Wednesday, June 13, 2012

More Thoughts on Barbri's Virginia Subject Lectures

VA Creditors' Rights and Suretyship (Kraus) (Grades: D)

Waste of time. Way, way too much material for two fairly minor subjects. Moreover, it;s not even helpful; I thought it confused more than clarified. While these subjects aren't heavily tested, they're also not that difficult either.

You're better off skipping the lecture and Barbri outlines here, and going straight to the essays. Let the model answers teach you creditors' rights and suretyship. There's only a small handful anyway. suretyship has about two essays total, one full-on and one mixed. Creditors' Rights has maybe a dozen total, five or six full on and fix or six mixed. If you study those model answers, you will see that while these subjects bark a loud bark (i.e., they look scary), they don't have much bite (i.e., you will grasp the subject matter).

Creditors' Rights is the more important of the two. I lob this subject together with Commercial Paper and Secured Transactions. Historically, the VBBE usually commits one essay on each bar exam to cover one of the three subjects (or a combination of them). Virginia did not test on any of them in the last exam (Feb. 2012), so I think July 2012 is primed for an essay.

Finally, a quick word on suretyship. The one or two essays that have ever covered suretyship are manageable. But in the unlikely event that the VBBE commits an entire essay to suretyship, relax. Do your best, and then take comfort in the fact that everybody else is in your shoes too. The VBBE very rarely commits an entire essay to subjects like suretyship or Income Tax, because they're too specific. Remember, the VBBE only has nine essays to test you with, so they want to make the most of them - and not waste an entire essay on a very minor subject like suretyship or tax law. (They also realize that the students who, for example, specialized in tax law in law school have an unfair advantage.) If you do see these subjects on the exam, they'll likely be part of a mixed essay. That means the surety or tax sub-question might only be worth 3 points. Not a big deal if you're stumped.

Agency, Partnership and Corporations (Kaufman) (Grades: B)

These lectures aren't bad, but don't treat them like gold. Use them simply to get comfortable with the law. Again, the best way to really learn and get comfortable with the law is to dig into the essays. Let the model answers teach you exactly what you need to know - and only what you need to know. Having said that, Kaufman's one of Barbri's better lecturers. He does a good job at trimming the fat from his lectures, leaving only the important material.

These subjects are middle-tier subjects in terms of testing frequency. Know Agency really well, though, because it can tie into virtually any essay as part of a sub-question. (Translation: That means Agency pops up often on the exam.) Corporations is another subject you should know well. The February 2012 exam had a hybrid Agency-Corporations essay, which was recycled verbatim from a previous exam (in addition to a completely recycled VA Civ Pro essay). If you had read all of the practice essays, you would have easily recognized them and recalled the model answers. Doesn't get much easier than that, does it?

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