Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Breakdown of Barbri's MBE Lectures for Criminal Law & Procedure and Constitutional Law

MBE Criminal Law & Procedure, with Virginia Distinctions (Vellony) (Grade: C-)

Vellony's lecture is probably the most disorganized of all Barbri lectures. Instead of separating multistate and Virginia law, he zippers them together (e.g., Multistate conspiracy elements and exceptions, followed immediately by Virginia's conspiracy elements and exceptions, whether or not they're actually distinct from multistate law). This format, while good in theory, is counter intuitive in practice. The student is left more confused than before, because now he must sift through two laws (Multistate and Virginia) for every issue, whether or not they're actually different.

Vellony's lecture would have been much more user-friendly had he focused primarily on multistate law and then, at the end, listed the Virginia distinctions to multistate law. Because despite what Barbri tells you, Virginia Criminal Law & Procedure isn't substantially different from Multistate Criminal Law & Procedure. Again, read the Virginia Criminal Law & Procedure essays, compare them to your MBE Criminal Law questions, and you will see that more times than not they reach the same answers. Yes, Virginia has some distinctions - all of them worth knowing - but they are manageable. And yes, while Virginia's elemental language is sometimes worded differently than multistate law, if you read both laws carefully, you'll see that they essentially say the same thing.

So I would probably scrap this lecture. If you have a detailed question, refer to the Convisor for an answer. Otherwise, learn Multistate Criminal Law & Procedure by three resources: Emanuel's Strategies and Tactics (S&T) condensed outline, PMBR's CD Lecture, and S&T's and PMBR's practice questions. Then make index cards from the outline and practice questions. For Virginia's distinctions, read through all of the essays and make your index cards from them. If you do this, you will spot the distinctions. But really, they are not so numerous or so different, as Barbri will lead you to believe.

MBE Constitutional Law (Cheh) (Grade: C+)

Cheh's lecture is organized and comprehensive, but still too detailed for MBE purposes. What you need to know about Con Law for MBE purposes can be condensed into about 10-15 pages, not 50. Scrap this lecture; it'll weigh you down too much. As I said before, refer to Emanuel's Strategies and Tactics (S&T) condensed outline, PMBR's CD Lecture, and S&T's and PMBR's practice questions. Let these resources teach you MBE Con Law (it's quite different from law school Con Law). The MBE isn't asking for an essay, or for citations or procedural posture. It's asking whether you know the tricks and fine-line distinctions, and Con Law has plenty! Remember: Knowing the law is half the battle. The other half is knowing how to take the MBE.

Con Law questions are filled with tricks - answers that are always wrong, answers that could never be correct given the question presented, easy ways of determining whether a question is about equal protection or due process, or simple steps to quickly determine whether a case is final or else appealable to the Supreme Court. All of these tricks and fine-line distinctions are covered in Emanuel's Strategies & Tactics outline. In the 15 minutes it will take you to read that outline, you will already be better prepared for the MBE Con Law questions than Cheh's two-day, 50-page lecture could ever hope to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment