Loyola’s Bar Track LLM Program Draws on Proven Test-Prep Expertise

Cesar Verrier Rousseaux
Cesar Verrier Rousseaux

When Loyola Law School, Los Angeles alumna Fernanda Molina ’15 passed the bar exam, she couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I'm so glad to tell you that I passed the bar!” she wrote to LLM Faculty Director Aaron Ghirardelli. “You know the feeling, right? One of the best ever! Now, I can apply to companies with more confidence!”

To pave the way for more LLM alumni to experience the same excitement and potential, Loyola created the Bar Track LLM program with resources dedicated to helping students pass the California and New York Bar Exams. The program, which was featured in LLM Guide, comprises three main prongs: an intensive weekend Fall Workshop, a for-credit Essentials of Bar Writing course and exclusive bar resources in the summer leading up to the July 2018 exam dates.

Ghirardelli knows what it takes for foreign students to pass the bar. An Italian lawyer with strong connections in Europe, he has passed both the California and New York Bar Exams. Equipped with that experience, he worked with other administrators to develop Loyola’s Bar Track LLM. That plan included hiring Professor Elizabeth Belser, a longtime academic staff attorney for one of the most successful bar exam-preparation companies in the U.S.

“Professor Belser has extensive expertise tutoring students for the bar exam,” said Ghirardelli. “Combining our unique backgrounds, we created Loyola’s Bar Track LLM to give our students a significant test-taking advantage.”

A former practicing California attorney, Belser served as a legal editor for many of California BARBRI’s materials and lectured on a range of bar exam subjects. So far, students are impressed with what she brings to her role at Loyola.

“Professor Belser has great experience preparing students for bar exams,” said Cesar Verrier Rousseaux, an Argentinian lawyer who plans to take the California Bar Exam in July 2018. “Her workshop on written essays and performance tests for the bar exam was excellent; she gave us very detailed feedback.”

During the recently completed Fall Workshop, Belser provided international LLM students with a comprehensive overview of the California Bar Exam that included an introduction to essay writing. The second day of the workshop focused on the Performance Test, a portion of the exam that measures an applicant’s ability to quickly assess a set of facts and draft an analysis for a hypothetical client.

In the Essentials of Bar Writing for LLM class set for spring 2018, students will learn strategies and tactics needed to pass the essay portions of the California and New York Bar Exams. The class builds in one-on-one meetings and conference sessions to reinforce lessons learned. Along the way, students will learn skills that improve their law school writing, outlining and issue-spotting.

Nearing the end of the first semester of the program, LLM students drawn to Loyola because of the Bar Track LLM are finding validation, as well as solace in the assistance they receive from LLM Director Ghirardelli in selecting courses that will be prepare them for the bar exam. “The quality of our professors and this kind of personalized tutoring persuaded me to attend to Loyola Law School,” said Rousseaux.

More information about offerings for international LLM students is available at http://www.lls.edu/llm/.