Category Archives: IRAC

Bar Exam Success Commandment 4: I Will Give You Actual Confidence (to Identify Issues Without Issue Spotting)

The angel on your shoulder whispers to you as you hallucinate from studying… Don’t cry, you’re going to be a fine lawyer… You’re a good person no matter what… Life is short, just YOLO it…

Screw you, it doesn’t matter even if you never appear again! We’re trying to pass the bar here!


This is the last of a four-part series on what I think are fundamental study strategies, whether you’re a first timer or a repeater. They are fundamental in that they are important concepts that I focused on that made a difference in my second attempt, but you can tailor the concepts to your own needs.

Part 03 Options If You Failed the Bar
Part 1Why Doesn’t Batman Kill the Joker?
Part 2Time to Apologize to Math Now (and Improve Your MBE Score)

As mentioned at the end of Part 3: How to Exploit Scarcity on the Bar (and Improve Your Essays), recall that you can still salvage partial credit for incomplete rules and application. But without identifying the right issues, you get zero credit for those unraised issues.

I mentioned the WHAT (identifying issues) and said I would tell you the HOW (to systematize that mystical process).  We try not to use the s-word (“spotting”) around here. We don’t randomly “spot” issues that we happen to catch in the stream of facts.

This was actually one of the biggest game-changing insights I had for my second time.


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Bar Exam Success Commandment 3: How to Exploit Scarcity (and Improve Your Bar Essays)

Tell me, what is the true scarcity of this world? What expires constantly, is radically limited, and grants influence?

Money? It’s in demand, but you can always make more.

How about time? You can buy back your time to do what matters more. Hire a maid instead of cleaning, get takeout instead of cooking, or get Magicsheets & Approsheets instead of painstakingly recreating condensed outlines and essay attack sheets.

Yes, it must be milk! Well, if you switch to organic milk, it does last a lot longer and make you look health-chic (though organic milk isn’t any more nutritious than conventional milk).

All close but not quite what I’m thinking of. My answer would be…! Well, read on to find out how you can use this scarcity principle to give yourself an edge on the written portions of the bar exam.

Oh, and if you were planning on reading this article to your kids as a bedtime story, you might want to shelve this one for later because of aggressive langua—sigh, just leave if you care more about that than maybe learning something useful out of this. There’s a lot to take notes on today.

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How to Apply Rules with IRAC: It Rubs the Lotion on Its Skin

When I hear the word “apply,” I think of lathering a lotion onto my arm. I can feel my pristine skin doubting whether this inferior substitute for smoothness is going to serve any purpose.

Of course, I’m incapable of shifting my thoughts away from the bar for too long. The nightmare is never over. So I start to think about how the lotion is the rule and my skin is the facts. My skin acquires a flowery smell, maybe even nominal protection from certain forms of ultraviolet light waves. The outcome is a beautiful result, unlike the jumble of facts given by the bar examiners.

On bar week, you’re the away team. When the proctor monotonously instructs you, “It rubs the rules on its facts,” you’d better do just that, lest you be hosed like Brazil in World Cup 2014 (this was relevant at the time of writing). Put away the picture of your loved one. Only death and other serious medical conditions can save you now.

Continue reading How to Apply Rules with IRAC: It Rubs the Lotion on Its Skin