smoke

I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Bar Ops

Everyone’s all agog over this coming sunday – it being the last day of the Bar and all. Everyone’s Bar Ops is in full swing and the ‘hot tips’ are coming in fast and furious. Even the law firms – big and small – are getting in on the action, especially if they have fraternal ties or if they’ve identified you as someone they want to hire. 

If you’re one of the lucky ones, you get ‘special notes’ from the firm that’s got a soft eye on you. SOmetimes, two or more firms will even compete against each other just to give you stuff like hotel accomodations and shit. It didn’t use to be like this, they tell me, but things have changed. People get more competitive and there are far too many law grads now. 

Getting back to the ‘notes’ … ordinarily, notes from the firms are known to be cobbled together by legal researchers. They’re basically a condensed form of lectures and whatnot. But, more often than not, these ‘notes’ are also tip sheets that contain forecasted questions. And this is where you separate the wheat from the chaff. 

The really good notes come thiiiiis close to accurately predicting what the bar questions will actually be. Accurate being defined as involving the same principle. such that the circumstances of the question mght be different, but the same principles – laws and concepts – are used to resolve it. Super-accurate means that even the circumstances are similar. 

And that can happen too. Even without any cheating taking place. All it takes, really, is a lot of strong analysis of past questions, trends, and a reasonably good guess as to the identity of the examiner. 

Unfortunately, it’s not always so benign. And that’s where ‘special notes’ come in.

Special notes are those that are touted to be super-accurate, bordering on being identical to the Bar questions. Very few people get them, and those that do often say that they come with warnings. Don’t share or you’ll never see another one. The notes themselves are printed on colored paper – to frustrate photocopiers – and come with control numbers and everything. Yep. It’s that important.

So how’d they get so good? It’s kinda like the best evidence rule. There’s no better evidence than the document itself – there’s no better source than the source himself, eh? 

Of course, every law school has its own crop of favored sons and daughters, but the really really wicked Bar Ops are put on for the top one percent of bar examinees – and most of them come from the hotshot schools. It’s not so much that these leets need the help, it’s just that the people behind these kinds of Ops see it as safeguarding their interests. Every law firm wants the Bar Topnotcher, and it’s easier to get the topnotcher before he becomes a superstar. And if he doesn’t, well, it’ll still be money well-spent for an ace junior associate.

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4 Responses

  1. Bencard says:

    rom, a few questions if i may. have you ever taken the bar? i’m impressed with your insights although most of it did not apply when i took it a few hundred years ago. back then, the “top 10” was really such a big deal and just scoring quite close to being one of them was an awesome feeling . i kind of always suspected it but now that you mentioned about the colored “special notes”, i wonder how much they cost at the current rate. now i see why a lot of those “bar topnotchers” are not what they were cracked up to be.

    btw, here in the states, no one pays attention to bar scores and they hardly see the light of day. what is important is passing it and getting that “esquire” after one’s name.

  2. rom says:

    bencard: haven’t taken the bar yet uncle, and I don’t think I will. 🙂

  3. […] Smoke made an interesting post recently on the widespread practice of distributing “tips” to bar examinees. These “special notes” or “tip sheets” are forecasted questions, with their supposed correct answers, put together on the basis of “a lot of strong analysis of past questions, trends, and a reasonably good guess as to the identity of the examiner”, according to Rom. This is supposed to give a “scientific” basis for generating the content of such tip sheets. […]

  4. fabulouslawyer says:

    hello.when in took the bar exams, I did not rely on the notes given to us. I just studied and prayed to God. Luckily, I passed the bar exams!

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