If you’re like me, you’re cautious about taking advice from a stranger, particularly online. Do yourself a HUGE favor—this time, ignore that otherwise well-intentioned instinct and listen up.
If you were unsuccessful on the California Bar, the best thing you’ve done since learning that unfortunate result is you found Steven Harris.
If you have not yet taken the California Bar, the smartest thing you could possibly do, before anything else, is hire Steven Harris. Think of the California Bar like the Olympics—an ultimate competition that you do not want to lose. You worked your heart out in law school, you’ve made it this far, and you’re not going home without a win, amiright?
Now, having set that goal for yourself, you simply cannot show up on day one of your big race without having completed a proper training and conditioning program. To win, of course, your body and mind must be dialed in. But, as we know of every athlete who properly prepared for an elite competition, they didn’t simply sign up at their local commercial gym for crowded, one-size-fits-all workout classes. A winning Olympian has a private coach.
And as you’d expect from someone who truly cares about their future success, Olympians are selective about who they hire. They want the best of the best to ensure they don’t waste their time, energy, and resources on the wrong person. They seek a coach who knows his craft inside and out, one with a proven training system, and one they can trust to stand behind them through every step of the arduous journey to Olympic glory. The ideal choice is a coach who’s been there, done that, and devoted himself and his coaching career to understanding and analyzing every facet of the sport in which he’s an expert. The right pick is a coach who will guide them in every way toward being prepared for those high-stakes moments in competition that will mean victory or defeat.
The good news for you is you’ve found the only person you should consider to coach you to victory on the Bar: Steven Harris.
You can trust me because I know the difference between studying with and without Steven. Like many of you, I too tried the big commercial prep company, and it didn’t work for me either. Its cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach worked for some, and good for them. But I knew after I failed that I needed a fresh start and new approach if I was to succeed on my second attempt.
And having passed on that second attempt, I can personally attest that Steven’s approach not only works, but it also works better. Here are five important reasons why:
Attention on YOU. From day one, Steven is focused on only one thing: your success on the next bar exam. To make that happen, he covers everything from A to Z that you need to know for, and about, the Bar. Every day is mapped out for you. Follow his regimen, read and re-read his feedback, and understand and apply the formulas, writing style, and essay structures that he teaches you. These things are necessary for you to pass. At the same time, he’s not your parent, so he won’t hold your hand, or punish you if you don’t do what he assigns. He’s your coach. This means you’ll get from his program whatever you put into it. So, bring maturity, responsibility, focus, and work ethic, and let Steven and his one-of-a-kind program do the rest.
A practical approach. Like most sports, success on the California Bar is all about the points (earning credit for what you write). The more points you have at the end, the more likely you’ve passed. Steven has spent years polishing his method for Bar success. The result of his energy, creativity, and organization is a system that is not only reliable, but also easily trackable and digestible. The commercial program I took felt like a “data dump.” I had a big stack of fancy books with pretty outlines inside, but there was something wrong with the content: its presentation and method were overwhelming and bloated. It wasn’t clear where to start or where to go next after a few steps. Let Steven simply and streamline it for you. The difference is he’ll help you understand how to approach a question with common sense, so you’ll spend the limited time you have discussing what the graders are actually looking for. During the exam, you don’t have time to write that model answer that the commercial guys gave you. You need to be practical. You need to think like a grader, not just an examinee. Steven will teach you how Bar graders think, and you’ll be glad he did because it makes a massive difference.
Custom, original study materials for the MBE. One of my weaknesses on my first attempt was the dreaded MBE. I fell into trap after trap, and afterwards, I was angry at myself for having done so. Unlike other private Bar tutors you may be considering, Steven created and developed a custom method for decoding the MBE, exposing its traps, and finding the right answers without delays or hiccups. In your prep this time—whether you’re lucky to get a spot in his private 1 on 1 program, or you’re trying another of his formats—at a minimum, be sure to use MBE Primers and Flowcharts. They’re game changers because they strip away the smoke, mirrors, and other dirty tricks of the MBE. Steven gives it to you plain, unlike the other guys who make you sort it out yourself. His original materials, along with tons of practice in applying what you learn from them, level the playing field on the MBE. You’re simply not going to get that anywhere else. My MBE scores improved dramatically by the end of Steven’s program such that on day two of the Bar, it was just another day at the office.
Learn to write PTs the right way. If you’ve substantively looked at other prep programs, or if, God forbid, you’ve read blogs or talked to your peers about this subject, then you’ve probably heard a variety of opinions about how to attack the PTs. This is dangerous because there are definite dos and don’ts for reading and writing PTs, and you need to learn them from the only reliable source: Steven Harris. Erase what you think you know or have heard about PTs. They are the most heavily weighted portions of the exam, so you can’t afford to do it any way but right. Worse, there are many ways to do them incorrectly. Not knowing what’s absolutely right and wrong may cost you the farm. While studying for and taking the Bar my first time, I didn’t struggle much with PTs. Even if you’re like me, Steven’s course will be immensely helpful because there is always room for improvement in this area, and even the small tweaks he’ll show you can make the difference between pass or fail, or otherwise widen your pass margin.
Master the mystery. Are you unsure what the graders are really looking for (beyond the basics)? Ever seen a tough essay in a subject you thought you knew pretty well, but were stumped on where to begin? Ever answer a practice question and think you nailed it, only to review the answer and realize you left out a few important sections that cost you a passing grade? Are you frustrated because you believe you studied hard last time, did your best, maybe even felt it went pretty well, but on results night, you were heartbroken? Here’s one reason why you may be experiencing one or more of these things: the Bar is not your typical exam because it’s not enough to just know the law—you also need to know how to take the exam. But the Bar doesn’t publish its grading criteria, or release rubrics, cut sheets, or issue spotting guidelines for examinees. And remember, unlike what Commercial Prep Co. will tell you, you can’t endeavor to write one of their model answers—you will run out of time and fail. Instead, the solution is to hack the exam and master the mystery. Conveniently, Steven has already done this for you. Just like any skilled hacker, he has studied and hyper-analyzed every California Bar exam question and sample answer in the last several decades. He reverse engineered them, took them apart down to their micro elements, then put them back together. He’s like the elite car mechanic who didn’t just open his own shop claiming he can fix cars; he spent years building them from the ground up, one piece at a time, without directions or manuals. He gets it, period. And with his help, you’ll you get it too. He answered every one of my questions about how to take the exam, and unlike the other guys, his answers were clear and made sense. When you’re done with his program, the Bar exam will no longer be a mystery. It will still be a challenge, but one you can beat.
After completing Steven’s program, I sat down on the first day of the Bar feeling confident and comfortable. I was amazed I felt so calm and present, and so unlike many of the frantic, anxious, worried examinees I observed around me. I felt the complete opposite from day one of my first attempt. The difference this time was that I knew I could do it because I knew I had trained and prepared properly. Part of me even enjoyed the second experience because on the essays and PTs, I knew how to start and finish each one. That was a great feeling. And believe me, that feeling is priceless. It was then that I knew every minute I spent studying was worthwhile. This occurred to me particularly when I turned to the Evidence question on the last day. Before, Evidence essays felt daunting especially given the exam’s time constraints. That changed with Steven’s Evidence Boilerplate in WINNIN’ TIME!, which proved to be invaluable. By Day 3, I was fatigued and fighting to stay focused. But when I saw the Evidence question, I got a second wind because it was rote, and I knew I could pass. I executed the plan and passed the exam.
You know studying for the Bar the right way will not be fun. But if you commit yourself, follow Steven’s methods, and practice and practice more, you can and will pass. And ya’ never know, you might even enjoy it (a little) since you’ll be as prepared as possible.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re ready to earn your California Bar license, then take your seat and follow Steven’s program. You’ll be glad you took this stranger’s advice. – D.S., Esq., passed the February 2016 California Bar Examination