Write good law school exam essay

Law School Exam Writing
Contents:
  1. Exam Writing - Law School Toolbox®
  2. Tips to tackle different Law School Exam types for 1Ls
  3. Suggestion Number One: Answer the Question(s) Being Posed
  4. Breadcrumb navigation

This is pure math.

If each question is worth 5 points, then that is the maximum amount of points you will get on that essay, no matter how good your answer is. The same is true within a question. Give yourself an adequate amount of time to read the question. Depending on the amount of time you have, try to plan at least minutes just for reading.

Remember what we said about reading comprehension? Give yourself time to really read the question. Next, divide your remaining time between the questions. Hopefully, your professor will tell you how many questions will be on the exam beforehand, and you can work this out ahead of time. Either way, though, you want to make sure you allocate time to answer every question.

Exam Writing - Law School Toolbox®

If your exam contains multiple questions, but the questions are not weighted equally for grading purposes, you should weight your time accordingly. You should divide your time like this:. If you have time left over, re-read the fact pattern and see if there are any issues you missed.

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Look back over your answers and see if there is anything that could be fleshed out or developed further. You should be pretreating the essay as you read. This will form the basis of your outline and help you find key points in the fact pattern as you write. It is entirely possible that facts at the end of the fact pattern may significantly affect your analysis of issues you spot at the beginning. Where applicable, make sure your exam is formatted as if it were an actual assignment in the workplace e.

Pay attention to any instructions you are given. In particular, if your exam is graded anonymously, make sure your exam is free of any and all identifying information. The next step is to construct your answer. We recommend creating a rough outline before you begin.

Tips to tackle different Law School Exam types for 1Ls

You might write this out on the exam itself or scratch paper. Alternately, you may want to go ahead and include a skeleton outline directly into your exam software. Pay attention to order. Talk about the most important issues first. Save the minor issues for the end of the essay. Remember to pay attention to time. Work through your outline systematically. More complex issues may require two or even three paragraphs. Smaller issues may only require a single five-sentence paragraph remember: one sentence for each element of CREAC.

Suggestion Number One: Answer the Question(s) Being Posed

Begin the paragraph with a clear statement of the issue or your conclusion. Your professor should be able to read that sentence and know exactly what the whole paragraph will be about. Next, state the relevant black letter law and exceptions. Note that if the exception applies, you may be best served to discuss it in the next full CREAC paragraph.

Use your legal knowledge and try to come up with a law or rule that sounds reasonable.

You may get close enough to the right rule to earn points. Then, explain the rule. This deserves at least one full sentence. State the appropriate standard of review where applicable.

IRAC: Writing Law School Essay Exams

Students often omit rule explanation and leave points lying on the table. That may seem boring and repetitive. So what? Remember that the goal is to maximize points. Pull out only the key facts that are relevant to the rule, and explain specifically how the rule applies. Sometimes a particular result best promotes the public policy goals underlying the law. Say so! Finally, restate your conclusion. That said, if the result is clear, be confident and say so. This will help ensure your writing is clear and concise, which can only help your grade.

Use transition words. Avoid exclamation points, colloquial speech, slang, and do not, under any circumstances, use textspeak or emoticons. We flagged Frank and the Natural Grocery Store as potential parties, and we added a question mark near the vegan and vegetarian meal options fact, in case that might be relevant later.

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Paragraph 2 gives us more detail. We flagged Vegan Food Co. We added a note in the margin to point out that Vegan Food Co. That seems like it may be relevant. It also sounds like there may be a products liability issue, since we now have facts about both the manufacturer and the retailer of the product. We also put a star by the fact about the expiration date. Sounds like Frank might be getting food poisoning from a bad burrito. Paragraph 3 switched gears. We made a note that Frank followed the package directions to reheat the food, and we underlined the warning on the package pointing out that the burrito might be dangerously hot after cooking in the microwave.

This tells us that Frank heeded the instructions on the package, but it also alerts us to a potential warning issue. Paragraph 4 is the turning point. Rather, there was a sharp chicken bone inside the burrito that severely injured Frank when he took a bite. Finally, we have the question prompt. The question prompt alone gives us a good amount of valuable information. It may be tempting to dive right into writing.

After all, the clock is ticking!


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Start with the cause of action, lay out the elements, list any exceptions, and insert the tests. You may want to add a note or two about key facts that should be included. Your outline might look something like this. Notice that the fact pattern included some red herrings. Frank will succeed on his strict liability claim against Vegan Food Co. Under products liability rules, a manufacturer or seller who places a defective product that is unreasonably dangerous into the stream of commerce may be held strictly liable for the harm that results.

There is no longer a requirement of privity between the seller and the injured plaintiff for the plaintiff to recover. If the plaintiff can prove each of these elements, the manufacturer or seller may be held strictly liable for the damage that results from the defective product, meaning the plaintiff will not be required to show fault on the part of the defendant s. Both Vegan Food Co. A commercial supplier is anyone who manufacturers or regularly sells a product in the course of its business.