Dear New York Bar Exam Applicants,
Welcome to the latest issue of our NY bar exam newsletter. In this issue, we consider:
- Important Upcoming New York Bar Exam Dates
- New York Bar Exam Study Strategy: The Home Stretch
- New York Bar Exam Essays In-Depth: Issue Identification & Recognition, Part 3
- Next Issue Preview
Important Upcoming New York Bar Exam Dates
- New York Bar Exam administered, February 22-23, 2011
New York Bar Exam Study Strategy: The Home Stretch (Or, What One Does the Last Two Weeks of Bar Review)
If everything is going to plan, via your bar review study schedule, then the last two weeks of your review should be spent utilizing your reference system to memorize materials and practicing MBE questions, NY multiple choice, essays, and MPTs.
Memorizing, Memorizing, Memorizing...
For memorization of the materials, there are no shortcuts. It is long, tiring work. Of course, there are memorization techniques that you will become familiar with and most likely utilize (e.g., mnemonics, etc…). However, even with such memorization techniques, the memorization process is still a daunting challenge. You know better than anyone else what learning methods and memorization techniques work best for you. Use those methods that have worked in the past (e.g., during law school), eliminate ineffective methods. Avoid sticking with something that is not working, even if it is working for your friend.
Condensing NY Bar Review Materials
It is at this time that many individuals will begin condensing their reference system to create condensed/synthesized outlines for each testable subject found on the NY bar exam. If you followed this method in law school, then you will be very familiar with it. If not, condensing your outlines is akin to whittling the wheat from the shaft. Comprehensive outlines will often state the why, the how, and provide examples of a legal issue or topic. Condensed outlines simply state the what, i.e., the rule statement or elements of a testable issue in a highly abbreviated fashion. Keep in mind, condensed/synthesized outlines are a very effective tool if YOU are the one doing the condensing and synthesizing. We believe utilizing someone else’s condensed outlines eliminates almost all of the benefit received in creating condensed versions of the materials in the first place. Of course, we have all heard the tale of an individual only studying with someone else’s condensed outlines and passing the NY bar exam. However, we never hear of the many more tales of those individuals that used such condensed outlines and failed. Don’t let an exception to a rule guide your own NY bar exam preparation.
New York Bar Exam Essays In-Depth: Issue Identification & Recognition, Part 3
Our Essays In-Depth feature is an excerpt from our upcoming New York Bar Exam Essay Solution On-Demand Workshop. This week we complete our series on Issue Identification & Recognition. Specifically, we demonstrate how to utilize an issue checklist with a mini-question.
Sample Checklist Refresher
If you recall, in our last issue we provided a sample checklist for intentional torts (minus defenses). For sake of economy and illustrative purposes, we will use this same sample checklist and limit the "universe of testable law" for our mini-question to Intentional Torts only (again, omitting defenses). As a reminder and caveat, the purpose of both the sample checklist and this mini-question is to illustrate the nature of checklists and their application in a concise, easy to understand fashion. Any Torts checklist(s) you rely upon for the actual exam should cover the entire testable subject. Our sample checklist for Intentional Torts included the following:
- False Imprisonment
- Infliction of Emotional Distress
- Trespass to Land
- Trespass to Chattels
"D works with A and B. During a normal workday, D had a heated argument with A over a malfunctioning printer and the best method to fix the malfunction. During the argument, D picked up a toner cartridge and threw it at A. A covered her head with her hands and ducked to avoid the cartridge. The cartridge missed A but hit B who was passing by the printer room in an adjacent hallway. The toner cartridge broke B's wrist. The toner cartridge was the property of D, A, and B's employer.
What intentional tort claims, if any, do A and B have against D? Discuss."
How Our Sample Checklist Can Help You Answer This Mini-Question
Keep in mind, the function of an issue checklist on the NY bar exam essays is to provide you one method to help you identify "issues" germane to the question presented. For purposes of this question, the "issues" are "intentional tort claims" (again, for sake of economy, discussion of pertinent defenses is omitted). Also, you should recognize the limitations of issue checklists. Such checklists do not include the elements of the "issues" (i.e., the rule statements that naturally accompany their discussion in an actual essay answer). Instead, in this variation of an issue checklist, the sole purpose is to assist in the identification of legal "issues" germane to the question presented. Also, of course, you will need to be able to recall any checklist from memory during the actual examination.
Looking at our sample checklist above, we know there are only 7 possible intentional torts claims in our universe of mini-question Torts law. Since the question only asks for intentional tort claims, and knowing there are only 7 such claims, we can quickly evaluate our checklist to see if any of these intentional torts fit within the question. Quickly, we can eliminate most of the 7 intentional torts. Since the facts state that the toner cartridge was the property of their employer, and not D, we know (or should know) all property-related intentional torts can be omitted, including Conversion, Trespass to Chattels, and Trespass to Land (remember, we are looking for claims A and B might have against D and not the claims of the employer). Also, since no emotional distress was mentioned in the facts and neither A nor B were forced against their will to stay in one location, we can eliminate both Infliction of Emotional Distress and False Imprisonment. The only claims that remain from the checklist are Assault and Battery. Since we know (or should know) a Battery can include objects put into motion by a defendant, then the throwing of the toner cartridge will suffice for the inclusion of Battery in our answer. Also, since we know (or should know) apprehension of an imminent battery is an Assault, then we can include Assault in our answer based upon A's covering her head and ducking (in most cases, one only covers their head under imminent apprehension of something hitting their head). At this point, our checklist should now resemble something like this:
Infliction of Emotional Distress
Trespass to Land
Trespass to Chattels
The stream of consciousness narrative of the preceding paragraph should only take you a couple of minutes on an actual NY bar exam essay utilizing a full subject checklist. Even if Assault and/or Battery was apparent to you after reading the question, and prior to considering the checklist, you could still utilize the checklist as a verification tool and to ensure no other issues are omitted from your answer. Then, after identifying Assault and Battery as the claims germane to the question presented (i.e., "the issues"), you would continue organizing the answer to this mini-question by creating an essay outline.
Next Issue Preview
In our next issue, our Essays In-Depth feature will examine how and when to raise multiple issues on NY bar exam essays.
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-The BarReviewSolutions.com Team