Reston, VA asked in Contracts, Copyright, Divorce and Real Estate Law for Virginia

Q: In order for an attorney to pass the bar exam, is it safe to say they need to know a little bit of everything?

1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
  • Potomac, MD
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Preparation for the Bar exam does not involve knowing a little bit of everything. It involves knowing a lot of some things, and it is exceptionally wise to find out which things from a very expensive preparation course that requires intense concentration and memorization of huge amount of state law as well as another huge load of actual law covered by the Multistate portion of the exam and a further slightly smaller huge load of memorization of the Code of Professional Responsibility as applied in the specific state. It then requires the skills of standardized testing that were probably fairly honed as the candidate made it from PSAT through SAT through college finals through LSAT/GREs through 1L issue spotting on to 2L and 3L essays until, well, here you are. The material covered will be rather new to anyone that went to a top-ranked law school, because those schools are focused on teaching how to think and write like a lawyer to make the candidate a better lawyer, while students of lesser, local schools will have spent more time preparing their students to pass the bar exam for the last three years. But, the top-ranked school students will be immensely better at applying the principles of law and the range of treatment of the topics to the changing world and the changing facts in that world, while the lesser school graduates will be better at reciting the present state of the law in the particular state. For neither candidate is it safe to say that they need to know a little bit of everything. For that, they can visit the local pub and ask the guy who looks like he's been sitting there the longest.

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