How much knowledge of the law is enough?

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Mamba1991
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How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby Mamba1991 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:16 am

I've studied and studied torts and have a pretty good understanding of all the issues from class (enough to spot them on hypos). My question is at what point should I trust that I know enough black letter law to do only practice exams and stop studying doctrine? I feel as if no amount of studying can prepare me for every little nuance that may come up. Thoughts?

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Kratos
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby Kratos » Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:37 pm

Mamba1991 wrote:I've studied and studied torts and have a pretty good understanding of all the issues from class (enough to spot them on hypos). My question is at what point should I trust that I know enough black letter law to do only practice exams and stop studying doctrine? I feel as if no amount of studying can prepare me for every little nuance that may come up. Thoughts?

Its open book for a reason. You don't need to have everything memorized. Go take a practice exam and see how you do.

Mamba1991
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby Mamba1991 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:49 pm

It's closed book.

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Kratos
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby Kratos » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:21 pm

Mamba1991 wrote:It's closed book.

Well, never had one of those so I dunno, although yes memorizing is probably way more important then. Still think taking a practice exam will give you a nice gauge of where you're at.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:49 pm

For closed book, once you can write out from memory every rule statement and every element of every rule you could possibly need on the exam, then that's enough.

After you've finished your main outline, you'll accomplish this memorization by developing a one page, hand-written outline of the entire class, containing every rule and every element of each rule (and defense, or whatever else is similar to rules). You will memorize it. You will write it down immediately as your test begins.

The way I did this was to make up maybe a half dozen or so long mnemonic devices. I used very dirty, graphic little poems I'd make up so I'd remember them, where the first letter of each word was the first letter in some part of the one-page outline. Each separate poem had its own place on the page, and was laid on in a certain way that I always kept the same. I'd practice writing this outline at home over and over and over again until I could write the entire outline from memory, automatically almost without thinking. I'd remember what the page looked like when I was done, so that if I froze and forgot something, I'd know that something (one of my mnemonic devices) was supposed to appear in the upper right of the page, or middle left, or whatever. As I walked into the exam, I would only be reciting the half-dozen little poems in my head, over and over, thinking of nothing else. I'd have those devices written out word for word on a sheet as I waited in line for the exam. I'd read and repeat them to myself over and over and over. Like meditation.

As soon as it was go time, I write out the outline on a blank piece of paper. It took about 10-15 minutes to finish. You want it to be automatic, so that the stress of exam time has no impact - you'll write it down from muscle memory. That, right there, was everything. With that outline in front of me, issue spotting was easy because you know that the only issues that are going to be on the exam are right there in my outline. Not only that, I have entire rule statements at my fingertips, so the exam is highly mechanical at that point - no time spent trying to remember elements, they are right there, just write them out in your response. Practice exams are important, but I always did this first before running practice exams. I aced every exam first semester 1L with this method, so it worked for me. Something to consider.

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sam91
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby sam91 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:04 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:For closed book, once you can write out from memory every rule statement and every element of every rule you could possibly need on the exam, then that's enough.



As soon as it was go time, I write out the outline on a blank piece of paper. It took about 10-15 minutes to finish. You want it to be automatic, so that the stress of exam time has no impact - you'll write it down from muscle memory. That, right there, was everything. With that outline in front of me, issue spotting was easy because you know that the only issues that are going to be on the exam are right there in my outline. Not only that, I have entire rule statements at my fingertips, so the exam is highly mechanical at that point - no time spent trying to remember elements, they are right there, just write them out in your response. Practice exams are important, but I always did this first before running practice exams. I aced every exam first semester 1L with this method, so it worked for me. Something to consider.


This sounds like a great idea, because this is precisely how i've been studying for closed Ks.
However, dont you think just listing the Rest., case named, and UCC#s you want to hit would be sufficient, rather than COMPLETELY filling out what they are?

NotMyRealName09
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:30 pm

sam91 wrote:
NotMyRealName09 wrote:For closed book, once you can write out from memory every rule statement and every element of every rule you could possibly need on the exam, then that's enough.



As soon as it was go time, I write out the outline on a blank piece of paper. It took about 10-15 minutes to finish. You want it to be automatic, so that the stress of exam time has no impact - you'll write it down from muscle memory. That, right there, was everything. With that outline in front of me, issue spotting was easy because you know that the only issues that are going to be on the exam are right there in my outline. Not only that, I have entire rule statements at my fingertips, so the exam is highly mechanical at that point - no time spent trying to remember elements, they are right there, just write them out in your response. Practice exams are important, but I always did this first before running practice exams. I aced every exam first semester 1L with this method, so it worked for me. Something to consider.


This sounds like a great idea, because this is precisely how i've been studying for closed Ks.
However, dont you think just listing the Rest., case named, and UCC#s you want to hit would be sufficient, rather than COMPLETELY filling out what they are?


Contracts was a different beast. That was open book / open note for me, and for that I had a cross-referenced, key-word indexed outline, with printouts of the relevant restatement and UCC sections (just in case I needed exact quotes). So I never really had to open the book. I had every citation I'd need in my outline. You've got to go with what you think best.

Has your professor said they want case names and citations? If they say yes, they are a big a-hole. I'd say you could use the method even in contracts. You want every element in that outline. The elements of the rule are far more important than being able to cite the section number in my opinion. Contracts (especially UCC) is so statutory I haven't thought through how I'd condense that down into one page, but in the end statutes are just lists of elements. Contracts exams, to the extent they'll revolve around specific UCC sections, should really only need citations to the BIG ONES (eg. 2-207 battle of forms), not every single section. I guess you just commit those to memory.
Last edited by NotMyRealName09 on Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sam91
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby sam91 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:35 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:
Has your professor said they want case names and citations? If they say yes, they are a big a-hole. I'd say you could use the method even in contracts. You want every element in that outline. The elements of the rule are far more important than being able to cite the section number in my opinion. Contracts (especially UCC) is so statutory I haven't thought through how I'd condense that down into one page. But I did it with property, and that was a hell of a class to boil down.


No we dont need full cites, however he explicitly said a while ago the more authority you reference the better your anwer will be. So i wanna hit each rest/ucc with a corresponding case name or even better a "fork" (gtm) of two case names that went opposite ways.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:41 pm

sam91 wrote:
NotMyRealName09 wrote:
Has your professor said they want case names and citations? If they say yes, they are a big a-hole. I'd say you could use the method even in contracts. You want every element in that outline. The elements of the rule are far more important than being able to cite the section number in my opinion. Contracts (especially UCC) is so statutory I haven't thought through how I'd condense that down into one page. But I did it with property, and that was a hell of a class to boil down.


No we dont need full cites, however he explicitly said a while ago the more authority you reference the better your anwer will be. So i wanna hit each rest/ucc with a corresponding case name or even better a "fork" (gtm) of two case names that went opposite ways.


I really never had profs who said case names were important for exams (unless open book, then they were not difficult to include). I guess I was lucky.

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sam91
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby sam91 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:45 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:
I really never had profs who said case names were important for exams (unless open book, then they were not difficult to include). I guess I was lucky.


I am trying to think of it as a good thing, in that it will set my exam apart from others. thats the hope anyway.

Mamba1991
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby Mamba1991 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:42 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm pretty far along in my doctrinal understanding i think. I know all the major torts that can arise in a fact pattern and their defenses. I'll work on handwriting everything as I think that can be pretty helpful too.
From an organizational standpoint for torts, do you think it's a good idea to break up each element of negligence into its own IRAC, or rough IRAC format? Should I give the issue, rule, analysis and conclusion of duty, breach, and causation separately? I think without splitting the elements up, the answers for negligence questions can get pretty long-winded. Causation on its own is a hefty issue with actual causation and all the issues that come with prox cause. Thanks

NotMyRealName09
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:48 pm

Mamba1991 wrote:Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm pretty far along in my doctrinal understanding i think. I know all the major torts that can arise in a fact pattern and their defenses. I'll work on handwriting everything as I think that can be pretty helpful too.
From an organizational standpoint for torts, do you think it's a good idea to break up each element of negligence into its own IRAC, or rough IRAC format? Should I give the issue, rule, analysis and conclusion of duty, breach, and causation separately? I think without splitting the elements up, the answers for negligence questions can get pretty long-winded. Causation on its own is a hefty issue with actual causation and all the issues that come with prox cause. Thanks


I actually did something like this.

A vs. B

The first issue is whether A negligently injured B. Negligence has four elements blah blah blah.

The first sub-issue is whether A owed a duty to B. A person owes a duty of care when blah blah blah (LAW). Here, A owed a duty to B because (FACTS+LAW=ANALYSIS).

The second sub issue is whether A breached the duty of care to B. Breach occurs blah blah blah. etc.

Or something like that. So yes, each element gets its own IRAC. My Torts professor was cool - she said that she wouldn't test on causation because student answers trying to discuss actual vs. proximate causation were just terrible. It was important to know what it was, but writing causation questions was difficult.

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kay2016
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby kay2016 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:35 pm

In my torts class we needed to IRAC Each element of negligenceas well..

But we never learned intentional torts so negligence was a huge huge component of the exam

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KD35
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby KD35 » Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:05 am

Mamba1991 wrote:Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm pretty far along in my doctrinal understanding i think. I know all the major torts that can arise in a fact pattern and their defenses. I'll work on handwriting everything as I think that can be pretty helpful too.
From an organizational standpoint for torts, do you think it's a good idea to break up each element of negligence into its own IRAC, or rough IRAC format? Should I give the issue, rule, analysis and conclusion of duty, breach, and causation separately? I think without splitting the elements up, the answers for negligence questions can get pretty long-winded. Causation on its own is a hefty issue with actual causation and all the issues that come with prox cause. Thanks


IRAC, at least for my torts class, turned into IRrarararac. So negligence is a breach of a duty of care that factually and proximately causes damages.

Duty of care is TARP blah blah blah. Here there is a duty because X.
Breach is blah. Here there was a breach because Y.

So on and so forth for each element. We had some really nuanced rules for certain elements (such as the duty of doctors and some stupid burden shifting stuff in majority vs minority jurisdictions) and I would have those rules memorized.

Basically, for closed book exams (which is all that my school does, for the most part) I have an outline with all of the material from the semester that I would know. I would rewrite my outline into rules paragraphs if the topic was something that would be on the final and I would memorize it, word for word. This translated into memorizing documents of 4000/5000 words (torts/Ks) to 10,000+ words (ConLaw, which SUCKED). Personal experience, but it worked very well, top 3%.

iliketurtles123
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby iliketurtles123 » Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:26 am

You don't know how well you know the law until you take a practice test.

Most professors do a great job explaining concepts in a box but it's hard to see and apply everything in the big picture.
if you are confident, just focus on practice tests. You'll be memorizing everything you need to along the way

Mamba1991
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Re: How much knowledge of the law is enough?

Postby Mamba1991 » Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:53 pm

Thanks all. I'm feeling pretty good. We one fact pattern on the exam, which will be about an hour. I've taken about 5 individual hour-long exams and the ones in the back of the torts Examples and Explanations book.




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