How to Write Law Exam Answers
Personal notes made with reference to Legal Reasoning And Legal Writing by Richard K. Neumann, Jr. What a teacher looks for
* Your understanding of how to use the rules
* Your understanding of what the law is trying to accomplish with them Two kinds of questions
* Hypothetical situations
* Response to issue/statement
Rubric of grading: what a teacher looks for when marking
* Issue spotting
* Knowledge of legal rules
* Ability to analyse and solve a legal problem in depth
* 1st read: See the big picture, read from beginning to end without using your pen. * 2nd read: Underline important things and make notes in margin. * 3rd read: Make a list on scratch paper all the issues present in the question, note relevant facts under each issue picked out. Dealing with facts
* Ask yourself why a fact is there.
* 4 reasons why a particular fact is in the story
o It creates or helps to create an issue because it is inconsistent with another fact or appears to be inconsistent with the law. o It helps to resolve an issue because it shows whether element(s) of the rule is satisfied. o It is a red herring.
o It has no legal value and just helps to tell the story. Dealing with the issues listed – make an outline
* Look at issues individually
* Write down what rules are necessary to resolve the issues * Decide the sequence in which the issues are to be discussed Writing format for dealing with each issue
* State the issue
* State governing rules. Rule proof is usually not necessary. * Apply rules to the facts. Use additional rules as needed. o Show intellectual depth by explaining how your analysis is consistent with the policy behind the rules and including a counter-analysis. * State your conclusion.
* Acronym: IRAC: Issue, Rule, Analysis/counter-analysis and Conclusion. Important points
* Explain reasoning fully. Explain why you are right and why some cases support your conclusion while other cases/rules are not used. * Red herrings can be to your benefit: point them out and show how they are irrelevant to the rules/issues. * Be explicit: teachers look for points and mark accordingly. Not showing = no points * Answer the question. Nothing more, nothing less.
* Don’t waste time writing on background matters unless it is required to answer the question. * udget your time.
* If you make an assumption, deal with it. Recognise the gap and show how it can be resolved.
Example of Contract Essay Question:
CONTRACTS ESSAY ONE
Art and Betty own adjoining farms in County, an area, where all agriculture requires irrigation. Art bought a well-drilling rig and drilled a 400-foot well from which he drew drinking water. Betty needed no additional irrigation water, but in January 1985, she asked Art on what terms he would drill a well near her house to supply better tasting drinking water than the County water she has been using for years. Art said that because he had never before drilled a well for hire, he would charge Betty only $10 per foot, about $1 more than his expected cost. Art said that he would drill to a maximum depth of 600 feet, which is the deepest his rig could reach. Betty said, "OK, if you guarantee June 1 completion." Art agreed and asked for $3500 in advance, with any additional further payment or refund to be made on completion. Betty said, " OK," and paid Art $3500. Art started to drill on May 1. He had reached a depth of 200 feet on May 10 when his drill struck rock and broke, plugging the hole. The accident was unavoidable. It had cost Art $12 per foot to drill this 200 feet. Art said he would not charge Betty for drilling the useless hole, but he would have to start a new well close by, and could not promise its completion before July 1. Betty, annoyed by Art's failure, refused to let Art start another well and on June 1, she contracted with Carlos to drill a...
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