Sara Berman, a graduate of the UCLA School of Law, is a pioneer in online legal education, and serves as an ABA fact finder for hybrid JD programs. Berman has been a law professor since 1998 and currently serves as the Director of Academic and Bar Success Programs at the nonprofit AccessLex Institute’s Center for Legal Education Excellence in Washington, D.C. where she directs research initiatives and grant funding programs for law schools in student success, academic success, and bar success.
Prior to this position, Berman served as the Director of Critical Skills and Academic Support at Nova Southeastern’s Shepard Broad School of Law in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and before that in faculty and senior administration positions in law schools in California.
Bar Exam MPT Preparation & Experiential Learning for Law Students: Interactive Performance Test Training (ABA Publishing 2017)
Berman lectured for bar reviews for more than two decades, preparing students for the substantive and skills portions of bar exams nationwide, and authored several books and articles on bar exam and student success, including a widely recognized piece on the use of performance testing in law schools. With UCLA Law Professor Paul Bergman, Berman co-authored “The Criminal Law Handbook: Know Your Rights, Survive the System,” and “Represent Yourself in Court: How to Prepare and Try a Winning Case.” These primers on the civil and criminal justice systems, written initially for lay people, help law students develop practical skills necessary for employment readiness and for success on the performance test portion of the bar exam.
Who should read Pass the Bar Exam and why?
- Law students!! If you are in law school, this book is written for you and to you. It is an interactive guide. Think of it as talking with a mentor or supportive professor who is sharing advice, stories, worksheets, quizzes, and other planning tools to help you pass the bar exam. The best part is that these very same professional, life, and study skills will help far beyond bar prep. They will help you achieve most any goal you invest this kind of effort in. Knowing that the effort you put into bar passage will pay success dividends for decades to come should make the study process a much more rewarding one. Read Pass the Bar Exam and get ready for a virtuous cycle of success, on the bar exam and beyond.
- Families, friends, spouses, and partners of law students. Many of you are or will be confused and sometimes even offended by the behavior of your son, daughter, mom, dad, husband, wife, partner or friend. He or she seems inordinately stressed out, or has virtually disappeared. You can’t help but think, ‘How hard could law school be?’ And, ‘isn’t the bar just another test?’ This book will help you “get it.” As a key player in the support network of someone taking the bar exam, your help at this stage is critical. Learn what bar takers go through and how you can lend a hand and/or back off, as needed.
- Law school deans, professors and administrators, particularly Academic Support (ASP) and Bar Support Faculty designing and teaching both for credit and extra-curricular bar success courses, in live and distance learning settings. For you, there is also a special Teacher’s Edition Guide, with lesson plans, syllabi, and an updated section on online bar support. For law school deans, there is no more important, indeed existential, concern to your students than bar passage. There are deep fears among today’s law students that the deck is stacked against them. Urge all your students to read and discuss this book and they will begin to view the entire bar preparation process as one of empowerment rather than the needlessly difficult hazing ritual that many see it as. (How bar takers see the process often determines how engaged they are in it, and in turn how success they are in the end.) Following the many chapters filled with concrete advice such as strategies for avoiding distractions and how to enlist the support of family and friends (and knowing the difference between supporters and saboteurs) will help your students to deal with the many “life” challenges that prevent today’s students from doing the work that needs to be done to pass the exam. The books focus on both traditional and non-traditional law students will also provide immense support, validation, and assistance to your diversity students, part-time or returning students, and students who have extensive family or work obligations outside of law school.
- Prospective law students. This book should help balance some of the negatives you may hear about legal education so that you see that despite the great challenges there are enormous rewards. A legal education remains the standard bearer in forming minds that are capable of solving the complex problems facing society today. When people or businesses face problems, they turn to lawyers. In addition to practicing law, lawyers run businesses and government, they are entrepreneurs and innovators, they are called in to resolve crises (to arbitrate, mediate, and get people back on track), and they engage in countless sorts of strategic planning efforts that help avoid costly problems to begin with. Hopefully the book helps you decide to go to law school. If you do, the text and tips will help you succeed in school as much as on the bar exam. The book will help you start good habits from day one.
- Experienced attorneys who work with new lawyers. This book will help you understand some of the concerns facing prospective law clerks and new associates. It may assist you in becoming a stronger mentor and more effectively integrate new lawyers into law practice. Today’s attorneys face generational divides. There are challenges for Baby Boomers managing new graduates from the millennial generation. There are also more second and third career law students which means as experienced lawyers you may find yourselves supervising newbies who are older than you. The legal world is also more diverse than ever. Tolerance and the ability to see things from different perspectives will be an increasingly critical asset.
- Students from high school to graduate schools of all varieties who are working to achieve any academic goal. Much of the stress and many of the challenges described here are not unique to law or the bar exam. As you read, just replace the words, “passing the bar exam” with whatever your goal is and you will find useful success strategies for academic goals such as
- Doing well on final exams or midterms,
- Getting a high score on the SAT, LSAT, MCAT, medical boards, or other standardized test, or
- Completing most any professional training.
Follow Sara Berman on Twitter @PASSLawProf.