini-woman. How is that even remotely fair? Even more importantly, how does that make citizens safer? In the end, we are supposed to put the client's interest ahead of our own. What client, if fully informed, would choose an attorney who has trouble reading?

      To close on a positive note, I also know attorneys who have overcome disabilities. No doubt you are one of them, and you have made our community a happier place.

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    3. Also, there are many people with uncompensated mental disabilities - probably a good percentage of people. In other words, not everyone is as quick a reader as everyone else. Not everyone is as good at logic as everyone else. Should we give extra time or extra points to people based on their reading-time or logical-ability placement on the bell curve? Why do only people with officially approved labels on their disabilities get an advantage? That would seem to discriminate in favor of people with certain kinds of disabilities at the expense of people with other kinds.

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    4. 2:44 and 3:33 contribute thoughtful comments to my 1:43 post. Their comments, while understandable, are premised on the theory that individuals with disabilities should be excluded from key portions of our society, including entry into our profession, as well as the notion that providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities equates with providing these people with unfair advantages. 2:44's and 3:33's well-intended comments unfortunately reflect stereotypical beliefs shared by a large sector of the population for many years, which partially led to (and necessitated) the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) that celebrated its 25th Anniversary on Sunday.

      Contrary to the understanding of some, reasonable accommodations on standardized tests (including the Bar Exam) do not provide individuals with disabilities with unfair advantages over others but instead levels the playing field so as to ameliorate the conditions inherent in the disability and provide everyone with a full and fair opportunity. Of course, no system is perfect and inequalities do exist between individuals with disabilities and others without the disabilities. 3:33's comment highlights one of the problems inherent in the reasonable accommodations process--i.e., which types of disabilities "qualify" for special accommodations and those that do not. These are fair issues that can be best resolved by expanding the ADA definitions if needed, that may or may not include ADHD.

      I appreciate the dialogue on today's blog regarding perceived notions of unfairness associated with providing individuals with disabilities with reasonable accommodations. I applaud the State Bar of Nevada for their efforts to ensure fairness to all of us (with and without disabilities) in the bar process and wish everyone taking our Bar Exam over the next three days the best of luck. Hopefully, we will hear from some of you on Friday as to how things went.

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    5. @1:43 & 6:26, you're a much better person than I to respond to 2:44 as you did. As if the practice of law is comparable to the physical requirements of firefighting.

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    6. 12:13, you honestly don't see the analogy between giving a physical advantage on a test for a physically demanding job and giving a mental advantage on a test for a mentally demanding job?

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    7. 2:32. No, there is no comparison. The person who has a learning disability requires a bit of extra time to answer the questions but knows the answers. You seem to believe an individual who has a learning disability is unfit to practice law. There is no connection between a mentally demanding job and a person who has a learning disability. They are not mutually exclusive. The practice of law isn't a timed event. Deadlines can be managed. Do you understand the difference between a person who has a learning disability and a person who has intellectual disabilities?

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    8. 12:31, you just admitted there is a comparison. "The person who has a learning disability requires a bit of extra time." Why won't they require extra time to get the right answer in a real world situation as well, just as the physically disabled person will require additional assistance to complete the same real world task? That doesn't mean someone who needs some extra time to pass the bar can't be a decent lawyer, but we have standards for a reason. If we think the person who needs an extra hour can still be a good lawyer, then why can't anyone who can only pass with an extra hour not also be a good lawyer? There is no reason. The fair remedy would be to increase the time for everyone.

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  10. Wonderful that Reno jurists saw right through Vannah's puffery and kept the award realistic, rejecting his proffered b.s. seeking 2 million inflated (non) damages. Had this been in Clark County in one of his puppet controlled courts he may have banked more.

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  11. WTF is this thread about? Is there nothing to talk about today?

    I wish the blog were dead today. I just wasted five minutes skimming this thread.

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  12. Why did Vannah ever take Golightly in as a partner?

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