San Francisco, California is a city with a long and interesting legal history. For over 100 years, the city has been the home of the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, placing it at the center of some of the most prominent legal battles in the country’s history. With a population of nearly a million people living within the city and millions more in the surrounding areas, there is always a high demand for legal services in the area. This is reflected in the $144,000 average salary of lawyers practicing law in San Francisco.
There are several prestigious law schools in the area including the USF School of Law. Recent law school graduates who wish to practice law in San Francisco must first pass the California Bar Exam. Administered by the state’s bar association, the exam is a modified version of the Universal Bar Exam (UBE) given in over 30 other states. Students preparing for the California Bar will want to make sure that any courses or materials that they use to prepare also contains information on the portions of the exam that are specific to the state.
With nearly 70% of all first-time and repeat test takers failing to pass the California Bar Exam, it ranks among the country’s hardest. It’s no wonder that so many students in the San Francisco area may be looking for some extra help preparing for this exam. Tutoring is available both live and in person, so students can choose the method that works best for their learning style.
Online vs In-Person Bar Prep
Before the popularity of the internet, students who wanted extra help for the bar exam were required to seek out tutors and prep classes in their local area. Now, thanks to the internet, however, a wide variety of new tools and training is available for students all over the country. One possible pitfall of using online courses to study for the California Bar Exam specifically is that they may not have all the necessary information for the California-specific portion of the exam. This can be avoided by choosing one of our top picks below, as they all focus specifically on the CA exam.
More recent law school grads are choosing to prep for their bar exam online than ever before because of the reduced cost and additional flexibility. Additionally, online bar prep courses often come included with real practice questions from previous versions of the exam.
|Online Bar Prep Courses||In-Person Bar Prep Courses|
|The most economical way to prep for the bar||Best for people who prefer face to face learning|
|Flexible schedule||Easy access to a peer group|
|Personalized to your needs|
|Study materials are available 24/7|
The Best Bar Exam Tutors in San Francisco
1. BarMax Tutors
Offering one-on-one tutoring in addition to the BarMax prep course is our favorite way to ensure that you get the personal attention you need to make sure that you pass your bar exam on the very first try. There are four packages available, depending on how much time with a tutor is needed. The prices for both the BarMax prep course and the tutoring are reasonable, and we appreciate that financing is available through Affirm. This provides cash-strapped law school grads some additional flexibility in paying,
Cost: Starting at $133/hour
Location: Online only (video or phone conference)
Financing: Yes (via Affirm)
Qualifications: All BarMax tutors are licensed attorney themselves with years of experience teaching bar prep courses
2. Daniel's California Bar Exam Tutoring
With a focus on providing specific plans for each of his students, Daniel Schweitzer has over 15 years of tutoring experience and works with both first-time and repeat test-takers in order to help them pass the California Bar Exam. Daniel passed the test himself in 2004 on his first try. Daniel offers in-person tutoring in the San Diego area, but also works with students across the country remotely. On his website, Daniel is very adamant that he does not apply a “One Size Fits All” approach to tutoring, instead preferring to adjust to the particular needs of each student.
Cost: Contact for pricing
Location: 2236 15th Street San Francisco, CA 94114
Qualifications: Daniel passed the bar exam himself in 2004 and has many testimonials from satisfied clients
3. Be Prepared Cal Bar
Be Prepared Cal Bar is operated by Gina Lee, a local attorney who has been privately working with local students to help pass their admittance exams since 2010. Ideal for those repeating the bar exam, Be Prepared Cal Bar offers a free 20-minute consultation and scoresheet analysis call to explain the program and decide if you are a good fit. Prices vary depending on which of
Cost: Based on your individual plan
Location: 2309 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122
Qualifications: Gina Lee is a licensed attorney and has been providing bar exam tutoring services since 2010
The Best Online Bar Prep Courses in San Francisco
A full bar exam prep course covers everything you need in order to pass your upcoming exam. There are a few online courses that make preparation easy by providing instruction on-demand and practice tests that remember which questions you missed in order to pinpoint your biggest areas for improvement. Here are our three favorite online courses for individuals preparing for the bar.
- Kaplan Bar Review
The Best In-Person Bar Prep Courses in San Francisco
For students who prefer learning in a classroom environment, we’ve found the best in-person bar prep course in San Francisco that is currently available.
Address: Hastings College Of The Law, 200 McAllister, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone Number: 1-800-527-8378
Length: Eight weeks
Some students simply learn better in a structured, traditional classroom environment. If that’s the case for you, then Kaplan’s high-cost and rigorous schedule may be worthwhile. For its eight-week duration, students come together every weekday for live lectures and classes. Not only does this allow students the chance to fully immerse themselves in prep work, but it also offers the opportunity to network with other future lawyers.
While the workload can be a struggle, Kaplan has tried to find ways to mitigate this. They offer their live lectures online as well, so you can have a chance to catch up. And their “Ask-an-Expert” feature connects you straight to academic attorneys, so you can get help right away. However, keep in mind that while their MBE questions are meant to be exam-realistic, in reality, they’re not particularly similar to what’s on the test.
|Classroom environment||MBE questions aren’t ideal|
|Lectures are online||Expensive|
|Ask-an-Expert feature||Heavy workload|
|Chance to network|