Tag Archives: Review

Bar Exam: MBE Review

25 Feb

MBE (1:30-4:45) on Day 2

Okay. . . this was MUCH worse than I had hoped.  We had one hour for lunch and then we went through the same intro process again.  FYI, to go to the restroom, you have to raise your hand, hide your test in Examsoft, put your files at the front, and go one at a time. Once again they give you all of the questions at once for the exam. All together you have 3 hours to do 6 essay questions.  They can cover any number of topics; the list is fairly broad. I was a little upset on this one–it seemed like almost everything showed up.  It seemed like most of the questions were on obscure subjects from the law.  Not my favorite exam; I definitely was prepared less for this than for the MPT.

I’ll go on the record with saying that I was unaware of the answer to the first 4 essays at all. I had to get to Question 5 before I recognized anything.  But it wasn’t that bad. If you read through the questions and think about what problem they are suggesting arises, you’ll hit quite a few points even if you lack the law. Think back to the original principles!

Best Method of Answering

Read all the questions (not the facts), and guess where the essay is going to fall. Then approach your best ones with 30 minutes each. Then hit up the harder ones with 20 minutes each. This leaves you time at the end to pick and choose which ones to flesh out. Honestly, you write a lot less than  you think from the practice exams. The questions are 1-1 & 1/2 pages, so reading can take a while.  Don’t bother with code sections; just run with what you have. If you don’t know the answer, go with common sense.  WATCH YOUR TIME

Ease Measure: Very Difficult

Bar Exam: MPT Review

25 Feb

MPT (9:00-12:10) on Day 2

Definitely not as bad as I was afraid of.  We arrived for the morning section and filled out the little signature cards. The room opened at 8:30 for those with laptops, so I went ahead and set up.  They gave out the instructions and began; don’t forget that by the time they finish instructions, you will be starting a little late.

The MPT rules explain the many different ways that the exam can be structured; however there is a general format. Traditionally, there will be two parts–the file and the library. The file has the facts; the Library has the law.  This is just a test on your writing skills; can you write an intelligent, well-thought response to the question. The questions come in many forms, and often a rarer form is thrown in to trip you up.  But it seems from the state’s list of “percentage likelihood that something shows up” information that some form of brief or memorandum are the most common.  The law can contain cases or code sections; often one of each. Each document has something worth noticing.  The facts will have a short summary with the question, followed by supporting documents.

One came with instructions on the layout of the test, but the other did not. In general, I’d say remember to always add the To, From, Date, RE section.  DON’T FORGET THAT YOU DO NOT USE YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW.  Any statutes will be provided; it is set in a fake jurisdiction.

Best Method of Answering

My recommendation is to start with the law.  Type it up verbatim on your computer along with citations.  Then read the call of the questions. Lay out the law out in the pattern of the issues raised in the questions.  Then fill it in with facts as you read about them. Save 5 minutes for smoothing out the sentences.

Easy Measure: Very Easy

Bar Exam Review: Orientation

24 Feb

Woot! Day 1 of the Bar Exam is officially over!

As most of you already know, I’m taking the Iowa Bar Exam. It’s officially scheduled for the 24th through the 26th, but day one is just orientation. They required that we arrive by 12:45, and then orientation started at 1:00.  I kind of expected more of a meet & greet, but it was actually just rules and regulations.

I arrived a little early, and there was a lovely group of girls waiting around. We all chatted about the exam and our strengths/weaknesses. Amusingly, we were all dreading the essays, but on different subjects. I freely admit that BA is worrying me a bit. I rock at contracts, but BA is a little weaker right now.  Still, rumor has it that Family Law is the most common arrival, so I’ll be preparing extra for that one in review tonight. 

Upon entering the room, it was pretty packed. Apparently there is enough space for us all to be together taking the MBE, but I think it’ll be around 80-120 students?  I’m kind of a bad judge on that stuff.  

Upon arrival, they went through three different speakers. Two were mostly motivational speakers; telling us to eat and quit stressing. They only took up about 15 minutes. The third went over all of the rules–what to bring (pencils, highlighter, wallet); what not to bring (anything electronic; bags; purses; hoodies; mechanical pencils); when to arrive (30 minutes for laptopers; 15 for handwritten exams).  That took another 20 minutes, and really covered the material in the pamphlet sent to us in the mail.  Funny how they trust us to pass an exam, but not to read the directions.  

The worst & most tedious was registration.  They went row by row, and I was at the back, so I waiting another 30 minutes. You had to have 2 forms of identification, including one with a picture.  They handed each of us a small white post-card with a number on it. That is our ticket; required for each exam.  Apparently, tomorrow we’ll have to sign another card upon arrival and bring both into the room with us.

That really was the end. All in all, it took an hour and was pretty boring.  Still nice to meet people! Saw some from Florida and Minnesota getting their second bar licenses, and some 10 year grads just getting their first. 

 

 

Bar Exam Arrival

24 Feb

Lafayette I am here!  I was a little worried about getting here in the first place, with all the snow that keeps dropping on us. I’m getting a little tired of promises for no snow and sunny skies, then 6 inches in a neat pile 😛  Anyway, we got a pretty strongly worded warning this past week about anyone who fails to arrive on the basis of weather excuses. Apparently if you miss due to weather, they “will in fact be reporting your absence to any other bar you attempt to take, and it will have negative connotations.”  I kid you not. . . They’re just lucky no one died trying to drive in dangerous conditions just to save their career. Surely there is liability somewhere in there?

Anyway, we arrived safely!  Apparently that was a godsend, since I found out where I arrived that the vehicle was “unfit” for driving!  Talk about a stressor; the mechanics failed to tighten the lug nuts last time they rotated the tires and it ruined 4 tires, a rim, and the sensor.  Not the happiest of moments 🙂 The wheels are so bad, that the new mechanic said it was technically illegal to drive on them.  Who knew there was a law about that?  This doesn’t bode well for the test! 😛

Airline Reviews: American Airlines

20 Feb

This one was SERIOUSLY NOT GOOD!

Date:

2013

Airline: 

American Airlines (AA)–Domestic (1 flight).  

Plane:

Boeing 737

Pre-flight Interactions:

This is where everything went VERY wrong on the part of American Airlines.  I ordered the tickets via CheapTickets.com, so the process was fairly simple.  They didn’t show up on the AA list before my flight though, so I had to have the email confirmation in hand.

MAJOR PROBLEM:

I was coming in from Seoul, South Korea and originally planned a three hour changeover from Korean Air international to a domestic American Airlines flight at LAX.   When the Korean Air flight had to go north to avoid a pretty large storm, it changed my changeover window to 1.5 hours. 

Still, according to the airline website, you need to arrive about 1-1.5 hours ahead of time for a domestic flight anyway, so I wasn’t actually late at all.  Since AA had access to my itinerary and the flight records, they would have known that my planed would arrive in time.  Figuring everything was okay, I showed up at the check-in counter only to be told I’m not on the flight list.  You can imagine the trauma that brought forth–my bags were scheduled to be put on the plane, my family was waiting on the other end for me to arrive, and suddenly I’m not there.  

Immediately I start asking questions; I had the confirmation number, I had the itinerary, I was on top of things. So what the heck went wrong?  I was shuffled off to a customer service kiosk,fwhere I waited in line 10 minutes trying to explain to VERY RUDE employees that I was now in a hurry.  They told me to just “wait my turn young lady” (very condescending btw), and then informed me that I had been deleted from the system. It wasn’t an accident at all–AA deleted me on purpose. Unable to answer my questions or resolve the issue, they sent me across the building to another kiosk with less than 45 minutes remaining before my plane left. After another 10 minute wait, I’m told that since my flight was late, they  had removed me from the roster. LATE?!?!?!  Since when?!?!?  I had a whole hour (as recommended by their directions) before I was supposed to leave on the AA plane! The only reason I was late now is because someone took me off the roster!  I was FURIOUS with them; they had no right to give away my seat when I showed up on time according to their own guidelines.   Finally, they said they thought they might be able to slide me in last minute, but I’d have to run and I wouldn’t get the seat I’d chosen. I was left with 20 minutes to get through security and run to the gate.  No apologies were offered, no discount, nothing to make up for the stress.  I arrived as the last people got on. While I made it onto the flight, this is one of the worst examples of service I have seen with an airline.

Baggage Allowance:

First/Business Class customers get 3 free checked bags all the time, but it differs for economy depending on your destination. You can find all the rules here, but generally you get a personal item (I always make it a backpack because it counts as a purse but is bigger) and a carry-on.  If you want a checked bag, they cost around $30 each for the first 2. I prefer airlines with at least 1 free checked bag.

Boarding:

Yet again of the bad.  I arrived at the desk rushing up to ask if I had been added or not, and was yelled at because “you should have been here earlier, we’re boarding now, so you need to hurry up if you want to board”  (not the most polite response I’ve ever gotten).  Realizing that if I wasn’t on the flight, my bags might not be on the flight I attempted to ask about my luggage. Their response “Ma’am you need to get in line now.” Finally, I was obviously upset and a lovely cleaner woman stopped and asked if I was okay. After explaining my problem, she patted me on the shoulder and hurried off to stop the pilot walking by. She brought him over and he informed me that it should be okay (Thank you both if you read this; you saved me a great deal of grief).

In Flight:

I’ve yet to be impressed with AA flight attendants–their concept of customer service is one of the worst I’ve experienced. Food is horrid and there is little of it; drinks are hard to come by. There are few amenities, and the only entertainment was a tiny tv at the front that you couldn’t really see and the microphones were broken.  Trying to sleep didn’t work because the flight was cramped; and I ended up crushed in the middle when I wanted an aisle seat.  We still arrived late.

Only positive–for the first time since I’ve been flying with them, the AA plane had a fairly smooth ride.

Luggage Retrieval:  

My luggage wasn’t where I was told, and no one was available to tell us where to go.  I was happy though to find out it arrived on the plane.

Overall Conclusions

HORRIBLEThis airline was extremely and unnecessarily problematic due to bad business  practice on the part of American Airlines.  Given the significant issue over my retracted ticket, I would have expected at the least helpful kindness and patience from their staff. That was not forthcoming.   I was also expected some kind of apology or reparations for my aggravation, and they acted like I was the problem and that I should be grateful they were working with me to fix it.  

For Comparison’s sake, I once arrived at a Korean Air flight check-in fifteen minutes before boarding.  They rushed me through check-in, grabbed my bags, and hurried me through to my flight with 2 minutes to spare. Plus, they were exceedingly polite in the process.  AA FAILED. I will avoid them in the future.

Airline Reviews: Korean Air

17 Feb

Date:

2012, 2013

Airline: 

Korean Air–International & Domestic (8 flights).  

Plane(s):

Airbus A330-200, Airbus A332 (no longer used?), Boeing 737Boeing 777-200.

Pre-flight Interactions:

I prefer ordering Korean Air tickets via Orbitz or other online systems because their website is fairly complicated.  One nice element is that it comes in a multitude of languages–English, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, etc.  It isn’t always so difficult to look up flights, but it can be difficult to compare them via their home site.  There isn’t a lot of explanation as to what exactly their “Skypass” does for you, although I’ve signed up since the beginning. As far as I can tell, it just gets me through the check-in a little easier because I can have everything easily accessible online.  They say that you can pre-check in via the web and just use their machine at the airport, but it has always failed for me.  I might be using it wrong or not qualifying, but the instructions are confusing.   It helps if you have ticket in hand, along with your itinerary, and your passport. That is enough for them to get started.

However, the personnel are amazing at their jobs. I can’t say that I have ever had a single complaint with them. Their English is superb, they get me through the lines quickly and efficiently, they have people standing around waiting to answer questions, and they are charming at it. They seem to have an unending line of patience because I can honestly say I’ve never seen the less than lovely.  For all that I stumbled through on my first couple flights, they were fabulous. They always verified that I knew what I was doing and where to go, they actively came around the counter and led me to where I needed to go next, and they even worked with me the day I was late for the flight check-in.  I can’t speak highly enough of their service.

Baggage Allowance:

The deal is that if you are flying internationally (and I often am), all airlines must honor the baggage requirements/allowance of the airline with the longest flight (if tickets are all bought together–not separately). I always try to get Korean Air’s baggage allowance if traveling.  

First/Business Class always get 3 free checked bags, but it differs for Prestige and Economy depending on the destination.  You can find all the rules here under At the Airport–>Baggage.  Generally, Prestige gets 2 bags, while Economy gets 2 bags for to/from America and 1 for anywhere else.  You also get a personal item (I always make it a backpack because it counts as a purse but is bigger) and a carry-on.   Small tip, if you are stopping in other countries during our trip, buy all the tickets at the same time as you purchase your flight back/from the US. It gets you the 2 bags instead of 1.

Boarding:

Amazing. There are always 2-3 people at the gate waiting to answer questions and handle problems.  They are extremely efficient at the process, working with children and the elderly first, then everyone else. Everyone is divided into groups and you just wait your turn, making the lines more manageable. The flight attendants greet you at the door, check your ticket, and direct you to your seat. If you need help (have kids, strollers, elderly, etc.) one of them will come with you to help you settle in.  They never complain about weirdly shaped baggage or oversized items; they simply gather them all up to be dealt with quietly.  Your seat already has the amenities there including a blanket, pillow, slippers, and water bottle.  They are eternally polite in getting everyone situated, it’s a smooth process that eases both adults and children.  

In Flight:

The best part about Korean Air is their customer service and amenities. Domestic is a little rougher because you don’t get the televisions or as many amenities, but I really appreciate having the water bottle already in hand.  They arrive quickly when the button is pressed, and return promptly with your requested items.  I once watched a flight attendants rock and walk a screaming baby for nearly an hour while the parents tried to sooth their other kids, and she acted like it was no big deal.  They serve drinks and food to First Class first of course, but they move quickly and you don’t have to wait too long. The food is generally amazing (cakes, puddings, salads, curry, baked chicken, etc.), and it is actually a full meal.  They offer soda, wine, water, juice, milk, etc. free generally, and usually come buy with snacks a couple of times. The seats are pretty well spaced with lots of leg room so I never feel crunched up (Domestic less so, but still better than AA), and they are comfy too.

By far the best part is the tv screens each chair has for international flights. They offer music (International, Korean, American, Country, radio, etc.), Television shows (European, American, Kdramas, comedies), Movies (dozens of films are always there including tons of kids films), tourism information, flight information, maps, even Video Games.  Kids are entertained for hours, and I rarely see any making a big fuss on these flights.  They can even compete together in the video games since the tvs connect for them.  Some have plug-ins for USB cables too, which is nice if you have an I-pod or laptop.

Then there is of course the flying. I have run into some very late flights with Korean Air, but we were avoid a big storm hitting Korea and China so it couldn’t be helped. They are very careful about safety measure, demonstrating the procedures in case of emergency. They always alert you when the seat belt lights come on and explain the issue. Generally there is also an apology.  They have been turbulent but not scary. It’s nice that the pilot comes out and thanks you as you walk off the plane too.

Luggage Retrieval:  

This usually goes pretty well. I had one flight where my luggage wasn’t where they told me, but I’m not sure whose fault that was. My suitcases ended up in first class, so I had to hunt to find them, and then they changed the location of retrieval which confused things. But my suitcases always made it back, and I’ve never had anything break.  

Overall Conclusions

I attempt to always get Korean Air if possible. To be honest, customer service is one of the most important things to me when choosing an airline; flying is stressful enough without having to deal with grouchy workers.  So, I particularly appreciate their customer service and amenities.  It helps that they sent me up to Business Class once after they had an opening and I slept at their feet the whole night before.  I was also touched by the flight attendants relating to me personally.  I once lost my boarding pass and the woman rushed all over helping me look and figuring out the process of what to do.  I spent several minutes talking to one flight attendant as we waited buckled in for take-off (storm delays)  with him describing everything I should see, talking about where I was from, etc.  He then caught back up and wished me a good trip when we were leaving.  That’s just how kind they are.  Flying Domestic is less fun because the planes are more cramped, older, and offer less entertainment, but it is still as nice as I’ve found elsewhere. 

The only negatives I see with Korean Air–They are almost always more expensive and I don’t understand enough about the Skypass for it to be doing me any good.  Also, my miles are going to expire before I reach the upgrade, and I’m within reach if I could just afford one more international flight 😦

Airline Reviews: American Airlines

16 Feb

I should have done this ages ago, but I kept finding other cool things to talk about.  So this is a tad late, but better late than never!  (And I’ll update it next time I have to fly with them).

Date:

2012

Airline: 

American Airlines (AA)–Domestic (2 flights).  

Plane:

Boeing 737

Pre-flight Interactions:

I ordered the tickets via Orbitz, so the process was fairly simple. My flight almost immediately appeared on the AA website as registered and confirmed.  The website is easy enough to use; I actually went ahead and registered a membership with the airline, which simplified things.  You have to keep either the “Record Number” or your AA number on hand if you want to look anything up though.  I did have to call them with questions, and I was less than pleased.   Although the questions were fairly simple (arrival times, baggage capacity), they redirected the calls several times and put me on hold repeatedly.  When I finally got someone, they were abrupt and short. Hung up  on me before I finished all my questions.  

Baggage Allowance:

The deal is that if you are flying internationally (and I was), all airlines must honor the baggage requirements/allowance of the airline with the longest flight (if tickets are all bought together–not separately). I flew AA across country and took Korean Air to Asia, allowing me to abide by Korean Air’s baggage allowance.  Still, the difference wouldn’t have been that significant.  

First/Business Class customers get 3 free checked bags all the time, but it differs for economy depending on your destination. You can find all the rules here, but generally you get a personal item (I always make it a backpack because it counts as a purse but is bigger), a carry-on, and 1-2 checked bags (flights to/from Brazil and Asia are 2; rest are generally 1).  This is pretty nice compared to other US airlines. 

Boarding:

Once again the flight attendants and staff were gruff and short with the customers.  They offered far too many sighs and rolling eyes.  They stalk the aisles snarling at people trying  to put stuff in the overhead, and pushing the customers out of their way.  You can’t ask questions or they act like it’s a huge burden. The first flight, they actually yelled at some people whose stuff wouldn’t fit.  I wasn’t much impressed either time.  No sense of customer service–it’s obviously a job they dislike.  

In Flight:

Still not terribly impressed with the service–it sucked both times.  The food was awful, the snacks were nuts and water.  The first time I had to ask for a water half-way through and was huffily/snottily told “We’re working on it, you’ll just have to wait!” It took nearly half-an-hour before I got anything. Kind of a problem when I was trying to take my medications.  Second flight a baby next to me started crying and the attendant ignored the mom when she asked for a blanket.  The baby had been asleep for forever before it actually showed up.  It was annoying because in the interim, we could see the flight attendants standing around drinking coffee and chatting.  The amenities on the plane aren’t very good either; I had to stick with my ipod. 

The flight itself sucked big time.  The plane was cramped, and we were all smashed against one another.  Plus, I understand that flights aren’t always smooth sailing, but both of these were heart-stoppingly scary. Once, the plane’s humming stopped and the plane actually fell quite a ways. Not like moving downwards deliberately, we literally came up out of our seats (with the belts on) and hit hard when it stopped.  Then pilot missed the landing twice and we had to circle around. Even when we made it, the landing was extremely bumpy. The guy next to me said he’s taken that flight dozens of times and it had never been that bad.  I could maybe have understood that, but they never reassured us or said anything about turbulence. A couple times the seat belt lights (which stayed on most of both trips) came on without warning or comment.  It was especially a problem after the whole plane dropping from the sky thing. I would have appreciated someone telling us that nothing was wrong with the plane.  I was late arriving both times.

Luggage Retrieval:  

This actually went pretty well. My luggage was where they said it was, and it was easy to grab and move.  Nothing was broken, and the cases came out of it okay. I have big suitcases that often end up on bottom, so it’s always a good thing when they survive the journey.

Overall Conclusions

This is definitely not my favorite airline to fly with.  The website/baggage allowance/other mechanics of the system were fine, but everything else was awful.  The flight attendants were rude at best, unkind and problematic at worst.  Their concept of customer service was non-existent, and it was obvious. The flights were too bumpy and nauseating–I’ve flown the same trip with other airlines and made it fine.  Overall, I was sick and unhappy when it was over and I would avoid them in the future.

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