Many of our bar exam students worry about Rule Against Perpetuities problems on the bar exam. The Rule Against Perpetuities is by far one of the most confusing concepts that students are taught in law school. Further, many bar review courses use up several pages of their outlines to explain the Rule Against Perpetuities. But how important is it that you know the Rule Against Perpetuities for the bar exam?
Multistate Bar Exam:
Generally, to pass the multistate bar exam, you can get a super-high score without having any idea of what the Rule Against Perpetuities (RAP) is. It is usually just one question on the multistate bar exam (and could even be a Uniform Statutory Rule Against Perpetuities problem which is generally much easier to understand than the traditional common law RAP). I would suggest that you are vaguely familiar with the Rule Against Perpetuities but that you do not spend very long on it.
Some commercial courses seem to have a lot of practice MBE questions on the Rule Against Perpetuities. It is not tested nearly that often on the actual bar exam.
State Bar Exam:
If the RAP is frequently tested on the essay portion of your state bar exam, then, unfortunately, you will have to know it. Look back at the Real Property, Trusts, and Wills questions on your state bar exam. If you don’t see that the RAP is regularly tested, you are probably in luck!
For those of you taking the Multistate Essay Exam or the Uniform Bar Exam: Occasionally the Rule Against Perpetuities has been tested on the “Trusts and Future Interests” question of the Multistate Essay Exam. However, it is not tested frequently (only a few times), and when it is tested, it is not generally a major issue.
Our general advice is: Why spend time studying RAP (which is very unlikely to come up on the bar exam) when there are so many things that are likely to come up on the bar exam that it is well worth it to prepare for (for example, mortgages!).
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