Not only does my clerkship with Chief Judge von Pappritz include practical courtroom experience, but also I am able to take part in the Arbeitsgemeinschaft (AG) with other clerks, who are about to take the second bar exam. In preparation for the AG, the judge gave me two old exams, both of which were in German, which the AG would be analyzing.
Unlike traditional Unite States law school exams, the German exams do not contain a fact pattern, rather they mirror what a record looks like. The exam contains petitions submitted by the different parties, including the original suit from the plaintiff’s side, as well as any counter or cross claims by the defendant or any third party. Moreover, the exam contains decisions of the lower courts. Then, the student must either argue for one of the parties or decide the case, depending on what the instructions require.
The AG started promptly at 8:30 a.m. and ran until 2:30 p.m. We analyzed the cases in detail, referring back to different procedural rules in the Zivilprozessordnung (ZPO) and the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB). Although the vocabulary was extremely difficult and the laws different, I found the thought process to be similar to how the cases would be decided in the US. Finally, after six hours of exam discussion, we concluded the AG and I went home mentally exhausted.