Civil Procedure on the Multistate Bar Exam

Starting in 2015, Civil Procedure will be added to the Multistate Bar Exam. The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) has added it as a subject to the multi-state portion of the bar exam, the first change in more than 40 years. The number of core legal subjects is now seven including the current six subjects: Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Constitutional Law, Evidence, Real Property and Torts. Athough new to the MBE portion of the bar exam, applicants for the New York State bar have always had to contend with New York Civil Procedure as a subject matter.

“This is a very positive development. Procedure is something that is fundamental to everything a lawyer does.” Brooklyn Law School Professor James Park said. The NCBE has hinted for some time that civil procedure would be included in the MBE. The announcement came in late February with a memo to law school deans announcing the February 2015 implementation date. The memo urged the deans to inform faculty and staff who teach civil procedure of the change. Brooklyn Law School Dean Nick Allard said “We will likely add more civil procedure courses.”  BLS Professors Alan M. Trammell, James Park, Jayne Ressler, Elizabeth Schneider, Maryellen Fullerton, Michael Mushlin, Robin Effron, and Roger Michalski currently teach the Civil Procedure course that is designed to introduce beginning law students to the elements and procedures of the civil justice system. The course covers the litigation process from commencement of a case through appeals. Major topics include jurisdiction, remedies, pleading, discovery, class actions, and pretrial and trial procedures.
The BLS Library has an extensive collection of items on the subject of civil procedure including the 3d edition of Principles of Civil Procedure (Call # KF8840.C54 2012) by Kevin M. Clermont. It focuses on the material covered in a typical law school course on civil procedure and breaks down the subject of civil procedure along the standard lines: a brief orientation and a lengthier overview of the stages of litigation, followed by a close inspection of the major procedural problems (governing law, authority to adjudicate, former adjudication, and complex litigation), and then some reflections in conclusion. It discusses specific problems and illustrations, with the aid of generously sprinkled diagrams and special text boxes. Special attention was given to fitting the civil procedure course’s main points together to form the big picture, with each topic ending in a section on the big idea the student is supposed to take from the topic.