Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bar Review: MBE Preview Day 1: Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut


It's started. I officially have to start studying for the bar. Well, sort of. MBE Preview is pretty tame so far. No assignments, no reading; we just take a multiple choice quiz in the morning followed by a mini-lecture analyzing the questions. We take a lunch break and then repeat. I'm sure it's a trap, designed to lull us into a false sense of security. Many people tell me I'm paranoid. This isn't paranoia. This is experience. Three years of law school taught me this: if something seems easy, you're about to get jacked in the face by the brass knuckles of law school. When people tell me I am overly suspicious, I refer them to this short story: Once, while battling a sore throat and upper-respiratory illness, Dan recommended his mother's home remedy: a shot of vodka chased by a tablespoon of honey (I make absolutely no judgments about Mama Dan's parenting. But I bet her kids slept well). When I hesitated, and asked if he was sure he wasn't just recommending this to see what would happen if I actually did it, he responded: "You're very suspicious." I replied "I'm suspicious because I'm about to take a vodka shot with a honey back." Sometimes, suspicion is warranted. That's your better judgment helping you out and telling you to pay attention.

But, back to MBE Preview. I'll try to make these brief. Because lord knows the lecturers are not troubling themselves to do so. Our first subject is Torts, with lecturer Lisa McElroy (hereinafter Crazy Torts Lady). The first thing I notice is her sever volume control issues. Also, her plugs about how BarBri is the greatest thing since sliced bread and how if we follow the Paced Program, not only will we pass the bar, but we'll win a castle and a pony and win the Nobel Prize and have bluebirds sing to us in our baths. For the sake of expediency (and a troubling glimpse into my mind), I will reproduce the notes I made:

Torts with Crazy Torts Lady

Ok, enough about how BarBri is the bestest bar prep in the world. Give me the goddamn answer. Hey! I got this one right. It took me a while to even figure out what question she was talking about. (Some comment she made about law students being compulsive). Compulsive? Law students? Law students who graduated? Shut the front door!

She goes on a lot of tangents. I understand that she's trying to break this up and make things easier. Which would totally work—if any of her stories were funny or interesting. They are not. Now she's telling some story about how her daughters didn't want to learn the multiplication tables because there's no creativity in it. Lady, nobody here cares that your daughters' creativity was stifled by memorizing the multiplication tables. We're J.D.s, we had our souls crushed in a vise and pulled out of our noses first year and we all learned our multiplication tables in the third grade, without our mothers complaining that straight memorization crushed our butterfly souls. And we're going to be lawyers; if we need to do math, we pull out a calculator. So, please, just explain the products liability question again.

It's not even 11 a.m. We started at 9. I'm already bored to tears (as evidenced by my blog posts). Points for referencing the "Miracle on the Hudson" in a question about landing a plane on a freeway (Lola's note: How psyched were the bar examiners when something like that actually happened?). Though I do not believe for a second that she doesn't know Sully's name.

Bottom line: At the end of this 50 minute lecture, I fervently hoped that she wouldn't be lecturing ever again. On to the afternoon session! Again, this is mostly a transcription of my notes. I have preserved it in this form to allow you to see the evolution of my opinion of the lecturer.


Criminal Law and Procedure with Douglas Moll:

Ok, another "BarBri is awesome" plug. But he did break down what crimes would be on the exam and how many questions would be dedicated to each type of offense. He's a little dry but gets points for his commitment to saying "BARRK" with a long drawling "R" sound. (Note: this is a neumonic device for remembering which dangerous felonies count towards a felony murder charge. For your edification: Burglary, Arson, Rape, Robbery, and Kidnapping (and according to Professor Madden, Sodomy)).

Also, he does voices and impressions. And he just described a murder method as "delightfully absurd." And he pretended to stab an invisible person (Note: he was starting to grow on me). He doesn't scream into the mike as often as Crazy Torts Lady did. Fewer jarring journeys into the realm of inappropriate volume.


Also, fewer stupid anecdotes about his kids learning the multiplication tables (Lola's note: um, clearly her story had a great impact on me. I originally wrote my "butterfly soul" rant in this section of my notes. And this is not my last mention of that comment. Here is the original note-version of that rant: "No one here care if your child's creativity is stifled by memorizing the 10 times table. We're J.D.s. Our souls were squeezed out through our noses over the course of 3 years. We all learned our multiplication tables without our moms whining about our butterfly souls getting crushed. And really, how often do I multiply?")

He gets points for knowing what MadDog is and using it correctly in a hypothetical. (Apparently, according to Professor Moll, mothers are not impressed when you have MadDog in your wine rack). "Mugged my ass" (in response to a hypo defendant).

And, one of my favorite quotes: "A good, old-fashioned pistol-whipping."

Bottom line: He grew on me over the course of 50 minutes. I appreciate his commitment to recreating the hypos. Much better than Crazy Torts Lady.