Topic: Identify the problem. Rule: state the rule or law being examined. Analysis: describe the problem in relation to the law being examined. Conclusion: offer your solution to the problem based on the facts collected.
Topic: Identify the sample situation. Rule: describe the sample situation. Analyze: how a lawyer might approach the problem if faced with the same set of circumstances. Conclusion: present hypothetical fact pattern essay questions that cover the four topic areas. On successful completion of the examination the candidate receives a Lawyer Certificate.
Topic: Understand the purpose of the open-book examination. Rule: analyze the purpose of the open book examination. Analyze: how a lawyer might use a specific case in an ethical context. Conclusion: present an explanation of why the open book exam is necessary in the law profession.
Topic: Analyze and compare legal situations from prior law history. Rule: Compare and contrast various law examples. Analyze: how various examples from past periods can be relevant to current law. Conclusion: present an evaluation of the relative merits of each example in terms of its applicability.
Topic: Develop a specific outline of areas that will be covered in upcoming exams. Rule: Create a detailed outline of all four types of examinations (torts, civil, criminal, admiralty, probate). Then organize the outline by topic into four quadrants. Divide the exam into four quadrants and then answer the four questions from each quadrant.
Topic: What are the typical problems that occur in law school exams? Rule: Organize the four types of exams (torts, civil, criminal, admiralty) into four categories. Then classify the four types of exams into topical categories. Provide an example or two about common problem-based exams and an illustration or two of a unique problem-based exam.
Topic: How do I select and follow a particular set of law review questions? Rule: Organize the types of exams (torts, civil, criminal, admiralty) into topical areas. Then identify and follow a particular set of law review questions for each area. For example, if you’re preparing for a civil law exam, identify three contracts (the lease/sale, divorce/ dissolution, purchase/ sale agreement) and one analogy or example of each. Then read your test script and answer the questions from the order you wrote them in.
Topic: How do I organize the topical areas of the law exam? Rule: Organize the four types of exams (torts, civil, criminal, admiralty) into topical areas. The first is the major case. It’s the case most appropriate for the type of law you are studying. Following it is the first principal issue, the supporting acts, the argumentative points to make, the statutory law, the case history and background, and the final arguments in support. Follow the key case heading (or a key phrase) as you do your preparation to each exam.
Topic: Which are the key issues for the examination? Rule: As you plan your study schedule and develop your key case study, identify and select one or two main themes (e.g., Commercial Law, Contract Law, Tort Law) and divide the various areas of the law you’ll be studying into their various subtopics. Write the topic down on a single page checklist. Then review the checklist when you’re preparing for each examination.
Topic: What legal issues and arguments are appropriate for these types of exams? Rule: For the contracts and other contractual questions, use the “contingency” approach. For the other three types of legal issues (criminal, civil, admiralty), use the “straw poll” approach. For the hypothetical fact patterns, use the “hypothetical pattern” approach. Begin with a hypothetical question and then answer based on the answers you’ve noticed in passing conversations.
Topic: What are the multiple transaction fact patterns? Rule: Most law examinations concentrate on either two or four types of transactions. The best one-third of law students spend the bulk of their time answering the contract/cooperate/adjudication questions. The rest of the time spends answering the torts. As with the topical topics, plan your study so you spend a good portion of your time on the torts.