27 November 2007

Hey ... new plan: pass the bar!

Options, options, options. I've been researching which books, programs, tutors, and bullshit work the best and here's the general plan:

  1. Jeff Adachi's Bar Survival series - Bar Breakers I and II are the biggest parts, there are also flash cards (pretty good), a "Survival Guide" (has outlines which parallel the flashcards closely), and a book on the MBE's (which is supposed to be inferior to other MBE specific resources). ($100 off craigslist for all the above, ~$325 new)
  2. Strategies & Tactics for the MBEby Walton and Emanuel - recommended by many online and by John Holtz (see below). $56

Courses, seminars, tutors:
  1. John Holtz - PT and Essays, seminar and tutoring. 3 day course on the PT for $450 (reviews range from mixed to very positive, more on the positive end). Based in LA but teaches PT course in SF also. May be available to tutor for a similar price. Tutoring is over the phone and fax. Free study plan by email. You work off materials you already have or can get on the cheap (PMBR big books, Bar/bri stuff, the Walton book above, Bar Breakers, etc). I'll be using him personally, but below are some other options I researched.
  2. The Bar Code - $1200 for the "intensive" program, $3000 for the "complete program." Mixed reviews, some really like their materials, two of my friends recommended it. (I might use it with Holtz's program/help).
  3. Essay Advantage - Essays only, substantive review and essay feedback.
    1. $1500, taught by Jeff Adachi in SF, operated by Bar/bri. Supposed to be similar to the bar/bri experience but with sole focus on essays which get a bit more feedback than in the regular course (this apparently varies, but the same person has been grading them in SF for a while now and gives a respectable level of feedback).
    2. 12 classes, 6 graded essays. Classes during weekdays so incompatible with work.
  4. PT advantage - same as above, but for PT only, $450 for "alumni" of bar/bri.
  5. Emerson's tutorial bar review - Recommended by a friend of mine, but costs $4950.
  6. Barpassers - $2000, see chart, also recommended by a friend. Commonly used, slick presentation materials, on the affordable side but less personalized than most others.
  7. MicroMash - $900 for MBE's, $1600 for MBE's + State specific materials (for California at least). This is a computer program that is sold by Thompson-West. Supposed to be good help with MBE's. VERY similar to the Smart Study program Bar/bri students are familiar with.
  8. The Writing Edge - some people seem to like Vivian Dempsey, but her course is $5500, high even for a private tutor.
  9. CalBar Tutorial - many random recommendations, some negative though. Paul Pfau is behind this - some love him, some really hate him. Serious spite.
  10. Hugh Reed / passyourbar.com - good reviews out there, though few. Hugely expensive! Small classes for $4,400, private on-on-one tutoring for $14000 (and some options in between).
  11. Fleming’s - covers essays, performance exam, and MBE
  12. National Bar Review - private tutoring, they advertise heavily
  13. PASS - online course — covers essays and performance test
  14. Adaptibar - online MBE course.
  15. Bar Graders - private tutoring for essays
  16. Bar None Review - essays, MBE, performance exam
  17. Bar Perfect - private tutoring on essays, performance exam
  18. Shari Karney - WAY too expensive ($6,000 for limited help, $12,000 for the "platinum package" which I think includes hypnotherapy. Not a good choice in my opinion, few independent reviews. At least she includes her prices on the website (most other private tutors do not).
  19. There are others, post your recommendations, reviews, additions, or thoughts in the comments!
* Here's a link to my little spread sheet on the courses:


Anonymous said...

Thanks, this really helped! See you in February!

Allison N said...

You did a great job compiling all the bar preparation resources. I too used the Bar Breakers Volumes and they really helped kicked start me writing a "proper" bar exam essay. Many of his examples are the same as presented in the Barbri books, but Adachi gives you helpful advice and rules to follow while writing these exams.

Anonymous said...

LawTutorial.com - Dennis Higa - private tutor.

Perrin said...

I am involved in a Class Action lawsuit alleging antitrust violations by Bar/Bri that make the courses much more expensive, and often substantively worse (outdated materials, slow practice essay turnaround, etc.), because of numerous outright illegal actions taken by barbri to become a dominant monopoly.

If you followed the news in the last year, you probably heard about the huge Bar/Bri Class Action, Rodriguez v. West, with potential damages of at least $300 million, but which was settled on the cheap by a big law firm of dubious scruples, for $49 million.

Of course, $49 million isn’t chump change, and the same facts that were never litigated in that case WILL BE litigated now. The new Class will be comprised of everyone who paid for a Bar/Bri course in 2007 or thereafter. Would that include you?

If so, I wanted to ask you, first and foremost: how did you feel about the course? Lots of people have lots of complaints, e.g. “I didn’t even get my practice essays back until after the exam!”, etc. In my experience, most of us wound up at least a little disgruntled about the experience in general, especially if you paid for it yourself. Some of us are outraged!

Also, if it so happens that you failed the bar, you might be interested to know that passage rates are down dramatically all around the country since barbri’s illegal anti-competitive behavior started, based on the failure of Bar/Bri to improve (or even just update!) their product like they would HAVE to do if they still had any legitimate competition in the market.

I don’t know if you took antitrust in law school, but if you did, then I don’t need to tell you about the fair competition principles involved here… or about the automatic trebling of damages in most antitrust actions.

So if you have any negative feelings or opinions about Bar/Bri, about the price you paid or just the fact that you felt like you had no choice but to take that particular course, please give me a call so I can pick your brain about the experience. Call my cell-phone any time, (310) 433-6049.

Anonymous said...

"LawTutorial.com - Dennis Higa - private tutor."

This guy is a total scam. Especially for females. Do not go to his "apartment." Which is what he request on a first appointment. And guess what, he doesn't have any other choice for a "second appointment."

Just another unemployed lawyer...

Holden said...

Any more details about Higa? Just unhelpful or expensive or something else? Too late for me with only a few weeks left, but others might want to know, eh?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the comment below about Dennis Higa being a "total scam" - absolutely untrue. I don't know if "anonymous" even hired Mr. Higa, but he was extremely helpful and professional. Yes, you meet in his apartment, but it's no big deal and I am a female. Lame comment below. Ignore it and contact him.

Dedicated to the Law said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I went to school in D.C. and all I knew was BarBri, which didn't work for me. Your post is very helpful!

Anonymous said...

In my opinion Fleming's is a joke. Plain and simple. I've never even heard of anyone who's taken his course and passed.

Anonymous said...

Higa is amazing. Helped me get back into law school after failing out.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, no one is going to force you to do anything. He probably asked to meet at his apartment and you said, yes.

Secondly, as a female who does not live where Higa lives, I Skype with Higa.

Thirdly, stop wasting valuable time bashing Higa and go study.

Abe said...

I've now received 10 threatening or fraudulent emails asking me to remove the above comment about Doustkam. They pretend to be from Google and have silly false names like "remove posts" or "report abuse" though they are obviously just throwaway yahoo accounts.

I didn't make the above comment, but I'm certainly not going to remove it based on some harassing emails.

I will say that it does not reflect well on Doustkam that he uses a harassing service to threaten and annoy blog posters. Fortunately, the abuse has been reported to the BBB. I hope a bar prep instructor knows better than to threaten and harass a blog poster who is familiar with both criminal and constitutional law thanks to actually helpful bar prep.

I suggest people look elsewhere just based on the harassing and absurd emails Doustkam has keeps sending me.