maybe a good way is to go on her site and read her free model answers. See if you like her style and stuff.. anyway, just a recommendation not really an answer
Yes I have heard of her, she is actually pretty big. You can studyfor "dempsey" and some reviews will pop up, too. Anyway, it may only be good for you if you have already tried hourly tutor and still failed. Many people found hourly tutors to be very helpful as far as giving feedbacks. I don't think the 5k price tag is worth it if you have already taken barbri once and failed. studying the outlines on your own and practicing on your own, then get feedbacks once a week from tutors can be really really helpful. after all, you have do 90% of the studying, not Vivian.
I think she's pretty good...
She lets you do performance tests and get real intense for 8 weeks. She used to be a bar grader so she knows what graders are looking for. I haven't heard anything bad about her
Here's a short list of what she does:
Students take two essay exams.
Vivian, a former bar grader, immediately reviews the morning's essay exams. her approach is not only to review the law that was tested but to show how to analyze, organize and manage time to write high passing answers within an hour.
Before next class, Vivian personally grades and thoroughly critiques each exam
Students take a Performance Test
Vivian watches students read, pick the rules, and organize. She is able to diagnose students' problems as they work. She can often fix bad habits by on-the-spot feedback.
Vivian immediately gives feedback on reading, finding the issues, interpreting the format, finding the case rules and full organizing and analyzing of the PT exam students have just completed.
During the week students are responsible for learning the law, using Vivian's essay law outlines and videotapes. They must practice writing additional essay and PT exams. In particular, every student should cement the learning from the previous week's in-class exams by doing one more progress essay and progress PT to turn in for Vivian's grading and critique.
Every week, Vivian grades and critiques 3 essays and 2 performance tests. Vivian returns all graded exams by the next class.
10 Performance Tests
100 Essay Exams
Vivian's law outlines on the essential essay law and tools to memorize it.
13 bonus law video classes you watch at home
Bonus tapes contain law lectures on every subject and review of Vivian's PT method
Order of study:
Crimes & Criminal Procedure
Torts & Torts Remedies
Contracts & Contract Remedies
Evidence and Civil Procedure
Real Property and Community Property
Wills & Trusts
Corporations and Professional Responsibility
Only if you already know the law
She is very good at giving your test-taking strategy, but she tends to over-simplify substantive part of the test, and if you need someone to explain the law to you in a way that you can comprehend, then I say stay away from her.
I attended Vivian's class in 2006. Barbri was not helpful for me because there was too much material to cover. Vivian condenses and organizes the information needed, the big issues. She gives an approach to answering most essays. I recommend her for bar prep.
She has her good points like law quizzes, but her constant carping on her students for $ was rude. I also tired of her yelling at me because I couldn't understand her hopelessly complicated essay books. Paul Pfau is who I jaws and passed. Good luck.
I took her in 2008 and failed, as did most of the students who took her. About me: went to Chapman and took Kaplan to prepare the first time, and took Vivian the second time.
1. You end up doing a good number of essays and PT's, because you want to make her earn her $5K.
1. Her materials are really difficult to use because of very odd formating (it looks like she used a type writer when she typed up her materials, scanned the docs and put them in some word processing software - the result is very oddly placed indentations and spacing), constant incorrect spelling, and several instances of incorrect law.
2. I believe she hasn't been a grader since the 1980's.
3. Her grading is not thorough. Comparing my graded assignment with fellow classmates, we realized she sometimes was simply copying and pasting the same corrections/feedback to many of us. We became aware of this because her edits wouldn't always correspond with what was written.
4. She loves small talk in class. Plan on hearing a cute story about her cat at least twice per class. What can be accomplished within 3 hours is done in 7-8 hours because of lots of unnecessary discussion.
5. The make up of the class are generally older students or students from tier 3 and 4 schools. The class really slows down because there are so many questions asked by these students during class.
She's a waste of $! You will regret taking her. Her material is outdated and so is her understanding of the law.
I took Vivian's course and found it invaluable preparation for the CA Bar. If you are a repeater or an out of state attorney, she can really help you to get on track and pass. Her course is rigorous and her materials are succinct, accurate, and up-to-date. She uses tough love and gives realistic grades on practice essays and PTs with detailed individual feedback. She sharpens the legal reasoning skills and knowledge of the law that you need for the essays. She demystifies the PT and gives students a very effective method for handling the PT. She really cares about her students and wants to help them pass. She is very smart and has great energy.
Who knows why some who took her course didn't pass? Maybe they didn't work hard enough? Maybe they had other impediments that they couldn't overcome. All I can say is that it is not fair to blame Vivian if you didn't pass! She does a good job and provides an outstanding service.