Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

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Br3v
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Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby Br3v » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:03 pm

In regards to law school exams. I imagine it is something along the lines of:
Law X: when Y occurs, do Z.

And then your goal on the exam is that when you see Y occurring, you are supposed to do Z.

I also assume that it (obviously) gets much more complicated and the key questions deal with rules that have a list of criteria to be met, and if some/all/none are met that means to apply different things etc. Or issues when two rules conflict with each other.


Am I close at all? This is just my intuitive guess.
No I am not going to launch into some 0L prep on your advice, I just want to know what a law school exam is like.

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manofjustice
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby manofjustice » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:06 pm

An issue is any articulation between law and fact that matters.

Sometimes, that articulation is singular: x has happened, therefore y.

Most often, and when it matters, that articulation is multifarious: x has happened; so has y and z; so perhaps y, but also, perhaps not y.

"Issues" encompass, therefore, laws, but also case analogies and "hidden" facts--i.e., implications that you must make from the facts.

All-in-all, it's cool shit.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:11 pm

In general, an issue spotter is a long (multiple pages) narrative with lots of details about people, events, contracts, court filings, injuries, etc. The exam question is something like "Discuss all causes of action that Mr. Murphy could bring."

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:15 pm

I invited a friend over for a party. A couple hours later I found him in my bedroom. He had pulled back the wall paneling and found $100,000 in cash hidden there, which I had no idea was there. At this point I pulled a gun out and told him to leave my property, and after he lunged toward me I shot him dead.

What are the relevant legal issues?

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stillwater
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby stillwater » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:17 pm

manofjustice wrote:An issue is any articulation between law and fact that matters.

Sometimes, that articulation is singular: x has happened, therefore y.

Most often, and when it matters, that articulation is multifarious: x has happened; so has y and z; so perhaps y, but also, perhaps not y.

"Issues" encompass, therefore, laws, but also case analogies and "hidden" facts--i.e., implications that you must make from the facts.

All-in-all, it's cool shit.


You manage to make relatively simple things sound dense and nonsensical.

jwinaz
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby jwinaz » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:26 pm

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=203281&start=50

Hey, interesting.

This was almost the exact question I asked in my other thread titled, Is Law School Work Hard?

Here was what I wrote there and I'd be curious too for some feed back.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Not that I want to get too much deeper into this, because I'm not in law school yet...But I suppose I can't help but just ask a bit more on the complexity of exams and things like issue spotting and applying rules you guys talked about.

People mentioned that knowing a rule doesn't mean you can spot an issue with it and then apply it correctly.

I guess I'm wondering how tough that is with a set of facts. This is a made up example and obviously done for super easy analysis. But suppose:

[Person A has no permit/license to carry a gun, is underage, and shoots and kills Person B in the process of a struggle during a robbery outside of a gas station. Person A doesn't flee or anything, nor lie to police later, etc. There were many witnessses and he's subdued and caught right there by let's, say, four civilian, good samaritan bystanders at the scene of the crime. Plus, he confesses to it all and it's caught on gas station tape.]

So, would the process just be to recognize that Person A violated a law for needing a permit to carry a gun and also violated a law that is use of a gun to commit a crime? Here it's super obvious of course that his actions fit these violatoins.

But can someone give an example of a tougher case of how it might be harder to spot a crime and also whether or not a rule/law would apply and/or how to apply that rule/law? Are these like super hard legal puzzles? I'm guessing not as straight-forward as above example, but yet still kind of curious how tough they can be?

Thanks for satisfying my curiosity on this one if anyone answers.

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Lacepiece23
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby Lacepiece23 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:42 pm

jwinaz wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=203281&start=50

Hey, interesting.

This was almost the exact question I asked in my other thread titled, Is Law School Work Hard?

Here was what I wrote there and I'd be curious too for some feed back.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Not that I want to get too much deeper into this, because I'm not in law school yet...But I suppose I can't help but just ask a bit more on the complexity of exams and things like issue spotting and applying rules you guys talked about.

People mentioned that knowing a rule doesn't mean you can spot an issue with it and then apply it correctly.

I guess I'm wondering how tough that is with a set of facts. This is a made up example and obviously done for super easy analysis. But suppose:

[Person A has no permit/license to carry a gun, is underage, and shoots and kills Person B in the process of a struggle during a robbery outside of a gas station. Person A doesn't flee or anything, nor lie to police later, etc. There were many witnessses and he's subdued and caught right there by let's, say, four civilian, good samaritan bystanders at the scene of the crime. Plus, he confesses to it all and it's caught on gas station tape.]

So, would the process just be to recognize that Person A violated a law for needing a permit to carry a gun and also violated a law that is use of a gun to commit a crime? Here it's super obvious of course that his actions fit these violatoins.

But can someone give an example of a tougher case of how it might be harder to spot a crime and also whether or not a rule/law would apply and/or how to apply that rule/law? Are these like super hard legal puzzles? I'm guessing not as straight-forward as above example, but yet still kind of curious how tough they can be?

Thanks for satisfying my curiosity on this one if anyone answers.



I don't know much about criminal law yet so I can't really answer your hypo, but a prof isn't going to make a fact pattern with only one side to the argument.

classic example:

No vehicles in the park. A rides tricycle in the park. Seems easy enough,

Bad answer
A has violated the rule no vehicles in the park therefore he should be fined.

semi-okay
The issue is whether A has violated the statute that there should be no vehicles in the park. A can argue that since a tricycle is not technically a vehicle he has not violated any such statute. The arresting police officer will assert that A violated this statute because the intents of the statute was to ban all vehicles in the park including trikes. However, A can assert that actually the statute's true intention was only to ban vehicles that have engines such as cars.

Your prof basically wants you to tease the issue back and forth you get points for each argument you make generally. I find that when your are going several layers into an issue the prof will award you more points. A very simple example and other threads are full of these examples as well probably better ones too. Tried to keep it simple.

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LeDique
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby LeDique » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:53 pm

thesealocust wrote a really good explanation of how to answer the vehicles in the park example here: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... &sk=t&sd=a

utlaw2007
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:19 am

Deleted. I posted the same thing below here so I deleted.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:21 am

Issues pertain to specific facts that affect how the law is applied to a given situation. A particular set of facts or just one fact may require the law to be applied a certain way.

The facts aren't the issues. The issues are how the law and facts come together.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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dingbat
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby dingbat » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:23 am

I am planning my wedding to start at 12. I contract with the florist to deliver flowers at 9 am, for $2000. We later agree that the color scheme will be orange and yellow.
The baker is contracted to bake a carrot cake. The venue will be the glass conservatory of the dingbat hotel, for $20,000. We hire a DJ for $2500

A week before the wedding, the conservatory burns down, so they stick us in the master ballroom instead (normally costs $18,000). The florist arrives at 10:30, delivering pink and red flowers, which coincidentally match the interior of the ballroom. The baker delivers a chocolate cake with bright green frosting, which we don't notice until it's served. We eat it anyway because it's better to have some cake than no cake. The DJ never showed up, but a member of the wedding party is in a decently succesful band, calls his babdmates and they come over to play. They normally charge $10,000 per appearance

State all the causes of action I have and the amounts I should recover from each

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howlery
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby howlery » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:00 pm

Is mentioning the color of the frosting relevant to the actual answer? The way the passage is written makes it seem like the florist is the only one who is definitely privy to the color scheme. Also, given that the leafy portions of carrots are green, would it be cause for legal action? Carrot cake is carrot cake, isn't it?

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dingbat
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby dingbat » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:05 pm

howlery wrote:Is mentioning the color of the frosting relevant to the actual answer? The way the passage is written makes it seem like the florist is the only one who is definitely privy to the color scheme. Also, given that the leafy portions of carrots are green, would it be cause for legal action? Carrot cake is carrot cake, isn't it?

The color of the cake is irrelevant (red herring), but the fact that it's chocolate cake and not carrot cake is relevant. The fact that we ate the cake anyway is not relevant as to whether there was a breach of contract but is relevant in determining if there will be damages and how much it would be.

edit: keep in mind that I wrote that fact pattern in just a few minutes, so it's not as tight as an actual exam will be (not to mention a lot shorter), but it'll give you the idea of what kind of things to look out for, such as several different contracts, each of which having multiple isues, as well as possible defenses/remedies incorporated into the hypo, and facts that can be argued both ways (they delivered the wrong cake vs they accepted the substitution by eating the cake)

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howlery
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby howlery » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:47 pm

Whoops, I totally missed the fact that it was a chocolate cake. Very informative example and explanation though!

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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby francesfarmer » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:50 pm

This makes me really glad to have worked with lawyers for years.

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dingbat
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby dingbat » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:56 pm

howlery wrote:Whoops, I totally missed the fact that it was a chocolate cake. Very informative example and explanation though!

The music is actually the real bitch in the example.

The wording says that the band normally charges $10k, but it doesn't say that they charged the wedding party anything, which means you've got an IF argument: if they didn't charge a fee, the wedding cannot recover what wasn't charged, so the DJ might not be liable for any damages, but will be ordered to give a refund; but if the wedding party was charged $10k, then the DJ would be liable for the cost of the replacement, but the DJ can argue that because it's a popular band, rather than a DJ and the wedding party didn't shop around, they got a better option rather than a reasonable replacement. The fact that the cost is disproportionate can be argued both ways: if the band is a reasonable replacement, it doesn't matter that they cost significantly more, but the disproportionate cost can be used to argue that the band is not a reasonable replacement.

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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby dingbat » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:01 pm

howlery wrote:Whoops, I totally missed the fact that it was a chocolate cake. Very informative example and explanation though!

As an FYI, everyone misses something. Anyone who claims they spotted every issue is wrong - it means they don't realize they missed an issue. I've been fairly confident during an exam that I spotted every issue only to learn later from classmates that I missed X or Y - but then they missed an issue I spotted, or misread a fact, or got something else wrong.

And in case you're wondering, I've had a classmate miss 3 issues and still end up with an A (argued everything else really well)

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scifiguy
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby scifiguy » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:57 pm

Wow, cool.

Give us some more puzzles to solve.

Here's one that I just made up:


-------------------------------------------------------

scifiguy verbally agrees to a deal with his friend that he'll loan him $400 for textbooks this semester at their college. The friend must repay by the end of the semester. They're relatively close friends, but not super close. Therefore, scifiguy collects collateral from the friend in the form of a $150 wrist watch. There is, however, no written contract/agreement. It's just a verbal agreement between friends. There are also no witnesses and scifiguy pays his friend in cash.

scifiguy himself lacks a wrist watch and since he has the friend's watch as collateral and it's sitting their unused, he figures he might as well use it for his own. He never tells his friend this, however. One day scifiguy is in a rush to get to class and he accidentally smashes the watch against the door of the philosophy building trying to squeeze his way through as it's closing.

The wrist watch is cracked.

scifiguy wants to repair it for his friend, but when his friend finds out he gets super mad and says, "No!"

The friend won't accept the deal, because he feels the watch is somehow not the same anymore and is angered that scifiguy would wear it w/o permission to begin with. Instead, the friend says that he's just not paying scifiguy back the $400 and that is punishment/getting even for the broken watch.

Who has what rights to do what here?
Last edited by scifiguy on Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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stillwater
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby stillwater » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:01 pm

dingbat wrote:
howlery wrote:Whoops, I totally missed the fact that it was a chocolate cake. Very informative example and explanation though!

As an FYI, everyone misses something. Anyone who claims they spotted every issue is wrong - it means they don't realize they missed an issue. I've been fairly confident during an exam that I spotted every issue only to learn later from classmates that I missed X or Y - but then they missed an issue I spotted, or misread a fact, or got something else wrong.

And in case you're wondering, I've had a classmate miss 3 issues and still end up with an A (argued everything else really well)


got an A+ in CivPro, dude said i missed mad issuez.

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dingbat
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby dingbat » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:03 pm

scifiguy wrote:Wow, cool.

Give us some more puzzles to solve.

Here's one that I just made up:


-------------------------------------------------------

scifiguy verbally agrees to a deal with his friend that he'll loan him $400 for textbooks this semester at their college. The friend must repay by the end of the semester. They're relatively close friends, but not super close. Therefore, scifiguy collects collateral from the friend in the form of a $150 wrist watch. There is, however, no written contract/agreement. It's just a verbal agreement between friends. There are also no witnesses and scifiguy pays his friend in cash.

scifiguy himself lacks a wrist watch and since he has the friend's watch as collateral and it's sitting their unused, he figures he might as well use it for his own. He never tells his friend this, however. One day scifiguy is in a rush to get to class and he accidentally smashes the watch against the door of the philosophy building trying to squeeze his way through as it's closing.

The wrist watch is cracked.

scifiguy wants to repair it for his friend, but when his friend finds out he gets super mad and says, "No!"

The friend want accept the deal, because he feels the watch is someone not the same anymore and is angered that scifiguy would wear it w/o permission to begin with. Instead, the friend says that he's just not paying scifiguy back the $400 and that is punishment/getting even for the broken watch.

Who has what rights to do what here?

Friend owes scifiguy $400, scifiguy owes friend the watch plus the cost of repair or the diminution in value.

If this is an exam question, it would be a multiple choice question, because it's fairly straightforward and there's not a lot going on. I had one exam that included multiple choice, which was 50 questions in 90 minutes, none of which was that straightforward.

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dingbat
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby dingbat » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:04 pm

stillwater wrote:
dingbat wrote:
howlery wrote:Whoops, I totally missed the fact that it was a chocolate cake. Very informative example and explanation though!

As an FYI, everyone misses something. Anyone who claims they spotted every issue is wrong - it means they don't realize they missed an issue. I've been fairly confident during an exam that I spotted every issue only to learn later from classmates that I missed X or Y - but then they missed an issue I spotted, or misread a fact, or got something else wrong.

And in case you're wondering, I've had a classmate miss 3 issues and still end up with an A (argued everything else really well)


got an A+ in CivPro, dude said i missed mad issuez.

Lend me your outline/prep material, please?

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scifiguy
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby scifiguy » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:05 pm

dingbat wrote:
scifiguy wrote:Wow, cool.

Give us some more puzzles to solve.

Here's one that I just made up:


-------------------------------------------------------

scifiguy verbally agrees to a deal with his friend that he'll loan him $400 for textbooks this semester at their college. The friend must repay by the end of the semester. They're relatively close friends, but not super close. Therefore, scifiguy collects collateral from the friend in the form of a $150 wrist watch. There is, however, no written contract/agreement. It's just a verbal agreement between friends. There are also no witnesses and scifiguy pays his friend in cash.

scifiguy himself lacks a wrist watch and since he has the friend's watch as collateral and it's sitting their unused, he figures he might as well use it for his own. He never tells his friend this, however. One day scifiguy is in a rush to get to class and he accidentally smashes the watch against the door of the philosophy building trying to squeeze his way through as it's closing.

The wrist watch is cracked.

scifiguy wants to repair it for his friend, but when his friend finds out he gets super mad and says, "No!"

The friend want accept the deal, because he feels the watch is someone not the same anymore and is angered that scifiguy would wear it w/o permission to begin with. Instead, the friend says that he's just not paying scifiguy back the $400 and that is punishment/getting even for the broken watch.

Who has what rights to do what here?

Friend owes scifiguy $400, scifiguy owes friend the watch plus the cost of repair or the diminution in value.

If this is an exam question, it would be a multiple choice question, because it's fairly straightforward and there's not a lot going on. I had one exam that included multiple choice, which was 50 questions in 90 minutes, none of which was that straightforward.


But, there is no written contract though.

Also, in terms of what scifiguy did....there was no agreement that scifiguy couldn't wear the watch....probably implied, but you know....technically, it was never said.

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stillwater
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby stillwater » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:10 pm

dingbat wrote:
stillwater wrote:
dingbat wrote:
howlery wrote:Whoops, I totally missed the fact that it was a chocolate cake. Very informative example and explanation though!

As an FYI, everyone misses something. Anyone who claims they spotted every issue is wrong - it means they don't realize they missed an issue. I've been fairly confident during an exam that I spotted every issue only to learn later from classmates that I missed X or Y - but then they missed an issue I spotted, or misread a fact, or got something else wrong.

And in case you're wondering, I've had a classmate miss 3 issues and still end up with an A (argued everything else really well)


got an A+ in CivPro, dude said i missed mad issuez.

Lend me your outline/prep material, please?


My method was pretty simple. I read the cases concurrent with the class, then toward the end of the semester I would read Freer's chapters that corresponded with the relevant material we went over. I would read it once, marking up the margins, then a couple days latter I would type up the margin notes into an "outline" or what ended up being many mini-outlines of the different areas of CivPro. I don't think I ever looked at them again. But it ensured I went over each part 3 times. I read the personal jurisdiction, Erie and res judicata/collateral estoppel sections a couple more times than the rest.

Oh, and if you do the joinder rules, the E&E is the credited way to go over it and really get them down.

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dingbat
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby dingbat » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:11 pm

scifiguy wrote:
dingbat wrote:
scifiguy wrote:Wow, cool.

Give us some more puzzles to solve.

Here's one that I just made up:


-------------------------------------------------------

scifiguy verbally agrees to a deal with his friend that he'll loan him $400 for textbooks this semester at their college. The friend must repay by the end of the semester. They're relatively close friends, but not super close. Therefore, scifiguy collects collateral from the friend in the form of a $150 wrist watch. There is, however, no written contract/agreement. It's just a verbal agreement between friends. There are also no witnesses and scifiguy pays his friend in cash.

scifiguy himself lacks a wrist watch and since he has the friend's watch as collateral and it's sitting their unused, he figures he might as well use it for his own. He never tells his friend this, however. One day scifiguy is in a rush to get to class and he accidentally smashes the watch against the door of the philosophy building trying to squeeze his way through as it's closing.

The wrist watch is cracked.

scifiguy wants to repair it for his friend, but when his friend finds out he gets super mad and says, "No!"

The friend want accept the deal, because he feels the watch is someone not the same anymore and is angered that scifiguy would wear it w/o permission to begin with. Instead, the friend says that he's just not paying scifiguy back the $400 and that is punishment/getting even for the broken watch.

Who has what rights to do what here?

Friend owes scifiguy $400, scifiguy owes friend the watch plus the cost of repair or the diminution in value.

If this is an exam question, it would be a multiple choice question, because it's fairly straightforward and there's not a lot going on. I had one exam that included multiple choice, which was 50 questions in 90 minutes, none of which was that straightforward.


But, there is no written contract though.

Also, in terms of what scifiguy did....there was no agreement that scifiguy couldn't wear the watch....probably implied, but you know....technically, it was never said.

Doesn't matter if a contract is written or not. Only a contract subject to the statute of frauds is required to be in writing, and while I don't recall the requirements, this isn't it

It also doesn't matter if there was or wasn't an agreement about scifiguy wearing the watch, the fact is that he damaged the watch.
Are you 0L?

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scifiguy
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Re: Can someone give me an example of "issue spotting"

Postby scifiguy » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:14 pm

dingbat wrote:

It also doesn't matter if there was or wasn't an agreement about scifiguy wearing the watch, the fact is that he damaged the watch.
Are you 0L?


Junior (undergrad)...but still neat.

What if friend argues that watch had sentimental value as passed down from his great grandma? The damage to it was more than just physical? He's emotionally distraught and also upset scifiguy would just wear it w/o asking.




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