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US Bar Preparation Course: Student Stories

Our US Bar Preparation Course is a popular avenue to qualify as an attorney. We spoke to two of our students, who have recently completed the course and their exams, to learn more about their experiences.

By April Baniqued. Published 03 May 2024.

What inspired you to qualify as a US attorney?

Lisa Obeng (LO)

I decided to qualify as an attorney in the state of New York to further my dream of becoming an international lawyer and to be in a position where I would be able to defend Ghana in the courts of New York.

Harry Jarvis (HJ)

It was a personal goal that I had before starting my undergraduate degree and was further inspired after studying in the US during my third year. I had always been interested in international and comparative law and wanted to practice in an area that allow me to work across jurisdictions.

Why do you plan to practise as an attorney in New York?

LO

Firstly, New York is one of the major global legal hubs, and it’s increasingly being chosen by parties as the seat of their international arbitration disputes- an area in which I am developing expertise.

Secondly, New York is one of the many states that have adopted the UBE (Uniform Bar Exam). Scores attained in the UBE are transferrable to any UBE state. Thus, upon attaining a particular score in the UBE administered in New York, one can qualify as an attorney in New York, as well as in other states in the United States of America. I am in the process of qualifying as an attorney in the state of Washington, and I plan to be admitted by Motion to the District of Columbia Bar after three years.

HJ

I always planned to take the New York bar exam and eventually practise there. I had visited the state 4 or 5 times and after accepting an offer to move there for a year, it was the most logical choice. I also haven’t qualified as a solicitor yet so the NY bar was my only option at this time. Being able to transfer my score to other states also appealed to me.

Why did you choose to study with us?

LO

I was already familiar and impressed with the University, having undertaken courses offered by it in the past. The main thing that stood out to me when I was considering this course was its cost. I found it to be more affordable than what was offered by other providers, without sacrificing quality.

HJ

I was excited to see a bar prep course provider and a UK university join together to offer the course. The Themis course is very transparent about its pass rates and I found that most people using this course were happy with its quality. This together with having a tutor based in the UK that understood the challenge of being a foreign lawyer taking a US exam.

Also, although I had already studied some US law previously, the Themis/University course has some materials to help understand areas that are completely alien to those who have not studied US law previously. This is a lot easier than trying to complete a bar prep course designed for US students who have just finished their JD or LLM.

How was your learning experience?

LO

The course is virtual and learning is through self-study at one’s own pace or by following a guided pathway. This course has helped me develop my time-management and organisation skills, as I had to develop and stick to a personal study timetable to succeed.

The online platform is very comprehensive. It comprises texts, video lectures and past questions that I could use to test my knowledge on the topics that I had studied. All these factors helped me to effectively balance my studies and work as an attorney in Ghana.

HJ

The course is brilliant for helping you plan and lets you know if you are lagging behind. I learned how to organise my professional and personal life to allow me to focus on the course when needed but also give myself a break when I could.

The process also helped me understand how I learn and how I can maximise efficiency when given a massive amount of content and a tight deadline. Your organisation and memorisation skills will be challenged but I have now learned how to maximise both. Most tasks I face now seem far smaller and less daunting than before the course.

It’s also flexible and the lectures/exercises let you choose exactly when and how to study. Having a tutor to chat through the more practical steps took a lot of the stress off. My tutor helped me with filing for eligibility and has also been helpful with getting my paperwork together to file for admission. He was always available for a chat and reassured me through a sometimes-confusing process.

How did you find the US Bar Exam and how did the course prepare you for the exam?

LO

I found the exam challenging, but I was extremely prepared for it because of the comprehensive nature of the course materials and wonderful tutor support.

HJ

It was a two-day marathon that was unlike any exam I had ever done in my life. This being said it’s doable if you put in the work. The course will prepare you with everything that you need to pass the exam.

If you can get through the bulk of the material (75% is the recommended figure but I think I achieved somewhere around 60%) then you will have a very good shot at passing.

I’d recommend getting to grips with it early. Get the lectures and theory out of the way and research how the exam works. I typically spent 1-3 hours per evening studying from November to March and then upped this from April to July. The closer you get to exam day is when you need to cram as much information and practice as much as possible.

The course is great at giving tips on areas to prioritise and commonly tested areas. There is also a huge bank of mutliple choice questions (MCQs) that you can do online and on your phone which will be very similar to the questions in the exam.

 

If you're interested in taking the US Bar exam, find out more about how we can set you up for success with our prep course.