A Recap of the February 2017 Michigan Bar Exam Essay Portion
What a crazy essay day. The Board of Law Examiners’ surprised everyone with a Creditors Rights (garnishments) question that came out of nowhere, a Conflicts of Law question, a Partnership question, and a Workers’ Compensation question (a subject that a lot of us were surprised to see return this year!).
Many (including myself) were also surprised to see a Wills question. Most of us thought they would go back to testing Trusts again (rather than testing the same holographic will issue they’ve tested the last two exams).
No one was happy to have the morning portion of the exam end with a page-and-a-half Evidence question. Many people ran out of time for this one, especially after a killer Contracts question and unexpected Garnishments question.
In sum, the morning portion left many bar exam takers feeling a little unsure and a little sick to their stomach.
As usual, the afternoon portion of the exam was a little more standard, but of course had some surprises. Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Constitutional Law were standard questions (but still difficult!). People seem to struggle with Constitutional Law no matter what it is testing.
They also tested Partnership, which we predicted, but was by no means predicted by many. They had a weird question about dog poop which threw a lot of people through a loop. And, most surprising of all, there was no Professional Responsibility question! This is the first time in decades that they did not test Professional Responsibility!
If you struggled with the February 2017 Michigan bar exam, you are not alone!
If you ran out of time, that is okay. You are not alone and it does not mean you will fail.
If you had no idea what to say for the Contracts question, or if you forgot how to analyze a Conflicts question, or if you were stumped by the Evidence question, or answered everything incorrectly for the Creditor’s Rights question…that is okay. You are not alone and it does not mean you will fail!
The average student never feels “good” walking out of the bar exam. And this round, most students are feeling especially bad.
A few things to remember:
The harder the exam is, the higher the curve is. And the more “weird” or unexpected subjects that they throw at you, the higher the curve is. Further, the February curve tends to be a bit higher than July to begin with. Last February, the curve was very generous and we expect to see something similar this year.
So keep that in mind!
Second, your answers will not be expected to mirror the “perfect” model answer. Your essay answers will be graded side by side with everyone else who struggled, who ran out of time, who missed issues and subjects, and who were just as confused as you were.
So take a deep breath, put the essay portion behind you, and get ready to conquer the MBE!
[Note: If you feel good about the essays good! We do not want this post to freak you out! It is supposed to be a source of comfort for those who feel like they are the only ones that missed issues or struggled — it is not to make you nervous if you are not nervous!]
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