Policy Essay on Torts Exam

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Policy Essay on Torts Exam

Postby thesteelers » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:10 am

My Torts professor wants us to write a policy essay as well as an issue-spotter on our exam. Best of all:

- he hates students who come to his office hours (not even exaggerating)
- he has given exactly 1 policy essay sample (and the prompt is very, very short)

None of the supplements give any guidance on how to write a policy essay. This is not looking good. Help me out here: say the essay prompt asks you to apply Policy X (e.g. corrective justice) to three different cases, how do you do it and how do you write the analysis?

What if you're asked to compare two policies to each other?

Any and all advice is appreciated.


Posts: 217
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Re: Policy Essay on Torts Exam

Postby thesteelers » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:35 am



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Re: Policy Essay on Torts Exam

Postby jeff5170 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:40 am

GTM has a whole section on writing policy essays that was pretty helpful.


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Re: Policy Essay on Torts Exam

Postby RPK34 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:04 am

Here's my advice for policy questions. First, come up with as many goals of tort law that you can think of, such as future deterrence, efficiency, cost spreading, optimal social behavior, individual autonomy, compensating wronged victims, etc. Just have them all written down somewhere so you have a bunch of topics to talk about.

When you get a policy question, just apply them one by one. For instance if you professor asks you a question about whether we should have joint and several liability, just go down the line and apply them. Try to make an argument for each policy objective on BOTH SIDES. You'll probably find that certain rules/laws fulfill some policy objectives but not others. So make arguments for why certain policies are more important. For instance, you might conclude that it is inneficient to have joint and several liability, but that it helps compensate wronged victims. So argue why it is more important to support wronged victims than to have higher efficiency.

Try not to be too mechanical though. From talking to professors, they don't want to feel like you're just copying and pasting from an outline for policy questions. Most want to really know what YOU think about the law and to create as many different views of the law as you can. Knowing different policy objectives is just a way to have tons of different views regarding why or why not we should have a law.


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Re: Policy Essay on Torts Exam

Postby 03121202698008 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:24 am

I'm guessing he explained the theory behind the rules. That's what he's looking for. How the Hand Formula is based on the Coase theorum. Why we allow recovery. Why we use duty to limit recovery in certain circumstances, etc.

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