In Memoriam: The Bar Exam

Me, at 4:30 PM this afternoon.

Yes, it's finally over. And yes, it's every bit as miserable as they say.

There are many awful, trying aspects to preparing for and taking the bar, but the countless generic hypotheticals you're given to practice are perhaps the worst. They're eminently forgettable, uninspiring, and--at least to me--a totally ineffective, inefficient way to try to learn. One fact pattern blurs into the next, and you forget which way you applied the rule the last time you saw something similar.

The solution? Learn the rules by tweaking fact patterns to reflect more meaningful stories. Because while you don't give a damn whether Farmer Fred squatted in Blackacre long enough to take possession, you might well want to know whether a Fightin' Farmer could claim title to DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium. If nothing else, it cures the monotony; my attention span is not made for this kind of sustained repetition.

Here, see what I mean:

(1)  After a football player was arrested for aggravated robbery, his teammate came to visit him in jail. The player told his teammate, "You need to go eliminate the kid who snitched on me." His teammate responded, "I will go kill him for you. Bitches deserve to get kicked!"

Later that night, the teammate took his gun over to the snitch's house and waited for him to return. Unaware of the teammate's presence, the snitch stumbled on his front porch as he returned home, falling and hitting his head. Believing that the snitch was unconscious, the teammate ran over to him and shot him twice in the chest.

Subsequently, a medical examiner determined that the snitch was already dead when the teammate shot him.

Which is the most serious crime for which the football player in jail could be convicted?

(A) Murder.
(B) Attempted murder.
(C) Conspiracy.
(D) Solicitation.

Needless to say, that fictional story stuck with me more than the original--about a generic woman hiring a generic hit man to kill her generic neighbor--ever would.

In celebration of this joyful day, after the jump is a small sample from the hypotheticals I reconstructed to prep for this exam. You may recognize a few. And while you're at it, you'd might as well see how well you know the law. Answers are at the end of the post.

(2)  Late at night, an opportunistic college student observed a star football player get in to his car and begin to drive. The student was in his own car following, hoping to learn where he lived, when suddenly the football player, who was distracted by texting while driving, swerved off the road and into the wall of an apartment complex. Sensing an opportunity, the student drew his gun and approached the car, but when he got to the door he saw that the player was slumped unconscious over the wheel. The student reached through the open driver's side window, grabbed the player's fancy cell phone, and began to walk away. When the student heard a police cruiser turn onto the street, he dropped the phone and ran off.

What is the most serious crime for which the student could be convicted?

(A) Robbery.
(B) Larceny.
(C) Attempted Robbery.
(D) Attempted larceny.

(3)  A fan lived across the street from the head coach of the university's basketball team. Disgusted by the team's end-of-season slump, the fan decided that he would try to run the coach out of town. The fan made a telephone call to the coach and said, "You are worthless and corrupt, and I know that you are illegally bribing those recruits who visit your house. The NCAA should investigate you and the university should fire you."  The head coach was very upset by what he heard.

If the head coach asserts a claim for defamation against the fan based on the telephone call, he will most likely

(A) succeed, because the fan's remarks constituted slander per se.
(B) succeed, because the head coach was genuinely upset by the fan's remarks.
(C) not succeed, because the fan's remarks were a matter of personal opinion rather than statement of fact.
(D) not succeed, because the resident's remarks were not published or communicated to anyone but the plaintiff.

(4)  A sports blog created and published a web advertisement that featured a model dressed as a cheerleader in chaps, standing in front of a distinctive silhouette pointing to the sky amidst a rain of confetti. In fact, the silhouette looked almost exactly like the star quarterback, and his famous pose after winning the national championship. The player silhouette was not identified in the ad, and his face was not shown in the advertisement. The blog published the advertisement without obtaining the famous quarterback's permission.

The quarterback sued the blog for economic loss only, based on common law misappropriation of the right of publicity. The blogger moved to dismiss the complaint.

Will the blogger's motion to dismiss the complaint be granted?

(A) Yes, because the quarterback is a public figure.
(B) Yes, because there was no mention of the quarterback's name in the ad.
(C) No, because there are sufficient indicia of the driver's identity to support a verdict of liability.
(D) Yes, because the driver did not claim any emotional or dignitary loss.

(5)  Upset about his son's lack of playing time, the father of a football player telephoned the coach repeatedly, accusing the coach of retaliating against his son. The previous week the coach had yelled at the player for eschewing a jock strap in favor of a lace thong, and ordered him into the team's training shed, where his lingerie would not be a distraction to the rest of the team. Unbeknownst to the player, the team trainer locked the shed for 30 minutes while the player was inside.  When the trainer realized the shed was occupied by the player, he unlocked the shed. When practice ended shortly thereafter, the player walked out of the shed and headed for the locker room.

In a suit against the university, the player is likely to have an action for

(A) false imprisonment.
(B) assault.
(C) battery.
(D) no cause of action.

And with that, I am done with this thing forever.... Or at least until February. God, let me be done forever...

Answers:  (1) B   (2) B   (3) D  (4) C   (5) D

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