Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

California Bar Takers Get Tipped Off on Test Topics

Christmas came early for the more than 3,000 people who had signed up to take the California bar exam in July.

Three days before the exam, the State Bar of California sent each registrant an email listing the five topics that would be covered on the essay portion of the test. It also disclosed the subject matter of the “performance test” aspect of the exam.

Many recipients were so shocked to receive the advance tip-off that they thought it was a joke.

But this was no fake news. The email was an attempt by the California State Bar to remedy an earlier error in which it notified law school deans of the test topics. That notice – which should have gone out to the deans after the exam was administered on July 30 and 31 – was mistakenly sent before the exam on July 25.

“Most law school academic services professors don’t think the disclosure will make much of a difference for test-takers,” reported the ABA Journal. “There’s just not enough time, says one … professor.”

By the way, the essay subjects were Civil Procedure, Remedies/Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Procedure, Professional Responsibility and Contracts. The performance test topic was Evidence.

North Carolina also administered its Summer 2019 bar exam on July 30 and 31. The next NC exam date is February 25-26, 2020.

Santa Claus Comes in July

This is from a California State Bar press release: “The State Bar inadvertently prematurely provided deans of several California law schools a list of the general subject matter topics contained in the July 2019 California Bar Examination essay questions and performance test. This was in a routine invitation to observe a grading session – the invitation typically goes out after the completion of the exam. The release occurred on Thursday, July 25; the exam takes place July 30 and 31. We have no evidence the information was shared with students. However, out of an abundance of caution and fairness, and in an attempt to level the playing field should any applicants have had access to the information contained in the memo, on Saturday evening, we emailed the same information, verbatim, to all those preparing to take the examination. We apologize for the error.”

NC State Bar Oath of Office as an Attorney at Law

In North Carolina, after attorneys have passed the bar exam and received their license from the Board of Law Examiners, they must take the following oath in open court before a justice or judge of any North Carolina state court before they can begin practicing law:


I, ________________________________________, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States; so help me God.


I, ________________________________________, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina and to the Constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; and that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said state, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, to the best of my knowledge and ability; so help me God.


I, ________________________________________, do swear that I will truly and honestly demean myself in the practice of an Attorney, according to the best of my knowledge and ability, so help me God.


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

Read More by Jay >

Related Posts