Tag Archives: legal

February 2019 Bar Results are Coming Out!

5 Apr

Good luck to Everyone!


Some Latin Phrases Use in Law (A-D)

10 Jul

Latin Phrases for Law (A – C.jpg

If you failed the bar. . .

7 Apr

For anyone interested, I thought I’d mention a couple things I’ve learned from experience.

1. Studying for the Bar
Granted, I studied for the bar a couple years ago. But still, I think the way I studied for it worked out pretty well, and might help some of you. First, I was working for a law firm at the time and packing up for my move to China, so I had WAY limited time to study. I started by watching all of the Barbri videos and making a detailed outline (like 56 pages for one class, no lie). Which got me a great outline, but I didn’t really learn anything. I’m actually part visual part kinesthetic learner, so just hearing someone talk about it does absolutely NOTHING for me. So I changed my approach about 6-7 weeks before the exam. I started with the legal SPARKCHARTS. They are awesome, amazing, and all things good. They contained all the basics of what I needed to know, a great foundation. So I spent about a week learning them by heart for all the subjects on the test – MBE or Essay (I think there were 2 that it didn’t include — UCC and Commercial Papers). Once I understood the basics, I followed up with Emanuel’s books. I started with the brief outline at the beginning, filling in the gaps in my foundation. Again I spent about 3 weeks making sure those were well memorized. I just went over them, and over them. For the next 2 weeks, I studied the more in-depth reviews. Adding the odd exceptions in here and there where I needed them. If I were you, I’d probably try to spend more than 4 weeks on exceptions if that’s where you get stuck a lot. I just didn’t have time. I spent about 2 days reviewing the Barbri outlines. By this point, I actually knew most of the stuff in those outlines, but there were a few things Emanuel and Sparcharts hadn’t covered, so I’m glad I did the review. Finally, the last few days before the exam, I just did questions. Questions from Emanuel, Questions from the Barbri books. I did questions over and over and over. When I took the exam, my essays were my lower score (UCC and Commercial Papers showed up, so that sucked). But I still passed!

2. I didn’t do any practice essays. Once I figured out the MPT it was a piece of cake. That was actually really easy for me. I didn’t have to know about the law – I just had to write a good essay. For that, I would read the question – write down all the laws. Then I would re-read the question and add all the facts under each law. Then I spent a little time (10 min. or so) writing an Introduction and Conclusion. Last I spent a little time making sure my law and facts actually formed complete sentences in a logical pattern. This gave me the intro, each law was a paragraph, and a conclusion. For the other essays, I figured I knew how to do a good essay. I always get top scores on essay writing in general, and as long as I knew the law I knew I could do the essay. This turned out to be true for me. I know a lot of people who aren’t as good at writing or who go blank on essays who need to write the essays. I’d say that’s up to your study style.

3. For Civil Procedure, I found that making an outline wasn’t helpful since I’m so visual / kinesthetic. So I took out giant poster-boards and used colored markers to make charts. I showed with different colors all the “If yes x” and “If no y” and made a map. It really helped me to see how things were connected and the flow of thought.

4. I’ve since become a law professor and found some other ways that helped me learn the law. The first is to make powerpoints for each subject. Pretend you are teaching students who cannot speak the language and have no background. Then create a powerpoint slide for each rule. It forces you to simply and make the connections more easily. Breaks everything down. Then allows you to re-organize the flow of the slides into something logical pattern that works for you. The second thing I find helpful is making up your own questions. Instead of just answering questions from other people, as you learn a rule and/or exception try creating your own multiple choice question on it with a fact pattern. You’ll find it’s more difficult, but it also gets you thinking how the Bar Testers think. I’ve found going back and reviewing the Barbri books and stuff that some of the questions I create for my students are basically the same as those they ask. But because I created it, I remember it better.

5. Don’t forget there are plenty of jobs you can do even without the bar exam. I know some people who fail it once, are quick to pass it the second time. But a lot of people struggle with test anxiety or other problems that keep them from getting over that hump. A lot of us simply cannot afford to keep taking it. Or maybe you figure out that anything this difficult or boring (after studying it forever, it gets boring) isn’t something you really want to do. There are lots of other options available. Some of my friends have gone on to become Court Clerks, Paralegals, School Librarians, University Department Heads, Government Teachers, Social Sciences Teacher, Legal English Teachers, and more. You can teach legal studies to undergraduates and the like. Others went back to school, got an alternative masters, and did something else. Or they became CPAs or Auditors or Business professionals. You can become a writer – did you know many of the crime shows are written by ex-criminal law lawyers? It’s because they can see the story and how it developed. I passed the bar exam, but knew really quickly that it wasn’t where I wanted my life to go. I went to law school to study Cultural Heritage Law. I had NO interest in being a family lawyer (tried that, got a corrupt / chauvinistic judge), criminal lawyer (tried that, got abused, called all hours of the night, and was never paid by the clients), guardian ad litem (tried that, saw more corrupt cops and judges and got depressed being around all the abusive families). You see a pattern? Let’s just say it wasn’t my cup of tea. That’s why I’m now a law and business professor in Asia. I teach international students and I love it! I use what I learned in school and work hard, but I get good pay and fine vacations. The students are a lot more fun to work with, and I get to travel around. I’m not telling you not to try to take the bar again, just know that you have options if you decide it isn’t what you want to do. Even if you passed, but aren’t looking forward to the normal line of work.

As my students say, “Fighting!”

#LawSchool ~ Ruining #Books since Forever

25 Feb


How Law School Ruins Your Life #3billion – You suddenly realize that every great library in movies is actually filled with law books (you can tell from the bindings). And suddenly the library seems just a little bit less fun and more like school 0_0 SADNESS!!!



#LawSchool and #BarExam Study Aids!

17 Feb


A few people have asked me for a list of resources for studying. For those of you still in Law school, still studying for the bar, or who need to try again, I tried putting together a comprehensive list (sorted Alphabetically and by Series) of the best Study Guides for the bar based on what I used, what my friends recommended, and what other lawyers I’ve spoken with advised. I’ve used all of these, and I think they really helped me with both Law School itself and the bar exam.  In fact, If I were taking the exam in again (eg in different state), I’d probably use Sparkcharts and Emanuel all by themselves.  You can find the list HERE (or click on one of the images below).




I’ve Met This Judge!

27 Nov


Art Forgery Trial Asks: Were Dealers Duped, Or Did They Turn A Blind Eye?

11 Feb

“Art Forgery Trial Asks: Were Dealers Duped, Or Did They Turn A Blind Eye?”

by Joel Rose via “NPR

The Knoedler & Company art gallery, shown here in 2010, had been in business  since before the Civil War. The gallery permanently closed its doors in 2011.

The New York art world was shocked when the city’s oldest gallery abruptly closed its doors more than four years ago. A few days later, news broke that Knoedler & Company was accused of selling paintings it now admits were forgeries for millions of dollars each. The gallery and its former president face several lawsuits by angry collectors and the first trial began this week.

The forgeries at the center of the scandal look like masterpieces by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and other prominent abstract expressionists. They were good enough to fool experts, and even Ann Freedman, then-president of Knoedler & Company, says she was duped.

Her lawyer, Luke Nikas, says, “Ann Freedman believed in these paintings. She showed them to the whole art world. She showed them to experts. And she has piles and piles of letters from all of these experts informing her that the works are real.”

Nikas says Freedman even bought some of the paintings for her own personal collection. But the plaintiffs in this case and other pending lawsuits say Freedman overlooked glaring problems with the paintings’ backstories. The art dealer who sold the paintings to the gallery, a woman named Glafira Rosales, pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering charges in 2013. According to Freedman, Rosales told an elaborate story involving a European collector (known only as “Mr. X”) who bought the paintings with cash in the 1950s, when he was having an affair with an assistant at two top New York galleries.

“It’s quite a tale, and people bought it,” says Amy Adler, who teaches art law at New York University. “I suppose the temptation would be there — not just for buyers, but, yes, even for sellers — to think they’d happened upon these magnificent, undisclosed masterpieces.”

In the end, Rosales admitted to selling Knoedler 40 counterfeit paintings over more than a decade. The plaintiffs argue that Freedman knew — or at least should have known — that something was amiss. It’s hardly the first time an art dealer has been accused of deliberately looking the other way.

Ken Perenyi is a professional art forger who wrote about his career in the book Caveat Emptor. “From over 30 years’ experience with art dealers,” he says, “I would say there most certainly are individuals out there in the trade that will turn a blind eye.” . . .


Copyright v. Trademark v. Patent

22 Jun

abstract art idea

“The Sleeping Virtue” by MissNickiPink

To Be in Copyright or Not To Be in Copyright. . . That is the Question.

Here in China, I’m currently teaching my darling students Business Law, which includes a healthy dose of Art and Cultural Heritage law surprisingly enough.  Although, if you think about it, Businesses deal in Art and Words as much as anyone–and I’ve discovered the rules for them are often similar to those for individual artists.  

But one of the most basic questions my students get stumped with is what is the different between a copyright, trademark, and patent?  Many of them have created their own companies on the side and are trying to figure out how to protect their resources.  

Lawyers like to throw around those words like they mean something, but it’s a big pile of nothing for anyone else.  Still, many of your rights and protections are caught up in the relevant Copyright, Trademark, or Patent. So if you want to adequately protect yourself (in business or in art), you need to know what to do and what laws are on your side.  

As I help my students, I thought I would share some information here as well.  I’m teaching basic overview of the law, so this is all simple information 🙂  Please Note: This is not intended to be Legal Advice! Every situation is different, and if you have a situation you need to speak with your own Attorney! Continue reading

When the State Drops The Ball

6 May

I just received an update from my Young Lawyers Division – Iowa’s House has (apparently without much warning) approved a bill that drops the salary of lawyers doing criminal defense work for the state – from $60/hr to $25/hr. (See  SF 497).

For those unfamiliar with the legal system of America, the 6th Amendment states that criminal defendants (people accused of a crime) have the right to an attorney. 

You’ve heard the Miranda Rights given on TV – “You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you.”  Good old Law & Order, coming through once again!

So, if you have the right to an attorney but a serious lack of money, who does this “providing of lawyers”? — In short, the state courts do.  

There are a whole series of lawyers who take on work from the state defending the accused criminals who cannot afford a lawyer on their own.  These lawyers are often young, self-employed, looking for experience, and desperate for money to pay the bills until they get a job with an official firm. 

It is with this understanding that the problem with the salary decrease become apparent.  These lawyers already have a hard time affording the legal costs at $60/hr.  

Last year, I worked with a Solo Practitioner doing this type of work for the state.  The costs (gas, printing, filing fees, travel costs, lost profits, etc.) for the lawyers are ridiculously high in comparison with the salary.  Even at $60/hr, it is a struggle to make more than they spend doing the job.

Of course, the courts also have a maximum on the number of hours you can claim in the end, and that standard was consistently far lower than the time actually spent preparing and defending the case.  So, that same $60 (or $25 at the new rate) actually spreads out over more than an hour. It all adds up to a pretty penny.

Lawyers were already vastly unhappy with the 60$ an hour salary, and there has been significant clamoring for a raise for some time.  Instead, the House has gone the opposite direction. 

As someone with experience in this type of law, let me say, $25/hr isn’t going to come even close to cutting it. There is no way that will pay for all the losses the lawyers experience in doing the work. 

Naturally, the first response for the lawyers would be to refuse this type of work in the future.

Ah, but here we have a more significant problem – at what point is the State interfering with the 6th Amendment rights and Due Process?  By decreasing the salary so much that no one can afford to take on the work, they have taken away the lawyers for the criminal defendants.

The future in this situation is easily predictable – this would go one of three ways.  Naturally, as lawyers stop taking on the work, there will eventually come a time where there are not enough lawyers to handle the work-load.  Now, 1) the state will have to raise the salary to entice lawyers back, making the new bill pointless;  2) the state will have to set aside the defendant’s right to an attorney and begin holding trials without lawyers present (setting a frightening precedent); or 3) the state will have to  drag things out until the 1-2 lawyers who do this out of their own kind hearts have time to show up.  

Why do we even have this right to due process and a lawyer in the first place? As I told my Business Law students recently, there is a significant risk inherent in the criminal law system. A state-based judge handling a case brought by a state-attorney in the name of the state/local police = a criminal trial.  And the only person in this system that doesn’t know what the rules are or how to adequately handle the process is the defendant who’s life, liberty, and money are on the line.  

How is that fair in any way, shape, or form? Even my ESL students knew this answer – It’s not.  It’s a breeding ground for bad trials and problem of bias and corruption.  Thus, the law gives the defendant the right to an attorney. The right to a trained legal expert who knows what’s going on and what is the best defense to give. The right to someone there on your side, making sure the system is as fair as it can be.

By risking the possibility that lawyers won’t take on this kind of work, the State is risking the fact that the system isn’t going to work anymore. No lawyers means no right to an attorney. No right to an attorney means that an unprepared defendant is facing down highly trained legal experts from the state in a state-based trial system. It’s a situation just asking for inefficiency and unfair decisions to abound.  

Lawyers aren’t asking the state to pay out a fortune for this type of work, but neither can they afford to do the work when it costs more than they make.  Especially, the young solo practitioners who traditionally take on this type of work. It simply isn’t feasible.  $400/hr is not necessary, but enough to cover costs is.  And $25/hr simply isn’t it.




25 Feb

from BitterLawyer

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