Why haven’t I heard of you during law school?
The whole law school scramble to sign up first- and second-year law students was pioneered almost 40 years ago by BarBri to bar new entrants from readily accessing the bar prep market. (I was told that by the former BarBri officer who made that dramatic (at the time) shift in marketing.) We’ve done just fine with word of mouth for close to 25 years, and the fact that my alums are now partners, office heads, professors – and a (former) bar examiner.
Moreover, I detest bar review marketing: it’s built on fear, it oversells (and usually upsells once you’re in the program). Besides, it’s hard to have a knowledgeable conversation about the exam if you haven’t been in bar review let alone taken the actual exam and seen the scores your efforts were accorded. Once you’ve taken the exam, you can appreciate my course. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of forehead smacks during the workshop when I reveal certain techniques and the rationale behind them. But I enjoy the teaching, and every so often someone writes to tell me how my helping them to (finally) pass the bar has been a life-changer or -saver.
But isn’t the Performance Test less important now?
Sure. In a gross numerical sense. However, it still has the power to play a significant role in whether you pass or fail since (1) the PT is worth two essays and (2) like the essays it is subjectively graded – where the graders are grading in 5-point increments (meaning each advancement has a noticeable impact on your final total scaled score) and (3) also like the essays it is relationally graded (that is, your paper is compared to the last several papers your grader just graded). In fact, given the timing allocated to the PT, it is the most point-laden section of the exam, and is the only item you can use for leverage.
How has your course changed for the new 2-day Bar?
Well, the skills haven’t changed, but the tempo might be said to have speeded up: more material to time than before. I have had feedback from my alums over the years that indicates that the skills they learned in my class served them well on the MPTs when they sat for second licenses. From time to time they would call to encourage me to teach multistate performance testing in whatever jurisdiction they just passed. The changed timing won’t present the problem most pundits are predicting. It just makes the techniques I teach more valuable. And we did make the course more affordable. And now repeaters also qualify for the industry leading “No Pass-No Pay” offer where students hold onto the bulk of the fees – which are only collected if you pass this exam.
Doesn’t the MPT format make your course unnecessary given that the national courses already teach it?
That depends on how well you think the national courses have been teaching the MPT. Three observations: one, the national courses have tended to dismiss the MPT – just like they did the CPT; second, the national courses actually used CPTs to attempt to teach their MPT students; third, the new CPTs are not the NCBEx MPTs as they will continue to be drafted by our team, which plays to a different level of gamesmanship. In other words, the new CPTs will still look like California exams and not MPT clones.