July 13, 2006

Bar: hints for those who are dense like me

Say it with me now: DO NOT THINK.

The California bar wants to see that you can memorize an outline and do a cursory recitation and cut-and-paste.

Issue spotting is really just pasting an outline into the answer and filling in half of the items with, "this is not an issue because there are no facts to indicate..."

Take for example, an essay question that says, "Bob moves for summary judgment on the grounds that he was not legally responsible for Peter's injuries. Did the court properly grant his motion?"

Please forget about every motion for summary judgment you've ever read or written. This is not a motion for summary judgment on the grounds of lack of "legal causation." Sure, it might look like that is the issue of law upon which relief is requested. But no.

In bar land, a motion for summary judgment says to the court, "I say there are no issues of triable fact, tell me otherwise." The whole burden on the moving party thing... yeah, ignore that. The burden is never on the bar examiners.

Just follow the outline, do one paragraph with a heading for every element of negligence and ignore the fact that an MSJ usually asks the court to find identified and argued issues to be true or false as a matter of law. They wanna see their duty, breach, causation, and damages even if they don't ask for 'em.

They wanna see their outlines. I'm supposed to give 'em back their outlines. Why is this so hard for me to understand?

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