cusenation wrote:I had 12k words on my contracts exam and 17k words on my torts exam (lots of copying and pasting for Tamanaha). Someone actually had more than me for torts. But it depends on the type of exam-taker you are. My strength came from burying my classmates in analysis (hence the high word count). My worst grade was Mandelker's property...which was 1500 total words for 5 questions, basically impossible to put any distance between you and your peers with that word limit. But i agree that high word count isn't necessary or sufficient for doing well on these exams. One of the guys in my study group had 5k less words than me in torts, and we got the same grade.
I was the complete opposite. If you take my GPA on exams with word limits, I'd have been magna cum laude
(though it's a small sample size, so it may not mean much).
My non-word-limited exams, I averaged significantly below median.
I studied equally for each exam, so there wasn't really any difference in effort or understanding the law on my part. But on the non-word-limited exams, I generally only typed about 3K words. I just like to be exact and precise when I write, and that's not something I could really change. When I did study groups, I did them with people from the very top of the class, and when we did practice exams together, I spotted everything they did, if not more. Except I always used about half the words to explain it.
After three years of law exams, I never could get myself to come up with all that extra analysis...it all seemed like unnecessary, speculative, and irrelevant word salad to me, even though it sounded good. When reviewing one of my exams with one of my professors 1L year, and comparing it to the model answer, I said, "I don't get it...I said everything they did, but they just used more words." She responded, "well, if you would have just wrote a few more words here and there, I could have given you more points." I think my jaw dropped in disbelief.
I think clearly there's a difference of opinion between me and the general consensus of law professors as to what constitutes "analysis" that is actually relevant to the issues. What I see as mostly useless, frivolous details, they see as stuff you get points for. But when everyone is forced to be efficient with their words, my "analysis" is right on. My writing is good, too. I wrote onto a journal, my note got published, and I've gotten more than one internship/job via my writing sample.
It all seems pretty sloppy and disorganized to me, and this is why I would caution any prospective law student not to count on anything grade-wise when entering law school. Studying, knowing, and applying the law only go so far.