pass the california bar exam, conquer the california bar exam jd advisingAgency and Partnership on the California Bar Exam

Agency and Partnership is a “newer” subject on the California Bar Exam. It was just added in 2007 and it now goes by the name “Business Associations” (as does Corporations) when classified by the State Bar of California.

Here, we give you a brief overview of how you should expect to see Agency and Partnership on the California Bar Exam. We tell you how it is tested as well as some of the highly tested issues in Agency and Partnership questions on the California Bar Exam.

Agency and Partnership on the California Bar Exam

1. First, know how Agency and Partnership is tested. 

Agency and Partnership has been tested the following years:

Agency and Partnership sometimes is tested on its own, and sometimes tested with another subject, often Corporations (see the frequency chart).

When Agency and Partnership appears on the California Bar Exam, general law tends to be tested. (So, California-specific law is not tested!)

2. Be aware of the highly tested Agency and Partnership issues. 

The State Bar of California tests certain issues over and over again in Agency and Partnership questions. (We have a nice summary of these in our California Bar Exam One-Sheets.)

The California State Bar’s favorite topics to test are as follows:

  • Actual authority: authority can be express (the agent is expressly given authority to act for the principal) or implied (the principal’s conduct led the agent to believe it has authority).
  • Apparent authority: The elements of apparent authority are: (1) the person dealing with the agent must do so with a reasonable belief in the agent’s authority, and (2) the belief must be generated by some act or neglect on the part of the principal.
  • Vicarious liability of the principal sometimes is tested. The principal is liable in tort if the agent was acting in the scope of employment (e.g., doing the job they were hired to do); or made a minor deviation (a detour) from employment; or committed an intentional tort only if it was (mnemonic = BAN) for the principal’s benefit, because the principal authorized it, or one that arose naturally due to the nature of employment.
  • Partnership formation is tested. You should know that a partnership is defined as “the association of two or more persons to carry on as co-owners, a business for profit . . . whether or not the persons intended to form the partnership.” You should also be able to articulate that profit-sharing creates a presumption that a partnership has been formed (but this can be rebutted if the profits were paid as wages, rent, etc.).
  • Partnership liability: Partners are jointly and severally liable for all torts committed by employees or partners in the ordinary course of business or with the authority of the partnership. (And partners are always liable for their individual torts.)

3. Practice! 

You’ll note that Agency and Partnership is the least-tested subject on the California Bar Exam. And the last couple times it was tested, it was combined with Corporations issues. But you should still prepare for it. When Agency and Partnership is tested on the California Bar Exam, it is pretty straightforward. So, proper preparation will go a long way in helping you achieve an excellent score. Here are a few essays to practice:

  • February 2015 (follow the link to the essay question and student answer—it is #5 and called “Business Associations”)
  • February 2013 (follow the link to the essay question and student answer—it is #6 and called “Business Associations” )

If Agency and Partnership is tested and you know the law, you will be able to pick up points quickly!

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