Practice exams

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dj_roomba
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Practice exams

Postby dj_roomba » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:49 am

Just read a model answer.
Comparing it to mine, the person (student) has great writing skills. They "show" instead of tell and their style and prose is impeccable.

Now looking at mine: same substance mostly, it's organized, and overall seems to be similar. However, I "tell" but don't show. In fact, a lot of my essay is regurgitation (some word for word) of my notes.

My writing pretty much sucks. It's straightforward regurgitation (applying to facts, of course) but has no panache.
How much of that matters for a law school exam (not for subject like contracts, but classes that deal with policy, or even philosophy, like Crim.)?

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North
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Re: Practice exams

Postby North » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:34 am

This is relevant to my interests.

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brotherdarkness
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Re: Practice exams

Postby brotherdarkness » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:48 am

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Last edited by brotherdarkness on Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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North
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Re: Practice exams

Postby North » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:25 am

brotherdarkness wrote:analyzed each one thoroughly

This is something I've been having trouble with for a while. What, exactly, does that entail? Running through the elements of the rule for each issue as applied to the facts with arguments on each side is where I'm at, but what do those arguments draw on? Analogizing facts from cases? I don't know. There's something I'm not getting.

And TY as always for your helpful post. We need to send you and TSL fruit baskets or something after this semester.

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ilovesf
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Re: Practice exams

Postby ilovesf » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:34 am

It totally depends on the kind of test and the professor. For contracts my 1L, the model answers were always filled with typos, like literally 10 a paragraph or more, but they spotted every issue and talked about every outcome and its likelihood of success. In both of my con law classes, the professor specifically said they graded on style and prose and deducted points if the essay portion was not well written. In one class, the professor gave us a post-exam memo with feedback on how to improve our writing styles... because yeah, we all totally cared. That is definitely a minority of classes you will ever face, but it's a possibility. During one of your last classes your professor will go over the exam, so that would be a good time to ask questions about his/her expectations.

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brotherdarkness
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Re: Practice exams

Postby brotherdarkness » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:38 am

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Last edited by brotherdarkness on Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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North
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Re: Practice exams

Postby North » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:12 pm

brotherdarkness wrote: analogize to some case law to say why these facts show that there might and might not be consideration

This is what's still got me hung up after three months of law school. What does that look like? It feels like doing that adeptly would require a familiarity with the facts of every case that could only be achieved by briefing all of them (and it's too late for that, I'm working off Headnotes). I quoted below an answer I wrote for a loosely timed, stream-of-consciousness K's hypo and bolded the parts where I tried to analogize cases. It reads so forced and clumsy, and only seems to show that I know vaguely which cases might be somewhat relevant to the topic.


North wrote:Even if International Trucking is unable to show that Trucks, Inc. breached the contract, they will be able to claim that the contract is voidable (meaning they’d get their $600,000 back and get rid of the useless trucks) under a defense of fraud for failure to disclose. International Trucking will point to Obde and Reed when it argues that (like the assumption that a house is not infested with termites) Trucks, Inc. had a duty to disclose the fact that the trucks it was peddling were not fit to be used outside of the U.S. and Canada because the assumption that they could be used elsewhere was basic to the contract with International Trucking. Trucks, Inc. will argue that it had no reason to know where the trucks were going to end up. International Trucking will argue that that’s unreasonable: International Trucking will point to its statement to Polly Producer that the trucks needed to be fit for service in Lichtenstein to disprove this assertion (parol evidence is always admissible when trying to prove fraud). Further, International Trucking is based out of Iran and serves only Iran and Lichtenstein. Furthermore, Trucks, Inc. specializes by its own admission in supplying fire-related products around the world. International Trucking will have no trouble showing that Trucks, Inc. knew or should have known that the trucks couldn’t be used outside of the U.S. because the manufacturer of the trucks had released a notification to that effect. Trucks, Inc. will counter that International Trucking could have reasonably discovered the defect had it exerted a reasonable effort to inspect the trucks before accepting the agreement (International Trucking admits nobody inspected the trucks before consummating the exchange). International Trucking will point to Reed to further its argument – as in that case, the defect in Trucks, Inc.’s product affects the market value of the product. The trucks can’t be driven in Lichtenstein or Iran , so they’re not likely to be worth nearly as much as International Trucking paid for them. That’s certainly true when we consider the evidence that International Trucking had overpaid in excess of $50,000 already.

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brotherdarkness
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Re: Practice exams

Postby brotherdarkness » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:25 pm

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Last edited by brotherdarkness on Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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desiballa21
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Re: Practice exams

Postby desiballa21 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:45 pm

My Torts exams are so different.. It's 9 short answer questions and the model answers are like 4-6 sentences each.. he wants bare bones, no doctrine, just make an argument. I almost think I'd want those massive torts issue spotters instead. sigh.

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thesealocust
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Re: Practice exams

Postby thesealocust » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:54 pm

Basically every convincing argument you make is worth a point. If you spot an issue and throw a conclusion out, you'll kind of get a point and your prof will be sad. If you extensively analyze how and whether the various elements will or will not be met based on the facts presented, you'll get a ton of points for each "issue" relative to people who similarly spotted them but were conclusory in their analysis.

I wrote out a long set of examples to this effect once:

thesealocust wrote:
Sample Question:

A park has a sign which states "no vehicles are allowed in the park." John enters the park with a tricycle. Discuss whether John has violated the statute.

- - - - - - - - - -

Crappy answer:

The issue is whether or not a tricycle will qualify as a vehicle for purposes of the sign. The sign states that no vehicles are allowed in the park. John entered the park on a tricycle, which is a vehicle. Therefore John has violated the park's rule.

Note the lovely IRAC, the conclusory analysis that goes where the analysis should be, and the number of words wasted without doing any analysis. This answer might be worth a point.

- - - - - - - - - -

Decent answer:

The issue is whether or not a tricycle will qualify as a vehicle for purposes of the sign. The sign states that no vehicles are allowed in the park. John entered the park on a tricycle, which is designed to transport a human rider, and thus likely a vehicle. Therefore John has probably violated the park's rule because the sign clearly forbids entry of any vehicles, and under nearly any standard definition a tricycle would constitute a vehicle.

This comes much closer to real analysis. It's still a little conclusory and still not getting as deep into policy and counterarguments as it could, but it's accomplished - at a minimum level - what an exam needs to accomplish, and will get at least a point or two.

- - - - - - - - - -

Good answer:

An issue will be whether a tricycle counts as a vehicle. John will argue that it does not, at least not within the meaning of the sign, because the sign is probably designed to keep dangerous vehicles out of a park filled with pedestrians. A tricycle, on the other hand, is small and incapable of great speed, meaning it likely isn't the kind of "vehicle" the sign-makers anticipated. On the other hand, it is clearly a means of transportation for John, and so by the sign's plain meaning his tricycle is probably prohibited. Additionally, if a tricycle didn't count as a vehicle for purposes of the sign, then it might leave ambiguity about what vehicles counted if the plain meaning couldn't be used, which could lead to people being confused on other fringe cases. And while tricycles are smaller than cars, they do still pose danger relative to pedestrians. in fact, because they are quieter than cars or other motorized vehicles, they may present even greater danger to pedestrians who can't hear well or who might not be paying attention. They also tend to be operated by children who may pose a greater danger to them than adults and the vehicles they tend to operate.

John may argue that because it's a park, a tricycle and other recreational vehicles are actually the kind of things designed to be in the park -- and protected from other, large vehicles. Parks are traditionally places where children gather to play and tricycles are traditionally viewed as toys and not as vehicles. Much like a matchbox car might bear many of the attributes of a car, most wouldn't consider a vehicle or subject to regulations regarding larger and more standard means of transportation.

Finally, the facts state that John entered the park with the tricycle but not on it. If he's only pushing it or carrying it, there's a much better argument to be made that it's not being used as a vehicle and thus does not violate the sign. Much as a person could walk through the park with a boxed bicycle under their arm, being in possession of something that could be used as a vehicle likely isn't the same thing as operating one. The park owners are likely more concerned with the uses of vehicles being operated than with their presence for any reason.

This is probably overkill, but you could likely write more if you wanted to. You need to use judgement to figure out when to move on, but being thorough and fleshing things out are how you spot the same issues as your classmates but wind up with more points.

Notice that it doesn't really look like IRAC and never even really comes to a conclusion. Professor styles and desires vary, but usually all of the points are in the analysis.

- - - - - - - - - -

First observation - the law here is literally one sentence, but you can still see a lot of variation. Second, all three answers spotted the issue, but one is getting way more points for it than the others. Lastly, there is no need to spend time restating the law or the facts when you're actively applying them.

But do you see how much you can come up with to say while forming arguments and counter arguments even when the law is simple? That's how you get points on exams. You muck around in the gray areas, and you show that you're capable of marshaling the facts given and the policies behind the rules to show how things could turn out. The exam will certainly have far more facts, and you should do your best to come up with some way for each fact to be legally operative. If you had facts about the nature of the park, the nature of the tricycle, the purpose behind the sign, etc. that could all go into fleshing it out even further.

Good luck, and remember that what you do on the exam is going to matter much more than how furiously you study the laws, so long as you do enough studying of the law




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