Michigan Bar Exam Essay Trends to be Aware of
NOTE: Michigan is now administering the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) as of the February 2023 exam. This post will no longer be updated. Please go here for a UBE frequency chart.
If you are taking the Michigan Bar Exam and looking at a Michigan Bar Exam frequency chart (such as the one below) you may wonder what is most likely to appear on the essay portion of the Michigan Bar Exam that you take. It can be confusing because some subjects were not tested at all until recently (e.g., Creditors’ Rights). Others seemed to be tested consistently and regularly until a couple of years ago (e.g., Professional Responsibility).
So what does this mean for you? To study smart for the Michigan Bar Exam, you want to focus on the subjects you are most likely to see appear on the essay portion of the exam. (However, you do not want to ignore any subjects! The Michigan Board of Law Examiners (BLE) can test whatever it wants!) Here is a post on the format of the Michigan Bar Exam.
Here, we go over some Michigan Bar Exam essay subject trends which may help explain to you why some subjects appear to be inconsistently tested and what these Michigan Bar Exam essay trends mean for you!
Michigan Bar Exam Essay Trends to be Aware of
You will also notice some trends in terms of what has been tested on the Michigan Bar Exam—and what that means for bar exams coming up. We listed a few of these below. If you want to see a list of all the past subjects tested, check out our frequency chart here!
Michigan Bar Exam Essay Frequency Chart Trends
- First, you will note that since 2016, the Michigan Board of Law Examiners (BLE) has started to test more unusual subjects.
- Professional Responsibility has not been tested in the past two years and we have heard that the BLE has indicated to law schools that it does not plan on testing Professional Responsibility given that it realized that students had to take the MPRE. (However, you should still prepare for this subject on the bar exam as it is still listed as a potential bar exam subject)
- Wills has been tested significantly more than Trusts recently.
- Some subjects that used to be guaranteed (Professional Responsibility, Workers’ Compensation) are no longer guaranteed.
- Other subjects that had not been tested at all (Creditors’ Rights, Conflict of Laws, Partnership, Equity) are appearing more and more.
- Some subjects remain predictable. For example, you will most likely see Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Domestic Relations [Family Law], Evidence, Personal Property, Real Property, State & Federal Practice [Civil Procedure], and (usually) Torts.
A few other notes to be aware of
- Michigan Bar Exam essays are lengthy! The vast majority of questions can take up the entire page or more.
- Sometimes the call of the question is on two pages (e.g., questions one and two will be on page one and questions three and four will be on page two). Make sure to flip the page so that you know you are answering the whole question!
- There is usually at least one question that students struggle with a lot or that barely anyone knows how to answer. Just write a lengthy answer anyway using the law that you do know. You will usually get some points for your response! Many students get 3-4 points even if their answer is not at all in line with the model.
Creditors’ Rights was not really tested in its true form (garnishments) until February 2017. Note that some courses do not teach garnishments at all. Thus, it is important to be aware of them and make sure you know them for the Michigan Bar Exam! (Garnishments also appeared on the bar exam in July 2017.)
Conflict of Laws
Conflict of Laws is making a comeback. It was not tested for eight years (July 2008 and then again in February 2016). But since then, it has been tested four times.
Up until July 2016, Professional Responsibility was tested virtually every exam. Then, randomly, it was not tested. We have heard the BLE indicated to law schools that it would no longer test Professional Responsibility given that the MPRE is a requirement for Michigan licensure. You should not rely on this as it is secondhand information (and even if the Board says it won’t test it, it still has the power to!). But that explains why this subject has suddenly stopped being tested.
Wills used to be tested significantly more than Trusts. When Michigan revised its Trusts laws in 2010, it was tested more. Now, the BLE is back to primarily testing Wills.
As the Board of Law Examiners tests some unusual topics more (Secured Transactions, Creditors’ Rights), they normally do not test Sales. (E.g., they tend to test Secured Transactions in place of Sales, or Creditors Rights’ in place of Sales.) So they test this subject a little less recently.
This subject used to always be tested. At one point, three or four of the five Michigan Board of Law Examiners were workers’ compensation attorneys. However, as of 2016, none of the Board members were workers’ compensation attorneys. Thus, this subject was tested less. But, it is still tested on a regular basis.
Agency, Partnership, and Equity
These subjects are also tested more regularly. This is likely because the BLE tries to make sure examinees are prepared for all aspects of Michigan law.
Note that they continue to test other subjects (Constitutional Law, Evidence, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Contracts, Personal Property, Domestic Relations [Family Law], Real Property, State & Federal Practice [Civil Procedure]) very regularly.
If you are looking for help on how to pass the Michigan Bar Exam, check out this post!
We hope this post on Michigan Bar Exam essay trends was helpful! Good luck studying for the Michigan Bar Exam!
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