What is LexBar?
LexBar is a self-paced online course that helps students prepare for the Virginia-specific (essay) section of the Virginia Bar Exam. The Course is designed to prepare students for the unique Virginia Essay Exam, which is administered on day 1 of the 2-day bar exam. LexBar does not prepare students for the MBE; the focus is entirely on the essays. The Essays are worth 60% of your cumulative score on the VBE and the MBE is worth 40%. However, scoring is different for attorneys who are only taking the essay exam (what the VBBE calls “option 3”) to gain admission in Virginia. In that case, your essay exam will be a raw score out of 100 points, and you must score at least 70 to pass.
Does your course replace more traditional bar review programs?
LexBar is designed to compliment your primary bar review program. Our course does not cover the MBE, except to the extent that some things tested on the Virginia-specific exam are also tested on the MBE. Our course does cover those “shared” topic areas, but is not designed to prepare you for the MBE.
Students who are sitting for both the MBE & Essay Exam usually take a full course from BARBRI, Kaplan, or Themis and use LexBar as an add-on to boost their Virginia-specific knowledge. This makes sense because in Virginia the essay exam is worth 60% of your final score. Our course can put you ahead of your peers in Virginia-specific knowledge.
Attorneys from other states who are seeking admission in Virginia by only taking the essay exam, will benefit from LexBar. The course is intended to reinforce your knowledge of the most important essay topics and teach you to connect the language examiners use in their questions to the rule required to answer the question. But you still need a separate source of black-letter law for your study and memorization. LexBar does not include full outlines of Virginia Law. See this post about the importance of memorizing black-letter law for the Virginia essay exam. You can get an outline from one of the major bar prep companies, or you can use past essay answers to pull out the black letter law for study and memorization.
I failed the Virginia Bar Exam; should I retake the MBE or only retake the essay portion?
This is an individualized decision, but I generally advise people who scored 137 or higher on the MBE not to retake it. This is especially true if their essay score was also in the 130’s. Many students can increase their essay score dramatically but their MBE score is relatively stable from attempt-to-attempt. But even if you enroll in LexBar, you will still need another source of Virginia law to study from as I described above. To help you make this decision, read this article about how the scoring works.
I am a licensed attorney taking only the Virginia Essay Exam. Will your course help?
Yes! LexBar is ideal for helping you learn the unique way that Virginia essays are written, and the way graders expect you to answer them. (Hint: Much of the generalized essay writing advice that is out there works for the MEE, but NOT for the Virginia Essay Exam. It is unique among all essays exams in the country). However, LexBar is designed to help you understand the way examiners expect you to answer but it is not a comprehensive course in Virginia Law. You must still have another source of state-specific Virginia law such as a Virginia outline or Virginia mini-review book from Barbri, Kaplan, or Themis. Your study strategy should be to focus on memorizing Virginia black-letter law and doing practice essays. Do not waste time studying MBE topics because, other than Federal Jurisdiction and UCC Article 2, Virginia primarily tests the unique distinctions in Virginia law. With only a couple of exceptions, the Virginia Essay test almost never covers federal law or model codes.
How long does it take to complete LexBar, and when should I start?
You should have a minimum of 14 days to complete our course. The course is entirely self-paced, but we recommend that you do no more than 1 lesson per day for the best retention of the material. You will have access to the course from the day you enroll until the day after your bar exam ends, regardless of how quickly or slowly you complete the lessons. Many students complete the course at a pace of 1 lesson per day in the two-weeks just before their bar exam, and that is the strategy we recommend for best results.
How does essay grading work?
As you work through the lessons in LexBar, most lessons will simply have you outline an answer to a practice essay and then self-grade your answer by watching our short video explanations of the correct answer. However, on three lessons there will be a place to upload a Microsoft Word document. On those three practice essays, you will write out a full answer and upload it online. Within 24 hours of uploading, one of our small team of Virginia lawyers will return your essay to you via email with substantive comments and a score.
Will you grade additional essays?
Most students do not need additional essays graded. Instead they need to invest more time memorizing Virginia law rather than writing out full essay answers. For some students we have, with an additional per-essay charge, graded additional practice essays. However, this is a service that most students do not need in order to be successful on the Virginia Bar Exam. If you think it would benefit you, please contact me and we can discuss the options.
How much does LexBar cost?
See the Registration Page.
What is included in the lessons?
- An online Concepts & Rules Quiz covering the lesson’s relevant rules
- A practice essay question for you to outline or answer
- A 6-12 minute video explanation of sample correct answers and essay structure
- A self-evaluation questionnaire that tracks your progress & highlights areas for improvement
Can I see what the lessons look like in your course?
Sure. Watch the video below:
What if I have questions or problems?
Just email me. I remain completely available to students taking my course, and am happy to discuss challenges or problems with them by email, telephone, or Skype. I strive to return all emails within 24 hours.
Any other questions? Feel free to contact me. I like to hear from bar studiers!
Ready? Go to the registration page to reserve your spot in LexBar Online Course.