Wednesday, June 29, 2005

i am jack's impending nervous breakdown

Today in BarBri, we partook in the Performance Test Workshop #3. For those of you blessed not to know what the Performance Test part of the California Bar entails, let me explain it thusly: you freak out for three hours. There is also some law involved, but as with the other portions of the Bar exam, it is largely irrelevant.

So after exiting the aforementioned workshop, after spending three hours writing about negligent scuba divers, but before the screaming Jewish man came back on, I was approached by a man with a pamphlet. This pamphlet was for the Maximizer Performance Test Workshop. Apparently, it is a unique course with a unique approach to a unique test format and is my ticket to outperform other applicants. It's a three-day seminar all about the Performance Test and it's going down right here in the O.C. this weekend.

Red flags (proverbial in nature) abounded.

#1 - The guy. This guy was not a lawyer. I could tell because he was dressed kinda funny. Neon-blue uber-tight polo with brown wool pants that were equally uber-tight. Lawyers do not dress like that because, as a profession in general, we are somewhat image conscious. We must present ourselves to judges and clients and colleagues, so we want to appear competent and professional. Neon-blue and wool do not scream "I am competent and professional".

So why does it matter that he wasn't a lawyer? I shall tell you forthwith: If you're going to sell me a product that proposes to guarantee it will make me a lawyer, you better be one. You don't see Martha Stewart selling Evidence outlines.

#2 - The pamphlet. Of course you would expect that it's going to try to convince me that either I take this seminar and pass the bar, or I don't take it and I fail the bar and I'll be fat and bald and working at Del Taco. That's just basic marketing theory. But let's look a little closer at how they try to accomplish this:

Remember, the Performance Tests are comparatively graded; it's how well you write vs. the rest of the pack.

That would be a very strong reasoning in favor of taking their seminar. If it were true. But it's not. I guess Performance Test answers are comparatively graded in a sense. They're graded compared to the model answer. But apparently these honyacks expect us to believe that the graders read all 40,000 answers and then rank them. Like some kind of massive write-on process.

They don't. The grader knows what goes in a good answer. They look to see if you have it.

Next we have the so-called "nondisclosure agreement".

As part of our enrollment agreement we have students agree not to disclose to others the exclusive techniques and approaches they learn in the workshop

Yeah.... there's just so much wrong with that, I don't even know where to begin. To start with, considering that this is a seminar for what is essentially a really long essay exam, unless they have unlocked some kind of algorithm for discerning the precise correct answer, I'm willing to bet they don't have anything to say that BarBri didn't in the course of 16 hours of lecture and 2 books on the subject. But it gets better:

Our professor has been approached by larger review courses to teach their programs. He has declined... Our students have reported back on attempts made to debrief them as to what they learned... they declined.

Now I know where I've heard this before: so the first two rules of the Maximizer Performance Test Workshop are you do not talk about the Maximizer Performance Test Workshop. So what do I have to do to sign up? Besides standing outside the front door for four days, dressing in black, and blowing up Starbucks franchises?

Ridiculous. As if I didn't have enough to worry about, I got these idiots trying to scare me into dropping four-honey for a three day workshop on how to pass the easiest part of the Bar exam. I don't need this noise. Fear of the Bar is the path to the dark side.

But if I fail I'll probably sign up for it next time.