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Author Topic: HOW DO YOU WRITE/ANALYZE on LAW SCHOOL EXAMS?  (Read 1054 times)

jd2b06

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HOW DO YOU WRITE/ANALYZE on LAW SCHOOL EXAMS?
« on: January 17, 2006, 06:36:28 PM »
There are the 2-5 page fact patterns and then... then at the very bottom most likely it will say discuss any/all claims and or defenses that may arise within the fact pattern.  And we're just supposed to have at it. 

This question may be hard to gauge and may not come out right but... what is that "thing" that unwritten exam skill that the A students have and the C students will never understand.  Is it IRAC?  No.. because it doesn't work for all classes and are tailored more for element based classes.  What do you do how do you write law school exams?

The key and it has been said over and over again is the analysis... you must know the black letter law but its the ANALYSIS that wins you points.  This is hammered over and over again into 1L's brains.  How exactly do you learn how to analyze... or what information to analyze?? 

Let's take an example.  Torts... and negligence.  Where would you go to find out exactly how to analyze this on your exam?  I know that you're supposed to practice writing but what if you don't even know where to start??  I know you're supposed to discuss the reasonable person standard... I know that there's a forumula for causation and proximate cause... where do you uncover or find out that is what you're supposed to apply on the exam?

If you understand my question... someone please shed some light. 

jacy85

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Re: HOW DO YOU WRITE/ANALYZE on LAW SCHOOL EXAMS?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2006, 06:50:51 PM »
This is a huge question...I suggest you pick up LEEWS from someone.  There's been some people around here that are selling their copies, and I'm sure you find it used online somewhere.

Even if you buy it new, it's worth the money.

QUAKER OATS

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Re: HOW DO YOU WRITE/ANALYZE on LAW SCHOOL EXAMS?
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2006, 08:04:56 PM »
I agree you should definitely read more into this...but let me offer something which a Prof told me that I never heard in LEEWS or the like


Always read for adjectives and adverbs, then use those to prove your point.  Massage the descriptors as he says.

jacy85

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Re: HOW DO YOU WRITE/ANALYZE on LAW SCHOOL EXAMS?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2006, 08:35:58 PM »
I'll add something since I need to take a break from brief research...

LEEWS focus on teaching you how to analyze and write an exam.  The key point here is to argue both sides, and then choose the one you think is strongest.  My contracts prof last semester talked about it in terms of "forking" your answer.

Taking your negligence example, you know the rule (Injury, Duty, Breach, Cause).

So you read your hypo, and see that A has a possible negligence claim against B.  So you discuss.  You take the duty element, and say what A's argument is that B had a duty towards A. Then you rebut w/ B's defense/counter argument.  You decide which is better.  If you think A's arg is better, then you say so, and move on to Breach.  However, even if you say B's argument is better, you still may want to move on and discuss Breach, saying something like "despite B's stronger argument, the court may find for A in the matter of duty, and would then discuss breach." 

The tricky thing is to try to focus on the main issues, and address the "smaller" issues as a secondary concern.  Many people get bogged down in the smaller points and loss valuable analysis time on the meaty issues the prof's really after.  An example of this would be a negliegence discussion where duty and breach are extremely straightforward, but cause is the big ticket item.  My torts exam was heavy on the duty questions, with some big causation issues thrown in.  You don't want to write 5 paragraphs on an easy duty issue when the prof values your causation analysis more.

Arguing both sides and choosing the strongest point is how you apply the black letter law.  This is what LEEWS teaches you.  While the issue spotting exam may not apply everywhere, the skill of practicing arguing both sides will likely help in most law school exams you take.  LEEWS also has some good advice in terms of how to approach a 3 page hypo with a final instruction of "discuss all claims" without getting overwhelmed.

giffy

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Re: HOW DO YOU WRITE/ANALYZE on LAW SCHOOL EXAMS?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2006, 09:11:01 PM »
At my school the difference between the A's and the C's often came down to the number of issues seen and whether they got the analysis right. This was often a razor thin distinction. Those don't really have much to do with style but more with substance. For example on my torts exam there was a fact pattern with around 25 torts. Some were really obvious and others were more subtle. A students got all the issues and analyzed them correctly. C students missed some issues and/or failed to analyze them correctly.

Mimimimi

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Re: HOW DO YOU WRITE/ANALYZE on LAW SCHOOL EXAMS?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2006, 10:33:47 AM »
I have no experience with LEEWS, but I recommend "Getting to Maybe" (a book on how to take law school exams).   

The other thing is, I think people get IRAC in their head and might mess up because of it.  That's really too simplistic a way to look at things.  On a practice midterm, not knowing much about how to take exams yet, that's what I tried to do and I totally bombed it.