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Secured Transactions / Article 9
"Great class, lousy exam" would succinctly reflect the sentiments of the majority of people who took Nimmer's Secured Transactions class in the Spring 2005 semester.
Secured transactions is tested on the Texas bar exam, and because it is entirely statute-driven and not at all intuitive, it is to a bar candidate's advantage to have been exposed to this material before the BarBri prep course and of course before sitting the bar exam. Simply put, secured transactions is rather dry, harder than most subjects, but when the bar rolls around you'll be glad you took it in law school. Nimmer does a good job of teaching this material, exhibits fairly consistently good humor (though, amusingly, indicated he felt we were becoming "surly" during a class where particularly difficult material was being taught) and he makes a point of working through illustrative examples to clarify the law. The case book (which Nimmer co-authored) was surprisingly readable for a dry topic; while cases are assigned, Nimmer didn't discuss the cases at all during class, instead he would focus on the chapter problems. Over the semester he missed about 3-4 classes because he was giving a speech out of the country.
You will be called on in this class, though Nimmer doesn't push particularly hard if you either haven't read or don't know the answer. If you care about learning the material, doing the assigned chapter problems is valuable and instructive. We had a couple of "drafting assignments" that we had to turn in at various points during the semester, though to my recollection those were not graded (or if they were, were worth very little and required little effort).
The exam for this class was very disappointing. About 85% of the available points sprang from 30 or so multiple choice questions, the remainder from short answer questions (i.e. the question called for an answer of two sentences or so). The multiple choice questions were written in, to my mind, an unnecessarily tortured manner where the "ball was hidden" to the extent that no matter how well prepared you were for the exam, it's a crap shoot how you'll score. I personally did not fare well on this exam, but don't mistake these comments for sour grapes on my part: the guys I studied with were very well prepared and also fared poorly. The honor code does not allow me to divulge the content of the exam, though I can tell you that Nimmer said he reuses his questions...this matters to you because the exam issue will presumably be recurring. Exam gripes aside...
...my study friends and I were VERY glad we'd taken Nimmer's class when the BarBri review course (and the bar exam) rolled around. Secured transactions covers the kind of material that I would definitely not want to be seeing for the first time in a bar review course. It is tested very consistently on the bar, and I certainly felt that I had an edge over bar candidates who didn't take this subject in law school. Nimmer's coverage helped us out significantly and made our secured transactions bar prep a lot less burdensome. In fact he hits some bankruptcy preference issues that have occasionally come up as crossover questions on the essay portion of the bar exam, and are taught during BarBri in the bankruptcy lecture, which is taught separately from the BarBri secured transactions class.
Would I recommend you take this course? Yes, I think so. If you are especially grade sensitive, you might not want to roll the dice on Nimmer's exam, but that said, I think the leg up this class gives you for the bar exam makes it worth it.
Nimmer Contracts 1 Outline
(thanks to Jennifer Barnes)
Nimmer Contracts 2 Outline (thanks to Jennifer Barnes)
Nimmer Contracts Outline for 2003 (thanks to Robin Phillips)