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King Hall Law School USENET FAQ Part 8 of 9

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              The King Hall Law School USENET FAQ Part 8 of 9
             Frequently Asked Questions at and about King Hall
                         (c) Copyright 1995 & 1996


                           David F. Prenatt, Jr.
                          King Hall, 1995 Alumnus
                         U.C. Davis School of Law
                         University of California
                           Davis, CA 95616-5210

                     < >

The King Hall Law School USENET FAQ (King Hall USENET FAQ) may be comprised
of more than one part.  If it is, please see the TABLE OF CONTENTS in Part
One for a complete list of the questions that I have attempted to answer
and for other important legal information.  Caveat emptor:  I assume no
obligation to anyone through the publication of the King Hall USENET FAQ.
Furthermore, all versions of the King Hall USENET FAQ are my personal
property and are protected by applicable copyright laws.  All rights are
reserved except as follows:  I hereby give my permission to anyone who has
access to this version of the King Hall USENET FAQ to reproduce the
information contained herein for non-profit purposes, provided that proper
credit is given to me as the author of this FAQ and that I am promptly
notified of any use other than personal use.  I may revoke permission to
reproduce any version of this FAQ at any time.

- - - - -              The King Hall Law School USENET FAQ Part 8 of 9
             Frequently Asked Questions at and about King Hall
             (c) Copyright 1995 & 1996 by David F. Prenatt, Jr.


     Hard on the heels of the King Hall graduation ceremony is the
     beginning of the various bar review courses.  But before that time,
     students usually make preparations for admission to the California
     State Bar or other post-graduation plans.


     Admission to the California State Bar for King Hall graduates requires
     a positive moral character evaluation from the California Committee of
     Bar Examiners, a passing grade on the Multistate Professional
     Responsibility Exam (MPRE), and a passing grade on the California Bar


     The California Bar Exam (Bar Exam) is a three day exam that takes
     place every year during July on the last Tuesday, Wednesday, and
     Thursday of that month; similarly the February exam takes place on the
     last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of that month.  The first and
     third days of the Bar Exam are comprised of three essay exams each
     morning, and a "performance test" each afternoon; the second day of
     the Bar Exam is comprised entirely of the multiple choice Multistate
     Bar Examination (MBE).  The MBE is the key to passing the Bar Exam.
     The scores on essays and performance tests change in the multi-phase
     grading process, and are only predictable in that they gravitate
     towards the mean, regardless of the quality of the individual essays
     and performance tests.  In striking contrast, the answers to each MBE
     question are either right or wrong, and you will receive full credit
     for a correct answer or no credit at all for an incorrect answer
     (notwithstanding "scaling").
          More often than not, a good MBE score will make up for mediocre
     performances on Bar Exam essay questions and performance tests, and a
     mediocre MBE score will prevent otherwise qualified students from
     passing the Bar Exam; many bar applicants do not even complete the
     MBE.  MBE questions tend to focus on obscure rules of law that mislead
     even the best and brightest law students.  There are 200 of these
     multiple choice questions on the first and third days of the exam that
     must be answered in six hours (100 questions in each of the three hour
     morning sessions and 100 questions in each of the three hour afternoon
     sessions for a total of 400 questions).  These questions are drawn
     from six subjects:  Contracts, Torts, Criminal Law & Procedure,
     Evidence, Real Property, and Constitutional Law.  At the present time,
     the number of questions drawn from each subject varies.  However, the
     number of questions from each subject will be equalized by 1997.  Qualifying for the Bar Exam.

     Graduates of King Hall are qualified to take the Bar Exam based on
     their graduation from King Hall, an ABA approved law school.  Submitting an Application to Take the Bar Exam.

     You must submit an application towards the end of your last semester
     of law school to take the Bar Exam.  The application is very easy to
     complete, but there is a very small window for when you can apply.
     Obtain a passport photo well in advance and keep it on hand.  Preparing for the Bar Exam.

     Preparing for the Bar Exam is much like taking another semester of law
     school, only you have tests every single day.  While you should attend
     your substantive lectures, the best way to prepare for taking a test
     is to take practice tests.  Thus, you should review essay questions
     from previous Bar Exams and practice MBE questions until they are
     coming out of your ears.
          The following characteristic similarities and differences occur
     in the six MBE subjects:

          *    Evidence and Torts required a holistic approach to the law
               (i.e., these subjects test your comprehensive knowledge of
               the underlying legal principles and policies addressed by
               the subject matter);

          *    Contracts, Criminal Law & Procedure, and Real Property
               required a fact specific approach to the law (i.e., these
               subjects test your in-depth knowledge of case law as opposed
               to your general knowledge of the legal principles and
               policies addressed by the subject matter);

          *    Constitutional Law required a context-based approach to the
               law (i.e., this subject tests your knowledge of legal
               principles and policies as well as your in-depth knowledge
               of case law, but more than anything this subject calls upon
               your ability to make hard judgement calls by empathizing
               with the people who wrote the MBE questions and second-
               guessing their highly subjective interpretation of the law).

     Your strengths and weaknesses in each MBE subject will become apparent
     as you practice MBE questions.  Plan your studies accordingly.
          Contrary to popular belief, your law school alma mater and class
     standing have no statistical significance as to whether you will pass
     the Bar Exam.  Because of the importance given to the MBE, your
     ability to pass the Bar Exam was determined by the time you applied to
     law school (i.e., it depends primarily upon your ability to perform
     well on standardized tests such as the LSAT).  The good news is that
     you can acquire this ability through rigorous study if you do not come
     by it naturally, provided that you are properly motivated; a number of
     students supplement their commercial bar preparation courses with the
     Professional Multistate Bar Review (PMBR).  Even if you do come by
     testing skills naturally, the substance and format of various MBE
     subjects and questions are sui generis, so even the best test takers
     should practice thousands of MBE questions.
          It's best to think of the MBE as six separate exams merged into
     one.  Questions for each of the six subjects tested are developed by
     separate committees within the National Conference of Bar Examiners in
     association with the American College Testing Service (i.e., there are
     no "crossover questions").  Most of the winning test taking strategies
     are not portable from subject to subject, so focus on those subjects
     that give you the most trouble.  You will probably find that you are
     simply trying to force a square peg into a round hole.  Taking the Bar Exam.

     Taking the Bar Exam is nowhere near as bad as most people expect it to
     be.  As one of my colleagues put it, "the Bar Exam tests for minimal
     competency."  Even so, some of the brightest people whom I know have
     had to take the Bar Exam more than once because of overconfidence and
     a lack of proper motivation.
          Contrary to popular belief, your chances of passing the Bar Exam
     actually go up on your second attempt.  If you fail the Bar Exam
     twice, however, you are quite likely to keep failing it over and over
     again (hence, the abysmal passage rate for repeat takers).  Many
     people do not know what to expect from the Bar Exam until they
     actually take it, so they don't know how to prepare for it, mentally
     or emotionally.  The Bar Exam is very passable, however, and there are
     a lot of things that people know to do differently when preparing to
     take it a second time.
          Many capable people do everything that they should do to pass the
     Bar Exam and still fail.  As hard as they may study, some unforeseen
     circumstance occurs.  For example, for those who type or word process
     the Bar Exam, mechanical failure is a very real possibility (one
     person was gone by lunch the first day), and the Committee of Bar
     Examiners does not take responsibility for power outages.  So if you
     type the Bar Exam, bring a second typewriter--a manual typewriter.  Waiting for Your Results from the California Bar Exam.

     The worst part about taking the California Bar Exam is waiting for
     your results.  Even if you could be sure that you had passed, your
     career is on hold for several months.  If you already have a job lined
     up, this is not as much of a problem, but at least one person whom I
     know has lost his or her job as an attorney when he or she failed the
     Bar Exam [Hearsay alert:  This may not have been the proximate cause].
          Prepare yourself for a long wait after you take the Bar Exam and
     make plans for what you will do if you do not pass the first time.  If
     you fail the California Bar Exam, your colleagues at King Hall will
     most certainly find out about it.  A small group of unemployed
     individuals who have nothing better to do will cross reference the
     published list of those people who passed the Bar Exam with those
     people who were known to have taken it.  These busybodies will also
     use this information to determine your class ranking and make banal
     resolutions about your scholastic abilities.  If you pass the Bar Exam
     immediately after you graduate or don't even take it, you will simply
     become a face in the crowd.  Post Mortem on the Results of the California Bar Exam.

     For 94.7% of the 1994 King Hall graduates who took the California Bar
     Exam in July of 1994, the waiting and worrying about whether they had
     passed was over in mid-November of that year (an all time record, even
     for King Hall).  For many of my classmates from the subsequent Class
     of 1995, this knowledge gave them an overwhelming sense of confidence
     going into the July 1995 Bar Exam.  Indeed, almost everyone I met in
     the legal community of the greater Sacramento Area assumed that
     everyone from King Hall would automatically pass the Bar Exam.
          I address these comments to those people who are part of the slim
     percentage at King Hall who do not pass the Bar Exam the first time
     that they take it and to all those other Bar Examinees who try their
     best and fail.  No doubt everyone will assure you that if you did well
     in law school and/or attended King Hall that you will pass the Bar
     Exam the first time that you take it.  Such is not the case.  The
     truth is that if you prepare properly for the Bar Exam, you will
     probably pass no matter where you studied the law or how well you did
     in law school; if not the first time you take the exam, then the
     second.  And the most important thing to focus on when you are putting
     forth your best effort is a thought that a kindred soul shared with me
     regarding his attempt at the July 1995 Exam:  "This is my Bar Exam, no
     one else's."
          Failing at something as significant as the Bar Exam truly sucks,
     all the more so because it very seldom happens to someone who has
     prepared for it properly.  It also comes as quite a surprise to those
     people who have every reason to be confident in themselves and in
     their abilities, erroneously believing that they have done what they
     needed to do to prepare.  It comes as an even bigger surprise to their
     friends and family.  There are many good explanations that are offered
     for why capable people fail the Bar Exam, but there really is no such
     thing as a good excuse.  At the same time, you don't need an
     explanation or an excuse.  You simply need to take the Bar Exam until
     you pass.  Information for Unsuccessful Applicants.

     For those Bar Examinees who do not appear on the published pass list,
     the Commmittee of Bar Examiners sends out a notice and encloses a
     brochure entitled, "Information for Unsuccessful Applicants."  This
     notice includes information that should help you figure out why you
     did not pass the Bar Exam.  If you passed the Bar Exam, of course,
     this information is somewhat unimportant.  But for "Unsuccessful
     Applicants," this information takes on great significance.
          To add insult to injury, the Committee of Bar Examiners made an
     error in the formula that it disclosed for the computation of written
     exam scores on the July 1995 Bar Examination.  Using the formula that
     was published in the "Information for Unsuccessful Applicants," many
     people who might have obtained an automatic reappraisal of their exam
     results after the "Phase II" reread and/or passed the exam did not
     pass.  The Committee became aware of the problem immediately, which
     turned out to be a simple typographical error in the published formula
     for computing Bar Exam results.
          The Committee of Bar Examiners specifically will *NOT* entertain
     petitions for reconsideration based on its grading system or the
     judgment of its professional graders.  However, it *WILL* entertain
     requests for reconsideration based on clerical errors that resulted in
     failure or prevented the automatic reappraisal of a Bar Exam.  Of
     course, this is no guarantee of a favorable turn of events, but it
     does give examinees who should have passed the Bar Exam an opportunity
     for a reread.  Accordingly, if you receive a notice that you failed
     the Bar Exam, you should obtain copies (as opposed to the originals)
     of your written tests and look for arithmetic and/or clerical errors.


     The MPRE is a multiple choice exam, and the course offered at King
     Hall in Professional Responsibility (PR) should cover the substance of
     the MPRE.  The King Hall PR course (as opposed to the MPRE) is a
     requirement for graduation.  It is usually a good idea to take both
     the King Hall PR course and the MPRE at about the same time so that
     you can use the PR course to help you prepare for the MPRE.  Submitting an Application for the MPRE.

     Submit your application on time.  There are very stiff fees for late
     applications.  Preparing for the MPRE.

     If you spend more than 40 hours preparing for the MPRE, you will be
     overprepared.  Review your materials for the King Hall PR course,
     watch a taped lecture offered by one of the many commercial bar review
     courses, and practice multiple choice questions for the MPRE.  Taking the MPRE.

     The MPRE is just like any other standardized multiple choice exam, and
     a mediocre performance is still a passing grade.  If you don't pass
     the MPRE the first time, you can take it over again as many times as
     you like and no one will ever be the wiser.


     The Moral Character Evaluation is probably the most invasive
     experience you will probably ever have (barring an application for a
     top secret security clearance), but very little will prevent you from
     becoming a member of the California Bar, certainly nothing of which
     you are unaware.  If you are behind in child support or alimony, you
     cannot qualify, but most other people without felony criminal records
     do qualify.  Just make sure that you fully disclose all of the
     blemishes and warts that may appear on your record.
          Completing the Moral Character Evaluation Application is quite a
     chore.  You must obtain accurate information about things for which
     you probably don't maintain any records.  Moreover, you must get your
     fingerprints taken by a law enforcement official.  Contact Community
     Service Officer Christian Sandvig (< >) of
     the Davis Police Department at (916)756-3740 for information on how
     and when to have your fingerprints taken.


     The nice thing about being an attorney is that you can always find
     work.  However, you can't always find a job with a law firm, or a job
     that you want, or a job that pays you what you are worth.  In many
     instances, an attorney must work for him or herself.  Don't be afraid
     to do contract work, contact your local bar association for referral
     business, or seek employment outside of the legal profession.


     Lawyers are hated and feared by most people because lawyers are most
     commonly associated with legal problems like divorce, personal injury,
     and criminal prosecution.  Indeed, this is how most people first
     encounter lawyers.  But most lawyers have nothing to do with divorce,
     personal injury, or the administration of criminal justice.  They work
     for very rich people who pay very well for legal advice on wills,
     contracts, and other legal instruments that prevent people from ever
     having to appear in court.
          When a good lawyer does his or her job well and gets paid for it,
     it's simply not newsworthy.  Many lawyers are thus quietly transformed
     from being starving students to being upper middle class
     professionals.  Many people make more money after they graduate from
     law school than they or anyone else in their families have ever made
     in their entire lives.  I often hear stories about the disappearing
     middle class (i.e., the rich get richer and the poor get poorer).
     Higher education explains this statistical anomaly because of its
     resulting "leapfrog effect" on personal income, particularly with
     professional programs like law school.
          Along with the money, law school graduates obtain tremendously
     enhanced personal prestige because they command respect in their
     business and personal dealings with people who are unfamiliar with the
     law.  Having a law degree, however, does not necessarily make you a
     better person.  In some instances, it does exactly the opposite.  But
     that's a topic that is well beyond the scope of this FAQ.


     The best places to obtain information about computers and life on the
     Internet at King Hall are from Computer Specialist Steve Langford
     (< >) at (916)752-SLOW, Information
     Technology--Campus Access Point (IT-CAP < >)
     at (916)752-2548, or from the USENET newsgroup ucd.comp.questions
     (<news:ucd.comp.questions >); readers with a web browser may visit the
     Network Administrator Resources FAQ Page on the World Wide Web
     (< >).  If you want to speak
     to an IT-CAP consultant, you should be prepared to furnish him or her
     with your login id and identification number.


11.1.1)  Why should I use a computer?

     It is easier and faster to accomplish many tasks by using a computer.  Do I really need to use a computer?

     No.  You don't need to use a computer, but many tasks are very
     difficult or even impossible to accomplish without a computer.  You
     will also find that a modicum of computer literacy is required of all
     members of the King Hall community.  Isn't it difficult to learn how to use a computer?

     No.  Learning to use a computer is very easy, but this is a very well
     kept secret.  People who are familiar with computers are very
     intimidating to people who do not know how to use computers.  How can I get the computer training that I need?

     Admit your ignorance, both to yourself and to the people who offer you
     help.  Teaching people how to use computers is extremely difficult,
     but it doesn't have to be that way.  Many people erroneously assume
     that they understand how computers work, and this makes teaching these
     people extremely difficult.  Of course, people who know what they are
     doing may not be able to communicate with you or they may not be
     interested in helping you.  Avoid these people.  What practical uses would I have for a computer as a law

     Most law students find that using a computer for word processing is
     much easier than typing a paper.  Moreover, most law firms use
     WordPerfect and demand that their associates be familiar with
     WordPerfect.  While word processing is not the only application for
     computers, it is easily the most common and most popular (second only
     to computer games).  Once you become familiar with word processing,
     however, you may want to stop by a store that sells software and do
     some window shopping.

11.1.2)  Do I need my own computer?

     No.  Computers are as ubiquitous as telephones.  The only reason you
     would want to have your own computer is for convenience, much like
     owning a cellular phone.  What kind of computer should I buy?

     You should buy a computer with the features that you want at a price
     you can afford.  If you are reading this FAQ for a recommendation,
     then you probably want either a Macintosh(r) or an IBM/IBM Clone (PC).  What is the difference between a Macintosh(r) and an IBM/IBM
             Clone (PC)?

     Macintosh(r) computers are much higher quality technology than PCs.
     However, PCs are the standard for computer technology and they are
     much more affordable than Macintoshes(r).  Thus, if you are on a
     limited budget, you probably want a PC, especially because whatever
     you do buy will be obsolete before you buy it.  What is an IBM/IBM Clone (PC)?

     IBM assembles its computers from technology that is available on the
     open market and sets the standard for other computer companies (at
     least it once did).  Many companies build IBM clones (properly
     referred to as PCs) with technology that meets or exceeds the
     standards that IBM sets.  What kind of features should I have on a computer?

     There is no easy answer to this question, but as a general rule avoid
     all the bells and whistles and buy only proven technology.  New
     technology is inherently unreliable because many bugs are found only
     after a product has been released.  Members of the King Hall community
     have access to a variety of computers through facilities supported by
     IT-CAP (< >), so find out for yourself what
     features are the most useful and reliable.  What kind of accessories should I get on my computer?

     It depends upon what type of applications you are using.  If you are
     reading this FAQ for a recommendation, then you probably only need a
     printer and/or modem (if that); you can probably get by without either

- - - - -

End of document:

              The King Hall Law School USENET FAQ Part 8 of 9
             Frequently Asked Questions at and about King Hall
                         (c) Copyright 1995 & 1996


                           David F. Prenatt, Jr.
                          King Hall, 1995 Alumnus
                         U.C. Davis School of Law
                         University of California
                           Davis, CA 95616-5210

                     < >

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