Saturday, March 10, 2018

Tutoring Sabbatical

After careful consideration, I have decided not to take on full- or part-time students for the foreseeable future. This decision was not easy, but with the time and effort that each student deserves, it has become difficult with my limited bandwidth.

Please check back here for updates.

Thank you,

Saturday, November 12, 2016

No Tutoring Slots Available for 2017 February Bar Exam


My apologies for not replying back to everybody. I am still working through a great number of emails.

I would like to update readers to say that, after careful consideration, I decided not to take on full-time students for this winter's bar exam. This decision was not easy, but with the time and effort that each student deserves, it would be very difficult with the limited bandwidth that I will have this winter.

Please check back soon for updates about the 2017 summer bar exam.

Thank you,


Monday, March 7, 2016

Date of Results for February 2016 Virginia Bar Exam

Another exam bites the dust. This administration was classic Virginia: essays from all Tier 1 subjects, most Tier 2 subjects, and a light cherry picking of Tier 3 subjects. Coupled with a textbook MBE (Civ Pro was, once again, manageable), you're left with one of the toughest but fairest bar exams in the country. Great job to my students and readers alike for giving it hell!

The VBBE expects to release results on Friday, April 22, 2016. Fridays are a good thing. Either you spend the weekend in celebration or despair. Either way, you get the emotion out of your system so that Monday becomes a take-charge fresh start. 

Don't despair about results or the agony of waiting for them. Life is too precious to get hung up on an exam. Spring is right around the corner, so get out there and enjoy it! Whatever the results are on April 22, you're going to be OK.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tutoring Inquiries


This season's number of inquiries about tutoring was significantly larger than in previous years, so it's taking me a bit longer to sift through and process. I apologize for the delay. Rest assured, for those who have emailed me recently, I will reply back this week.

Thank you,


Thursday, September 24, 2015

New York Times Article About Bar Exam Passage Rates

I read an interesting article this morning about bar exam passage rates. Definitely worth a read by any prospective bar exam taker or law student.

The answer is not an easy one. Both sides have salient points. And the "law-school-is-a-business" argument is nothing new or unique to law schools. Nonetheless, the ratio of law graduates to available law jobs is staggering, and I would like to see admissions offices taking more accountability. We're already suffocating the market. How much more can it take?

I have no data to back up my claim, but I doubt the addition of Civil Procedure to the MBE is why passage rates have dipped. The subject is already heavily tested on the state portion of almost every bar exam, so students aren't "adding" another subject to the list. However, one benefit of the addition is that it means fewer Contracts and Property questions on the MBE -- typically, the two hardest subjects on the MBE. Coupled with the relative straightforward ease that we've seen in these new Civil Procedure questions, I think the addition, if anything, can benefit students. 

Botton line is, even though I'm a bar tutor, I don't over-analyze the bar exam or the opinions of it. My goal is to get my students to pass whatever bar exam comes our way. Yes, the MBE is hard and heavily weighted on most bar exams. But because the environment is very controlled and repetitive, I think it's the easiest portion in which to make progress and gobble up points. Believe me: if you have the right strategy, the MBE can be your best friend. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bar Exam Behind, Results on the Horizon

The bar exam is over. Great job, everybody! I hope you're not reading this post, fretting over your answer to an essay or random MBE question. You should be enjoy the light in August. Get outside!

Anyway, here's a quick recap of what we saw on the Virginia bar exam. Nothing unusual to report; the exam was very tough but fair. We saw many of the usual suspects: Virginia Civil Procedure, Federal Jurisdiction, Sales, Agency, Local Government, Real Property, Criminal Law, Corporations, Professional Responsibility, Commercial Paper, and Secured Transactions. Other than the absence of Wills or Trusts, this mix of subjects was about as typical as it gets in the Commonwealth. Heavy emphasis on Tier 1 and Tier 2 subjects, and a couple Tier 3 subjects to keep things interesting. On the short answers, half were low-hanging fruit and half were impossibly detailed. Totally normal.

The MBE was a mirror of what we saw in February. Equally tough but fair, and the Civil Procedure questions remained fairly straightforward.

As late-October nears, the waiting game for results will gradually get worse.  Try not to think about the exam, the results, or what will happen if you don't pass. Literally, try to forget about all of it. It's out of your control now. Every time, I encourage students to follow my advice. Every time, most don't listen. And I get why; we've all been there. In many ways, waiting for results is harder than prepping for the exam. Just remember to keep this thing in perspective: Nobody's dying here. It's just a tough exam.

If any of you have any other questions or concerns while you wait for results, feel free to contact me. In the meantime, enjoy the waning days of summer.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What to Study in the Last Week

With the bar exam just around the corner, it's time to focus-focus-focus. If you took the right approach this summer, now's the time when all the pieces should come together and when all your hard work should pay dividends.

Unfortunately, not everybody took the approach that worked best for them. Or perhaps life got in the way this summer and now you're playing catch-up. Or perhaps you're taking a commercial program and you're dissatisfied with it. You ditched your pre-formulated study plan and are simply studying like a lunatic. Deep down, you're wondering whether all these long hours and anxiety and stress will be enough. Fear not: You are not alone.

We can't change the past and get back lost time. All we have left is 11 days, so let's pick ourselves up, let's stop stressing, and let's make the most of this time! The last week or two is the most important.

First, be honest and practical about what you study. Think small at this point. Ditch the big outlines and books. Rifle through your index cards instead, three or four subjects per day. If you didn't make cards, then use your lecture handouts or, better yet, your essay book. If you’re comfortable with all of the major issues for each subject, then move onto the details. If you’re still trying to nail down all of the major issues, focus on them—and forget the details.

Do 25 or 33 MBE practice questions per day, with 45- and 60-minute target times, respectively. Each day, do all of your questions out of one subject only, but switch up the subject every day. That way, you cover each MBE subject once per week. The last time you saw Contracts was 6 days ago, so the law should still be fresh in your head (and so on for each subject). Review every answer explanation! Seriously, if you don't review answer explanations, then don't bother doing practice questions. You'll simply spin your wheels without a shred of improvement to show for it.

For you Virginia applicants, read through Barbri's Virginia Essay Book cover to cover. At this point, just read it and don't worry about writing out answers. Whether or not you realize it, the essay book is your best friend. Big long outlines are not. If you're already comfortable with the essay book, then take advantage of William & Mary’s collection of previous Virginia Bar Exams. Do one exam per day, starting with the most recent exam and working backwards. Just briefly outline your answers with quick, bullet points and compare them to the bulleted answers. Bullet point answers will allow you to complete a full exam in just 3 hours, giving you time study other things the rest of the day. The VBBE love to recycle previous essays. If bar examinees bombed a particular essay on February’s exam, don’t be surprised if you see the same or similar issue on July’s exam. The VBBE test on what they think is important until examinees get it right.

Second, take good care of your body, mind and soul. You can’t afford to get strung out or sick in the last week. Now is the time to begin physically preparing for your exam days too. Get sufficient rest (minimum 7 hours per night, preferably 8 hours), eat healthy foods and drink lots of fluids. Your body needs to be physically prepared for two grueling days. If you take care of your body, it will take care of you.

Third, take good care of your mental well-being. Emotional meltdowns are a waste of energy. If you feel the urge, get up and go for a walk and think about something fun. Avoid crying in a stupor about your preparation or progress. At this point, you have limited control over both items.

Finally, keep up your confidence! You have to keep your head up. You have to be confident in your abilities, even if you don't feel that way. When you feel an urge of anxiety or fear rushing upon you, smack it back with a pep talk. Believe in yourself -- You got this!

Confidence is more than half the battle against the bar exam. I think it's even more important than studying properly. Because if you walk into the bar exam feeling down on yourself, chances are you're not going to pass. Doesn't matter how well prepared you are; without confidence, you're climbing Mt. Everest with your hands tied behind your back.

You’re rounding third! You're on the home stretch! Take a minute to appreciate just how much effort you gave this summer, how you put your mind to it, how badly you wanted this, and just how much law you now know. Honestly, you know more law right now than you might ever know in your entire career. That’s impressive!

Don’t let up know, finish strong, but finish smart. This last week could make or break you. I wish all of you the best of luck! Knock 'em dead!