Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

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BarbellDreams
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Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby BarbellDreams » Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:12 pm

Grades have been in for a while so this post is more of an "I wonder what you think of this." sort of deal, but anyway:

My lowest grade by far came in ConLaw. The exam was 1 question, 3 hours, go. It laid out a situation that you as an attorney are trying to accomplish for your client and ended by saying "Craft an argument that analyzes the situation presented and demonstrate how the law your client is proposing should be deemed constitutional in light of case law." I randomly spoke with my professor about what the answer he wanted was a week ago just cause I remember sitting down and not knowing where to even start on this exam. His response was "The best grades realized that it was impossible to make the law constitutional and would have argued why any variations of the law would not have passed."

Umm...but the directions said to specifically make an argument FOR the law. I spent hours sitting there thinking "No way is this constitutional, but the directions say to argue for your client who wants to have the law pass so I guess I gotta make some sort of argument that it is constitutional. Turns out he wanted us to not pay attention to the directions. Fair or foul?

Again, grades are in already so this is more for entertainment.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby Blessedassurance » Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:17 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:Grades have been in for a while so this post is more of an "I wonder what you think of this." sort of deal, but anyway:

My lowest grade by far came in ConLaw. The exam was 1 question, 3 hours, go. It laid out a situation that you as an attorney are trying to accomplish for your client and ended by saying "Craft an argument that analyzes the situation presented and demonstrate how the law your client is proposing should be deemed constitutional in light of case law." I randomly spoke with my professor about what the answer he wanted was a week ago just cause I remember sitting down and not knowing where to even start on this exam. His response was "The best grades realized that it was impossible to make the law constitutional and would have argued why any variations of the law would not have passed."

Umm...but the directions said to specifically make an argument FOR the law. I spent hours sitting there thinking "No way is this constitutional, but the directions say to argue for your client who wants to have the law pass so I guess I gotta make some sort of argument that it is constitutional. Turns out he wanted us to not pay attention to the directions. Fair or foul?

Again, grades are in already so this is more for entertainment.


Curious.Why did those with high grades ignore the directions?

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beach_terror
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby beach_terror » Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:25 pm

Are you 100% sure the question was presented that way? If so, then that's just an asshole question and asshole model answer. I basically would have just gone CC strengths/weaknesses, etc. I can see where he was leading with the question, it was just a terrible way of presenting it. I pretty much ignored the prompts on my con law exam and made it into a massive strengths/weaknesses analysis.

I wouldn't say it's totally fair or completely foul, but it's certainly in that dreaded grey area.

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dailygrind
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby dailygrind » Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:36 pm

I guess there were two parts of the prompt: analyze, and construct an argument for your side. Apparently, construct an argument for your side was impossible, so all the points came from analyze. I see where the guys at, but it seems like a dick move.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby BarbellDreams » Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:42 pm

beach_terror wrote:Are you 100% sure the question was presented that way? If so, then that's just an asshole question and asshole model answer. I basically would have just gone CC strengths/weaknesses, etc. I can see where he was leading with the question, it was just a terrible way of presenting it. I pretty much ignored the prompts on my con law exam and made it into a massive strengths/weaknesses analysis.

I wouldn't say it's totally fair or completely foul, but it's certainly in that dreaded grey area.


The prompt literally said: "Your boss believes that a law that says X can be argued as constitutional. Construct an argument to the Supreme Court with relevant analysis and case law in support of this position."

I'm sure I missed other stuff on this exam, as I really only understood the substantive Con Law well and not all the philosophical stuff our professor expected. That said, although everyone was in the same boat, I think it wasn't the smartest way to construct a law school exam and seemed to be aimed more at showing how students are beneath the professor's way of thinking rather than actually teaching anyone anything.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:43 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:
beach_terror wrote:Are you 100% sure the question was presented that way? If so, then that's just an asshole question and asshole model answer. I basically would have just gone CC strengths/weaknesses, etc. I can see where he was leading with the question, it was just a terrible way of presenting it. I pretty much ignored the prompts on my con law exam and made it into a massive strengths/weaknesses analysis.

I wouldn't say it's totally fair or completely foul, but it's certainly in that dreaded grey area.


The prompt literally said: "Your boss believes that a law that says X can be argued as constitutional. Construct an argument to the Supreme Court with relevant analysis and case law in support of this position."

I'm sure I missed other stuff on this exam, as I really only understood the substantive Con Law well and not all the philosophical stuff our professor expected. That said, although everyone was in the same boat, I think it wasn't the smartest way to construct a law school exam and seemed to be aimed more at showing how students are beneath the professor's way of thinking rather than actually teaching anyone anything.


One of the few times I've ever seen a legitimately unfair final exam question (or, more precisely, a fair question that seems to have been graded unfairly). The call was "analyze in support" - it was asking for a persuasive argument. In a persuasive argument, you do need to take on negative precedent, but it shouldn't be a "for/against" type of thing.

Ick.

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Cupidity
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby Cupidity » Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:46 pm

High grades didn't ignore the directions. It said that it was a client. You always bring up counter-arguments and attempt to refute them. Bringing up only the positives is no way to show how the law is constitutional.

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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:48 pm

Cupidity wrote:High grades didn't ignore the directions. It said that it was a client. You always bring up counter-arguments and attempt to refute them. Bringing up only the positives is no way to show how the law is constitutional.


No, it said it was "an argument to the Supreme Court", not a memo to your client. An argument to the Supreme Court would not "argue why any variations of the law would not have passed."

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beach_terror
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby beach_terror » Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:51 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Cupidity wrote:High grades didn't ignore the directions. It said that it was a client. You always bring up counter-arguments and attempt to refute them. Bringing up only the positives is no way to show how the law is constitutional.


No, it said it was "an argument to the Supreme Court", not a memo to your client. An argument to the Supreme Court would not "argue why any variations of the law would not have passed."

No it doesn't. "Craft an argument that analyzes the situation presented and demonstrate how the law your client is proposing should be deemed constitutional in light of case law."

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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:53 pm

beach_terror wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Cupidity wrote:High grades didn't ignore the directions. It said that it was a client. You always bring up counter-arguments and attempt to refute them. Bringing up only the positives is no way to show how the law is constitutional.


No, it said it was "an argument to the Supreme Court", not a memo to your client. An argument to the Supreme Court would not "argue why any variations of the law would not have passed."

No it doesn't. "Craft an argument that analyzes the situation presented and demonstrate how the law your client is proposing should be deemed constitutional in light of case law."


???

"The prompt literally said: 'Your boss believes that a law that says X can be argued as constitutional. Construct an argument to the Supreme Court with relevant analysis and case law in support of this position.'"

ETA: The OP and his followup are inconsistent. The question was fair with respect to the quote in the OP, not fair with respect to the second quote. My bad, I kind of glossed over the OP.

traydeuce
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby traydeuce » Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:19 pm

Obviously if the question said test-takers were to write a brief to the Court in support of the statute, OP cannot be blamed for thinking he was to write something defending the statute. What was he supposed to do, write, "Dear Court, here's why we should lose?" Now, if it's a memo to the client, a good memo, if the statute were likely to be invalidated, would tell the client so. So it entirely depends on which one it was.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby BarbellDreams » Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:56 pm

beach_terror wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Cupidity wrote:High grades didn't ignore the directions. It said that it was a client. You always bring up counter-arguments and attempt to refute them. Bringing up only the positives is no way to show how the law is constitutional.


No, it said it was "an argument to the Supreme Court", not a memo to your client. An argument to the Supreme Court would not "argue why any variations of the law would not have passed."

No it doesn't. "Craft an argument that analyzes the situation presented and demonstrate how the law your client is proposing should be deemed constitutional in light of case law."


Let me solve the confusion. I may have made this more complicated than necessary. Your "client" was your boss, I just called him client. On the actual exam the directions were directed at the Supreme Court as stated. Sorry for the confusion.

Honestly, everyone was in the same boat and since it is curved its hard to complain. I just think a professor saying that the A students should have realized that the law given was impossible to argue as constitutional and provide all points of why it cannot be constitutional as well as why variations of the law also could not be constitutional is kind of BS. Maybe I am just bitter cause that grade made me go from "Damn, are you transferring to Harvard?" to "Oh, yeah those are solid grades. I guess you might have a shot at biglaw a job." :)
Last edited by BarbellDreams on Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

traydeuce
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby traydeuce » Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:18 pm

No, you have reason to be mad. Everyone was in the same boat, but only those students who had the balls to ignore the exam's directions (or who were stupid enough to misunderstand the directions and read the prompt as a regular, "what does the law say about this" prompt) did well. That's kind of unfortunate. I mean, I've had best argument for x prompts where I still consider counterarguments at great length and even acknowledge that some of them are really strong, but I always ultimately say why I'd say this was legal.

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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby Transferthrowaway » Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:22 pm

traydeuce wrote:No, you have reason to be mad. Everyone was in the same boat, but only those students who had the balls to ignore the exam's directions (or who were stupid enough to misunderstand the directions and read the prompt as a regular, "what does the law say about this" prompt) did well. That's kind of unfortunate. I mean, I've had best argument for x prompts where I still consider counterarguments at great length and even acknowledge that some of them are really strong, but I always ultimately say why I'd say this was legal.


TRAYDEUCE! I'm a big fan. Please give me a baked rolls update. What are you doing with your life?

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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby traydeuce » Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:37 pm

Transferthrowaway wrote:
traydeuce wrote:No, you have reason to be mad. Everyone was in the same boat, but only those students who had the balls to ignore the exam's directions (or who were stupid enough to misunderstand the directions and read the prompt as a regular, "what does the law say about this" prompt) did well. That's kind of unfortunate. I mean, I've had best argument for x prompts where I still consider counterarguments at great length and even acknowledge that some of them are really strong, but I always ultimately say why I'd say this was legal.


TRAYDEUCE! I'm a big fan. Please give me a baked rolls update. What are you doing with your life?


I will send you a note; this is direction-follower's thread.

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ObLaDiObLaDa
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby ObLaDiObLaDa » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:01 pm

I've had an exam like that before. I basically ended up saying "Here is something X can argue, this is why it won't really work", then "Here is something else X can argue, here is why it won't really work" and so on and so forth.

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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby lawgod » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:07 pm

I'm with the OP on this one. I think she should file a complaint that the professor is sexually harassing her to get back at him.

flexityflex86
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby flexityflex86 » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:13 pm

which school

traydeuce
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby traydeuce » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:32 pm

ObLaDiObLaDa wrote:I've had an exam like that before. I basically ended up saying "Here is something X can argue, this is why it won't really work", then "Here is something else X can argue, here is why it won't really work" and so on and so forth.


But if it's literally "write a brief to the Supreme Court," or, "what would you tell the Court on behalf of your client," you can't say, "here's my argument, and here's why it doesn't work." Now, "state the best argument your client could make, to your client," that's a little different.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby BarbellDreams » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:35 pm

lawgod wrote:I'm with the OP on this one. I think she should file a complaint that the professor is sexually harassing her to get back at him.


Maybe that would work...but I'm a guy, so I lose automatically.

flexityflex86 wrote:which school


Pitt.

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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby lawgod » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:39 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:
lawgod wrote:I'm with the OP on this one. I think she should file a complaint that the professor is sexually harassing her to get back at him.


Maybe that would work...but I'm a guy, so I lose automatically.


I don't know about that. Try it.

I think I usually ignore the question prompt on issue spotters, and just analyze the issues.

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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby Cupidity » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:45 pm

Maybe your briefs don't look like mine, but even in persuasive briefs, it is necessary to address the anticipated arguments of the other party?

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby BarbellDreams » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:05 am

Cupidity wrote:Maybe your briefs don't look like mine, but even in persuasive briefs, it is necessary to address the anticipated arguments of the other party?


Anticipating and analyzing counter arguments to show how you can prevail over them is different than citing counterargument and then conceding how right they are and how your side has no chance. :)

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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby keg411 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:41 am

ConLaw is just a shitty class. It was my lowest grade too, FWIW. I also thought that class would torpedo my transfer chances, but it didn't. You should have applied if you really wanted to go (although maybe not to H).

traydeuce
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Re: Spoke with a prof about an exam answer last week.

Postby traydeuce » Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:24 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:
Cupidity wrote:Maybe your briefs don't look like mine, but even in persuasive briefs, it is necessary to address the anticipated arguments of the other party?


Anticipating and analyzing counter arguments to show how you can prevail over them is different than citing counterargument and then conceding how right they are and how your side has no chance. :)


Correct.




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