Committee Spotlight: Bar Exam Committee
Article Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Written By: Lucy Tatum Austin
The YLD’s Bar Exam Committee does the work of several committees, providing workshops, tutoring, publications, and more to help bar exam applicants, specifically those who are from out-of-state or who have taken the exam without success. Brenee Orozco and Lisa Kamarchik, co-chairs of the committee, coordinate these various services in assisting both February and July exam-takers.
Several times a year, the committee offers workshops for exam takers. Workshops are intentionally set up to be interactive as opposed to a lecture format. Students are taught to focus on spotting the issues and applicable rules. Drafting the first three to four sentences, as opposed to solely an outline, gets students further into the process of essay writing than many other techniques.
The committee also provides one-on-one tutoring to students. Tutoring offers not only individualized help with the test itself, but also an opportunity to mentor the applicant and help take some of the stress out of the test. “We try to go beyond tutoring to help people take care of their whole selves,” said Orozco.
Orozco has a passion for helping students, tutoring two or three at a time. Having taken the test three times herself, Orozco can identify with many of her tutees. For those who have taken the test and been unsuccessful, these services are an essential lifeline. “They need to be reminded of their competence,” Orozco said. Often, successful applicants will come back to pass it on and help tutor another applicant.
The Bar Exam Committee makes sure the MBE is included as part of preparation. “There is a terrible myth that you cannot improve on the MBE,” Orozco said. “We encourage applicants to focus on both aspects of the exam and to have hope for improvement on both.” In addition to tutoring and workshop experiences, the Bar Exam Committee provides refreshments after the bar exam, laying out a smorgasbord of food and drinks to help exam-takers unwind.
The YLD also offers free publications including “Drafting a Bar Exam Essay Answer” and a “Top Ten List” of tips for the exam. A video on the YLD website answers the most frequently asked questions by those taking the exam. Gail Arneke of the N.C. Board of Law Examiners answers questions such as “Is there such a thing as a trick question on the bar exam?” and “How do the examiners grade essays?”
The one question Orozco will not answer is “What worked for you?” The test is different for each individual, so she focuses on making sure applicants do not compare themselves to others. By offering their time and experience, Orozco, Kamarchik, and all of the Committee members and tutors provide unique and invaluable help to bar exam applicants.
Do you know someone who is taking the bar exam and could use some additional resources? Refer them to the YLD website for more information, including the publications and video referenced above. Are you willing to volunteer as a tutor? Contact Brenee Orozco at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lisa Kamarchik at email@example.com. •
Lucy Austin works for Judge Robert N. Hunter Jr. at the North Carolina Court of Appeals in Raleigh.
Views and opinions expressed in articles published herein are the authors' only and are not to be attributed to this newsletter, the section, or the NCBA unless expressly stated. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of all citations and quotations.