I strongly recommend Steve Harris’ Tutoring Program. No matter where you are in your Bar preparation, or in life – whether this is your first, second, third, or 3+ time studying for the California Bar exam, working with Steve will ensure that you are adequately prepared to tackle the beast that is the Cal Bar.
I took a very atypical path to sitting for the Bar Exam in February 2014. I graduated from an Ivy League law school in 1997, passed the Arizona Bar, and practiced in Arizona for a couple of years. My husband and I relocated to California in 2002, and after taking a break from the work world to be a stay-at-home mom for my two daughters, I registered to take the California Bar exam in July 2007. My daughters were 6 and 3 at the time, and I was working full time at a non-legal job. I paid for a traditional bar course, but the program did not offer a lecture site (not even for video lecture) in my city, so I studied by listening to course lectures on an ipod; creating and reading outlines; writing practice essays and PTs, and taking MBE questions. By the time I received the news that I had failed the 2007 exam, I was working as a career law clerk for a federal judge. This position allowed me to do the intensive legal research and writing that I love, but of course, did not require me to have a California Bar license. Therefore, while I was certainly disappointed to have failed the exam, I was not motivated to retake it immediately. I figured I would cross that bridge when I came to it.
Well, fast forward 7 years, and I was suddenly faced with the necessity of having to take (and Pass) the California Bar. My position was coming to a close (due to a large job/life transition for my boss), and I would, once again, need to look for legal work in my small town with no California Bar license. In the past, the first thing ANY prospective employer asked (whether public, government, or private) was “have you taken the California Bar?” I knew there was no way around having to sit for the exam again. This time around, I was working full time in my court position, and I would again be studying with huge family demands (my husband also has a full time job, and we now have 3 children – 13, 10, and 2!) I knew that I would need something extra-special – something that would not just get me through the Bar exam, but would get me through with the feeling that I had really given it everything I could possibly give. That “extra-special” something was the Calweasel tutoring program.
I found the Calweasel website after doing an internet search for Cal Bar prep courses. I sent Steve an email, expressing my interest in the program, and we arranged a time to talk by phone. After speaking with Steve, I decided to sign up for his 3-month tutoring program. The program included Steve’s MBE-workshop; one-on-one tutoring sessions; a uniquely-tailored study calendar, and grading for both assigned essays (including assigned essays in every subject matter) and PTs. The tailored study calendar was particularly attractive to me, as Steve prepares the calendar taking each individual’s situation into account. The study calendar is rigorous and challenging, but also reasonable. Unlike many other bar study programs, Steve’s program is designed for maximum efficiency – i.e. you can rest assured that you are studying precisely what needs to be studied, at the time you need to be studying it.
Of course, the process was not “all roses.” Many times throughout the study period, I was beset with doubts (about my ability to maintain my stamina; learn what I needed to learn, and successfully apply what I’d learned in the high-pressure testing environment). Over email and by phone, Steve would, for the most part, alleviate my self-doubt. At the same time, Steve made clear that there was little room for doubt, because the bottom line was that when test time came around, the time for doubts and complaining was over, and you just needed to perform. Steve could be very tough, but he told me what I needed to hear to get me out of my slumps. One thing I repeatedly heard from him was “do you want to pass, or not?” I would often begin to respond with “yes, but . . .” Steve wouldn’t let me get the rest of the sentence out, repeating, “do you want to pass, or not?” That’s what I needed to hear.
The 3-days of testing was grueling, and by the time of the third and last day of testing, I was exhausted. When I saw the first essay question of the day was property (my weakest subject), my heart sank, but Steve’s training kicked in. I did a quick mental review of the property outline in Steve’s WINNIN’ TIME! book (which is an essential component of his memorization program), and got a sense of what, at minimum, I needed to get down on paper. I knew that what was needed was going to be substantial (there were three fairly in-depth calls of the question), and I knew I had to do all I could to get it written down in the allotted time. I also heard Steve’s voice saying “baby’s gotta finish!” which was Steve’s code for get in, write what you need to get the points, and get out. I did the best I could, and moved on to the next question.
Driving home from the exam site on Thursday evening, entirely unsure that I had done enough to pass, I at least had the comfort of knowing that because I had thoroughly committed to the program, I had done everything I possibly could to pass. Thankfully, that also translated into finding that my name was on the pass list on results day!
For anyone considering Calweasel Bar Tutorial for bar study, I recommend Steven Harris’ tutoring program without reservation. – Cita Torres, Esq., passed the February 2014 California Bar Examination