KU Law's New Bar Prep Program
Partnering with the Themis Bar Review, KU Law is excited to announce that our students will receive a free, post-graduation bar preparation course and a Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination preparation course.
KU Law will also offer a series of programs prior to graduation, again at no cost to students, designed to enhance students’ ability to succeed in law school and on the bar examination.
This program guarantees that every KU Law student has access to the resources they need to succeed on the bar exam without the financial pressure associated with a bar review course.
The program includes the following courses and initiatives:
Post-Graduation Themis Bar Review Course
The KU Law curriculum empowers students to pass the bar and excel as professionals after they have completed that hurdle. The Themis Bar Review Course supplements this principal educational experience. Beginning with December 2018 graduates, every law student will receive the post-graduation Themis Bar Review Course. The Bar Review Course includes instruction over the summer, or January and February for December graduates, on the substance and skills needed to succeed on the bar exam. Printed materials, online resources, personalized feedback, guidance, practice questions, exams and more will be available to students. The Bar Review Course is outlined in great detail at themisbar.com.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) Preparation Course
KU Law’s Professional Responsibility course forms the core preparation for the MPRE. The Themis MPRE materials supplement the school’s Professional Responsibility class with online access to lectures with assessment questions, interactive handouts and practice MPRE questions with answers. The program also provides a hardcopy of study materials and practice problems.
Early Bar Preparation Course for J.D. Credit
KU Law will offer this elective course, for J.D. credit, in spring semesters to all 3Ls, and to 2Ls who will not be in residence during the following spring term (i.e., December graduates, Sixth Semester in D.C. students, visiting students, etc.). Taught by a KU Law instructor, using Themis materials, the class focuses on two components of the bar exam – the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) and Multistate Essay Exam (MEE). The course will further develop the writing and analysis skills critical to bar exam success. Students will participate in a series of essay-writing exercises featuring drills and feedback that are designed to guide students, step-by-step, through improving their essay and MPT skills. The exercises focus on each component individually. This course is designed as a complementary course to the post-graduation course, which has a heavier emphasis upon the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), (i.e., the multiple-choice questions.)
Bar Examination Instructor
The instructor for the Early Bar Preparation Course will hold office hours in Green Hall and be accessible by email during the bar preparation periods of May-July and January-February to assist students, even if they did not take the Early Bar Preparation Course.
First-Year Diagnostic Exam
At present, students may not know if they are on track for bar-examination success until after graduation, when they begin their bar-examination studies. This program gives students early, formative feedback regarding their understanding of 1L course materials tested on the bar exam. Students will take the not-for-credit, diagnostic exam in April of their 1L year.
Themis First-Year and Upper-Level Law School Essentials Materials
Class lectures, clinical and skills training, professor-assigned readings, and legal writing instruction constitute the essence of a legal education. We know, however, that many students spend substantial sums on supplemental resources to augment these experiences (e.g., study guides, practice questions, and the like.) KU Law has long provided these supplemental resources to students through the Wheat Law Library and online via the school’s CALI subscription. Under this new program, students will have access to Themis’ online and hardcopy supplemental resources as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Themis?
Themis provides the tools, support and technology students need to pass the bar. From a convenient online platform with on-demand lectures to personal support that is only a click away, their innovative approach adapts to the needs, pace and life of students. Themis' learning approach is based on the most current research on memory retention and comprehension and consists of lectures segmented into 15- to 20-minute chapters. Themis is the only major bar review company to publish pass rates in every jurisdiction, every year. Pass rates are a testament to students’ success year after year and an indication of Themis' commitment to continued transparency.
Why are students just now hearing about this partnership?
Due to confidentiality concerns, KU Law was not permitted to disclose the Themis partnership before the contract was signed by all parties. While this decision seems sudden, it was made after much research and discussion by the faculty and administration. Moreover, KU Law conducted student focus groups regarding this program. The student participants in these groups agreed to maintain confidentiality. KU Law fully vetted all of the nation’s bar prep providers that service Kansas and Missouri.
Why did KU Law choose Themis over other programs available to law graduates?
In 2015, KU Law’s Dean launched a comprehensive, multi-year study of KU Law graduates’ bar examination success that included input from the entire faculty, senior staff of the school and students. As a result of this study, the Dean and faculty determined that reducing financial barriers to a commercial bar preparation program was essential.
The Dean then tasked a committee of faculty and senior staff to explore available commercial bar preparation resources. The school reviewed existing commercial programs that serviced Kansas and Missouri, selecting three to make in-house presentations. KU Law engaged in substantial due diligence, including contacting numerous other schools that have worked with these providers to elicit candid reviews of their experiences. KU Law conducted student focus groups and surveys regarding bar preparation as part of this review.
After careful examination and a vote by the full faculty, KU Law decided that the program offered by Themis Bar Review provides the most effective experience for our students because of its broad coverage in various states, ease of online access, use of proven e-learning principles, integrated testing, personalized feedback and cost.
How much will students pay to participate in the program?
The law school will pay for all program expenses. Students will bear no additional cost. Because KU Law will automatically enroll all students in the Themis program, it negotiated a substantial discount on the per-student price.
Are current 2Ls and 3Ls eligible to participate at no cost?
Yes. In addition to the post-graduation bar review course, existing students will have access to the Upper-Level Law School Essentials Materials and the opportunity to participate in the MPRE Preparation Course, and the Early Bar Preparation Course.
Are December graduates eligible to enroll in the program at no cost?
Yes. The full scope of the program is available to December graduates. Themis offers a January/February post-graduation bar exam prep course. Further, prospective December graduates may enroll in the Early Bar Preparation Course during the spring semester of their 2L year.
Are LL.M.s and S.J.D.s eligible to participate in the program at no cost?
Yes. LL.M. and S.J.D. students may elect to participate. They will not be automatically enrolled. These students must present the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs with a statement attesting that the student has not yet sat for an American bar examination and that the student intends to sit for an American bar examination within a 12-month period. The student must also demonstrate eligibility to sit for an American bar examination.
How do I sign up for the program?
Beginning May 2018, the law school will automatically enroll entering 1L students and transfer J.D. students in the program. Current 2L and 3L students as of August 2018 may elect to enroll in the program. Themis representatives and the KU Law administration will conduct multiple events to discuss program options available to these upper-division students.
I’ve already paid for Themis Bar Prep in whole or in part and have not yet sat for the bar exam. Will I receive a refund?
Yes. Students should contact Whitney Wright at Themis, firstname.lastname@example.org, to request a refund of any deposits.
I graduated from KU Law in May 2018 or earlier. Am I eligible for a refund from Themis or from KU Law?
No. KU Law can only secure funding for prospective graduates.
I put down a deposit with another bar prep company. What can I do?
You can contact the company and request to cancel your purchase. You will likely lose your deposit.
What if I plan to take the bar exam in a state other than Kansas or Missouri?
Themis Bar Prep prepares students to take the Kansas and Missouri bar exams, which is where the supermajority of KU Law graduates sit for the bar. Additionally, Themis offers bar examination prep in 43 states plus Washington, D.C.
Can I purchase a post-graduate bar prep course from BarBri, Kaplan or another vendor?
Yes. Even if you enroll in a different post-graduation bar prep course, you may participate in all pre-graduation programming during law school. Students who wish to participate in a competing bar prep program after graduation must notify the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs by September 15 of their final year in school. KU Law cannot financially support graduates using a competing post-graduation vendor in jurisdictions covered by Themis.
What if I plan to take the bar exam in a state not covered under the Themis plan?
The law school’s research shows that in most years 100 percent of graduates will sit for a bar exam in a state covered by Themis. If you have a legitimate need to sit in a jurisdiction not covered by the Themis plan, please inform the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs as soon as possible. While KU Law cannot guarantee financial assistance for such graduates, the Associate Dean will evaluate each such student’s request, taking into consideration the cost to the student and whether a third party is available to assist with funding. The Associate Dean may ask students for documentation or attestations to support such a request.
If I don’t pass on the first attempt, may I use Themis again for the second attempt?
Will BarBri continue to hold post-graduation courses in Green Hall during the summers?
BarBri will be allowed to hold courses in Green Hall during the summer of 2019, but not afterwards.
Will Themis hold post-graduation sessions in Green Hall during the summers?
Yes. Themis uses an online platform in order to track students’ performance and provide relevant feedback. As a result, graduates may access the full scope of its resources from any location. KU Law, nevertheless, will host regularly scheduled group lecture viewings in Green Hall in the summers. Showing up for these group sessions builds community and commitment. We love seeing our grads in the building from May to July!
What if I don’t plan to take the bar exam immediately after graduation?
KU Law expects all its graduates to sit for the bar exam immediately after graduating from law school. It is at this point that most students are best positioned to succeed. Students with a hardship or other good cause to delay taking a bar exam may seek to delay their use of the Themis Bar Review program for up to one year. These students must inform the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs by September 15 of their final year in school. Other requests to delay the Themis course may be allowed on a case-by-case basis.
What if I don’t plan to take the bar exam at all?
KU Law expects all its graduates to sit for the bar exam. Our research shows that graduates seeking employment in J.D.-Advantage and other professional jobs benefit from having sat for and passed the bar exam. Nevertheless, students may unenroll from the program completely by informing the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs by September 15 of their final year in school.
How will the 1L diagnostic exam be administered, and how will I receive my results?
In April of 1L year, Themis will hold an in-class session to complete the diagnostic exam. Students will input their answers immediately following the exam and will receive real time results. Any student who cannot attend this session will be able to access and complete the diagnostic exam online.
Is the Early Bar Preparation Course mandatory?
The Early Bar Preparation Course is an elective course that is not part of KU Law’s required course list.
Will I receive course credit for completing the Early Bar Preparation Course?
Students taking the Early Bar Preparation Course will count the class toward the 90 hours needed to obtain the J.D.
How does the Early Bar Preparation Course differ from the post-graduation bar review program?
The Early Bar Preparation Course focuses on essay writing, the MPT and MEE portions of the bar exam. The post-graduation bar review course will cover the MPT and MEE, but spend a substantial period of time on the Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”). The MBE is a multiple-choice test.
If I take the 3L bar prep course, i.e., the Early Bar Preparation Course, should I take the traditional post-graduation course as well?
Yes. The 3L class will not focus upon the MBE, whereas the post-graduation bar review does. The 3L course is designed as a complementary course for the post-graduation bar review for those students seeking more opportunities to improve their bar-examination essay writing.
If I have questions about the program materials, who are my contacts at Themis and how can I reach out to them?
If I have questions about how the program operates, who at KU Law can I contact to receive more information?
The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. KU Law will also host a series of events to further inform the student body