Learning to write a Con Law Exam

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alicrimson
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Learning to write a Con Law Exam

Postby alicrimson » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:18 pm

Hello all,

I figured I too would start a thread pertaining to my interests about a particular class. Sorry for clogging the boards. Anyways, this semester the dreaded Con Law has graced my schedule with its presence. I understand how to write the exams from last semester; however, I hear Con Law is somewhat different. My professor is only giving us one practice exam with no model answer. This blows a huge hole in my study routine because that is essentially how I learned my course last semester-er, pandered to teacher's preferences. Anyways, I was wondering what you all would suggest because I hear a Con Law test is different from the typical torts or crim law test in that you have to have opinions. (This is sad, but I don't. I know this is shameful. I guess I'm more towards apathetic?) In our class, the exam is 8 hour take home and it pretty much asks you to choose a couple cases out of a lineup and write how they would handle a particular issue and how they fit or don't fit together. Is that fairly standard? How does one prep for something like this without practice exams? Do the barbri course specific review books help at all? Sorry if the answer is obvious (study the same for the other classes) but I have just heard its a different type of test and as a finance major, I am not the pinnacle of abstract thinking. Thank you all for your help. I have purchased Chemerinsky's supplement, as he penned the book and I have access to a bunch of wonderful supplements via the library and my own barbri first year review. I thought I would ask about the actual review book for those about to take the bar before I jumped into shelling out money for something which is unnecessary.

BeachandRun23
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Re: Learning to write a Con Law Exam

Postby BeachandRun23 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:52 pm

Your test seems pretty standard. Its not really all that different except for the fact that you need to cite cases and apply the precedent from the cases discussed in class. Its not simply discussing principles of law or discussing what some states might do. Look at other sample con law exams when the time comes. The analysis really isnt all that different. But more than anything, relax. You havent even started class yet.

Edit - I saw you're very top of your class, you probably already know more than me, so keep doing what works for you.

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thesealocust
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Re: Learning to write a Con Law Exam

Postby thesealocust » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:13 pm

The biggest difference is that cases become much more important. In other classes you often see cases which present examples of broad legal doctrines, so citation to a particular one isn't pivotal. It can be useful for arguing your point, but the law of consequential damages is by and large the law of the land and not something eminating directly FROM hadley v. baxendale.

In con law, many cases ARE the law, and knowing them well and arguing from the same analytical point of view that they were decided is important. You also need to piece together the large doctrinal areas (substantive due process, etc.) and figure out how everything relates to each other. Where do rights come from? How are conflicts between branches of government resolved? And figure out how you'll use the doctrine you learn to answer novel fact patterns.

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Lasers
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Re: Learning to write a Con Law Exam

Postby Lasers » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:01 pm

thesealocust wrote:The biggest difference is that cases become much more important. In other classes you often see cases which present examples of broad legal doctrines, so citation to a particular one isn't pivotal. It can be useful for arguing your point, but the law of consequential damages is by and large the law of the land and not something eminating directly FROM hadley v. baxendale.

In con law, many cases ARE the law, and knowing them well and arguing from the same analytical point of view that they were decided is important. You also need to piece together the large doctrinal areas (substantive due process, etc.) and figure out how everything relates to each other. Where do rights come from? How are conflicts between branches of government resolved? And figure out how you'll use the doctrine you learn to answer novel fact patterns.

sounds like an undergrad political science course.

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johansantana21
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Re: Learning to write a Con Law Exam

Postby johansantana21 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:19 pm

Write a lot.

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thesealocust
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Re: Learning to write a Con Law Exam

Postby thesealocust » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:37 pm

Lasers wrote:sounds like an undergrad political science course.


Only from a bird's eye view. I took at on of poli sci courses in UG and while generally the topics covered were the same the analytical approach in con law at a law school is totally different.

BeachandRun23
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Re: Learning to write a Con Law Exam

Postby BeachandRun23 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:15 pm

Lasers wrote:
thesealocust wrote:The biggest difference is that cases become much more important. In other classes you often see cases which present examples of broad legal doctrines, so citation to a particular one isn't pivotal. It can be useful for arguing your point, but the law of consequential damages is by and large the law of the land and not something eminating directly FROM hadley v. baxendale.

In con law, many cases ARE the law, and knowing them well and arguing from the same analytical point of view that they were decided is important. You also need to piece together the large doctrinal areas (substantive due process, etc.) and figure out how everything relates to each other. Where do rights come from? How are conflicts between branches of government resolved? And figure out how you'll use the doctrine you learn to answer novel fact patterns.

sounds like an undergrad political science course.


It's similar to an undergrad con law class, but obviously more depth and detail are expected.

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Cavalier
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Re: Learning to write a Con Law Exam

Postby Cavalier » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:24 pm

It's not very different from the personal jurisdiction part of civ pro. You'll have nothing more than a handful of Supreme Court decisions to work with, but unlike, say, torts, those decisions are binding law. Read the decisions carefully and take away more than just a one or two sentence rule of black letter law.




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