Performing on Performance Tests

The purpose of the performance test portion of the CA Bar Exam is to test practical lawyering skills. Each performance test consists of about 15-20 pages, including a:

  1. Task memo, which explains what the bar examiners want done;
  2. Library, which provides legal authority relevant to the task (e.g., statutes, codes, cases); and
  3. Client File, which contains the factual information.

To maximize your score on performance tests, follow the instructions, use the legal authority, and use all the possible relevant facts when completing the tasks.

To show that you can follow instructions, complete tasks in the manner requested.  Follow the instructions from the supervising attorney and follow the directions on document formatting.

In using legal authority, use only the law provided in the library - not law you have learned elsewhere.  With case law, extract the case standards/holdings and apply them to the facts.  Organize your arguments with headings based on given factor tests and understand the relative weight of conflicting authorities.  With statutes, select and cite the relevant authorities from the statutory law.  Pay attention to footnotes.

In using the facts, avoid discussing irrelevant facts.  Include both the facts that favor your client's position as well as those that hurt your client's position, but highlight the favorable facts and de-emphasize the damaging facts or distinguish your clients' facts from the facts of adverse cases.

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