As graduation looms on the horizon, my mind has begun to drift to the bar exam which I plan to take this summer. It is a bit frightening that the bar exam is even a topic 3Ls are kicking around these days. It seems that only last month that we were 1Ls preparing for our first ever law school exam: Torts. (Another benefit of the co-op program: alternating between quarters in school and quarters on co-op tends to make time fly!)
I came across some interesting information recently, so I thought I would share. The bar exam consists of two days of testing. One day is a multi-state multiple-choice exam that is standard for test takers across all jurisdictions. The second day is a state-specific essay exam. This is common knowledge. What is not so often publicized to 1Ls or pre-law schoolers is the subject matter tested on the bar exam. I found it interesting that there are relatively few topics that the bar exam covers. On the multiple-choice portion of the exam, the only topics covered are torts, contracts, evidence, constitutional law, criminal law/procedure, and real property. The state specific essay exams often test a few additional topics such as corporations, secured transactions, and civil procedure (note: these testing topics vary from state to state).
I find it surprising how few classes are required in preparation for the bar exam. By the time you graduate from NUSL, you will have enrolled in 8 classes as a 1L and 16 classes as an upper level student. Most first year classes are topics covered on the bar exam: torts, contracts, constitutional law, civil procedure, criminal justice, and real property. But upper level classes are a different story altogether. The majority of classes you can take as an upper level student will be topics that are not tested on the bar exam. Out of approximately 24 total classes you will take by the time you graduate, more than 14 of those classes will be non-bar exam subjects. This provides you with great flexibility to shape your own curriculum during your tenure at NUSL.
Despite the popular myth that Evidence is a curriculum requirement at NUSL, an upper level law student is not required to take any specific class, including those that are tested on the bar exam. That said, I have found bar-exam classes like Evidence, Corporations, and Trusts & Estates to be some of the most interesting and useful classes for life on co-op.
If you have any questions about the various types of classes I have taken while at Northeastern, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.