The primary purpose of this course is to prepare students for the Massachusetts bar examination. More specifically, the course would have a three-fold focus.
First, on a substantive level, the course will expose students to the essential, frequently-tested principles and concepts in each of the subjects on both the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) multiple choice and Massachusetts essay portions of the bar exam. The MBE is a two hundred question multiple choice test that encompasses the following six subjects: (1) Constitutional Law; (2) Contracts (including article 2 (Sales) of the Uniform Commercial Code); (3) Criminal Law and Procedure; (4) Evidence; (5) Real Property; and (6) Torts. The essay portion of the Massachusetts bar exam consists of ten essay questions that encompass the six MBE subjects as well as approximately a dozen other subjects (e.g., Agency, Business Associations, Domestic Relations, Federal Jurisdiction, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices (Chapter 93A), UCC. art. 3 (Commercial Paper), UCC art. 9 (Secured Transactions) and Wills).
Second, on a skills level, the course will provide students with techniques and approaches necessary to properly answer bar exam multiple choice questions and to draft organized, well-written bar essay responses. Students will receive weekly assignments requiring them to answer multiple choice questions and draft answers to essay questions, and the instructor will provide frequent feedback to students on their performance. In addition to the classroom instruction during the semester, students will have several opportunities to meet individually with the instructor to review their progress.
Third, on a practical level, the course will expose students, through both assignments and in-class exercises, to the typical fact patterns and scenarios that frequently appear both on the multiple choice and essay portions of the exam. For the MBE, the course will use multiple choice questions that have actually appeared on past bar exams and that the National Conference of Bar Examiners has released. For the essay portion of the exam, the course will use questions that have appeared on the Massachusetts essay exam in the past.
Faculty comments: This course is designed to provide students in their last year of law school with a thorough grounding in the format, structure and substance of the Massachusetts bar exam. After an initial introduction to the format and scoring of the bar exam, we will spend two full classes on each on the six MBE subjects, targeting frequently tested topics on both the MBE and essay portions of the exam. We will then have a series of classes focusing on the state-specific subjects on the essay portion of the exam, again targeting the highly-tested topics.
Teaching method: The instructor’s teaching style will combine lectures on the substantive law with discussion of problems to illustrate applying the substantive principles to properly answer both multiple choice and essay questions.
Methods of Evaluation:
Writing Assignments: Approximately 40% of the course grade will be based on a series of writing assignments that students will complete over the course of the semester. The writing assignments will be answers to old bar essay questions, and will typically be short answer responses (e.g. 800 to a 1000 words).
Multiple Choice Assignments: Approximately 40% of the course grade will be based on a series of assignments where students will be required to answer multiple choice questions grouped by MBE topic.
Mid-semester in-class quiz: Approximately 10% of the course grade will be based on a mid-semester in-class quiz that will consist of a combination of essay questions and multiple choice questions focusing on topics covered during the first half of the semester.
End-of-semester in-class quiz: Approximately 10% of the course grade will be based on an end-of-semester in-class quiz that will again consist of a combination of essay questions and multiple choice questions focusing largely on topics covered during the second half of the semester.
Class participation: Participating in class is a part of the learning process for all students and the instructor. Regular class attendance, therefore, is required. For truly outstanding participation in class, course grades may be raised by a half letter grade, e.g., from “B” to “B+”.
| Prerequisite: Restricted enrollment to students who are on Academic Warning and taking the Massachusetts Bar.
<<Course Updated: April 08, 2013>>