Common Law Bar Prep Program
The Southern University Law Center offers a Common Law Bar Prep program for students who choose to take their first bar exam in a jurisdiction outside of Louisiana. The decision to test for a jurisdiction other than Louisiana should not be made at the last minute because there are things you need to do each year to ensure you’re adequately prepared.
The following is a suggested roadmap to help you prepare for the common law bar exam.
- Complete the Bar Prep Info Doc described below. Use this document to understand the exam requirements and deadlines for your chosen jurisdiction.
- During your first semester, visit the NCBE website and download the topics tested for the MBE and MEE.
- Create binders – physical or digital – to store all notes from your classes, along with any practice essays, multiple choice questions, and other supplemental material.
- At the conclusion of each semester go back and review your binders and make sure you have content for the topics tested on the MBE and MEE. Highlight any gaps.
- Utilizing supplemental materials such as 1L outlines provided by commercial bar prep providers, fill in your notes in the areas highlighted on your MBE and MEE lists.
- You also want to identify internships and work opportunities available in your desired jurisdiction. Reach out to Career Services for additional assistance.
- At the start of your 2L year you want to review your Bar Prep Info Doc and make sure you know of any upcoming deadlines for bar exam registration such as Character and Fitness deadlines.
- Continue to create binders for your classes.
- You also need to work on your writing skills and seek additional assistance if you think your writing can use some improvement. For the UBE you will have to complete 6 30-min exams. If you sit for a non-UBE test then you will likely have at least 4 exams to write under timed conditions.
- Real Property: If your schedule permits, you should try to take Real Property during this year. Real Property is tested on the MBE and MEE and many students struggle with this course.
- During your 3L Year you should sign up for the Common Law Pilot Program, enroll in additional Common Law electives, and sign up for Common Law bar prep assistance.
- Common Law Pilot Program: This program is available to all 3L students. This program allows students to substitute certain common law courses into the required curriculum:
- UCC-9 instead of Security Devices
- Wills & Trusts instead of Successions
- UCC-2 instead of Sales and Leases
- Additional Electives:
- Real Property: If you’ve not taken Real Property during your 2L year, then you should take it during your 3L year.
- UBE Common Law Bar Prep: This course is offered during the Fall and Spring semesters. Four subjects are covered during the Fall: Contracts/UCC-2, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, and Real Property. Four subjects are covered during the Spring: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Real Property and Torts.
- Common Law Early Bird Bar Prep is offered for 6 weekends Fall and Spring semesters which covers highly tested subtopics for 3-4 subject areas and includes writing workshops.
UBE Common Law Bar Prep Course Overview
SULC offers a bar preparatory course to students in their final year of law school. This course -UBE Common Law Bar Prep – does not contain pre-requisites. Substantively, the course focuses on learning four multistate bar exam (MBE) and multistate essay exam (MEE) subjects. Students will learn how each topic has been tested on the MBE and the MEE.
The course will address the analytical, information-retrieval, and reading comprehension skills necessary for success on the bar exam. The course will include both synchronous sessions and online assignments. Through practical application, students will develop the essential skills necessary for successfully answering multiple-choice questions and writing a successful essay and MPT on the bar exam, including identifying legal issues, determining and applying the relevant facts, and writing a clear, concise, and well-organized response. However, this course is not intended to replace a commercial full-service bar review course.
Students will work on a combination of substantive review and skills training every week. As homework, students will review substantive law by reading subject outlines, watching short issue-specific substantive law lectures, and taking assessment questions after each substantive lecture to home in on areas of weakness. Students will also work on practice essay and MBE questions corresponding to the substantive law reviewed. The homework assignments (lectures & practice questions) will teach and develop essay and MBE test-taking skills and will be used as a springboard for the in-class skills workshops, focusing on heavily tested topics.
Common Law Bar Prep Program Resources:
- Themis content is used for the UBE Common Law Bar Prep (for-credit) course and the weekend Common Law Early Bird Bar Prep course. Content includes videos, essays, and MBE-style questions. There's also a free MPRE course available through Themis.
AdaptiBar is an MBE practice tool that diagnoses your subject and timing performance in each area tested on the MBE. The adaptive algorithm automatically presents questions with an emphasis on your weakest subtopics, maximizing your study time.
Adaptibar is now a part of the UBE Common Law Bar Prep (for-credit) course. Students enrolled in the course for Fall and/or Spring semester will automatically receive a complimentary license. Students typically complete 1000 questions each semester as a part of the course.
For students not enrolled in the UBE Common Law Bar Prep (for-credit) course, the first complimentary license for AdaptiBar is available for:
There are at least 2400 practice MBE-style questions that comprise the Adaptibar database. The first license is available free of charge for currently enrolled students. The second license is only complimentarily provided if a student substantially completes questions. Substantial completion is defined as a minimum of 1000 questions.
- Bar Writing Fellows
- Bar Writing Fellows provide one-on-one guidance in analyzing essays and writing clear and concise responses using IRAC, CRAC, and CIRAC. Bar Writing Fellows consist of alumni, practicing attorneys, and legal writing professors. This service is normally provided at the end of the final semester; however, if students need additional writing assistance this service can be made available sooner.
- Supplemental Common Law Bar Prep
- The Supplemental Common Law Bar Prep program is a weekend program offered during the Fall and Spring semesters. It typically spans 6-7 weeks. In this program students review substantive content each week through the Themis portal, and work on analysis and writing on weekends with a bar fellow. There are 7 subjects tested on the MBE and 11 subjects tested on the MEE. Four of the seven subjects are reviewed each semester in the UBE Common Law Bar Prep for-credit course. The other 3-4 subjects are reviewed during the Supplemental Common Law Bar Prep program.
How to Stay on Track with Bar Applications
Here are links to websites and PDFs that should enable students to learn more about their common law jurisdiction bar application process.
- This is the site most jurisdictions use for: Character and Fitness Applications, MPRE Registration, and Score (UBE, MPRE, MBE) Reporting and Portability.
- There is registration and testing information provided for the: MPRE, UBE, MBE, MEE, and MPT. o If you are not sure what your jurisdiction requires, click here to learn more on score and testing requirements.
- This site offers numerous resources that every law student should take the time to explore.
- Filll-in-the-Blank Bar Prep Info Doc
- This document is a great checklist for students to make sure they are aware of what their specific jurisdiction requires from its bar applicants.
- Students should take the time to fill out this sheet using the NCBEX website along with their specific jurisdiction court website to gather all bar application and testing information they need to know.
Please email Professor Fortson at firstname.lastname@example.org for further questions about the Common Law Bar Prep program.