could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

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sangr
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could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby sangr » Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:58 pm

hey guys

assuming theres on factual scenario and its an issue spotter exam:

what exactly is the format, and how are u laying out the answer? i dont even know the basics of how to do this

could anyone shed light on this? it would be appreciated greatly.

thanks!

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thesealocust
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:49 pm

There will be a long fact pattern and questions. You then answer the questions.

The most generic will be a big fact pattern with a single question: Discuss the rights and liabilities of all parties.

Generally speaking whatever the question is, your answer should be organized so that different issues (factual issues, legal issues, parties, etc.) are given different sections and/or paragraphs. Precisely how to do that will vary both by topic and by question as well as from test taker to test taker, there's often no one "correct" way to write an answer.

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ph14
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby ph14 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:54 pm

I find it easiest to go by claims against each party. So heading 1: claims about A, heading 2: claims against B, etc. Then within each I generally IRAC it.

swimmer11
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby swimmer11 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:57 pm

Since we are on the topic of final exams, does everyone credit the "The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance in Law School" book?

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ph14
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby ph14 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:59 pm

swimmer11 wrote:Since we are on the topic of final exams, does everyone credit the "The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance in Law School" book?


What are the eight secrets? Really the one "secret" you need is apply the law to the facts, hitting the obvious points and the subtle ones.

swimmer11
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby swimmer11 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:03 pm

ph14 wrote:
swimmer11 wrote:Since we are on the topic of final exams, does everyone credit the "The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance in Law School" book?


What are the eight secrets? Really the one "secret" you need is apply the law to the facts, hitting the obvious points and the subtle ones.


Haha, I don't really know what the eight secrets are. It seems that a lot of people on this site credit that book with them reaching the top of their class or something. I was just curious; it is only like 2.99 used on Amazon.

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ph14
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby ph14 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:04 pm

swimmer11 wrote:
ph14 wrote:
swimmer11 wrote:Since we are on the topic of final exams, does everyone credit the "The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance in Law School" book?


What are the eight secrets? Really the one "secret" you need is apply the law to the facts, hitting the obvious points and the subtle ones.


Haha, I don't really know what the eight secrets are. It seems that a lot of people on this site credit that book with them reaching the top of their class or something. I was just curious; it is only like 2.99 used on Amazon.


Might as well check it out if it's only $3.

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20130312
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby 20130312 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:10 pm

I have that book. It seems like a useful summary of Getting to Maybe.

sangr
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby sangr » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:37 pm

Thanks for the advice,

but could someone just make a very elementary or brief specific example?

for Civ pro preferrably? so something like PJ:

am i getting this right?

Fact Pattern: Joey D lived in Washington State where he usually does business and nowhere else, but one day he was in north carolina, on the border of south and north carolina, selling bikes. someone from SC buys his bike w/o telling him that hes from SC or anything. the bike breaks in South carolina and he brings suit in SC against seller.

you are the judge clerk: tell what arguments the parties will likely use and then tell the judge how he should rule the case

so...

Large Heading: Personal Jurisdiction

Heading 2: Minimum Contacts:
The issue is whether Plaintiff can bring defendant to suit in south carolina. He is not a resident nor does he do business in south carolina. General jurisdiction over a non -resident requires continuous and substantial activity in forum state. D does not do this, so south carolina cannot assume General jurisdiction over him. In order to assume specific jurisdiction over a party, a long arm statute must allow it and it must not exceed the due process clause. The test for this is Minimum Contacts. In order to assume minimum contacts, a party must have a substantial connection (can someone correct me on this?) with the forum state. In this case, D did not solicit business in SC, but rather sold it into the stream of commerce. Plaintiffs party will likely argue that it was reasonably foreseeable that the bike may end up in SC, and thus he can be expected to be brought suit there. (do i write...."this will be hard/difficult b/c..."). on the other hand, the defendants will argue that because D never explicitly indicated any effort of selling his products into South Carolina, he did not have the requisite minimum contacts. This may be difficult because he was right on the border.

Heading 3: Fair and Substantial Justice (this is a separate issue but im getting confused about the bigger concepts in PJ with all these different view points, min contacts, purposeful availment, expectation, effects...what the heck are the underlying big picture concepts? but i guess thats another question altogether)
P will argue that the state of south carolina and he has substantial interest in bringing the case to SC. blah blah blah...

ahah so i donno im getting more confused as i write.. is this the way to write it? or is it horribly wrong? what did i miss?

rad21
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby rad21 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:41 pm

sangr wrote:hey guys

assuming theres on factual scenario and its an issue spotter exam:

what exactly is the format, and how are u laying out the answer? i dont even know the basics of how to do this

could anyone shed light on this? it would be appreciated greatly.

thanks!


This is really an area where you professor will be the most helpful. In my experience, they will tell you exactly what they care about and how they want you to approach the problem. Some care about structure and some do not. One of my professors said, "just get it on the page. If it's there, I'll grade it." While others will give points for style, fluidity, etc.

Some of them will have so many issues, you won't be able to get to them all. Make sure you typing skills are up to par and start out with the biggest issues (they are going to want to see you hit all the obvious stuff), and then move to the more obscure. Pay attention in your legal writing class and the way judicial opinions are structured, and you'll get a good idea of how legal analyses are typically approached. It's also important to map out your analysis. Take a minute to structure your argument. If you jump right into it without thinking about it, you may get sidetracked when you spot a new issue, or you may forget to discuss an issue you already spotted. As long as you know the material and you're actually applying the law that you've learned (meaning, use the factor analysis if appropriate, etc.), you should be fine.

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thesealocust
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:10 pm

sangr wrote:Thanks for the advice,

but could someone just make a very elementary or brief specific example?

for Civ pro preferrably? so something like PJ:

am i getting this right?

Fact Pattern: Joey D lived in Washington State where he usually does business and nowhere else, but one day he was in north carolina, on the border of south and north carolina, selling bikes. someone from SC buys his bike w/o telling him that hes from SC or anything. the bike breaks in South carolina and he brings suit in SC against seller.

you are the judge clerk: tell what arguments the parties will likely use and then tell the judge how he should rule the case

so...

Large Heading: Personal Jurisdiction

Heading 2: Minimum Contacts:
The issue is whether Plaintiff can bring defendant to suit in south carolina. He is not a resident nor does he do business in south carolina. General jurisdiction over a non -resident requires continuous and substantial activity in forum state. D does not do this, so south carolina cannot assume General jurisdiction over him. In order to assume specific jurisdiction over a party, a long arm statute must allow it and it must not exceed the due process clause. The test for this is Minimum Contacts. In order to assume minimum contacts, a party must have a substantial connection (can someone correct me on this?) with the forum state. In this case, D did not solicit business in SC, but rather sold it into the stream of commerce. Plaintiffs party will likely argue that it was reasonably foreseeable that the bike may end up in SC, and thus he can be expected to be brought suit there. (do i write...."this will be hard/difficult b/c..."). on the other hand, the defendants will argue that because D never explicitly indicated any effort of selling his products into South Carolina, he did not have the requisite minimum contacts. This may be difficult because he was right on the border.

Heading 3: Fair and Substantial Justice (this is a separate issue but im getting confused about the bigger concepts in PJ with all these different view points, min contacts, purposeful availment, expectation, effects...what the heck are the underlying big picture concepts? but i guess thats another question altogether)
P will argue that the state of south carolina and he has substantial interest in bringing the case to SC. blah blah blah...

ahah so i donno im getting more confused as i write.. is this the way to write it? or is it horribly wrong? what did i miss?


Looks good.

Don't over-think it.

You have the right instincts.

One final tip though: Almost 100% of the points on the exam come from the arguments you make, not from re-stating facts or re-stating laws. Keep that in mind when you make decisions about how to write your answer. You can't argue without making it clear which facts and laws you're using, but if you have a single sentence of analysis in a large paragraph re-stating facts and laws, it's usually not ideal.

Your quick example paragraphs looked good, it's just important that you realize your long lead-in about the law probably isn't where you'll earn points. That's not to say it's wrong, just worth noting and strategizing about.

Green Crayons
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby Green Crayons » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:44 pm

Exam:

factsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfacts
factsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfacts
factsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfacts
factsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfacts
factsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfacts
factsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfacts
factsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfacts
factsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfactsfacts

Identify and resolve <pertinent legal issues>.

Response:

IRAC or CIRAC (as best suits your/your professor's preference). Because you don't yet know how to do legal writing, follow those stupid four/five letters exactly. Use short sentences. Don't repeat facts unless if you are using them as part of an argument. Use (short) headings as sign posts -- even better if the headings take the place of "stating the issue." Use short sentences. Make your rules one sentence. If you need more than one sentence to explain the rule, you're doing it wrong. You don't want to explain the rule. Condense the rule to one sentence and any excess should be used in the argument. My god use short sentences -- you are a 1L and are therefore bad at writing.

005618502
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby 005618502 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:59 pm

thesealocust wrote:
sangr wrote:Thanks for the advice,

but could someone just make a very elementary or brief specific example?

for Civ pro preferrably? so something like PJ:

am i getting this right?

Fact Pattern: Joey D lived in Washington State where he usually does business and nowhere else, but one day he was in north carolina, on the border of south and north carolina, selling bikes. someone from SC buys his bike w/o telling him that hes from SC or anything. the bike breaks in South carolina and he brings suit in SC against seller.

you are the judge clerk: tell what arguments the parties will likely use and then tell the judge how he should rule the case

so...

Large Heading: Personal Jurisdiction

Heading 2: Minimum Contacts:
The issue is whether Plaintiff can bring defendant to suit in south carolina. He is not a resident nor does he do business in south carolina. General jurisdiction over a non -resident requires continuous and substantial activity in forum state. D does not do this, so south carolina cannot assume General jurisdiction over him. In order to assume specific jurisdiction over a party, a long arm statute must allow it and it must not exceed the due process clause. The test for this is Minimum Contacts. In order to assume minimum contacts, a party must have a substantial connection (can someone correct me on this?) with the forum state. In this case, D did not solicit business in SC, but rather sold it into the stream of commerce. Plaintiffs party will likely argue that it was reasonably foreseeable that the bike may end up in SC, and thus he can be expected to be brought suit there. (do i write...."this will be hard/difficult b/c..."). on the other hand, the defendants will argue that because D never explicitly indicated any effort of selling his products into South Carolina, he did not have the requisite minimum contacts. This may be difficult because he was right on the border.

Heading 3: Fair and Substantial Justice (this is a separate issue but im getting confused about the bigger concepts in PJ with all these different view points, min contacts, purposeful availment, expectation, effects...what the heck are the underlying big picture concepts? but i guess thats another question altogether)
P will argue that the state of south carolina and he has substantial interest in bringing the case to SC. blah blah blah...

ahah so i donno im getting more confused as i write.. is this the way to write it? or is it horribly wrong? what did i miss?


Looks good.

Don't over-think it.

You have the right instincts.

One final tip though: Almost 100% of the points on the exam come from the arguments you make, not from re-stating facts or re-stating laws. Keep that in mind when you make decisions about how to write your answer. You can't argue without making it clear which facts and laws you're using, but if you have a single sentence of analysis in a large paragraph re-stating facts and laws, it's usually not ideal.

Your quick example paragraphs looked good, it's just important that you realize your long lead-in about the law probably isn't where you'll earn points. That's not to say it's wrong, just worth noting and strategizing about.


So it is about the argument more than implementing the rules associated with the different issues? Would it be smart to bring up a common law decision where OP writes:
laintiffs party will likely argue that it was reasonably foreseeable that the bike may end up in SC, and thus he can be expected to be brought suit there.
-I dont know the cases off the top of my head, but one dealt with cars moving to different states since they are a mobile object, court shut it down. Or a case where selling items once did not meet the minimum contacts test

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thesealocust
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:56 pm

Cases can be useful analytical tools, but otherwise aren't necessary.

Basically, every sentence you write that goes something like "(party) will argue (valid argument about something asked in the question) because (reason based on the facts/law)" is going to be worth a point. No points for "solving" the entire hypo, no points for picking the right side, no points for stating the law correctly, no points for restating the facts.

In con law and civ pro, you'll find sometimes the cases are the law and so you need to engage them more. In common law cases you can sometimes make arguments by analogy to and/or distinguishing from the cases, but that's not first priority (you can often get an A without mentioning any cases).

Disclaimer: I'd say 80% of my professors and 80% of my exams fit the above model, but if you're up against multiple choice or a 250 word limit or something always try to give your professor what they want before falling back to general truisms of law profs and law exams.

idk
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby idk » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:44 am

are students willing to share exams they actually submitted and the grades earned on each exam? so far i have come across a slew of old exams posted online for practice. i wonder if there is a similar archive of exam responses, or if students are generally unwilling to share their exams, even anonymously? because people are willing to share outlines and the like, it doesn't strike me as completely crazy to imagine that students would be equally generous with exams...

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thesealocust
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby thesealocust » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:13 am

idk wrote:are students willing to share exams they actually submitted and the grades earned on each exam?


At most schools, this would violate the honor code. There may be some exceptions, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

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ph14
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby ph14 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:08 pm

idk wrote:are students willing to share exams they actually submitted and the grades earned on each exam? so far i have come across a slew of old exams posted online for practice. i wonder if there is a similar archive of exam responses, or if students are generally unwilling to share their exams, even anonymously? because people are willing to share outlines and the like, it doesn't strike me as completely crazy to imagine that students would be equally generous with exams...


You go to HLS right? I think it's fine. Most of the big organizations have outlines and past exam databases that they share with members (ACS, Fed Soc, APALSA, etc.).

idk
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby idk » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:14 pm

ph14 wrote:
idk wrote:are students willing to share exams they actually submitted and the grades earned on each exam? so far i have come across a slew of old exams posted online for practice. i wonder if there is a similar archive of exam responses, or if students are generally unwilling to share their exams, even anonymously? because people are willing to share outlines and the like, it doesn't strike me as completely crazy to imagine that students would be equally generous with exams...


You go to HLS right? I think it's fine. Most of the big organizations have outlines and past exam databases that they share with members (ACS, Fed Soc, APALSA, etc.).


Yup, thanks for the info. Apparently ACS requires you to go to 2 meetings and pay $10 to have access to their database (NBD really), but Fed Soc is only willing to share with the inner circle.

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thesealocust
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Re: could someone tell me the format for an issue spotter exam?

Postby thesealocust » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:40 pm

idk wrote:
ph14 wrote:
idk wrote:are students willing to share exams they actually submitted and the grades earned on each exam? so far i have come across a slew of old exams posted online for practice. i wonder if there is a similar archive of exam responses, or if students are generally unwilling to share their exams, even anonymously? because people are willing to share outlines and the like, it doesn't strike me as completely crazy to imagine that students would be equally generous with exams...


You go to HLS right? I think it's fine. Most of the big organizations have outlines and past exam databases that they share with members (ACS, Fed Soc, APALSA, etc.).


Yup, thanks for the info. Apparently ACS requires you to go to 2 meetings and pay $10 to have access to their database (NBD really), but Fed Soc is only willing to share with the inner circle.


I hate law school and law students.




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