Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Preparing for the Bar Exam - Outlining the Rule

One question we are often asked by students studying for the Bar Exam is how much rule is needed to be sufficient in each essay. While, there is not one correct answer, here are some things to consider:

What is the specific rule brought into controversy by the facts?

Are there legal terms of art to define?

What is the general rule?

Then, build the general rule: Are there legal terms to define? Are there exceptions to the general rule? Are there elements/factors to be identified?

Is there a procedural element to consider? A motion? What is the standard? (i.e. summary judgment)

Is there a relevant distinction? (i.e. state vs. federal law)

Does the party have a relevant defense? Or is there a limit to the reach of the rule?

What are the consequences of applying this rule to the facts? (i.e. should evidence be excluded under an exclusionary rule)

Is the party entitled to damages, and if so, what kind?

Is there a procedural element to be considered? A motion? What is the standard?

Remember, this are just guidelines - every rule might not include everything, but it provides a sequence of questions to guide your thinking so you can write a complete rule statement.

1 comment:

  1. If it is possible, it might be helpful to have a follow up to this post in which you give an example of each of these, using the same question/law. I think I understand what you mean, but when I first started taking the bar exam I would have needed a very explicit example of this kind of concept to understand it. Thanks!