Professor Karney grew up with a love of teaching and writing. When she was younger, she worked on her school’s newspaper, and while a student at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California, where she received her JD, she tutored and mentored other law school students.
In the 1980s, Professor Karney created a California Bar review course that captured the unique teaching method she had been using for years as a law school mentor and California Bar Exam one-on-one tutor. She created a boutique California bar review course that was intensive, smaller, more personalized, with a teaching method and course materials tailored to passing the California bar exam. The key was writing the substantive materials in a short, structured format that a student could learn and apply to the exam. Giving the bar exam students the materials, in the order, structure, and format they would use to write an essay on that issue, allowed students to spend more time applying the substantive law they were learning to practice bar exam essays. Memorizing, writing, applying as learned was her formula for success.
Her course initially was a writing course focusing on the essay and written portions of the California Bar Exam and then Barwinners expanded to a full bar review course covering Essays, Performance Tests and Multi-States (MBE)
Professor Karney attributes her success to a unique teaching method she calls, the Karney Writing Approach Method “Bar-Bible” which boils down vast amounts of substantive information into writing approach templates for more effective memorization and essay application. She believes that the best way to study for the bar exam, is to learn the substantive materials the way it is going to be used and applied on the actual bar exam. For the essays, it is a template, Approach to be directly applied to bar exam essays.
In about thirty five pages per subject, the “Approach Book Bar Bible” is the main text her students use to prepare for the essay portion of the Bar exam. While self-grading is a helpful tool that many other prep companies use, Professor Karney recognizes it’s difficult for students to diagnose their own weaknesses. This is why in her program, she provides students with simulated exam grading and quality feedback from licensed California Attorney graders and mentors. She also demonstrates an effective self-grading technique for self-study as needed, with rubrics, or “cut sheets,” that are similar to those of Bar exam graders. These cut sheets enable students to see the elements necessary for a passing score, rather than having to read through a convoluted sample essay that doesn’t even identify the issues for students!
Another unique feature to Professor Karney’s California Bar Review program is that she schedules her classes around a student’s most productive time to study, which is during the day. This is why her classes are held two weeknights and on the weekends, in order to leave students time to study the substantive materials and do practice essays and questions during the day. There is homework assigned every class that is due the next class meeting. This California Bar Review Course is very structured! For students in Southern California, Professor Karney offers in-person, live professors in nearly all classrooms. For students further away, a structured and interactive experience is still possible through the online option that features simulated exams, an online mentor, and other interactions with her company. Either online or in-person, Professor Karney’s program is one that stands apart from others with its attention to detail and personalized, student-oriented approach!
For the Performance Test, it is an organizational technique and method that allows a student to read, outline, organize, and then write within the allotted time. For the MBE’s it’s a method and technique designed to facilitate the learning and application of the details of the law to multiple-choice questions.
Students say that Professor Karney is intuitive and seems to understand them quickly and was able to diagnose what was getting in their way of passing within the first phone call.
“I called Shari, and within 30 minutes of our first phone call, without having even met, she nailed every single one of my problem issues by just talking to me on the phone.”
Professor Karney also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several law schools. Recently, as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola Law School, she co-taught a course entitled, “Bar Exam Essay Writing Practicum”.
Professor Karney, wrote The Approach Book, which students commonly refer to as the “Bar Bible”. In the Approach Book, Professor Karney provides approaches and templates for all 14 substantive subjects tested on the California Bar Exam. Students say it practically writes the essays for you. It is regularly updated to reflect California Bar Exam testing. In addition, the Barwinners Course offers two volumes of practice California Bar Exam Questions, simulated exams, and Barwinners answers, cut sheet answers, and Suggested Answers, as well as a full Performance Workbook and full MBE workbook with thousands of practice questions and explanation answers.