Should you state the rule on an exam?

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
olive16
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:13 pm

Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby olive16 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:16 am

There's conflicting thought on this. Some say to state the rule, i.e., IRAC formula (Issue is X, Rule is that Y, etc.). Others say this is a waste of time, and you can display a mastery of the rule by simply applying it (e.g., A is liable for battery because he intentionally took aim at B's nose, clenched his hand into a fist, propelled it into B's nose which resulted in B's nose breaking).

I'm looking for the approach that will get the most points. Of course, the advice that, when in doubt, always ask your professor/consult a model answer, is sound. But does anyone have any thoughts in general about this?

User avatar
brotherdarkness
Posts: 3254
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:11 pm

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby brotherdarkness » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:18 am

.
Last edited by brotherdarkness on Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

odoylerulez
Posts: 227
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:39 pm

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby odoylerulez » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:25 am

Not unless the professor expressly says to. It's a waste of space and time.

IRAC is silly. Still sticking to that.

fanlinxun
Posts: 103
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:32 am

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby fanlinxun » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:35 am

If your professor uses IRAC, state the rule. It is not a waste of space, it is part of the answer. FWIW, IRAC is also the standard for the NY Bar (and maybe other bar exams too, though I don't know) so you may as well figure out how to write concise rule sentences now. If you can't you are in for a rough three years (and bar exam).

UnderrateOverachieve
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:34 pm

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:36 am

Some questions or teachers require some type of rule statement. In con law you probably should just throw out the Amendment text to show you know what the fuck you are talking about.

Remember that you don't have to do the whole rule like you would a memo at work; just the important parts will do.

NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:04 pm

Judges write the rule first, then apply it. You should too. Never make a reader search for your meaning, and never assume your reader will make the same implicit assumptions you are. It's not a waste of space to write out the rule. It's a point to be earned, and moreover will serve as a guidepost for you to not overlook application of an element.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22885
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:12 pm

Eh, an exam isn't exactly a judicial opinion. I think it depends on the prof and how you handle it, but I think you can show you know the rule in your analysis. Maybe I should hedge by saying that in a horse-race issue spotter doing so can save time/space. In exams where you aren't frantically trying to hit everything in the time allowed, maybe approach it differently and provide a more formal rule statement (I had a lot of profs who expressly wrote exams that were too long to complete in 3 hours, as a way to create a curve - s/he who wrote the most, won).

Though I agree that writing out the rule statement can help you not miss elements - it's probably never going to hurt you to do, as long as you don't fall into the trap of thinking that writing the rule has made its application to the facts clear (i.e. Don't write the rule and then say "therefore because Doe had a duty to Smith, Smith has a claim for negligence").

And of course, if your prof says they want a rule statement, do what the prof says.

User avatar
hephaestus
Posts: 2385
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:21 pm

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby hephaestus » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:13 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:Judges write the rule first, then apply it. You should too. Never make a reader search for your meaning, and never assume your reader will make the same implicit assumptions you are. It's not a waste of space to write out the rule. It's a point to be earned, and moreover will serve as a guidepost for you to not overlook application of an element.

Yes I would generally say the rule in a succinct way. Say the rule, then apply the competing approaches to the issue.

User avatar
ph14
Posts: 3225
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby ph14 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:14 pm

Yes, absolutely state the rule.

User avatar
PepperJack
Posts: 646
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:23 pm

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby PepperJack » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:48 pm

Iit's better if you state the rule in a way that suggests you didn't just copy and paste it, but are tailoring it to the fact pattern.

User avatar
shepdawg
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:00 pm

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby shepdawg » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:24 am

Always irac. You won't lose points for it, and it will prep your for the bar exam and motion practice.

User avatar
Lockfast
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:52 pm

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby Lockfast » Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:30 pm

Just don't be the guy that does this:

Issue: The issue here is blah blah blah
Rule: The rule here is blah blah blah
Analysis: Analysis here begins with blah blah blah
Conclusion: The conclusion is shit.

User avatar
Carlo Von Sexron
Posts: 336
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:48 pm

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby Carlo Von Sexron » Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:36 pm

You will never lose points if you (correctly) state the rules before you go into analysis. At worst you will forgo points you could have gotten had you done it the other way. I stuck all the rule statements together to make it scannable for the grader. There probably is an art to "stating the rule in your analysis" that will save you time, but you will have to master it for dealing with a fact pattern presenting multiple issues with many potentially applicable rules. Otherwise, you may lose points for sheer disorganization. This is where doing practice answers and running them by your prof is likely to come in handy, but some profs won't help you like that.

User avatar
Zensack
Posts: 125
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:05 pm

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby Zensack » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:50 pm

Depends on the professor. My torts prof wanted us to, contracts and Civ Pro didn't.

Swimp
Posts: 493
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 9:32 am

Re: Should you state the rule on an exam?

Postby Swimp » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:52 pm

Carlo Von Sexron wrote:You will never lose points if you (correctly) state the rules before you go into analysis. At worst you will forgo points you could have gotten had you done it the other way.


Bro.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ididntwantsalmon and 2 guests