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By Steve Liosi, Esq.
On October 22, PMBR was sold to Kaplan for an undisclosed amount, though industry insiders say the price was in the neighborhood of $100 million. (Apparently, Abraham Lincoln was wrong.)
In any event, it was certainly time to sell. The writing was on the wall.
With the recent $12 million verdict against PMBR looming large, no longer could bar candidates rely on PMBR to send employees into the different bar exam locations to sit for the exam and come out of those locations with notes, mental or otherwise, of the exam.
No longer would PMBR be able to claim that candidates would actually see "PMBR questions" on the bar exam.
No longer would candidates be able to proclaim after the exam, "It was déjà vu all over again."
And no longer would PMBR hold a competitive edge over other bar review courses.
Now, no course in the world has MBE questions that you will see on the next bar exam.
Now, no course can send in their employees to sit for the exam for the sole purpose of stealing MBE questions.
Now, the PMBR mystique is dead.
They know it.
And you know it.
(Or, at least now you do.)
And if you think about it, it was the best time in the world to sell.
Why, though, would Kaplan purchase PMBR when it could have marketed its own MBE course to its own LSAT students? Can you imagine the data base Kaplan has? Heck, it might even know where these LSAT students went to law school.
Yes, I know, PMBR has a great infrastructure in place, but is that infrastructure worth $100 million, especially when you could have created your own infrastructure with full knowledge that the PMBR mystique was dead?
Well, Kaplan knows what it is doing.
I suspect, though can't prove, that Kaplan's purchase was rather strategic in nature.
The purchase of PMBR certainly doesn't speak of a company that is planning on splitting the LSAT and bar review market with bar/bri, now does it? Kaplan can now say it is entering the bar review market on its own terms. Clever move, given the pending bar/bri class action litigation.
Like I said, Kaplan knows what it is doing.
(Keep in mind, though, I am far from a savvy CNN or FOX business analyst, so what I'm surmising could be a complete crock.)
In any event, what does any of this mean for bar exam candidates?
It means that there is no course in the world that has MBE questions that you will see on your next bar exam. You'll only be able to practice on NCBE-released questions and on simulated questions (i.e., questions written by bar review courses). Now, these simulated questions, keep in mind, will be written without the help of having had sat for a recent bar exam. Will this impact the efficacy of such questions? Food for thought.
Now, the best any MBE course can do is help a candidate improve their analytical thought process and legal knowledge. Nothing more. No course will be able to provide you with the MBE questions you'll see on your actual bar exam.
That being said, realistically, a copy of the Finz MBE book, a copy of the Strategies & Tactics MBE book, and a subscription to www.AdaptiBar.com should be sufficient.
No longer is it necessary to pay $1,000 to supplement your bar review preparation with a lecture-hall based MBE course (in fact, it never was), especially when no course will have the questions you'll see on the actual exam.
Now, all you need to do is get your hands on as many MBE questions as possible, and do your best to improve your analytical thought process.
(By the way, the aforementioned books have great sections on MBE-taking techniques. And AdaptiBar is the only course with NCBE-approved explanations, not just questions.)