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GreysAnatomy

What courses are good to take before the bar?

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I understand we get our prep materials 6 weeks before the exam and everything we need to know should be there...but would you guys recommend taking any specific law school courses? Real estate? Secured transactions? Family? Tax?

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Without a doubt I would say real estate. Family and wills & estates too. I didn't take any business law courses and just sucked it up and learned it for the bar. The more you already know going in, the easier studying and writing will be. 

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I chose my courses based on what interested me and what might be helpful for my areas of interest for future practice. I never chose what I thought might be solely relevant to the bar exams, and I wouldn't recommend doing that. As you've noted, and has been said dozens of times here, the materials include all that you will need and, presumably, you will have learned something in several areas while in law school.

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My upper year course load was almost entirely employment related - which made up a whole 20 pages (approximately) of the bar exam materials. Consequently, I didn't take family, real estate, tax, or estates. It may have taken me a bit longer to absorb some of the information that I was unfamiliar with (especially tax), but I managed to pass. I certainly wouldn't have spent an entire semester in a course I have no interest in just to avoid a few extra hours of studying. 

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9 hours ago, GreysAnatomy said:

I understand we get our prep materials 6 weeks before the exam and everything we need to know should be there...but would you guys recommend taking any specific law school courses? Real estate? Secured transactions? Family? Tax?

Family Law is a must. I didn’t enjoy teaching it to myself on the bar. Real estate is a big chunk of the material, but my law school real estate course mainly focused on the Planning Act which isn’t a substantial component of that section of the exam. 

Estates is also another must, it can get tricky and it’s also not fun teaching it yourself. 

Take something on Bus/Corporate Law in 3L to keep your mind fresh for that section of the bar. I didn’t find my mandatory 2L Bus Law course to be helpful. 

Most importantly though, PR is a big chunk (probably about half) of the exam. Any opportunities in law school to take PR related courses would be key. Good luck. 

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7 hours ago, ghoulzrulez said:

My upper year course load was almost entirely employment related - which made up a whole 20 pages (approximately) of the bar exam materials. Consequently, I didn't take family, real estate, tax, or estates. It may have taken me a bit longer to absorb some of the information that I was unfamiliar with (especially tax), but I managed to pass. I certainly wouldn't have spent an entire semester in a course I have no interest in just to avoid a few extra hours of studying. 

That’s interesting you say that. I didn’t catch one employment law related question in the solicitor exam when I wrote. Perhaps they’re changing it up every few years. 

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2 hours ago, Mycousinsteve said:

Family Law is a must. I didn’t enjoy teaching it to myself on the bar. Real estate is a big chunk of the material, but my law school real estate course mainly focused on the Planning Act which isn’t a substantial component of that section of the exam. 

Estates is also another must, it can get tricky and it’s also not fun teaching it yourself. 

Take something on Bus/Corporate Law in 3L to keep your mind fresh for that section of the bar. I didn’t find my mandatory 2L Bus Law course to be helpful. 

Most importantly though, PR is a big chunk (probably about half) of the exam. Any opportunities in law school to take PR related courses would be key. Good luck. 

For everyone reading this, ignore literally everything this guy says about "musts". As I said, there aren't any.

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On 12/28/2018 at 7:46 PM, Luckycharm said:

The Bar exam is the most ridiculous and meaningless professional exam. 

Take courses that interested you.

 

On 12/28/2018 at 7:31 AM, GreysAnatomy said:

I understand we get our prep materials 6 weeks before the exam and everything we need to know should be there...but would you guys recommend taking any specific law school courses? Real estate? Secured transactions? Family? Tax?

 

Here's the thing about the bar exam: know law school course is 'required' in order to pass the bar.  The pass rates are high, the bar admaterials will give you basically everything you need to know.  Taking the courses may make things easier, but nothing is required.

Yes... why are those particular areas included on the bar exam in the first place?  Because those areas encompass the large majority of legal work, and legal issues, that come up in the profession.  The large majority of lawyers work in those fields.

I tend to suggest that you should go to law school in order to get a well-rounded education in black letter law.  That should include areas like real estate, secured transactions, family and tax.  It's not because it will help you on the bar exam (though it will), but those are areas it is important for every lawyer to be versed in.  I can almost guarantee that in your career clients will come with you with issues that touch on those areas.  You need to know enough not to give them advice in those areas, but to know when certain issues will be engaged.

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Posted (edited)

I have no clue about Real Estate Law and some other areas before and after Bar Exam...... 

 

Edited by Luckycharm
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secured transactions for sure. it will be much easier learning it in law school vs on the bar. also a generally valuable class. Bankruptcy is another one.

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On 12/28/2018 at 7:32 PM, Mycousinsteve said:

That’s interesting you say that. I didn’t catch one employment law related question in the solicitor exam when I wrote. Perhaps they’re changing it up every few years. 

There was on the 2017. It was moderately difficult as well. 

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When I was in law school I went in saying that I wasn't going to restrict my courses to "bar heavy" subjects and I was just going to go in and take classes that interested me. My reasoning was that I already knew I was gunning for an IP spot (by second year I already had an articling spot working in that area) so, this would be the last chance I had at taking anything I wanted. 

However, somewhere between 1L and 2L I decided that I was actually quite interested in black-letter law so my "interest" courses turned out to be "bar" courses. 

I get that you shouldn't go in with the prerogative to focus on bar courses, but I have to tell you that it really helped me when it came time to study for the bar. Leading up to my bar exams some events happened in my personal life that kind of put me in a studying pickle (so much so that my firm recommended I delay writing until November). I decided that I really did not like the idea of trying to article and study at the same time so, I gave it a go anyways (fully expecting that I'd probably have to re-write).

Turns out I passed both on the first try and I truly believe that if I hadn't taken the usual requisite bar/solicitor courses that wouldn't have happened. Also, as @Malicious Prosecutor points out - learning these areas of law really are useful. It's good to know how a will is drafted or what's important when conducting a real estate transaction. 

So, all of that to say I would recommend Wills and Estates, Real Estate, Family, Tax and Securities (to take as "extra courses") and Criminal, Civil Procedure, Business Law, Admin and Constitutional should already be mandatory at your school (if they aren't then make sure you take those too). 

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FWIW, people who take family law usually end up liking it, and I really liked real estate. You shouldn't dismiss a course just because it doesn't immediately strike you as "interesting". 

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5 minutes ago, lawgurrl said:

FWIW, people who take family law usually end up liking it, and I really liked real estate. You shouldn't dismiss a course just because it doesn't immediately strike you as "interesting". 

There is a limited courses you can take.

May as well go for what "seems" interesting to you.

I didn't take real estate and I had no problem finding the answers with the index

Edited by Luckycharm

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