Bar Exam Stress as Resource


A very interesting article form my virtual friend, Keith Lee, about turning your stress into productive energy:
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Studying for the Bar

Right way.

Right way.

It’s that time of year again . . . time for recently liberated law school grads to enjoy an all-too-fleeting sense of freedom before turning to the task of preparing for the bar exam. This will be my seventh (!!!) year of working with grads studying for the bar. Hopefully all of you will only have to go through this once,* but as someone who has now gone through many, many bar exam study periods, here are a few essential truths that I have observed over time.

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Announcing: SucceedLaw!

Very excited to announce my new venture with the wonderful Amy Parekh: SucceedLaw!

We will be providing individualized bar exam tutoring to a small number of law school graduates every bar exam cycle. Our focus is on grads who may have struggled a bit in law school and also on repeat takers, although anyone is welcome to contact us.

I will still be working at DU Law, teaching classes and in DU’s excellent Bar Success Program–the goal here is to make our background and experience available to grads from other law schools and in other jurisdictions.

Check out our website, give us your thoughts, and if you know of anyone who might benefit from our services, please let us know!

Demand Letter Gone Wrong


My Google images search for “attorney yelling” could not have gone better. Exhibit 1. If you can explain to me the connection between a crocodile eating a python (AWESOME!!!) and an attorney yelling, you will get a prize.

One of the topics I end up teaching students is how to draft a demand letter.  I cover the basics: (1) make a demand; (2) make the demand for a date certain; (3) use the persuasive voice; and (4) document the legal and factual basis for your claim.

While I emphasize that the purpose of a demand letter is to prompt resolution of the matter prior to litigation, I do not generally discuss in depth the distinction between persuasive voice and extortion.  It’s never really been an issue.


Exhibit 2: Lionel Hutz, you are missed.

But now I can point to a counterexample of a demand letter gone wrong.  Apparently, a judge considered this demand letter to rise to the level of extortion:

Whether the implicit threat of revealing salacious details rises to the level of extortion is a tough call, but also an issue that could have been avoided altogether through a more professional, law-focused approach.  (“Law-focused” = focused on your legal claims and the relevant facts that support them–not overblown rhetoric and lurid details.  I mean . . . “see enclosed photo”?–really?)

Remember people: You’re a lawyer–not an agent, not a bully, and not a politician.  A lawyer.  Act like one!


Exhibit 3: During the years I was practicing, I made this face on a daily basis.

Legal Writing Tips for Summer Associates

Super-Associate!  Image from

Super-Associate! Image from

Sharing some excellent advice from legal writing guru Ross Guberman:

Recognition of Amicus Brief

Some more props for out amicus brief in the DOMA case here.

Law Portraits, set up studio in their library  Tanya Washington

Tanya Washington: Professor, Co-Author, and All-Around Awesome Lady.

Same-Sex Marriage, the Defense of Marriage Act, and the Rights of Children

Today my DU colleague, Catherine Smith, and I, along with Tanya Washington from the Georgia State University College of Law, filed an amicus brief in United States v. Windsor, better known as the case before the United States Supreme Court challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  (The brief can be found on SCOTUSblog here:


Sweet photo from

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