Thursday, May 31, 2012

Individual Liberties..."Prisoners always lose"

During our Barbri lecture on Individual liberties the "professor," which I put in quotes because he was recorded and is being broadcast to our classroom, gave us a tip that "prisoners always lose."

For the bar, and presumably in real life, if there is a claim for deprivation of liberty then the prisoners always lose.

So for instance:

Prisoner: "My rights are being violated by because locked in a cell all the time."
Court: "Too bad. Next." (Okay, this one makes sense.)

Prisoner: "My rights are being violated because I'm being denied access to conjugal visits."
Court: "Too bad. Next." (This one is a little more questionable being that few urges are more natural than the desire for sexual contact.)

Prisoner: "My rights are being violated because I am raped repeatedly while the, guards, who are hired by private business in some states, do nothing about it."
Court: "Too bad. Next."

Levels of Scrutiny for Constitutional liberties

The Supreme Court uses several different "levels of scrutiny" to analyze whether individual liberties have been violated. The level of scrutiny used is determined by how strong of a liberty interest is at stake. The levels of scrutiny are the Rational basis test, intermediate scrutiny, strict scrutiny and the Undue burden test.

Rational Basis Test
The rational basis test states that a law will be upheld if it is rationally related to a legitimate government purpose. The challenger, the person complaining of a right's violation, in such a case has the burden of proof to show either that there is no conceivable legitimate purpose or that the law is not rationally related to it. Thus, the law's actual purpose does not need to be legitimate so last as  there is some possible legitimate use for the law. The government will almost always win such a case.

The rational basis test applies to non-fundamental rights such as:
right to practice a trade or profession, the right to physician-assisted death (this right has been outright denied), and a right to an education.

This test is used for laws affecting economic rights like the right to property.

Intermediate Scrutiny:
Under intermediate scrutiny a law will be upheld if it is substantially related to an important government purpose. The government has the burden of proof under this test. The actual purpose, a very good reason, not just some imagined one, must serve a legitimate government goal.

An example of cases that use intermediate scrutiny are the right to same-gender sexual relations. The Court in Lawrence v. Texas, which heard this issue, did not specifically say "intermediate scrutiny," but the explanation leads us to believe that's what they meant.

Strict Scrutiny
Under strict scrutiny a law will be upheld if the law is necessary to achieve a compelling government purpose. Here too, the government has the burden of proof. The Court will only apply the law's actual purpose and the law must have a strong purpose to carry out. The government usually loses these cases.

Strict scrutiny applies to rights considered to be fundamental such as:
right to marry, right to procreate, right to custody of children, right to keep the family together, right to control raising of children, right to purchase and use contraceptives (thank goodness), right to travel (covered under the Equal Protections Clause and Privileges and Immunities Clause), Right to Vote (EPC and P&I), Freedom of Speech (1st Amendment), Freedom of Association (1st), Free exercise of religion (1st, unless the law is one of neutral general applicability or if the Court doesn't approve of your religion).

The Undue Burden Test
This test was developed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey which changed the scrutiny for abortion to the undue burden test from strict scrutiny as decided in Roe v. Wade.

Under the undue burden test, prior to viability, states cannot prohibit abortions, but may regulate them so long as the regulations do not create an undue burden on the ability to obtain abortions.
This test is an enigma that only seems to apply to abortion cases.

Examples of Court decisions under the undue burden test:
A requirement for a 24-hour waiting period for abortions is not an undue burden.
A requirement that abortions be performed by licensed physicians is not an undue burden.
The prohibition of "partial birth abortions" is not an undue burden.

Property law.."All I can hear, I, me, mine, I, me, mine, I, me, mine."

I'm currently working on the AMP lessons for Property Law. Of all the branches on the legal tree that I have studied, I dislike property the most. I don't know what it is about this subject that I despise so much but I really cannot stand it.

Maybe my disdain has something to do with the fact that the subject is just people arguing over material possessions. It's mine. NO, it's mine. Nuh uh, It's mine. When I study or read Property Law George Harrison's song "I, Me, Mine," plays in my head on repeat.

I know the material is important, but it just doesn't feel as valuable to may as say Constitutional law which discusses a person's legal rights, their liberty, their freedom. Criminal Law features issues over a person's physical freedom or justice for a wrong-doing. Tort Law usually features a physical injury, a party trying to be made whole. Even Contract Law, which I also have trouble getting into, seems to have more substance than Property Law.

I guess that's it. I don't see the substance. Maybe I just don't get it. But, I guess I'll get back to it. I have not taken a Property class since 1L year and I did not do well then. I have a lot to remember and even more to learn considering we have three class sessoions-worth of Property, two of which are back-to-back on Saturday.

Serenity now!

Barbri...Complaints And one mooooore thing

I've found a few types in the Barbri Missouri Lecture Handout book. C'mon Barbri, proofreaders aren't that expensive. I've found at least two typos so far in only five classes. Is it so hard to get the letters to the word "the" put in the correct order?


Apparently Barbri AMP was out over the last few days. I received a handful of e-mails apologizing for the inconvenience and telling me that the problem was fixed. Apparently it wasn't. I also noticed several complaints on facebook and fellow Barbri student and UMKC School of Law grad., Joe McClendon, brought the problem to my attention in class this morning. Further, as McClendon explained, the entire Barbri website was out the other day, nothing worked. McClendon perturbed to say the least about not having access to a  product that he's spending so much money on. If I had been caught up with my studies I would have been with him.

Barbri's official statement on facebook read:
"Unfortunately, we continue to experience technical difficulties with BARBRI AMP that are limiting access to the program. In order to stay current on your study schedule, if the assignment in your Paced Program reads “AMP MPQ1,” you can access the exact same questions in your MPQ1 book.

If your Paced Program assignment reads AMP and a subject title (e.g. “AMP Real Property,” “AMP Contracts,” etc....), you can read the outline in the Multistate Outline (MS) book as a substitute to the AMP questions for each subject.

Making these substitutions should keep your bar preparation on schedule. As we have said previously, we very much regret the difficulties you have experienced and truly appreciate your patience and understanding."
Underneath Barbri's message are a series of complaints from Barbri students across the country.
Paul L. Sousa who lives in San Francisco posted, "Fairly confident it's down for a second time today. All other websites are working for me. So this makes how many times in the past two days? I've lost count :-/"
You can tell he's serious because of the distressed emoticon.
Pete Eraca in Birmingham angrily posted, "The AMP was helping me far more than plainly reading the outline will. I was looking forward to and enjoying the interactive content this was to provide. I think that pushing this program was poorly planned and misadvertised benefit of BarBri. BarBri should simply admit its mistake and take some form of proper ameliorative measure."
Now at this point in the game, I think Eraca went a little far in saying that the lack of AMP is a  misadvertised benefit.
I just logged onto the Barbri site and AMP is now working. If the technical problems continue, though, Barbri might have a full-scale facebook riot comprised of unhappy soon-to-be lawyers, who happen to be weighed down by massive student loans, on their hands. If the site isn't maintained they are asking for a pain in the ass lawsuit from at least one desperate debtor.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What am I doing here?

I'm still trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing here. The last four posts, in particularly the one on standing, were really long and boring. I doubt anyone wants to read them. I sure don't. I think I need to get more into the policy-type arguments, such as I did at the end of part 4 of 4, to make this material readable.

I'll work on doing less listing, giving better examples and actually talking about something instead of reciting blackletter law. Afterall, I listened to recitation of blackletter law all morning and it bored me almost to death, well at least almost to sleep.

If anyone has a suggestion about a direction I should turn, please let me know. If I got the law wrong, PLEASE TELL ME. If you have a suggestion as to how I could better explain something, once again your opinions are encouraged.

The Federal Judicial Power (4 of 4)...Political Question Doctrine

This doctrine refers to constitutional violations that the federal courts will not adjudicate. The four types of non-justiciable political questions are are follows:

The US shall guarantee to each state a Republican form of government (Art. IV, Sec. 4).

Challenges to the President's conduct of foreign policy such as receiving an ambassador or attending an international summit.

Challenges to the impeachment and removal process. For instance, Judge Walter Nixon was impeached and the Senate set up a panel of Senators to remove him. He sued to get the entire Senate involved instead of just a committee. The Court said, "Too bad," because this is a political question.

Challenges to party gerrymandering are not challengeable. Gerrymandering occurs when jurisdiction lines are drawn to benefit a political party.

I have a big problem with this last case. Gerrymandering has been used throughout our Nation's history to manipulate elections of all sorts. Citizens should be allowed to challenge such issues in order to protect the integrity of our elections and thus the political process. If governments are allowed to draw lines wherever they want, they can directly influence who, and what party, gets elected in any given jurisdiction.

Such a disgrace is repugnant to justice and the ideal on which this country is founded; "No taxation without representation." If jurisdictional lines are gerrymandered to prevent certain parties or individuals from being elected then the people are not truly electing their leaders. The whole point of this country was that the people, if they are being taxed, should have a right to decide who is taxing them, who is making the big decisions. Gerrymandering directly takes this right away. If people cannot challenge such a practice the abuse will be continued into perpetuity.

The Federal Judicial Power (3 of 4)...Mootness

The Federal Judicial Power is provided for by Article 3 of the United States Constitution. In order for a case to come under the Federal Judiciary the plaintiff must have standing, the case or controversy must be ripe for review and the case cannot be moot, or stale. Further, the Federal Judiciary will not accept political questions.

If events after the filing of a lawsuit end the Plaintiff's injury then the case must be dismissed as moot because a Plaintiff must present a live controversy.

EX: Shirley is denied admission from dentistry school and sues to be let in. During the suit the school admits her until the case can be decided. By the time the case is to be decided, she is only a semester away from graduation. The case is moot because Shirley has acquired that for which she was suing. Continuing the case would have no effect on whether or not she graduated and thus the case is not worth the court's time.

If the wrong is capable of repetition but evades review because of its inherently limited time duration. This exception was used in Roe v. Wade, the case that made abortion constitutional. The exception was necessary for such cases because, due to a 9 month gestation period and a long court process, no case was capable of getting to the Supreme Court by the time the baby was born and thus the issue constantly evaded review. Thus, to allow the Court a chance to come to a decision for an issue that is regularly repeated, women becoming pregnant and wanting an abortion, Plaintiff was allowed to represent herself and other females.

Another exception comes from voluntary cessation, which means that the suit is something that the Defendant can stop doing in order to not be sued, but could easily start again after the suit was dropped. If Defendant is allowed to continue this cycle then he can continue to discriminate without repercussions.

Also, class action suits may continue if the issue is redressed so as long as someone involved in the suit has an issue that prevents the case from being rendered moot.
EX: If an class, a group of insurance customers, sue INSURECO for failing to fulfill obligations under form contracts, and INSURECO pays everyone but Bob, then the suit can continue as long as Bob continues to have a redressable issue against INSURECO.

Federal Judicial Power (2 of 4)...Ripeness

The Federal Judicial Power is provided for by Article 3 of the United States Constitution. In order for a case to come under the Federal Judiciary the plaintiff must have standing, the case or controversy must be ripe for review and the case cannot be moot, or stale. Further, the Federal Judiciary will not accept political questions.

Ripeness is a question of whether a federal court may grant pre-enforcement review of a statute or regulation.

EX: Let's say there is a statute that would punish any citizen for wearing a postal worker's uniform or badge unless for use in artistic expression and is only then allowed if the postal worker is presented in a positive light. Steve writes a play entitled "Newman" that presents a postal worker as a fat, slow, conniving weasel and Steve wants to sue to get an injunction to keep the law from being enforced against him or anyone involved in his play. This case would not be ripe because Steve had not been punished under the law. He must wait to see if the law was enforced against him and how.

To get pre-enforcement review Steve would have to show that hardship would be suffered without the review. Steve could not show hardship because he has not been punished. Because he continued with the play his free speech rights were not affected and the statute had yet to affect him.

Steve would also have to show the fitness of the issues and the record for judicial review. To determine whether the issues and record are fit the court will ask; Do we have everything we need here? Is there any reason to wait? In Steve's case we don't know how the statute will be enforced because it has not been used yet. The court doesn't know how Steve is affected because it won't know if "Newman" would even violate the statute and if so, it is unknown to what degree Steve and anyone involved in "Newman" would be punished. Thus, the court would not proceed for ripeness purposes.

Federal Judicial Power (1 of 4)... Standing

The Federal Judicial Power is provided for by Article 3 of the United States Constitution. In order for a case to come under the Federal Judiciary the plaintiff must have standing, the case or controversy must be ripe for review and the case cannot be moot, or stale. Further, the Federal Judiciary will not accept political questions.
The Standing requirement determines whether or not the Plaintiff is the proper party to bring a matter to court. To have standing there must be an injury, suffered personally by Plaintiff. A simple example of a personal injury occurs when a Product A produced by Company X results in Plaintiff losing an arm due to defective manufacture. Plaintiff B's personal injury is the loss of limb and will have standing to sue Company X.

In Serra Club v. Morton the Supreme Court held the injury not be be personal and thus Plaintiffs did not have standing. Disney wanted to build a resort near Sequoia National Park. The Sierra Club sued to halt construction on the resort because the resort would hinder their enjoyment of the national park. The Supreme Court held that there was no personal injury because no Sierra Club member had used the park previously.

A Plaintiff may also be awarded standing when seeking injunctive or declaratory relief but the potential Plaintiff must show that they have a likelihood of future harm. For example, if Company X began dumping toxic materials into the lake where Plaintiff regularly swam then Plaintiff may be able to show likelihood of harm. Plaintiff would have to show that the toxic materials would negatively effect the water and thus effect him negatively, even if over an extended period of time.

However, in City of LA v. Lyons the Court found that Plaintiff did not present a case for likelihood of future harm. Lyons was almost killed when a police officer used a "death choke hold" to subdue him. Lyons, an African American found that 16 other African American men had actually died as a result of the police department's using "death choke holds" to subdue them. Lyons sought injunctive relief so that the LAPD would not be able to use the holds any longer. The Court held that Lyons could not prove a likelihood of future harm so the injunction was not awarded.

The Plaintiff must allege and prove that defendant caused the injury so that a favorable court decision is likely to remedy the harm. This requirement is referred to as causation and redressability. Thus, not only must Plaintiff show that the Defendant caused the injury, or at least that the Defendant might have caused the injury, and if so, that judicating the case may potentially result in some sort of redemption for Plaintiff from Defendant.

In general, a Plaintiff cannot assert claims of others, of third parties who are not before the court because this Plaintiff would fail the "personally suffered injury" requirement. However, this rule has exceptions. Third party standing is allowed if there is a close relationship between the plaintiff and the injured third party and thus the Plaintiff can be trusted to adequately represent the interests of the injured party.

A close relationship has been found in cases where Plaintiff represents his child. For instance, in the lake example above, Plaintiff could sue Company X for dumping in a lake where Plaintiff's child regularly swam on behalf of his children, especially if the toxic substances caused an actual injury to the child. However, if the child's parents are divorced and the mother has custody, the father as a non-custodial parent would not have standing to sue.

Third party standing is also allowed if the injured third party is unlikely to go to court themselves. For instance: If Prosecutor uses a peremptory challenge, method by which to strike a juror for no reason, to keep Juror A off of a jury and the Defendant believes that the Prosecutor struck the juror because the juror is the same race as Defendant, then Defendant may sue using a Batson Challenge. This action is allowed for the sake of justice because almost no one would sue to be on a jury, but the Defendant's right to a fairly picked jury are on the line.

Another exception allows an organization to sue for its members if the interests are germane, relevant, to the organization's purpose. This exception does not necessitate that the claim or relief require participation of individual members. An example here would be some kind of Constitutional rights issue, like if a member of a women's rights organization sued on behalf of its members to challenge a bill that eliminated legal abortion.

The plaintiff must not be suing solely as a citizen or taxpayer interested in having the government follow the law. Basically, we as private citizens may not sue the government just to make it do its job. Maybe we should be able to but this would create an incredible courtroom clog, backing the dockets up for years.

Taxpayers do have standing, though, to challenge the government expenditures pursuant to federal statutes that violate the Establishment Clause, separating Church and State. If a county courthouse has a manger scene during the Christmas season then members of that community may sue to either have the manger scene removed or to require the county to balance the holiday decorations with scenes from Santa's workshop.

A person also has standing as a citizen to allege that a federal action violates the 10th Amendment by interfering with the powers reserved to the states as long as the person can show injury in fact and redressability. The 10th Amendment provides that any powers not given to the federal government, nor prohibited to the states will be implied as granted to the states. Thus, if the federal government tries to take one of these unexplained powers, then a citizen may sue to ensure that the power remains with the state and not the federal government.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A rant about how laws are developed and the resulting systemic oppression

If you want to understand the law, any law, you have to be able and willing to dig. The legislature starts out with a law that may be explained in legislative history or definitions within the law itself. However, the courts are always called upon to interpret the law when an issue arises.

This often results in the interpretation of a single word at a time because that particular word is the only part of the law in question. This new definition, now a rule or a few sentences or elements explaining the law, is explained in a holding which is the rule applied to that case's specific fact situation.

Then a word within that rule will be in question and it will be explained in another holding. Then a word within the second rule will be in question and it will be explained in another holding. Then a word within the third rule will be in questino and it will be explained in another holding. Yada, yada, yada.

The battle of semantics continues when a fact situation that was never meant to apply to the law or one that the law should not apply to as a matter of equity or fairness comes to bar. For these cases the courts create exceptions, situations in which the law is not to apply. Lawyers and judges, with facts from client cases, continue cutting, scraping, splitting and separating the law into holdings, rules and exceptions diving ever deeper into a semantic debacle.

The law becomes dense and matted, a mess, a criss-crossed web. While I may sound like I'm complaining about the way the law works, I like that our system has courts to examine, develop and explain legislatures laws, as well as their own common law created rules. However, at some point I think the legislature has a duty to re-order laws and consolidate them to create clarity, a broader understanding.

The loopholes built and allowed by our legal system may be my favorite part of it. There's always a hole, a reason why your case is the exception, or why it doesn't fit the definition, but too many exceptions and definitions can make a law weak and difficult to understand. If a law is too difficult to understand then it can't reasonably be followed or it is easy to subvert.

This potential confusion can create substantial unfairness in our system of justice because it makes how good of a lawyer you hire more important than whether or not you are right and/or innocent. If you can afford a better lawyer, who has more time on his hands to work on your case, then he can drill the facts and the law, spinning his diamond-encrusted blade repeatedly until he reaches the depth you need.

Someone with less money hires a less expensive lawyer who often has less time on his hands, so he'll do his best but he just won't be able to spend the time, and he probably won't have the resources, such as a the diamond drill, to dig as deep as necessary to find the proper exception.

Thus, someone with more money has a better shot at winning any case at law simply becaue they can hire a better lawyer. You may say this is simple capitalism and that its fair but something about it bothers me. It's not that I think everyone has the right to the best lawyer, but the current system just creates too much of a gap between those that can hire the Super Lawyers, the magicians that can conjure innocence out of a bubbling bowl of guilt, and those that are given appointed public defenders who are underfunded with unreasonably heavy caseloads.

This imbalance weighs some down and lifts others up. I really don't know how to correct the imbalance but I'm trying to work on it. I know the first step to solving any problem is to isolate it and the second is to discuss it. So, if this interests you at all, let's talk about it. I'd be happy to hear what you think, even if you think I'm full of shit.

Ground and pound

After two days of Bar prep. class I have to say that I think Barbri knows what they're doing. During the first lecture, which was a shortened session about how to take the test, Bar prep. was likened to marathon training. Start slow, build your pace, increase the distance and add time and effort, which strengthens your mental muscles.

While the first class held some important information, for us it was effortless, a good way to get us back in the classroom and used to being lectured again. Then we had two full-length lecture classes Thursday and Friday followed by a four-day Memorial Day weekend.

A friend told me that last year they started after Memorial Day and it makes me wonder if Barbri scheduled the classes to give us a half-week warmup to get stretched out before we dive deep in the law or if that's just the way the schedule worked out because of the test date.

The Barbri rep., Paul Ready, spoke to us between sessions, expanding on the marathon metaphor, and explained that for the first month we should be only studying about 6-8 hours a day, not worrying about memorization, and that we should have a day completely off. Ready specifically told us to keep living our lives for the first month. Although, on or about July 4th, we need to bump our studying up to 10-12 hours a day and go completely into Bar mode, become a memorizing machine, and shun our social life. He still stressed the importance of exercise and stress relief though.

Barbri seems to have teaching memorization down to a science. We had the same speaker, through a video, both days and the way he taught was perfect for forced memorization and because the short week fits into their marathon metaphor.

He repeated everything multiple times, gave mnemonic devices, flailed his arms around and changed his tone repeatedly. His voice and tone were annoying as were his rapid successions of arm and body movements. BUT, these all made him effective. He reminded me an informercial pitchman in every possible way, skilled at breaking down something to its finer, basic points, then pouding them into your subconscious to be retrieved later if only accidentally.

Basically how the Bar prep. class works is we sit with a pre-written Barbri outline that has spaces to be filled. We listen to a three-part three-hour lecture and fill in the blanks. It reminds me of high school classes like history and biology, which makes sense because we were being taught to pass tests then too, not so much how to think. The speaker was great about making sure we knew exactly what we were supposed to fill in, as we are preparing our outlines to memorize later.

He was also adept at explaining how, as to order and exent, the Bar graders want us to answer. He broke each hypo answer into parts, giving the issue, the rule, the explanation of the law, the fact/rule analysis, the exceptions and finally the conclusion.

It seems that Barbri has done extensive research into make their program as efficient as possible using the ground and pound method of education, running the same three plays over and over gaining three and a third yards at a time. turning forward progress into first downs, first downs into momentum and momentum into touchdowns. This is going to be among the most redundant experiences of my entire life but at least the type of law changes every day.

First Lessons of Law School....Nothing I Say is Legal Advice

When we walked into law school, just under three years ago, they taught us a few lessons right away. My personal favorite is that "it depends." No matter what "it" happens to be, we are taught to respond, at least internally, that "it depends." While this technique is often used as a stalling tactic in order to give oneself time to think of an answer, the mantra has true philosophically practical use.

This phrase is a way of expressing how we need to think, how to examine a situation for as many angles as possible, to determine which facts determine the answer, to ask questions to find every hidden variable. "It depends" helped me see the spacious amount of grey that lay between black and white.

The other lesson they taught us is that we were not lawyers no matter how much we think we know, no matter how many classes we take, until we passed the bar. We were told not to give legal advice because we didn't have the right or the ability. Besides that, it could get us in trouble, pre-disbarred.

So if our friends asked us something about the law, we weren't to give them an answer as an attorney. We can talk about hypothetical situations but on no circumstances were we to instruct people on what they should do in a legal matter.

As a result, any time I talk about the law with a non-law student or non-lawyer, I proclaim this disclaimer, "Nothing I say is legal advice." So, anything you read here is just a student of the law's free-writing examinations. However, I'll try to do my best to explain what I can in order to increase general understanding of the law.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The First Enconter: A Borg in Training

My first taste of barbri Bar Prep come from BARBRI AMP. AMP stands for "Accelerated Memory Performance." I did one section and was bored out of my mind, although it seems to be reasonably effective at its state goal. This learning tool is a series of 27 multiple choice questions that are asked in sections of eight. At the end of each section AMP explains the answers you got wrong. Explanations for correct answers are also available, but I did not take advantage of this option.

(On a side note barbri seems to publish its name in either all caps or all lowercase letters. I don't understand when and how it uses each, so just know that is the explanation for this incosistency.)

In order to complete all 27 questions each must be answered correctly twice which is a bit redundant for me but I guess that's why it works. The problem for me is that once my brain recognizes that it has read something once, it switches to scan mode. I figure out which question is being asked, then I look for the answer that AMP previously told me was correct. I don't examine or think about what the question is asking or why. The second or third time through there is no deeper thought into the law than simply memorizing and matching an answer to a question. Maybe I'm just not doing it right. I should probably force myself to concentrate more on each question, but this becomes difficult when I have already answered correctly once. (I told you there would be whining.)

I guess this issue is my problem with the whole idea of memorization as a form of education. Memorization doesn't teach us to think. It doesn't teach us to be lawyers. It doesn't help us be proficient people or successful citizens. Memorization merely places listed information in the file cabinets of our brains to be regurgitated at a later date.

While much material must be memorized in order to understand general ideas, logging the files without understanding their contents is dangerous, in particular when it comes to law. While it is important to know what a law says, it is more important to know what the law means and why it was put in place. A law's goal, the policy, why the law exists, is more valuable to me than how the law is expressed on paper and I think our education should reflect this more often. However, it appears that for the next two months I must become a mindless drone absorbing information, black letter law to be squeezed out over a two-day span.

It's going to be a long summer.

An Introduction

I have spent the last few weeks celebrating my graduation from University of Missouri--Kansas City School of Law, resting, celebrating my brother's graduation from McKendree University, resting, reading and gearing up to study for two months straight.

The Missouri Bar Exam will be conducted in Jefferson City on July 24th and 25th. Yes, the Bar is a two-day standardized test and is composed of multiple choice questions and various types of essays. I. Can't. Wait.

The first day consists of the Missouri Performance Test. the multiple choice portion, and the Missouri Essay Exam. The second day is the Multistate Bar Exam which includes Multistate Performance Test and the Multistate Essay Exam.

The two major Bar prep. options are private companies, barbri and Kaplan. These companies compete each year to fill classes with prospective attorneys. They recruit students, who are rewarded with free prep. classes, as early as the 1L year to hastle and hustle their fellow classmates. They encouraged us to sign up early by consistently raising the price every semester. "Buy now or it'll cost you more later." I recommend playing the two off of each other in order to get a price reduction.

Class begins tomorrow and continues daily 9-12:30 including some Saturdays, a few of which go all day. I procrastinated in signing up. I procrastinated in getting my bar loan. I procrastinated paying the full amount in order to be fully registered, and now I don't have my books to be ready for the first day. Even now I sit here writing this post when I have online review questions to do in order to be ahead for next week. Maybe you see my problem.

This blog will be a diary or journal of my experiences preparing for the Missouri Bar through the barbri class. I'll probably be complaining in abundance about the general act of studying and how as my friend Josh Wiseman put it, "Memorization is the lowest form of education."

In addition to complaining, I'll be talking about the laws we study in order to help myself understand them so if I get anything wrong, please, enlighten me. I'll also try to discuss policy considerations that I find in our study materials but this too will likely be primarily complaints, with an attempt at philosophical examination. Debate, argument and corrections are welcome and encouraged.