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Augentius appoints new Business Development Director to drive expansion

New York, 13th March 2018: Augentius, the specialist global service provider to private equity and real estate funds, has appointed Nancy Vailakis, a well-known figure in the US alternative asset management industry, as its Business Development Director for the Americas. The move follows another successful year of 19% growth and Augentius’ continued expansion in this region.

Nancy brings with her a wealth of industry knowledge acquired through various roles including Vice President of Investor Relations at Cerberus Capital Management as well as Blue Mountain Capital Management. She is also involved with many non-profit and professional organizations including High Water Women and 100 Women in Finance.


Nancy Vailakis, Business Development Director, Augentius commented: “It’s a pleasure to join Augentius, an established international business. I’m thrilled to be a part of a global leader with a reputation for delivering high quality client service. Augentius’ focus on technological innovation and smart, thoughtful product evolution in response to market need has served them well and I’m eager to work with such a solid team to grow the business here in the Americas.”

Hugh Stacey, Executive Director, Augentius added: “We are delighted that Nancy has joined us. I have no doubt that her 14 years’ industry experience as a business development, marketing and investor relations professional, will make her a perfect candidate to cultivate Augentius’ continued expansion in the US.”



About Augentius

The Augentius Group is one of the largest specialist independent providers of administration and depositary services to Private Equity and Real Estate managers in the world. Augentius is a trusted advisor and service provider to private equity and real estate funds, and has been helping clients minimise the burden and risk of fund administration for more than 12 years. We have built our success by delivering an exemplary service based on our twin commitments to client service and attention to detail. We combine local service with global delivery, with offices in key jurisdictions that enable us to provide clients with a consistent level of service excellence and expertise, however they choose to structure their funds. Because we focus on private equity and real estate funds, we understand the very specific requirements of investors and fund managers and support clients at every stage of the fund lifecycle. We put our clients at the heart of our business, so they can put investors at the heart of theirs.


For further information please contact:

Ellie Jackson, Aspectus, on behalf of Augentius Group Limited


Tel: +44 (0)20 7242 8867

Augentius capitalises on growth in Asia with appointment of Managing Director

Jimmy Leong has been appointed Managing Director of specialist global private equity and real estate fund administrator, Augentius, to drive business growth in line with increasing opportunities in the far east.

Working out of Augentius’ Singapore office, Jimmy will be responsible for developing both new and existing client relationships to support business expansion and further solidify the company’s reputation for expert fund administration throughout this region.

Jimmy Leong, Managing Director, Augentius Asia, commented: “The growth in Asian private equity remains highly optimistic as the landscape is set to undergo major transformations, driven by the rise of international and Asian managers capitalising on China’s new regulatory structure. Augentius is well positioned to benefit from these opportunities and to establish itself as the leading service provider across Asia Pacific. I am thrilled to join Augentius at this opportune time and I look forward to working with such a dedicated team of professionals.”

Ian Kelly, Group Chief Executive Officer, Augentius, added: “We are delighted to have Jimmy on board. His tremendous experience and knowledge of the industry makes him perfectly placed to head up this region as we build on our success to date and expand further in Asia.”

Jimmy has spent the last two decades in senior management positions in Asian and International financial institutions. Prior to joining Augentius, he was Managing Director of Hua Hong Foundation Investment, Managing Partner at Glaux Investment Pte. and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri.


About Augentius

The Augentius Group is one of the largest specialist independent providers of administration and depositary services to Private Equity and Real Estate managers in the world. Augentius is a trusted advisor and service provider to private equity and real estate funds, and has been helping clients minimise the burden and risk of fund administration for more than 12 years. We have built our success by delivering an exemplary service based on our twin commitments to client service and attention to detail. We combine local service with global delivery, with offices in key jurisdictions that enable us to provide clients with a consistent level of service excellence and expertise, however they choose to structure their funds. Because we focus on private equity and real estate funds, we understand the very specific requirements of investors and fund managers and support clients at every stage of the fund lifecycle. We put our clients at the heart of our business, so they can put investors at the heart of theirs.


For further information please contact:

Ellie Jackson, Aspectus, on behalf of Augentius Group Limited


Tel: +44 (0)20 7242 8867

Overcriminalization of America

Civil society flourishes when its people – young or old, black or white or brown – can trust that justice will be dispensed without fear or favor.

The American criminal justice system presently is broken, and an example of justice run amok. The system has deteriorated to a point whereby innocent people are being imprisoned even with the lack of sufficient evidence. For the real criminals, punishments are often not commensurate with the crime. Presently, many non-violent offenders serve more time behind bars than murderers, rapists, and armed robbers. Consequently, the criminal justice system does more harm than good – destroying lives, shattering dreams and crushing hopes and aspirations for happiness.

Being the world’s largest democracy is supposed to make America a faithful steward of the fairest and finest legal system the world has ever known. However, the U.S. legal system runs counter to traditional American core values. 25% of total global prisoners reside in the U.S. even though America is only about 3% of the world’s population. About 7 million are now under some form of penal supervision, and roughly 100 million people have criminal records.

Presently, the U.S. lead the world in highest prison population, longest prison time, most business deals for contractors and lobbyists, and highest recidivism rate.

The credo of legal jurisprudence in any civilized dispensation is that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent jurisdiction. However, in the United States of America, the reverse is the case due to its misguided penal policies.

Under normal circumstances, obeying the law is enough to shield anyone from trouble. Unfortunately, the current dispensation is hardly normal and being careful in private or public life does not insulate against being caught in the cobweb of the numerous laws and regulations that are the hallmarks of the criminal justice system. Stories of prosecutorial abuse run like a horror movie and the fear of prosecutors “is the beginning of wisdom.” They take to the extreme the dangerous impulse to punish perceived offenders – real or imagined. Prosecutors have enormous power and discretion to pick and choose who goes to jail and who does not. Reports of unwarranted arrests, police brutality, senseless prosecutions, and mass incarceration are a commonplace to the extent that the country’s legal system is teetering dangerously towards a precipice.

The visible signs of pain and anguish can be seen in many families devastated by the imprisonment of a loved one and the so-called respect for human rights can only be thought of in comparative terms. The lack of a guilty mind no longer matters in criminal cases in U.S. courts. As a result, the nation has drifted from the core foundations and principles on which the Union was built, which add up to one concept and one word: freedom. In the context of the nation’s criminal justice system, this “American Creed” lies in tatters.

Although lawmakers can do more to remedy the situation, because of political expediency, the legislative arm of government continue to enact laws and regulations that criminalize harmless acts.

While many of us believe that it is the responsibility of the government to punish criminals for public safety and security, and the fact that society has a right to demand punishment for wrongdoers, however, this fundamental tenet must operate within a justice system that is equal and fair. Punishment must fit the crime, and the innocent must not suffer unjustly for crimes not committed.

There is no justification for mass incarceration; it could no longer be defended morally. America needs a more rational and sensible justice system, one that is fair – a people’s justice system – that all can trust to protect them while punishing offenders appropriately and ensuring that innocent people are not unfairly prosecuted or imprisoned. Only a reformed justice system can give practical meaning to the noble ideals on which the nation was founded. A commonsense approach to the criminal justice system in American might someday be possible, but not anytime soon given the interplay of politics and business within it.

In my book, American Criminal Justice System, Inc: Rogue Criminal Prosecution in an Era of Mass Incarceration, I presented compelling arguments of how government prosecutors and their cronies use crazy laws, plea bargain, false witnesses and other unwholesome tactics to oppress its people. With so many locked up, the United States has become a nation that feeds on its own.

– This article is an excerpt from my book, American Criminal Justice System, Inc: Rogue Prosecutions in an Era of Mass Incarceration.


Author, American Criminal Justice System Inc: Rogue Prosecutions in an Era of Mass Incarceration Website:

How Mergers And Acquisition Affect Company

Mergers and acquisitions keep happening in the corporate world. Both of these two activities are often construed as the magic elixir that will enhance the prestige of a newly formed company, grow sales and save cost up to a great extent through synergies.

However, Mergers and acquisitions are just like gambling. A lot of risks are involved in it and you can’t foretell the size of return in advance. If you don’t handle it carefully, it can even backfire and may result in more cost than projected. It can even damage the company completely.

So, the biggest question is how Mergers and acquisitions affect a company? Let’s have a look at some points mentioned here below-

1. They Become Bigger In Size
Many companies agree to M&A to grow their size and become bigger compared to their rivals. It may take several years to double or triple the size of a company through organic growth. But, if two different companies are combined into one, the value of a new company may overcome several small companies available in the market. In such a case, both companies are benefited hugely from the additional value.

2. Synergy
The main motive of a merger or acquisition is to increase the performance of a company for its shareholders with the help of synergy. Actually, it’s a concept which illustrates that if performance and the value of the two companies are combined, their output will always be bigger than the subtotal of the separate individual parts. In simple words, two business organizations can generate more revenues jointly than it could be fetched if they worked independently. So, companies measure potential synergy before making an M&A transaction.

3. Getting Unique Capabilities
On a number of occasions, mergers and acquisitions take place to get unique capabilities or resources, which can help the company to become a monopoly in the market. For example- If a new company acquires patents and licenses after making M&A deal, it can easily increase its sales and profits because of the innovation and efficiency caused by the merger or acquisition.

4. Capitalize the Government Policies
Mergers and acquisitions also happen to cope with unfavorable government policies that make it mandatory for companies to have a certain size to exist in the business. On the other hand, some governments provide tax breaks and other incentives to big companies. Mergers help companies to lower their tax liabilities and increase their profit margins.

5. Ability To Deal With Larger Clients
Mergers and acquisitions take place to deal with a large number of clients and increase the financial benefits. For example- M&A activity in law firms allows the company to access more resources and expertise & serve a large number of clients easily and quickly.

6. Termination Of Employees
Whenever two companies are combined into one or one company acquires another firm, employees are fired from their jobs. The new company wants to downsize the labor force and make the most use of the available talent. In some cases, the salaries of the workers are reduced to cut the operational cost.

This also provokes employees to leave the job and look for other options. These activities can fill negativity in the minds of existing staff and their performance/output is affected badly. Due to the different work culture, employees often clash with each other. It may affect the overall performance of the company a lot. If you don’t address this problem quickly, it becomes very difficult to operate the company smoothly and easily.

In some cases, many employees take legal action against the company because of their termination. Therefore, while getting involved in an M&A transaction, you should consider the interest of employees and shareholders seriously and try to solve the matter in a friendly manner. If any problem arises, you can take the help of M&A Law firms. They can assist you to follow the government recognized law in M&A transaction and will keep you to deal with any sort of legal trouble in the future.

7. Overpayment
The clash overpayment is quite common in M&A transactions. There are many cases when the company A accuses B of financial misappropriation and takes the legal action to get its money back from the company B. Such a scenario is harmful to both companies as involvement in prolonged legal battle can damage their reputation in the market and hurt them financially.

If you get trapped in such a complicated mess, you should hire expert Mergers and Acquisition Lawyers without having any second thought. They have the knowledge of different laws related to the M&A transactions and can help you to perform merger and acquisition without any legal hindrance.

Final Words:
M&A transactions affect the acquisitive companies in many ways. These are some important impacts that are likely to be faced by the firms.


Civil, Family or Criminal Law Firms Sydney – Basic Rules to Build a Successful Legal Practice

With so many law firms out there it can be overwhelming when setting out to open one of your own. The first thing you need to do is to distinguish your firm and stand apart from your competitions. Once you ascertain your firm’s area of expertise – corporate, civil, family or criminal law firms Sydney, the next important step is to establish main practice areas that are exclusive to your firm. This is imperative to make clients choose your legal practice over the many others present around you.

If only there was a magic formula to achieve success. However, there are certain rules to the game that you, as a competitive law business, can set and follow to accomplish enhanced performance, successful revenue generation, and strong client relations. Here are a few of them –

1.Chalk out an effective marketing plan – to build a solid marketing policy for your various law firms or let’s say for example criminal legal enterprise Sydney you need to pick out your collective and individual proficiencies, study your competition and analyze the services you provide in comparison to other similar law practicing agencies in your community. Selecting a good, reliable business developer and manager can develop a positive marketing strategy for your business, giving it the right exposure and boosting up your firm’s count, both in numbers and client database.

2.Providing clients with top notch service – to become a successful law agency, you need to provide your clients with the best and consistent services. Clients look for lawyers who are attentive toward them and offer exceptional services along with a successful outcome. Establishing a bond with your clients, conducting client satisfaction surveys, studying client growth and retention reports carefully are some of the steps you can incorporate to deliver what your clients need and achieve a reputable and successful other including criminal legal practice Sydney.

3.Making the workplace comfortable for your employees – a happy office environment ensures happy workers and in turn, high productivity. Firms with great people development skills have great records of stability and minimal attrition rate. Successful legal practices realize that not all of their employees are lawyers and consciously work towards a healthy work environment to incorporate everyone as a team.

4.Specializing in your area of interest – this gives you and your enterprise an upper edge. However, to achieve this you need to ensure that you have the right background and people to add credibility to your specialized area or areas of practice, build on it and publicize your accomplishments. These can be your selling point distinguishing your business from others. For instance, if yours is a criminal law firm Sydney, you will want to have a background showing your interest in your core focus, so people needing your legal aid relating to crimes can rely on you to get them out of their sticky situation successfully.

5. Clients belong to the firm – all leading civil, family or criminal legal organizations Sydney place great emphasis on things like client satisfaction, teamwork, and positive quality outcome. The goal is to better serve particular clients or industries with the team of professionals dedicated to them and their cases. Successful legal businesses consider overall contributions to the firm’s accomplishment rather than giving credit to an individual. Lawyers in such firms are encouraged to not think of clients as belonging to them, but to the firm. The firm needs to work as a whole and address and solve issues raised as a team and not a single lawyer.


Developing the above-mentioned points is a long term program for which you require willingness and patience. However, following these habits will surely give you and your law enterprise rewarding results.

Bar Exam Preparation Courses Compared – Cutting Through the Clutter of Thirty Six Company Offerings

The Definitive Guide and Analysis for Finding the Right Bar Prep Course for the First Time Taker

Since you have landed here, I am assuming that you have either successfully finished law school or will be graduating soon. Understanding the rigors you have endured, congratulations is certainly in order. But like me, after finishing law school, I am sure you are thinking “okay, I successfully jumped that hurdle, now I need to jump the next and most important one – passing the Bar.”

Taking the Bar exam is much different than taking an exam in law school. Putting aside the logistics, time constraints, and two day intensity; the Bar exam is put together by the state bar regulatory agencies in an attempt to test for whether a person would be a competent attorney. Thus, the exam is different in many ways as to what you have been exposed to.

For this reason alone, taking a Bar preparation course is critical. And note, if this is the first time you are taking the Bar exam, it is important that you choose a full service course which prepares you for all aspects of the exam including the multiple choice, essays and the performance exam.

For many of you, passing the Bar exam the first time is vital. For some, you already have a job lined up which would disappear if you didn’t pass the first time. Others may have had to take out substantial student loans which now, that you have graduated, will require repayment.

Either way, a Bar exam preparation course is essential. To further complicate matters, as I am sure you have heard, and as amply reported in publications like the Los Angeles Times and the ABA Journal, Bar exam pass rates have been on a steady decline for the last several years. To compound that problem, many states, like California, are refusing to lower their exam pass cut lines to raise the pass rates.

In other words, the state bar licensing agencies are refusing to grade the Bar exam on a curve, citing the need to preserve public protection. As a result, today’s Bar exams are just as difficult to pass as those given twenty years ago when I took mine. So then you might be wondering, “why are the Bar pass rates steadily decreasing, it is not as if today’s students are less intelligent than those from twenty years ago?”

You are correct, today’s students are just as intelligent, but there is something else going on. An analysis was done and the researchers found that the decline was not due to lower scores on the multiple choice portion of the exam (known as the MBE). It was determined that the lower bar pass rates were due to a higher failure rate on the essay questions.

It was found that because of societal changes (including that students today study in a different manner than in the past) and changes in the way many law schools are administering their classroom exams, many of today’s students taking the Bar are having difficulty following the call of an essay question; they are not spotting a sufficient number of issues in the fact patterns; they are having trouble applying the law to the facts and analyzing them; and their grammar and spelling is not up to par.

Unfortunately, the long standing traditional Bar preparation courses have not adapted their curriculums to compensate for this change. In the past, the MBE was considered the most difficult and tricky portion of the exam to pass. Consequently, the major emphasis, in the companies offering full service Bar review, focused on the techniques of mastering MBE.

These full service companies provided essay questions with model answers and had some discussion about the basic IRAC approach (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion, a cumbersome, outdated method not really suited to address today’s timed essay questions containing multiple issues and cross over subjects). The companies assumed the skills required to actually break down and analyze essay questions were learned within the law school curriculum. Basically, the methodology for these companies in preparation for essay exams was the old axiom, “practice makes perfect.”

Today, although the full service giants in the Bar prep industry like BarBri, Flemings, and Kaplan, and the smaller ones like Bar Max, AmeriBar, and Themis, continue to offer full service courses and dominate the market, their curriculums have remained the same for several years.

When choosing a Bar exam preparation course, remember that not all courses are alike. Most of the Bar review courses are not full service courses, as they focus on one particular aspect of the Bar (usually as a supplement). For example, courses their courses may only focus on the MBE portion or the essay portion or just the performance portion. Then there are companies which focus on a particular type of exam or jurisdiction, for example, a course focusing just on the California first year exam or the New York exam. Other companies are focused on those students who have previously failed the exam, and thus their approach with the second time takers is much different than if you are a first time taker.

If you are a first time taker, these limited courses will not fulfill all of your needs and should not be considered as your primary Bar preparation course. If you find that you need some supplementation at some point, then, of course, you should look at what they offer.

Because it is critical that as a first time taker you take a full service course, I will not be including those limited curriculum focused companies within the comparison below. The companies, that I know of, which have the limited focused curriculum include: Adapti Bar; Bar Graders; Bar Made Easy; PMBR; Bar Outlines; Bar Secrets; Bar Review Solutions; Bar Prep Hero; Smart Bar Prep; Omni Prep Patent; Internet Bar Exam Review; My Bar Prep; Pass the Bar; Pieper Bar Review; Marino Bar Review; Bar Exam Doctor; Supreme Bar Review; Skillman Method; and The Writing Edge.

In addition to these limited focus companies, there are several companies which provide Bar review in a tutorial setting, whether one-on-one or in small groups, but mostly face-to-face. These are usually regional companies, requiring your attendance and have very limited enrollment. In addition, because they are so hands-on personal tutorial courses, they mainly cater to those Bar takers who have previously failed the exam.

Because of the small capacity, the regional considerations and that the course curriculums often focus on the student who has already taken the Bar exam, I am of the opinion that these companies should also not be considered by the first time taker (but of course, that is a personal choice). Thus, I will not include the companies that focus on a tutorial format in the comparison below. The companies, I know of, in this category include: Bar None Review; Bar Plus Review; Bar Review; Bar Winners; Law Tutorial; Law Tutors; Open Book; Southwest Bar Review; The Bar Coach; and The Bar Code.

That leaves the full service companies for your review and comparison. The full service companies, which I am currently aware of, include: Side Bar; BarBri; Bar Max; Kaplan; Themis; Flemings; and AmeriBar.

Before we begin the comparison, I would like to say a word about published Bar pass rates and published pricing for these individual companies. Of the seven full service Bar Prep companies, three (Themis, Bar Max, and Flemings) publish Bar pass rates. BarBri does not officially publish Bar pass rates, however it has been reported in the press that their sales people verbally tout an 80 percent pass rate.

The publication of a Bar pass rate, by a Bar prep company, has always left me in a quandary. How precisely do these companies establish a protocol to accurately assess the percentage of those people who have taken their course and then passed the Bar exam?

It seems to me to be enigmatic to make such a determination and then publish this as a selling point. The individual state bars administering the exams certainly do not collect any data concerning whether a person took a Bar prep course, more or less a particular brand. In addition, many states do not publish the names of those people who passed the exam.

Thus, the official arbiters of the exams certainly are not the source of this information for the Bar prep companies to publish. There can be only one way to establish this kind of information which would be unreliable and thus produce inaccurate results. That would be after the six months of taking the exam and then receiving their results, each individual student would have to contact the Bar prep company they used and tell them whether they passed or failed the exam.

For a pass rate to be reliable and accurate, 100 percent of the those who purchased the Bar prep course would have to voluntarily respond to the company and be truthful about whether they passed or failed. If even a fraction of those (let us say 20 percent) did not respond to the company, the results would be far from accurate and thus misleading to publish.

Someone once told me that at least one of the companies establish their pass rate based upon those who took the exam, failed and then contacted the company requesting to retake the course for free. Here again, this can never be an accurate portrayal of a pass rate because often, those who fail on their first try decide that the Bar prep course they took was not good enough and they then engage a different company to prepare them for the second go around (and as mentioned above, there are several companies only focused on that market niche).

Therefore, in my opinion, any published Bar pass rate proffered by a Bar prep company is deceptive. In using this as a criteria in your evaluation of the companies below, consider this; there is a Civil Jury Instruction in almost every State which basically says: “If you decide that a witness did not tell the truth about something important, you may choose not to believe anything that witness said in her other testimony.” There is much wisdom behind that jury instruction, and based upon that criteria, I personally cannot recommend any company which publishes Bar pass rates.

If you agree with my opinion concerning published pass rates, that would eliminate Themis, Bar Max, and Flemings from serious consideration (and if the BarBri sales representatives are also instructed to tout these pass rates, they should be eliminated as well).

That leaves four full service companies (Side Bar, BarBri, Kaplan, and AmeriBar) to evaluate and compare. However, to be fair, all seven companies will be included in the comparison below.

Now about published pricing. Here again, not all companies are alike and have different and sometimes complex pricing structures. For example, Flemings has different tiers of pricing: Short Term is more than $2,000, Long Term is more than $3,000 and Ultimate is in excess of $6,000. Each tier has a different level of course and preparation materials provided. AmeriBar has a similar tiered pricing structure.

I question this kind of pricing, because how is a first time Bar exam taker going to know what level or tier is right for them in order to pass the exam? Frankly, if the first time taker actually knew the answer to that question, they would be so clairvoyant and knowledgeable that they would not need a Bar prep course at all.

On the other hand, other companies, like Side Bar, provide 100 percent of all course and preparation materials, that would be required to pass the Bar, for a single price.

Thus, it is difficult and confusing to attempt to compare a company that provides tiered pricing, versus an all inclusive fee company, as it would be trying to compare apples and oranges. Thus, I suggest that once you have settled upon two companies to choose from, and one of those companies has tiered pricing, that you then delve into those pricing tiers and attempt to make a subjective evaluation for yourself.

However, if you are like me, and simply eliminate from your consideration those companies who engage in publishing Bar pass rates and those that have tiered pricing, that leaves three full service Bar prep companies for your review which are as follows: Side Bar, BarBri, and Kaplan.

For your comparison, these are listed first and then the other four full service companies will follow. A good place to start the comparison is the newbie on the block – Side Bar.

Side Bar

This full service Bar prep company was recently established to address the declining Bar pass rates. With their system, the student is not left on his/her own to figure out what to do and where to start. It is all laid out in a progressive plan which the student follows within his/her own schedule.

There are no lectures to attend or watch, no flash cards and no hype about customization to the student’s particular strengths or weaknesses. What is presented are specific methods, techniques and tips to succeed in both the essay questions and the MBE questions, coupled with tips on how to pass the performance exam, mated with practice exams and optimal answers.

The MBE section not only gives the student the methods of how to approach the questions and how they are developed, but also 170 specific tips separated by subject to tackle the difficult questions. Further, 2000 practice MBE questions are provided not only with an answer key, but with explanations which are part of the system’s law memory reinforcement.

Due to the declining Bar pass rate, careful attention is given to the essay exams. Students are taught, via a step by step method, how to approach, break down, analyze and write clean essay answers. The Side Bar method recognized that the Bar examiners are looking for different approaches in the different subjects, and the company addresses this. The method is formula driven and once the student learns the formulas, they can expect to go into auto-pilot in answering essays. To hone their essay skills, the company provides almost 60 practice questions with answers.

In addition the company has a memory system for the black letter law taught in all of the core courses tested on the Bar. This includes multiple course outlines, for each course, which progressively become more condensed as the student progresses through the course. These are matched up with a program of integration of the essay and multiple choice questions, which enhance memory reinforcement when coupled with the detailed explanation to the answers.

The company provides all course materials. There is nothing else to buy or look at. Everything is online and accessible via desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone no matter the platform. There are no scheduling constraints as the student progresses at his or her own pace and at any time of day or night.

The regular price is $2495. The company currently offers a discount price of $1995. The price is all inclusive with no additional fees. They also provide discounts and rebates for referrals and quantity purchases.

They have a money back guarantee within fifteen days of the purchase. The subscription price includes access to all materials for eighteen months, thus no matter when the student is taking the Bar or if they have to take it again, the student has access to all course materials. This is also an advantage to those students in their last year of law school who wish to get a head start on preparing for the Bar exam.


BarBri pioneered bar exam preparation fifty years ago and their reputation continues to attract the overwhelming majority of law school students each year. BarBri has what they call the MBE Immersion, built upon an experienced-based approach to improve law student performance on the MBE portion of the bar exam. This two-day class kicks off the bar review course and is designed to accelerate the pace the student learns the law and, in turn, successfully answer MBE bar exam questions.

The company also provides what they call BarBri Amp which they describe as an effective way to master the black letter law and maximize the student’s MBE score. Based upon the materials proffered, I was not able to determine the difference in methodology between the BarBri Amp and the BarBri Immersion. Both are linking MBE questions and answers with learning the law. The company provides a 200 question simulated MBE exam.

Additionally, BarBri provides what they call the Law Master Study Keys. The first key is to have a manageable and memorable framework to learn the law and understand where all of the rules fit into that framework. The next key to actually learning the law is to be able to bring together rules, the elements that comprise the rule, and a story to actually apply the rules and elements to real world scenarios.

Further, BarBri provides what is called the Essay Architect tool which provides immediate feedback for higher scoring essays. They claim that it enhances the student’s ability to write the lawyer-like answers that the bar examiners are looking for on the bar exam. The tool is online and by using the drag-and-drop features, the student practices essay writing following the standard IRAC format. Immediate feedback reinforces organization and structure.

The BarBri system requires lectures whether accessed in a classroom or online. These are provided in a structured format within schedules and access limitations. The lectures are given over a seven week period. Thus, the student is constrained to the course structure and has little flexibility in scheduling. There is no information on the company website, other than providing the simulated 200 question MBE exam, as to whether actual MBE and essay questions, with answers are provided to allow the student to practice on their own. Apparently, from examining the website, the company does not provide any assistance, course materials or simulated exams for the performance test.

The price is $3695. In addition, there is a course materials shipping fee of $30, a course registration fee of $250 and a refundable course materials fee of $250 once the course materials are returned. They provide an ABA premium discount.

The company does not provide a money back guarantee, however they do say that if the student fails their Bar exam that they can repeat the same jurisdictional state BarBri review course online when it’s offered next – without paying additional tuition. Apparently, none of the in-person services are available to a repeat taker.


The Kaplan course is very basic. The company provides course lectures whether in a classroom or online, and then provides essay and MBE practice questions with answers. The company states, that their syllabus adapts to the student’s needs, strengthening weak subjects with homework assignments designed for the student. The company motivates and engages the student by live streaming the classroom to their home. And once the student’s review course ends, they analyze the student’s performance and create a personalized Final Study Plan. They claim that this helps maximize the student’s points, and serves as a bridge between the last day of class and test day.

Their memory reinforcement technique is flash cards. The company claims to have total flexibility for accessing the lectures and other materials online, however, they provide no information as to how long the student has access to these materials and whether their “syllabus” is structured logistically and with time constraints (which is typical). Of course the classroom lectures would have scheduling constraints.

Outside of the course lectures, the company does not indicate whether they provide specific approaches, techniques and tips to answer both the MBE and essay questions and it does not look as though they provide any. However they do provide practice essay and MBE questions and answers, and they claim that with doing practice questions the students’ scores increase over time. In fact the company states, “a crucial component of test prep, it’s been shown that Kaplan students who submit more essays see improvement in their scores.” They also have a very large data base of practice MBE questions, cited to be 4000 and challenge students to complete all 4000. Apparently the company does not provide any assistance, course materials or simulated exams for the performance test.

The regular price is $2999. They currently have discounted price of $2399. There is an additional $250 registration fee.

The company does provide a money back guarantee for those who fail the Bar, however there are several restrictions which are as follows: Be a first time taker; have a JD from an ABA accredited school; be enrolled in the Kaplan Complete Bar Review course; attend 90 percent of all lectures prior to taking the Bar; complete all assigned exams, quizzes and homework prior to taking the exam; and take the very next scheduled bar exam after completing the course materials.

The following are the four remaining full service Bar preparation courses. However, they all have either “published” Bar pass rates or tiered pricing or both, which in my opinion are disqualifiers.


Flemings is jurisdictionally specific to California only. They are the most expensive product on the market and have six tiers of pricing, with the most expensive being $6400.

Flemings uses the traditional lecture method, still mostly based within a classroom setting in California, with some accessibility online. The lectures are all within a structured format and within structured time limitations for the course.

The company claims to provide substantive law instruction with corresponding substantive law outlines, MBE instruction with corresponding MBE questions and answers, essay and Performance exam instruction with simulated exams, together with personalized oral feedback on CD for every writing assignment the student submits to their attorney readers. This method has been the traditional method/model for Bar prep courses for over twenty years.

The company states that essay, MBE, and performance testing is regularly scheduled and conducted under simulated bar exam conditions in each of Fleming’s bar reviews. As an example, in Fleming’s Long Term Bar Review, in addition to the exams covered during class instruction, the students are assigned forty-eight essay exams and nine performance exams to write and submit for an oral, audio CD critique and grading. In Fleming’s Short Term Bar Review, in addition to the exams covered during class instruction, the students are assigned thirty-five essay exams and four performance exams to write and submit for an oral, audio critique and grading.

Given the a la carte nature of the offerings from the company, it is difficult to compare prices of what they offer to the other full service companies. The closest would be their Long Term Review which has a cost of $3245 plus a $250 deposit. There are no cancellations, refunds or guarantees provided. There are no discounts provided for the actual courses, however the company claims that with a basic course purchase, a student may receive a discount on additional products in future purchases.


Right at the top of the home page and within several of the other back pages, Themis advertises their Bar pass rate. They emphasis this as a selling point. To me, as explained above, that is a big red flag. In addition, they make a statement on their website, claiming that they are “the only major bar review course developed to be completely online.” Obviously, as you can see from other company offerings, this is an inaccurate statement. Personally, no matter what the industry or product, I steer clear of companies which make untrue claims.

As with all of the other Bar prep courses, except for Side Bar, Themis is lecture based, however, they claim that they provide more flexibility for attending the lectures (all online) than the other companies. Given that many of the other companies also offer the lectures online with flexible accessibility, this is another inaccurate statement. The company states that with their Integrated Learning System, the student gets comprehensive outlines, practice multiple-choice questions, practice essay questions, on-demand lectures, and corresponding interactive handouts. Students who would rather study at their own pace have that option with their Flex Study mode.

The lectures are law course material based and thus, except for practicing essay, MBE and performance test questions, the students are not instructed on how to approach and analyze these questions in a way which will produce results. The student is left alone with the hope that practice makes perfect and they will learn from their mistakes.

The price for the course is $2095. They provide a $100 discount to active and retired military and also to active members in Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International and the Military Spouse J.D. Network. They do not provide a money back guarantee, however if you are a first-time Themis taker, and fail the bar, the company will provide the student with a free repeat of the course for the next administration of the same bar exam at no cost.

Bar Max

This is another company which advertises their Bar pass rates. In fact they make the claim that, “We release our pass rates while other bar courses refuse to.” Not only is the statement deceptive because some other companies do publish pass rates, the statement makes it sound as if the best criteria for evaluating a Bar prep company is its published pass rates. Again, as explained above, to me this is a big red flag.

As with many others, Bar Max is traditional and lecture based. The company provides, by course topic, an in-depth outline, an audio lecture from a law professor, and when appropriate, numerous flashcards for memory reinforcement. There are 50 hours of lectures. The entire course is provided either online or within their own iOS only App (no Android or Windows), thus, if you use the App, once loaded on your device, no internet access is required.

Upon enrollment, the student receives a Welcome Packet that includes skeleton outlines of lecture notes. The Welcome Packet also includes printable PDFs of performance tests and 180 practice essays from previous exams, with 2 model answers for each essay. The company provides 1750 practice MBE questions with answers.

The student will also receive 2 free writing critiques (performance tests or essays). Additional critiques can be purchased a la carte.

Once again, the lectures are law course material based and thus, except for practicing essay, MBE and performance test questions, the students are not instructed on how to approach and analyze these questions in a way which will produce results. The student is left alone with the hope that practice makes perfect and they will learn from their mistakes.

The price for the course is $999. They provide a “public interest” scholarship of $499 for those employed in qualifying public interest jobs or in the military. They provide a 100 percent refund within 7 days of the front end purchase. For California and Uniform Bar exam takers, they provide a money back guarantee for those who fail the Bar exam, however there are numerous restrictions including tight time constraints to apply for the refund.


This company provides a tiered pricing system. The course, like most of the others. is based upon course lectures. There are 80 hours of online only course lectures. The company also provides books containing the course outlines and practice essay, performance test, and MBE questions and answers. They also have an extensive MBE online data bank of questions and answers.

Although the company provides some basic writing skills and the application of IRAC to essay writing, the lectures are law course material based and thus, except for practicing essay, MBE and performance test questions, the students are not instructed on how to approach and analyze these questions in a way which will produce results. The student is left alone with the hope that practice makes perfect and they will learn from their mistakes. In fact, the company makes the following statement. “The most effective way to prepare for the essay exam is to practice answering prior bar exam essay questions. You will learn which issues are often tested, and how common issues should be resolved.” In total they provide 3400 practice MBE questions and 150 practice essay questions.

Additionally, they provide attorney phone support. They also provide eleven essay critiques within the six week period before taking the exam. The basic course regular price is $2295, they are currently running a discount for $1365. There is a book shipping fee of $25. The company website makes the claim that, “we are the least expensive full service bar review course.” This claim is not supported by the offerings of other companies like Bar Max.

There is an undisclosed book deposit fee which is only disclosed after you sign up. Although this fee is not disclosed on the website, typically when a company charges a book deposit fee, it is $250. If you return the books within a designated timeframe the book deposit will be refunded. If you wish to have the lectures on an iPod, there is an additional fee of $249. They provide a refund within 4 days after purchase, less 12.5 percent restocking fee. Their pass guarantee provides that a student will receive a free retake of the online course as long as the student provides AmeriBar with a copy of the examiner’s notification letter within 10 days of the student’s notification.

Understanding Probation: How It Works and Its Effectiveness

Probation is basically the suspension of jail sentences in a manner than gives the convicted person the opportunity to remain in his/her community. Probation requires such individuals to follow conditions that will be described by the court. He/she will also be supervised by a probation officer. Common probationary conditions include taking part in community service, regular meetings with the probation officer, avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol and drug use, and making court appearances when required.

The probation period imposed on an individual is determined by the laws of the state in which he/she resides, and the offence committed. Generally, probation lasts between one and three years. Nonetheless, it can be longer in special circumstances especially when the offender is convicted of more serious crimes such as sex or drug offences. Probation can also exist immediately after someone is bailed out of jail, especially if they are a repeat offender. Anyone who utilizes a bail bonds company or service can be put on probation at any time.

Terms of Probation

Apart from reporting to your probation officer and making court appearances as requested, you are also supposed to adhere to a number of probationary terms and conditions that will be determined by the court. These include paying restitution or fines to your victims, avoiding certain places and people, not travelling outside the state without seeking permission from your probation officer, obeying all state and federal rules regardless of how trivial they might be, and agreeing to random alcohol and drug tests.

Generally, the conditions that you will be required to adhered to will be dependent on the criminal violation that you were charged with. For instance, you may be required to undergo drug tests if you were charged on a drug-related offense.

Violation of Probation and Revocation Hearing

Probation violations mainly occur when one breaks any of the conditions and rules that pertain to his/her probation order before the elapse of the stipulated probation period. When it is discovered that there has been a violation, your probation officer will either give you a warning or ask you to attend a violation hearing. If it is ultimately established that you violated the terms and conditions set forth in your probation order, you risk facing additional probation terms, jail term, a revoked probation, or heavy fines.
During your revocation hearing, the prosecutor must prove that you violated a condition or a term of the probation order by use of a preponderance of the evidence benchmark. Like any other criminal proceeding, it is your right to be informed about new charges that have been brought against you. If your probation is revoked by the judge, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are staring at a jail term.

There are numerous options available to the judge including extending the probation period or imposing additional fines. If you are sentenced to a short jail term, you can request for a bail hearing that allows you to be free until your case is determined. You can also appeal a violation conviction at a higher court if you think that the lower court erred.

How to get a law training contract

Those looking to pursue a career in law will know that training contracts and pupillages are the golden ticket – and final step on the road to qualifying as a solicitor.

This period of recognised training helps you put your knowledge into a real-life context, and over two years you have the chance to learn about the law firm’s different departments, including contentious and non-contentious practice areas, and get training from an expert in the field.

With a training contract in place, you can pass the Professional Skills Course (PSC). You’ll need to have gained experience in client care and professional standards, financial and business skills and advocacy and communication skills.

With major opportunities for development at stake, you’ll need to find the law firm that’s right for you. LawCareers.Net has a great training contract search, so it’s worth beginning your search then.

Once you’ve made a list of firms you’d like to work with, you need to be able to stand out from the crowd. How do you do that when there’s so much competition?

With over 40 years’ of experience, Bindman & Co solicitors know what makes a great applicant. They have heavily invested in the training of future solicitors and legal professionals in their native North East, recently welcoming two apprentices and providing a Law Training Contract to one staff member.

Tapping into his years’ of experience, senior partner Leslie Bindman — who has been practicing for 41 years — has shared some advice on how to pip the competition to the post for that vital training contract…

Be selective – and know why you’ve picked the firm

You don’t want to limit yourself by only applying to one firm, but a scattergun approach won’t show your interest in an individual firm. Make your choice wisely, and make sure you include some reasons why you applied to that firm in particular. Be considered, complimentary and honest.

Make sure you meet the firm’s criteria and show it in the application

You’re wasting your time – and the firm’s – if they need you to have grades you haven’t achieved, or don’t meet other criteria. Only apply for positions you are eligible for, and your 100 percent more likely to succeed. When it comes to the application, answer exactly what you’re asked – if you need to give two examples, give two. The devil’s in the detail, and you need to be able to follow briefs and instructions to the letter.

Get as much industry experience as possible
It’s an obvious one, but that’s because it’s so important. You need to show your dedication to the job and the industry, and having undertaken work experience is a great way to do this. Summer and winter breaks are a great time to do this – shadow a solicitor for a week, or answer the telephones in a firm – it all helps.

Show you’re a worker

Law’s an intensive course, so law firms are always impressed if candidates have managed to have a job whilst studying. It shows you’re a hard worker, stand on your own two feet, and can handle different types of responsibility.

Give it some personality

The law firm has to work with you for two years – if not longer if they offer you a position – so you need to makes sure you’re likeable. Find ways to showcase your personal interests and personality. Be yourself too, you want them to like you for you, and you need to be comfortable while you work there.

15 Common Myths About Child Custody

There are many misconceptions about child custody not only in Fort Worth but the entire world. Some divorcing parents are forced to believe in such myths because they are very common to a point many people think they are facts.

It is however important to get facts straight to those starting on this journey or even those that have been to several court proceedings but yet to receive the verdict from the judge.

1. The parent who leaves forfeits child custody

This is a common myth whereby those abandoned believe the other parent forfeits child custody the moment they left. They end not filing for child custody. Legally, both parents share child custody both legal and physical until they receive a formal child custody order from the court.

2. Only criminal cases are entitled to free legal representation

There are many parents who do not know that they are entitled to free legal representation. In child custody case if you cannot afford the services of a professional lawyer then you can request the court or legal aid to help by appointing one for you.

3. Only a lawyer can represent you in court

The main reason why you should hire a professional child custody lawyer is because they better understand the legal and court procedures such that they can help you get through the process faster. You are however entitled to represent yourself in court if you want to.

4. Child custody order by the court is final

A child custody court order is not final and can be changed by appealing. With the help of a professional family lawyer experienced in child custody cases, you will be able to file the right paperwork. Legal representation in the appeal process would also be vital in altering the previous court order

5. Mothers are favored in child custody

The court is not biased in any way based on gender. The court has only the interests of the child and therefore looks into various factors other than gender or financial standings.

6. Financially fit parents win custody

The decision of the court is never solely determined by the well-being of the couple. A number of factors are looked into.

7. Willingness to compromise is a sign of weakness

Sometimes based on a specific case, the court can grant custody to the parent who is more willing to compromise. The parent who is more than willing to sacrifice personal interests for the sake of the child’s interests mostly gets the custody

8. Parents who fail to pay for child support will be denied visitation

Usually, child custody/visitation and child support are considered completely different issues. This, therefore, means that failure to pay for child support does not guarantee that one will be denied visitation

9. Parents get awarded either legal or physical custody

Upon listening to arguments from both sides, the court may decide to award both parents legal custody but one to have the physical custody or completely deny one parent both legal and physical custody awarding them to one parent.

Legal custody is a case whereby a parent has legal obligations to their children but can’t live with them. In such a case, the parent will participate in crucial child welfare issues such as medical care and education.

10. Parents have a right to their children

This is one major misconception that many parents have. Parents don’t have a right to their children but rather obligations. Children, on the other hand, have all the rights and that is why the court always has the child’s best interests taken care of.

11. A child can decide the parent to live with once they reach a specific age

There is no law that says this. What happens is that as the child grows older, they will tend to be dissatisfied with spending time with either parent.

In such a case, a court hearing should be organized to change the parenting arrangement.
However, the child’s wishes will have to be keenly scrutinized before a decision is made.

Family reports from a neutral party especially a psychologist is taken as crucial evidence to grant the child his/her wishes.

12. Divorced parents find it easier communicating to each other through children

This is quite common as you will hear messages passed to the other parent after a weekend of visitation. As much many parents think it is working, the truth is that you are dragging the child into your own mess.

If divorcing parents have to communicate on anything, let them do it without involving the children.

13. Child support will not be needed in a case where parents share joint custody

Child support is actually factored in to provide financial support for the child. Whether they hold joint custody or not this should be set with the salaries of both parents factored in.

14. My ex and I are even- we do not need a court order

After divorce, there are some parents who maintain a respectful relationship like calling each other to know the well being of the child and offer the necessary support as needed. When this is the case, they feel there no need to involve lawyers and the court.

What will happen when your partner decides to move on and marry or get married? Such are the complexities of divorce that the court looks into and gives a custody order that will have the best interests of the child.

15. The parent with more money pays for child support

Courts usually have a mathematical formula that puts various factors into perspective whereby income of the parents is just part. With the formula, both parents will be given the amount they will pay as child support until the child attains the legal adult age.


With a family lawyer, you will get to understand the entire process, guide you through the legal system and follow the right procedure to ensure the case is decided on your favor. Now that you have learnt the common misconceptions out there regarding child custody, it is crucial to make up your mind whether to hire a fort worth child custody lawyer or not. Despite the fact that you can file for legal child custody on your own.

Bank Guarantee can be released by an Additional Arbitration Award – Delhi High Court

One of the frequently encountered issue in arbitration proceedings is missing out of a claim and parties seeking remedy by way of an amendment to the award or by way of an additional award. Normally the scope of correction of the award under S.33 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act,1996 is limited to errors and if both the parties agree, an interpretation of an issue. But if a substantial issue is already decided in the arbitration award but a consequential prayer was missed out in the claim and hence arbitrator could not grant an award, then an application seeking additional arbitration award can be filed. In such situations, the opposite parties also raise the issue of limitation, without understanding the settled law that the consequential directions do not require to be raised within the limitation period, if the substantial issues are already raised within the limitation period.

Relating to an arbitration arising out of a supply contract between Motorola and Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Limited (MTNL), in a proceeding to challenge the arbitration award under S.34 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act,1996, Delhi high court by a detailed judgment dated 31st March, 2017, in SCC Online Del 7736, upheld the sustainability of not only the main arbitration award but also an additional arbitration award. In this case MTNL challenged the Arbitration award which was in favour of the claimant on various grounds, before the High Court of Delhi.

Both the arbitral awards involved in this case were passed by a sole Arbitrator arising out of a Letter of intent dated 11th January 2000, for providing 50K lines of CDMA IS-95 A, WLL equipment project in Delhi MTNL on turnkey for survey, design and supply of equipment, installation, testing, commissioning, making over system consignee, training, providing AMC etc., in favour of Motorola. The arbitrator passed the final arbitration award in favour of Motorola, holding that the breaches to the contract are attributable to MTNL and not to Motorola.  But since there was no specific claim seeking the return of bank guarantees furnished by Motorola, the award did not have such a direction. Hence Motorola filed an application seeking an additional award, directing MTNL to return the Bank Guarantee. Hence Arbitrator passed an additional award directing MTNL to return the Bank Guarantees.

Hence MTNL challenged both the main award as well as additional award. The additional award was challenged under S.34 on two main grounds. The first was that the application was barred by law of limitation, hence it must be rejected. The 2nd ground was that in the absence of an issue relating to return of Bank guarantee and consequential findings in the main award, the arbitrator ought to have rejected the application for additional award. But in a detailed judgment, Justice Mr. Muralidhar of Delhi High Court upheld the award with a finding that the additional award is legal and no need to frame a separate issue for return of BG since the arbitrator has already found that the breach is committed by MTNL, in the main award and direction to return of BGs is just a consequential award.