We Took the Bar Exam, and These Are the UVA Law Classes That Helped Most
Members of the University of Virginia School of Law's class of 2013 took the bar exam last week.
After the exam wrapped up, we asked a few of the soon-to-be-lawyers to share what courses at UVA Law they found to be the most valuable preparation for taking the bar exam.
"Criminal Procedure Survey with Professor [Josh] Bowers and (perhaps more surprisingly) Modern Real Estate with Professor [Alex] Johnson were the most useful upper-level courses I took. Both courses were really interesting with great professors, and they were extremely helpful for my preparation for difficult sections of the MBE and the state-law (Texas) essay portions of the bar exam.
"The relevance of Modern Real Estate (unlike Crim Pro Survey) may not be obvious — I certainly didn't think of it as a 'bar prep' course when I signed up for it. Modern Real Estate dealt with lots of different issues in real property, which most people consider to be one of the most difficult subjects on the MBE. The topics we learned about that were relevant to the bar exam included mortgages, recording acts, land sales contracts, foreclosure proceedings, seller disclosure requirements, real estate agent agreements, implied and express warranties for real estate conveyances, and others. In Texas, one or two of the 12 essay questions also cover real property, and all of those issues are fair game for that as well. I imagine many other states test real property in their state-law exams, too."
"The classes I found most helpful in preparing for the bar exam were Federal Courts with [former] Dean [John] Jeffries, Criminal Investigation with Professor [Anne] Coughlin, and Remedies with Professor [Douglas] Laycock. Obviously the first-year classes are all essential, but these three subjects are all tested on the bar (and the first two on the MBE portion as well), and UVA has terrific professors teaching them. I also found Trial Advocacy to be very helpful as a practical application of evidence law. Evidence is heavily tested on the bar, and Trial Ad helped me enormously in trying to keep all the evidence rules straight."
"Real property is one of the most feared subjects on both the MBE and the state portion of the Virginia Bar Exam. But I was already familiar with almost all of the materialÂ from 1L Property and could still hear Professor Johnson's voice in my head from over two years ago giving clear, succinct explanations. I even remembered the dreaded Rule Against Perpetuities."
"First of all, my 1L courses were very helpful. My professors did a great job balancing black letter law and theory, and I left with a firm footing that was nice to have when I began refreshing my memory in preparation for the bar exam this summer. When people asked how I was handling studying all of the areas of law on the bar exam, I was comforted in being able to respond that much of my studying was simply a review of what I had already learned.
"Second, while I focused my elective coursework on subject areas that were particularly interesting to me rather than doing clinical work — like Federal Courts, Environmental Law and Bankruptcy — these courses covered a lot of material that was also on the exam, and then some. Further, these classes were much more rigorous intellectually, so in some respects they helped make preparing for the bar exam seem easier."
"Evidence is a must-take, both for the bar exam and practice in general. Trusts and Estates is really helpful in giving you the vocabulary you need to pass the bar."