Sara J. Berman

Sara Berman is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law. Sara currently serves as the Director of Academic and Bar Success Programs for the AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence. She has served for decades in faculty and administrative leadership roles in law schools in California and Florida, and is the author of numerous articles and books, including Pass the Bar Exam: A Practical Guide to Achieving Academic & Professional Goals and Bar Exam MPT Preparation & Experiential Learning For Law Students: Interactive Performance Test Training, both published by the American Bar Association. Sara is also the co-author along with Paul Bergman of Nolo’s Represent Yourself in Court: How to Prepare and Try a Winning Civil Case.


Articles By Sara J. Berman

What Is Murder? Is Murder Different From Homicide?
Homicide is a legal term for any killing of a human being by another human being.
What Is Manslaughter? What Is Murder vs. Manslaughter?
Manslaughter is an unlawful killing that doesn’t involve malice aforethought—intent to seriously harm or kill, or extreme, reckless disregard for life. The absence of malice aforethought means that manslaughter involves less moral blame than either first or second degree murder.
What Happens at Sentencing?
At a sentencing hearing, the judge will review the presentence report (prepared by the probation office) and hear arguments from both the prosecutor and the defense attorney—and sometimes, the victim.
Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse
The crime of domestic violence, how it's prosecuted, and how victims can get help.
The Basics of a Plea Bargain
A plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and a prosecutor, in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest (nolo contendere) in exchange for an agreement by the prosecution.
Probation Revocation
Failing to comply with a condition of probation can land you swiftly in jail.
Pleading Guilty: What Happens in Court
Once the deal is worked out, the prosecution and defense will arrange a court hearing and inform the judge about the agreement.
What Happens During Booking?
Defendants who are taken to jail are normally booked shortly upon arrival.
When the Police Can Make an Arrest: Probable Cause
"Probable cause" requires more than a mere suspicion that a suspect committed a crime, but not as much information as would be required to prove a suspect guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
How Judges Set Bail
Judges set bail based initially on a "bail schedule," but they can raise or lower the amount, based on the circumstances of the case.