BYU

Law Library

law school exam essay examples

Study Aids for Law Students

  • Aspen Learning Library - Formerly the Wolters Kluwer Online Study Aids Library
  • AudioCaseFiles
  • LexisNexis Digital Library
  • Themis Law School Essentials
  • Bar Exam Sample Essays
  • Sample Exams
  • Black Letter Outlines
  • Emanuel CrunchTime
  • Emanuel Law Outlines
  • Examples and Explanations
  • Gilbert Law Summaries
  • Glannon Guides

Many state bar associations post former bar exam essay questions and sample answers on their websites. These model answers are useful for studying for the bar and final exams.

Search online for state bar exam questions and answers, or use the list provided at the bottom of this page. Access is free.

  • Try writing a response to a practice question, then comparing your response to the model answer.
  • Some bar exam questions require the application of state law (e.g., California civil procedure), and may not be helpful if you are studying federal law. Read the question carefully. 
  • Subject coverage will vary by exam and by state.

1L Subjects:

  • Civil Procedure (federal and state questions)
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contract Law
  • Criminal Law

2L/3L Subjects:

  • Business Organizations
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Family Law/Community Property
  • Professional Responsibility/Ethics
  • Secured Transactions (Uniform Commercial Code 2)
  • Wills & Trusts

Sample Exam Questions & Answers By State

  • Mississippi
  • Pennsylvania
  • UBE  (Many of the states on this list administer the UBE, but the states offer more recent model essay answers than the UBE)
  • << Previous: Themis Law School Essentials
  • Next: Sample Exams >>
  • Last Updated: Jan 27, 2022 9:12 AM
  • URL: https://guides.law.byu.edu/studyaids

System Links

Connect with us.

#BYUlawlibrary

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY

© 2012-2017+. All rights reserved. | Provo, UT 84602 | 801-422-3593

LEEWS (Law Essay Exam Writing System)

The Law School (Bar) Exam Writing / Study / Preparation System (LEEWS) will help you prepare for and write A exams (B's guaranteed) and/or pass the bar. Wentworth Miller - attorney, Yale law graduate ('77), Rhodes scholar has developed polished for over 25 years comprehensive system of preparation exam taking, applicable to any essay-type in legal subject, that is remarkably effective.

law school exam essay examples

Sample Exams

3 sample law essay exams from the leews primer (with model responses).

[And an example of LEEWS’ effectiveness in practice.]

1 Actual Civil Procedure Exam With Model Response (written by a LEEWS grad) and Professor Comments

Introduction.

  • Sample exam — civil procedure (with relevant legal principles and model [LEEWS] response)
  • Sample exam — corporations (with relevant legal principles and model response)
  • Sample exam — wills (with relevant legal principles and model response)
  • Actual law school exam (civ pro), and A+ response by LEEWS grad used as a model for the class (with professor comments)

The  entire grade  (!!) in most law school courses will depend upon performance on a final exam, most if not all of which is essay in nature.  (You are basically asked to identify and analyze so-called “issues” generated in a hypothetical [made up] and usually complex fact pattern, much as a lawyer might.) Most exams are 3-4 hours in length, and either “closed” or “open book.” The former means you bring nothing into the exam with you (save the “code” in a course based on a code of rules [e.g., IRS Code in taxation, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in civil procedure]). Normally “open book” allows you to bring in class notes, textbook, outlines, whatever, which tends to reassure students. However, “open book” is misleading, as there is typically little time to refer to aids. Open or closed book, the law you need to know should be in your head.

Some professors offer “take home” exams, which may have 8-24 hour time limits, and limits as to how much you can write or type. Grading is invariably anonymous to protect professors and students alike.  Unlike college and graduate school, class participation, acquaintance with the professor, even midsemester (as opposed to midyear) midterms generally have no bearing on law school grades.  Ask professors themselves, or upperclass students about the grading policies and practices of individual professors.

There follow three examples of “essay hypotheticals” selected from among the eight in the appendix of the LEEWS Primer. Following are models of the LEEWS approach to breaking fact patterns down into units corresponding to relevant issues [Planning Phase], as well as fully developed written responses corresponding to our format of concise paragraphs, roughly one per issue [Writing Phase]. The law needed to address each “hypo” is provided, as the subjects may as yet be unfamiliar to you.

You may want to attempt a response before looking at the models. Standard exam writing advice posits that you follow “IRAC.” I.e., identify the Issue, state the applicable Rule, Analyze, Conclude. (Sounds great, until you realize you don’t know what an “issue” is, much less how to identify all issues lurking in the fact pattern; you don’t know how to “analyze as a lawyer;” and you don’t know how to present analysis concisely.)

Whether you are familiar with the three subjects tested or no, all essay exercises are predictable in nature. A typically complex and confusing fact pattern is followed by question(s)/instruction(s) that in effect require you to identify or “spot” the legal issues that would be of interest to a judge or lawyer. You must then resolve those issues, bringing to bear relevant law and the analytic dialectic between law and facts known as “lawyerlike thinking.”

Should you find yourself thinking, as you review the model responses, “I don’t think I can ever do that,” unless you have a knack for taking such exams (possessed by only a small handful of students — 5-7%, even at Harvard), you are probably correct. Which is why so few law students manage even a single A on final exams. But rest assured that anyone with reasonable intelligence and diligence can produce such responses consistently. Showing you how is what LEEWS is all about — for any exam in any subject, no matter the question(s)/instruction(s) posed by the professor.

back to top

SAMPLE EXERCISE 1

Civil Procedure Hypothetical (60 min.)

Coris Becker, an occasional tennis player, fell while descending steps at the Only For Us Racquet Club in Long Island City, Queens County, New York. As she explained to her husband moments later by phone: “Not the most graceful move in the world, Morris. I got so mad, I smashed Mommy’s new titanium Stroker. Be a dear and bring home din-din. I’m going to be in the hot tub for hours.” As she limped out to her Lexus, Coris ran into the club owner, Jett Setter. He grinned and remarked, “I saw that spill, Coris. Not the most graceful move in the world.” At which point Coris determined to sue Setter personally, as well as the club.

Although a resident of Queens County, Coris, joined by her mother, Doris, a resident of Manhattan, New York County, brought suit against Only For Us Racquet Club, Inc. (OFU, Inc.) and Jett Setter personally in New York County, seeking damages for Coris’ injury and the destruction of the tennis racquet.

Thereupon followed,  inter alia , the following events and motions:

1 — OFU, Inc. and Setter moved for a change of venue to Queens County.

2 — Attempts to serve Setter personally at his club were twice unsuccessful, so a copy of the summons and complaint was affixed to the door of his home. Another was mailed to him. [So-called “nail and mail” service.]

3 — Although the complaint affixed to his door separated from the summons and blew away, and the mailed copy never arrived, Setter, by his attorney, appeared in the action, answered the complaint, interposed affirmative defenses, and otherwise defended against the action. Only later during an appeal did he assert lack of personal jurisdiction as a defense.

4 — OFU, Inc. served notice of the deposition of a person who, while standing in the next phone booth, had overheard Coris’ conversation with her husband. Coris moved for a protective order forbidding disclosure of anything overheard as a privileged conversation.

5 — OFU, Inc. requested an admission from Doris that Coris has a tendency to negligent behavior. Doris ignored it.

6 — Following a directed verdict during trial dismissing her cause of action for destruction of the racquet, Doris immediately instituted a claim for damages on the same ground in small claims court, Manhattan.

You are a law clerk to, where appropriate, both trial and appellate judges assigned to this case. Prepare a memorandum of law respecting the issues raised in the above. Majority state law applies.

RELEVANT LEGAL PRINCIPLES FOR CIVIL PROCEDURE HYPO (Such legal knowledge should be in your head as well as your course outline. Note: The law provided herein may or may not be currently accurate.)

Discovery (scope of)  — Generally, all information not otherwise privileged that is relevant to the subject matter of the action is discoverable, whether or not the material would be admissible as proof.

Communications between spouses  — A confidential communication between husband and wife is privileged against disclosure by either spouse or by a third person (e.g., an eavesdropper).

Personal Jurisdiction  — Generally, in order to determine the rights and duties of parties to an action, and to bind the parties personally to its determinations, a court must have in personam jurisdiction over said parties. Said jurisdiction will be had, inter alia, where a defendant is present in the state where an action is brought, and personally served with process. Where personal service on a defendant cannot be effected through due diligence, a plaintiff is entitled to substitute such service by affixing a copy of the summons and complaint to the door or other conspicuous place at the defendant’s last known address, and also mailing a copy of same by regular mail to said address (so-called “nail and mail”). A court has held that three attempts at “in hand” service at a defendant’s place of business, without attempting to serve the defendant at home or leave the summons and complaint with a person of suitable age and discretion at the place of business does not satisfy the requirements of due diligence.

Waiver of  — Where a defendant appears, answers the complaint, interposes defenses, and at no time during or after trial moves to dismiss based on, nor claims lack of personal jurisdiction, the defense will be deemed waived on appeal.

Requests for admission  — A request for admission imposes a duty on the party served to acknowledge the existence of facts that are not in doubt and that should not be necessary to prove at trial. The party served normally has 30 days to respond. Failure to timely respond results in the matter being deemed admitted.

Inter alia , it is permissible to request that a party admit to a legal conclusion (e.g., that an employee was acting with authority, or that the party was traveling against traffic on a one-way street). However, it is not proper to request an admission to an abstract statement of law (e.g., that allowing a minor without a license to drive is negligent, per se).

Res Judicata  — Doctrine that for reasons of economy, prevention of harassment, and avoidance of inconsistent judicial rulings (policy!), the relitigation of claims and issues is generally prohibited.

Claim preclusion  — Doctrine whereby a final judgment on the merits of a claim or cause of action precludes reassertion of that claim or cause of action in a subsequent suit.

Venue  — Refers to the proper place for trial of a lawsuit. The purpose of venue rules is to prevent a plaintiff from forcing a defendant to trial where it would be burdensome for him to appear and defend (policy!). Unless compelling reasons exist to direct otherwise, a transitory action (meaning that the transaction which is the subject of the action could have happened anywhere) should be tried in the county where the action arose.

MODEL RESPONSE TO CIVIL PROCEDURE HYPOTHETICAL

PLANNING PHASE (1/4 – 1/3 of allotted time divided into 10-15 minute intervals)

Preliminary Overview  — Six distinct events/motions. Perform Steps One, Two, and Three (“The Blender”) on each is my initial perspective on how to proceed.  [Always the Steps, always the Steps — a constant way of thinking.]

Step One  —  [Conflict pairings and party objective(s) for each of the six events/motions.]

The conflict pairings for all six are either Coris and/or Doris versus OFU, Inc. and/or Jett Setter.

[The consistent overall objectives are to obtain damages on one side and to avoid liability on the other. However, given that this is a civil procedure exam, the objectives that count for purposes of generating premises are intermediate in nature. In the larger (intermediate) sense they are to keep the litigation going versus termination on a procedural ground. More immediate to the six events/motions:]

1 = Change venue to Queens County vs. keep it in Manhattan County.

2 = Establish personal jurisdiction vs. not.

3 = Have lack of personal jurisdiction defense ruled moot vs. exists and viable.

4 = Preclude disclosure of overheard conversation vs. have it ruled discoverable.

5 = Have fact admitted vs. not admitted.

6 = Have claim heard in small claims court vs. dismissed.

[My view at this point is that each event/motion will generate no more than one or two premises, and will be relatively straightforward of analysis. Therefore, the time to be allotted each will be roughly the same. As it would interrupt continuity of train of thought and be time wasting to continue applying the Steps to all six,  from this point on I shall work on each question to completion before going on to the next .]

Step Two —  [Consider each pairing, party, and objective. Cull facts (and course outline) for relevant premises.]

1 = Venue of transitory action is  overriding ,  (i.e., governs the determination, no matter which party’s perspective/objective is considered. See definition of Step Two and footnote, page 104.)

2 = “Nail and mail” service vs. due diligence rule.

[Complete analysis/discussion of No.2 (7-8 minutes??), then on to No.3; . . . No.4; . . . 5; . . . 6.]

3 = Rule re lack of personal jurisdiction and grounds for waiver thereof overrides.

4 = Rule re discovery of spousal communication overrides.

5 = Requests for admission, and failure to respond thereto overrides.

6 =  Res judicata  rules override.

Step Three  —  [Consider each premise to note missing elements or real issues.]

[Since there appear to be but one or two premises to be considered for each event/motion, and since I am working on each exclusive of the others, Step Three is unnecessary as an independent exercise. It is part and parcel of inspecting the law giving rise to the premise under consideration to determine whether it is necessary to state all of the law to begin the first paragraph of analysis, or whether one or more elements can be focused on as pivotal.]

Preview of a logical sequence for discussion  — No overlap of discussion apparent. No reason apparent not to proceed in the chronology given.

WRITING PHASE

[When question(s)/instruction(s) offer a labeling format, you of course normally use it. The professor/bar grader will likely be looking for it (Here — 1,2,3, etc. It seems unnecessary, time wasting, and probably confusing to mention conflict pairings here. However, I am thinking of and guided by them.]

[Discussion]

Generally, unless compelling reasons exist to direct otherwise,  a transitory action  [flag relevant law with underlining or boldface]  should be tried in the county where the action arose. “Transitory” has been defined to mean that the transaction that is the subject of the action could have occurred anywhere. Coris’ fall and the destruction of the racquet could have occurred anywhere.  [Concludes statement of relevant premise, i.e., controlling legal precept, that abruptly begins every paragraph.]  Moreover, Coris, Only For Us, Inc. (OFU), and Jett Setter all reside in Queens County. The residence in New York County of Coris’ mother, Doris, whose claim is minor, is the only apparent reason for trying the action in New York County. It is hardly “compelling.”  [Concludes “lawyerlike analysis” — application of law to relevant facts.]

Conclusion : The motion should be granted.  [No hedging, as this seems open and shut.] 

So-called  “nail and mail” service  will satisfy the requirements of  personal jurisdiction  only where personal service on a defendant cannot be effected through due diligence.  [Law.]  It has been held that three attempts at “in hand” service at a defendant’s place of business, without attempting to serve the defendant at home or leave the summons and complaint with a person of suitable age and discretion at the place of business does not satisfy the requirements of due diligence. Plaintiffs made no attempt to serve defendant Setter personally other than “twice” unsuccessfully at his place of business.  [Analysis.]

Conclusion: The attempted “nail and mail” service was likely  [Hedging!]  ineffective for lack of due diligence.

Where a defendant who has not been properly served nevertheless appears in an action, answers the complaint, and interposes affirmative defenses, but never moves to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, nor at any time claims lack of personal jurisdiction, the defense of lack of personal jurisdiction will be deemed waived upon the taking of an appeal.  [Law.]  Setter, as concluded above, was never properly served. Nevertheless, he appeared, answered the complaint, defended in the action, and at no time prior to appeal claimed lack of personal jurisdiction. Arguably, raising the claim on appeal is “after trial.” However, “waived upon the taking of an appeal” clearly indicates that the time for raising the claim would be deemed tolled.  [Analysis.]

Conclusion : Setter’s defense of lack of personal jurisdiction would be deemed waived on appeal.

Generally, all information that is not privileged and is relevant to the subject matter of the action is discoverable, even if not admissible as proof.  Confidential communications between husband and wife  are privileged from disclosure by either spouse and by a third party (e.g., an eavesdropper).  [Law.]  Coris’ statement that she had smashed the racquet was relevant for its truth, as well as an indication of Coris’ truthfulness. “Confidential” normally implies private or secret.  [Add clarification, or law, where needed, and appropriate.]  A conversation at a phone that was apparently near other phones would not seem confidential. Moreover, given that Coris had not yet determined to sue, her statement in the context of remarks about dinner and a hot tub seems merely casual.  [Analysis.]

Conclusion : The motion will fail. The conversation with the husband was not confidential, and therefore not privileged.

A request for an admission  imposes a duty on the party served to acknowledge the existence of facts that are not in doubt and that should not be necessary to prove at trial. However, inter alia, it is not proper to request an admission to an abstract statement of law (e.g., that allowing a minor without a license to drive is negligent, per se). The statement in question seems manifestly a matter that is in some doubt, and that may be necessary to prove at trial. Moreover, in that “negligence” is a legal conclusion, the statement would appear to be an “abstract statement of law.”

Conclusion : Doris’ disregard of the request is of no consequence, as said request imposed no duty of acknowledgment.

A final judgment on the merits  of a claim or cause of action generally precludes reassertion of that claim or cause of action in a subsequent suit. Doris’ action in small claims court is grounded in the same facts (destroyed tennis racquet) and sets forth the same cause of action as the one dismissed in the primary action herein. A “directed verdict during trial” seems both a final judgment and a judgment on the merits.

Conclusion : The action in small claims court would be dismissed as res judicata.

SAMPLE EXERCISE 2

Corporations Hypothetical (50 min.)

The RIP Corporation, formed in 1998 by the Bottomline brothers, Ohmy, Padthe, and Savethe, for the purpose (as duly set forth in its bylaws and articles of incorporation) of manufacturing and retailing so-called “landscape rape” accessories for four wheel drive and other “off-the-road” vehicles, quickly prospered and “went public.” Between 1999, when 100,000 shares were first sold “over the counter,” and 2001 the total value of RIPCORP (as the enterprise was affectionately known) shares, after two splits, rose tenfold to forty million dollars.  Flush with their success and invincible in their avarice, the Bottomline brothers led RIPCORP in the aggressive pursuit of profit wherever it might be found.  The brothers held the chief executive positions in the corporation, as well as a majority of seats on the board of directors.  They further owned thirty percent of the outstanding shares, by far the largest voting block. Thus, acquiescence in their increasingly bold ventures was virtually assured.

Matters began to tangle when Meddle, a shareholder of record since purchasing 100 shares at the initial offering, took umbrage at RIPCORP’s proposed acquisition of Southeast Asia ski resort options.  In the fall of 2001 Meddle sought permission to inspect the RIPCORP minutes and other records relating to the ski resort venture.  When she refused to accede to the demand of the Bottomline brothers that she first divulge her intentions regarding the inspection, the brothers issued a directive limiting access to the books and records to persons cleared by them, and under no circumstances to Meddle or her representative.

Thereupon Meddle brought suit in her own right and on behalf of RIPCORP against the corporation and the Bottomline brothers personally to gain access to the books and records, to block the ski resort venture as an ultra vires act, and for repayment by the RIPCORP board of directors of any expenses incurred in connection with the pursuit of said venture.  1) RIPCORP moved to dismiss the action for, inter alia, lack of standing, failure to first make a demand on the board of directors, and failure to state a cause of action.  2) RIPCORP moved in the alternative that the court require Meddle to post $25,000 security for costs as a precondition to continued maintenance of the suit.  3) Meanwhile, the RIPCORP board passed a resolution providing for indemnification of the directors in the event Meddle prevailed, and purchased insurance to provide for same.  Meddle immediately moved to quash these actions.

How should the court decide the motions under 1, 2, and 3 above?

RELEVANT LEGAL PRINCIPLES FOR CORPORATIONS HYPO

Ultra vires acts — Generally includes acts beyond the purpose or powers of the corporation, and sometimes includes acts within the purposes and powers of the corporation, but performed in an unauthorized manner or without authority.  Many jurisdictions now restrict ultra vires challenges to the following: 1) the right of a shareholder to enjoin unauthorized corporate acts; 2) the right of the attorney general of the state to enjoin such activities; 3) the right of the corporation to recover damages from the officers and/or directors (present or former) responsible for the ultra vires act(s). Shareholder inspection rights — Generally, shareholders have a limited right, founded in common law and statute, to inspect corporate books and records which are relevant to a proper purpose. Courts will determine whether a purpose is proper.  A shareholder may examine the stock book and minutes of stockholder meetings on demand if 1) he has been a stockholder of record for at least six months immediately preceding the demand; or 2) he is a holder of 5 percent of any class of outstanding shares.

Shareholder rights of action  — Generally, a shareholder may sue the corporation in his own name to enforce his rights as a shareholder, and/or on behalf of the corporation to procure a judgment in favor of the corporation.  The latter “derivative action” may be maintained only if 1) the plaintiff is a shareholder when the action is brought; 2) the plaintiff was a shareholder when the alleged wrong to the corporation occurred; and 3) the plaintiff shows in his complaint that he has demanded that the board of directors commence the action, or that there are sufficient reasons for not making the demand (e.g., the board members are the defendants). Note that in order to minimize the possibility of derivative actions without merit being brought merely for “nuisance value” settlements or counsel fee awards, the corporation may require the plaintiff to post security for costs, unless 1) the plaintiff or plaintiffs hold at least 5 percent of any class of outstanding shares; or 2) the value of their shares exceeds $50,000.

Indemnification  — Generally, a director or officer may not be indemnified (reimbursed) against a judgment obtained against him in a direct action by the corporation, or a derivative action on behalf of the corporation, or for amounts paid in settlement thereof.  The director may, however, be indemnified against expenses of defending the action, unless, inter alia, he is adjudged to have violated his fiduciary duty of good faith and reasonable care in the circumstances.  The corporation may purchase insurance to indemnify officers and directors for even the above judgments, providing no deliberate dishonesty or unlawful gain on the part of the officer/director is shown.

MODEL RESPONSE TO CORPORATIONS HYPOTHETICAL

PLANNING PHASE

Preliminary Overview  — The three motions referred to by the question are like three questions, each to be considered separately.  [Note the enormous benefit here of skipping over the facts.]

Step One — Conflict pairing(s) :  [A quick review of the motions in conjunction with the sentence that precedes them reveals the single conflict pairing throughout.]  RIPCORP, Inc. v. Meddle, etc., or vice versa for each motion (i.e., question).

Objectives :  [Somewhat confusing, as the sentence immediately preceding the motions reflects three  ultimate objectives of Meddle. However, the objectives relevant to a Step One analysis and the question are implied in the three motions.  Note that motion #1 also provides Movant RIPCORP’s premises (!!).  Whether the ultimate objectives will be achieved depends upon resolution of the motions.]

1)  dismiss the action versus keep it going;

2)  $25,000 security be required to be posted, versus not;

3)  board indemnification resolution and purchase of insurance be quashed, versus maintenance of same.

Step Two  —  [RIPCORP is movant for motions 1 and 2, Meddle for 3. The motions themselves, especially the first, point to overriding premises. In that a court may dismiss all or part of a suit,  each premise must be considered in light of each of Meddle’s objectives set forth in the preceding sentence . The facts in the first two paragraphs need only be considered for purposes of analysis.]

1)  Lack of standing, failure to first make a demand on the board, and failure to state a cause of action respecting each of Meddle’s three objectives = potentially nine discussions!!, but probably not.

2)   [Must refer to relevant portions of corporations toolbox.]   The law  [Noted in toolbox only.  Don’t write it in your outline.]  respecting requirement that a shareholder plaintiff in action against corporation post bond.

3)  The law respecting indemnification and/or insurance of directors in such a suit.

Step Three  —  [The motions seem more or less equivalent in weight.  Given the complexity of the relevant premises noted in Step Two, the effort necessary for a Step Three analysis seems needlessly duplicative of the analysis to be performed in writing the actual response.  Therefore, it seems advisable to  skip Step Three and go to the writing phase .]

Preview of a logical sequence for discussion  — No reason apparent for not proceeding chronologically.

Motion No. 1

Lack of standing/failure to state a cause of action

Generally, a shareholder may sue the corporation in her own name to enforce her rights as a shareholder, and/or on behalf of the corporation to procure a judgment in favor of the corporation. Inter alia, the latter  “derivative action” can be maintained only if the plaintiff is a shareholder when the action is brought and when the alleged wrong to the corporation occurred. Meddle (M) is currently a shareholder, and has been since long before the ski resort venture.

Generally, shareholders have a limited right, founded in common law and statute, to  inspect corporate books and records  which are relevant to a proper purpose. Courts will determine whether a purpose is proper.  A shareholder may examine the stock book and minutes of stockholder meetings on demand if she has been a stockholder of record for at least six months immediately preceding the demand; or she is a holder of five percent of any class of outstanding shares.  M’s 100 shares, presumably grown after ‘”two splits” to 400, constitutes much less than five percent of any class of shares.  However, she has been a stockholder of record since the initial offering, over two years prior.

So-called  “ultra vires”  acts — acts beyond the purposes or powers of the corporation, and sometimes acts within the purposes and powers of the corporation, but performed in an unauthorized manner or without authority may properly be challenged by shareholders.  Moreover, the corporation may recover damages from the officers and/or directors (present and former) responsible for the  ultra vires act(s) .  Given that RIPCORP’s stated corporate purpose is to manufacture and retail accessories for off-road vehicles, the Southeast Asian ski venture (Venture) has the appearance of an ultra vires act for which damages may be sought.

Failure to first make a demand on the board

Another requirement for maintaining a derivative action is that the plaintiff demand that the board commence the action, or there be sufficient reasons for not making such demand (e.g., the board members are the defendants).  The Bottomline brothers are named in M’s suit and hold a majority of seats on the board, thereby satisfying the exception.

Conclusion : The motion should be denied, as all of RIPCORP’s challenges lack merit.

Motion No. 2

Corporations, in order to minimize the possibility of derivative actions without merit being brought merely for “nuisance value” settlements or counsel fee awards, may require a shareholder plaintiff to post  security for costs , unless the plaintiff or plaintiffs hold at least five percent of any class of outstanding shares, or the value of their shares exceeds $50,000.  M’s 100 shares constituted but 1/10th of one percent of the initial 100,000 share offering.  Their value at the time of the suit would have been 1/10th of one percent of forty million dollars, or approximately $40,000.  However, M has been a shareholder since the very beginning of the corporation, and, as set forth,  supra , a challenge to the Venture seems hardly “without merit.”   [Yes, basic math may be necessary!]

Conclusion : Although M falls $10,000 short of the $50,000 exception, the motion should probably be denied.  Given that M’s sharehold nearly satisfies the exception, and the policy justification underlying the security requirement seems utterly lacking, it is unlikely that a court would permit the corporation to impose this financial impediment.   [Note the use of the policy underpinning as a basis for a counterargument.]

Motion No. 3

Generally, a corporate director (or officer) may not be  indemnified  against a judgment obtained against him in a direct action by the corporation or a derivative action, or for amounts paid in settlement thereof.  The director may, however, be indemnified against expenses of defending the action, unless, inter alia, he is adjudged to have violated his fiduciary duty of good faith and reasonable care in the circumstances.  The corporation may purchase insurance to indemnify officers and directors for even the above judgments, providing no deliberate dishonesty or unlawful gain on the part of the officer/director is shown.

[Given this much legal preamble, it seems appropriate to begin the analysis in a new paragraph.]

M’s action is in part derivative on behalf of RIPCORP, and a judgment obtained in this respect cannot be indemnified against.  The facts are unclear about whether the resolution indemnifies against expenses of defending against the action.  Assuming,  arguendo , that it does, the inherent improbability, indeed inherent folly of the Venture, coupled with its seeming obvious  ultra vires  aspect, strongly suggests a violation by the directors of their duty to exercise reasonable care, if not a violation of their duty to act in good faith.  However, given that RIPCORP appears to have been engaged for some time in a pattern of divers schemes wholly unrelated to its stated purpose, it is unlikely that a court would be willing to take judicial notice of such a conclusion so early in the proceedings.

Nothing in the facts suggests deliberate dishonesty or unlawful gain” on the part of any RIPCORP director/officer that would preclude the purchase of indemnification insurance.

Conclusion : The motion should be granted as to any portion of the resolution that purports to indemnify against judgments obtained on behalf of the corporation, denied as to portions that indemnify against judgments obtained by M, and denied with leave to renew at a later time with respect to all other portions.

SAMPLE EXERCISE (3)

Wills Hypothetical (50 min.)

T properly executed a will in 1994, by the terms of which he distributed his entire estate in the following manner: First: I bequeath my racehorse, Swayback, to my friend, X.

Second: I bequeath $100,000 to my brother, Y.

Third: I give, devise, and bequeath the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate to my faithful companion, Z.

In 1998, having fallen out with Z, T properly executed a new will with the following terms:

First: I bequeath $100,000 to my brother, Y.

Second: I give, devise, and bequeath the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate to my (new) faithful companion, B.

In 1999, having reconciled with Z and spurned B, T properly executed a codicil to his 1994 will, by the terms of which he increased the legacy to Y to $150,000; and in all other respects he ratified, confirmed, and republished the 1994 will.

T died in 2001.  In a probate proceeding the evidence established the following:

1)  Although sober when he made the codicil in 1999, T was “drunk out of his mind” when he executed the 1994 will.

2)  T sold Swayback to a syndicate in 1997 for $200,000.

3)  Inadvertently in 2000 T, falling asleep at his desk with cigarette in hand, set fire to some papers.  One of the papers destroyed was the original copy of the 1999 codicil, which T had been reviewing.

4)  Y died in 2000.

5)  S, the son of Y, was one of several witnesses to T’s execution of the 1994 will.

Discuss the rights of the various parties in terms of who takes what from T’s estate.

RELEVANT LEGAL PRINCIPLES FOR WILLS HYPOTHETICAL

Ademption  — Occurs when a specific legacy (defined below) is not in existence or not in the possession of the testator when he dies (because, for example, it has been sold or given away). When an ademption occurs, the legatee takes nothing.

Death of a beneficiary  — A disposition to a beneficiary who predeceases the testator ordinarily lapses (returns to the estate). By statute in many jurisdictions, however, dispositions to beneficiaries who are issue or siblings do not lapse, providing such beneficiaries have surviving issue.  Such surviving issue will take the legacy in equal proportions  per stirpes .

Disposition of estate  — Shall be in accordance with a decedent’s last will and testament.

Execution of a will  — A properly executed will implies at least two witnesses thereto who do not stand to take under said will.

Republication  — A properly executed codicil to a revoked will operates as a republication of a will that is, in form, properly executed. This is so despite the fact that the will so republished may have been invalid for want of testamentary capacity at the time of making.

Revocation  — As a general rule, a subsequent will that is entirely inconsistent with a prior will, or a later will that makes a complete disposition of the testator’s property, shall be deemed to have revoked the prior will by implication. A will may further be revoked by means of its physical destruction. Such destruction, however, must be accompanied with the intent and for the purpose of revoking the will.

Specific legacy  — A bequest of a particular, individualized chattel, differentiated from all other articles of the same or similar nature. It must be taken by the legatee as and where he finds it.

Testamentary capacity  — Absent evidence to the contrary, testamentary capacity will be presumed where the testator, in executing a will or other document, accurately recites the nature and extent of his property, and recognizes the natural objects of his bounty.

Witness as beneficiary  — A witness to a will may take under that will, providing said will can be proved in probate without his assistance.

MODEL RESPONSE TO WILLS HYPOTHETICAL

Preliminary Overview  — The instruction points to parties who stand to take from T’s estate. Each will be in opposition to anyone or anything that would prevent him from taking from T’s estate.

Step One  —  X, Y, Z, B, and A  vs. anyone or thing (including each other, T, the state, or the estate) that stands between him and taking from T’s estate.  B  v.  Z  seems a key conflict.

Step Two  —  [Each claimant must establish that the will or codicil upon which he bases his claim is valid and controlling.  Each will likewise seek to defeat a competitor claim.  Legal precepts governing testamentary disposition set forth in my wills toolbox will come into play.  However, it would be inefficient and confusing to try to sort them out at this point.  Better to focus on one conflict at a time in the writing phase.  Possibly there will be overlap of premises/discussion.]

Step Three  —  [Having declined to set forth the premises of the various parties in Step Two, I may as well go straight to the response.  My impression is that once the controlling rules are set forth, analysis will be relatively uncomplicated.]  Ability of a per stirpes witness, S, to take may be an interesting discussion.

Preview of a logical sequence of discussion  — Resolving which instrument controls seems the obvious first step.  Therefore, beginning with B v. Z would seem to make sense.

B and Z’s rights    [This label conforms to the instruction.  B v. Z might confuse.  But I’m  thinking  B v. Z!]

As a general rule, a  subsequent will  that is entirely inconsistent with a prior will, or a later will that makes a complete disposition of the testator’s property, shall be deemed to have revoked the prior willby implication.  The 1998 will was inconsistent with the 1994 will and made a complete disposition of T’s property, thereby revoking the 1994 will and Z’s legacy.

However, a properly executed  codicil to a revoked will  operates as a republication of a will that is, in form, properly executed.  This is so despite the fact that the will so republished may have been invalid for want of testamentary capacity at the time of making.  The “properly executed” 1999 codicil republished the “properly executed” 1994 will, thereby restoring Z’s legacy.  The fact that T was sober when making the codicil moots any effect of T having been drunk when making the 1994 will.  There being no evidence to the contrary, the fact that T in executing the codicil accurately recited the nature and extent of his property and recognized the natural objects of his bounty will establish his  testamentary  capacity in making the codicil.

Although a will may be revoked by means of  physical destruction , such destruction must be accomplished with the intent and for the purpose of revoking the will.  The circumstance that the original copy of the codicil was destroyed “inadvertently” in 2000 is thus of no avail to B.

Conclusion :  The 1998 will is revoked, and B takes nothing.  Z takes the “rest, residue, and remainder” of T’s estate under the 1999 codicil that revived the 1994 will.

X’s rights

An ademption occurs when a specific legacy (i.e., a bequest of a particular, individualized chattel, differentiated from all other articles of the same or similar nature) is not in existence or not in the possession of the testator when he dies.  When an ademption occurs, the legatee takes nothing.  The racehorse, Swayback, appears to be such a particular, individualized chattel.  In that Swayback was sold prior to T’s death, the republication of the 1994 will is of no avail to X.

Conclusion :  X takes nothing from T’s estate, as his legacy has adeemed.

Y and S’s rights

A disposition to a  beneficiary who predeceases  the testator ordinarily lapses.  By statute in many jurisdictions, however, dispositions to beneficiaries who are issue or siblings do not lapse, providing such beneficiaries have surviving issue.  Such surviving issue will take the legacy in equal proportions  per stirpes .  Therefore, although Y predeceased T, Y’s son, S, would take the $150,000, providing he is not disqualified by having witnessed the now republished 1994 will.

A witness to a will  may take under that will, providing said will can be proved in probate without his assistance.  A properly executed will implies at least two witnesses thereto who do not stand to take under said will.  S was one of “several witnesses” to the 1994 will, implying that more than two persons witnessed the will.  Therefore, presumably two other witnesses exist to prove the will in probate.

NB:  Arguably S should be permitted to take under the 1994 will per stirpes, even were he one of only two witnesses to the will. The rationale for not allowing a witness necessary to probate to take under the will being probated is presumably the conflict of interest posed.  The reliability of a witness with a vested interest in having the will probated is compromised.  Y, however, not S stood to take under the 1994 will.  Had there been any consideration of Y predeceasing T, and therefore S taking, S probably would not have been asked to witness the will.  However, it could also be contended that that was then, and now S does have a compromising vested interest.

[This latter paragraph is not necessary.  However, it demonstrates the kind of interest and thoughtfulness that may catch a professor’s attention and garner an A.  Possibly it should be highlighted in some way, perhaps with a red star.  I might even decide to put it on the blank page left at the beginning.  (See p.75.)]

Conclusion : Y, having predeceased T, will take nothing.  However, Y’s intended legacy will go to the son, S,  per stirpes .  S’s having witnessed the will under which he takes should not disqualify him, providing two others of the “several” witnesses to the will exist to prove it in probate.

Actual Civil Procedure I Exam, Fall 2006, U. Memphis School of Law (with Model A+ Response and Professor Comments)

[The example that follows is an actual exam and model response sent to us by one Richard Townley, Sr., U. Memphis class of 2009E (evening division).  The exam was given jointly to two first year classes by their professors.  Richard ordered the audio CD version of LEEWS.  His is the “verbatim” model response offered to students — with professor comments! — as what was wanted.  His response received the highest grade, one of only two A+ grades.  His accompanying remarks are reprinted in the “Results” section.  Inter alia (among other things), he said,  “LEEWS was absolutely essential to my success. …. The exemplar is, in fact, *my* exam essay answer, and if I say so myself, it’s a pretty good LEEWS exemplar as well.”

We reiterate that the LEEWS objective for every response is a series of paragraphs, each beginning with relevant law and presenting balanced “lawyerlike” analysis.

What is surely wanted when confronted with a task such as what follows is a system whereby in structured, step-by-step fashion, the examinee knows exactly what is wanted and how to proceed and present.  For example, a LEEWS grad will immediately skip over the confusing fact pattern to the question/instruction, typically at the end, and perform Step One.  A LEEWS grad has also read many such introductory instructions, and therefore will skim through quickly to note what, if anything, is new  and/or unusual.  Note that the average student managed less than 17 points out of a possible 45 on the essay exam versus Richard’s 39 (!!).

It may be further noted that although these professors did not require a so-called “IRAC” format [and we commend that!), Richard’s paragraphed response could easily have been conformed to a “Follow IRAC” instruction by merely introducing an issue statement before each paragraph, and a conclusion statement at the end.  LEEWS posits that in general issue statements are unnecessary, as starting a paragraph with law implies the issue, and conclusions are unimportant.]

Civil Procedure I — Exam Results — Fall, 2006  (§ 11 = Prof Banks,  § 12 = Prof Entman)

Essays – 45 points Average — § 11  [17.2]; § 12  [16.1]; both sections [16.6] Range —    § 11  [3 – 42]; § 12  [4 – 39]

Multiple Choice – 55 points (35 questions) Average — § 11  [33.70]; § 12  [35.00]; both sections  [34.36] Range —    § 11  [18.86 – 50.29]; § 12  [17.29 – 53.43]

Total – 100 points

Average —  § 11  [50.90]; § 12  [51.09]; both sections  [50.99] Range —     § 11  [22.86 – 92.29]; § 12  [26.29 – 83.00]

Average Grade – § 11  [2.33] Both Sections  [2.34] § 12 [2.34] A+:  82 and above A :   68 – 82 A- :  64 – 68 B+ : 60 – 64 B  :  56 – 60 B- :  52 – 56 C+ : 48 – 52 C :   44 – 48 C- :  40 – 44 D+ : 36 – 40 D :   32 – 36 F :     0 –  32

INSTRUCTIONS – Read these instructions carefully.  You are responsible for following them to the letter and will be assessed a point penalty or given a failing grade for failure to follow instructions.

Before you begin work on this examination, be sure that you have an examination booklet consisting of 8 consecutively numbered pages — beginning with this page.  Part I consists of  problems calling for written analysis.  Part II consists of 35 multiple choice questions.  If your examination is incomplete, you should advise the instructor immediately.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you are working with a complete examination.

The exam is closed book.  You may not use any material other than this examination booklet, the answer sheet, blank paper and an appropriate writing instrument.  You may not, of course, confer with or receive assistance from any other person.

Part I Your answers for Part I should be written on the paper provided.  Be sure to identify clearly which subpart you are answering (e.g., I. A.).  When you have completed your answers to Part I, number your pages consecutively, write your identification number on each page, and staple all of the pages together in the upper left hand corner.

1.  Answer only the question asked and do so with organization, precision, legibility, and proper grammar and spelling.

2.  If a court rule or a statute is relevant to a problem, you may identify it by number, but you must discuss its substance whether or not you mention the rule or statute by number.

3.  Write on only one side of a page and leave a left margin.

Part II Write your identification number in the space provided on the answer sheet for Part II and mark the appropriate corresponding circles on your answer sheet to indicate your examination number.  Do not staple the answer sheet for Part II to anything.

Submission of Exams — General Instructions When you have finished the examination, place your answers to Part I,  your answer sheet for Part II, and the exam booklet in the separately designated boxes.

All examination booklets must be turned in. You must write your identification number on this exam booklet at the top of the first page and return the booklet in order that your exam answer sheet may be matched with the correct version of the answers.  Do not write your name on anything.

For this examination, unless we have specifically studied to the contrary, you should assume the following:

1.  all states have adopted rules of civil procedure identical to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;

2.  all states have enacted statutes that authorize the exercise of jurisdiction on each of the traditional bases recognized by the Supreme Court up to the date of its decision in International Shoe;

3.  all states have also enacted the following statutes:

X.C.A. § 1-1-111:  A court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person (including an individual, his executor, administrator, or other personal representative, or a corporation, partnership, or any other legal or commercial entity) who acts directly or by an agent, as to a claim for relief arising from the person’s

(a) transacting any business within this State;

(b) causing tortious injury by an act or omission in this State;

(c) causing tortious injury in this State by an act or omission outside this State if the person regularly does or solicits business, or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered in this State;

(d) owning, using or possessing any property situated in this State;

(e) contracting to insure any person, property, or risk located within this State at the time of contracting.

X.C.A. § 2-2-222:  In any suit brought in the courts of this State, service of process may be achieved by sending a summons and a copy of the complaint by registered mail, return receipt requested, to the defendant’s home address, or principal place of business, wherever located.

Part I The problems in Part I are worth a total of 45 points. They are not of equal weight.

A. You are now an associate attorney in a law firm.  Respond fully to the following memorandum from one of your employers.  “I Quit” is not a recommended answer.

Memo From: Partner To:     Associate Re:     First Commercial & Industrial Bank v. Isolde Date:  Dec. 11, 2006

[Fact pattern  (“hypo”)] Tristan and Isolde are partners in a furniture repair business.  Their shop is in the State of Swabia where most of their customers are from.  Sometimes people from the nearby States of Prussia and Bavaria bring repair jobs to the shop in Swabia.  Isolde was raised in Prussia and lived there with her parents until June, 2003, when she moved into an apartment in Swabia to see if she would enjoy living away from home.

In July, 2003, a vice-president of First Commercial & Industrial Bank of Prussia [“First Commercial”] attended a lecture on furniture repair that Isolde gave in Prussia. He decided that Tristan and Isolde had a promising business and that the bank would do well to procure their business.  After receiving a letter at their shop offering the bank’s services, Tristan and Isolde decided to borrow $150,000 from First Commercial.  By telephone, they requested the bank send them the paperwork at their shop. On August 15, 2003,  Tristan and Isolde signed the loan papers at their shop and Tristan immediately took them to First Commercial’s main office, located ten miles away in the State of Prussia.  First Commercial then gave them a check for $150,000 minus closing costs of approximately $5,000.  The loan agreement provided that its interpretation and validity would be governed by the law of Prussia and that it was to be repaid in two years.

Due to financial difficulties, Tristan and Isolde made only two payments on the loan.  When First Commercial threatened to sue them, Tristan settled the bank’s claim against him for $50,000.  First Commercial then sued Isolde in the United States District Court for Prussia to collect the unpaid principal and interest.  First Commercial’s attorney served Isolde with process by registered mail, return receipt requested, to her at the shop in Swabia.

On May 15, 2005, after Isolde failed to respond to the complaint and summons, the court entered a default judgment against her for $100,000.  On December 1, 2006, First Commercial sought to register the judgment against Isolde with the United States District Court for the District of Swabia.  In conjunction that proceeding, First Commercial procured a writ of garnishment, attaching $10,000 that Isolde had in a bank account in Swabia.  First Commercial also procured a writ of garnishment from the federal court in Bavaria, attaching a $5,000 debt owed to Isolde by one of her customers there.

[Question/instruction] We represent Isolde.  Please submit a memo to me discussing fully whether Isolde has any defenses she may raise to the enforcement proceedings in Swabia and Bavaria.  Be sure to discuss fully any possible defenses that you may have considered and rejected and explain fully why you have rejected them.

B. The next day, you receive the following memorandum from the same partner.  Again, respond fully.

Memo From: Partner To:     Associate Re:     First Commercial & Industrial Bank v. Isolde Date:  Dec. 12, 2006

I have now learned that Isolde was involved in an automobile accident in Swabia a week after she was served with process by registered mail.  She was rendered unconscious for two days.  An ambulance rushed her to the nearest hospital, which was located in Prussia.  Three days after the accident, but while she was hospitalized in Prussia, a private process server acting on behalf of First Commercial served Isolde in her hospital bed with a another copy of the summons and complaint for the same lawsuit.

Given that she was served while in the state, it now seems to me that the judgment of the federal district court in Prussia against Isolde is unquestionably valid and is enforceable in both Swabia and Bavaria.  Please discuss fully whether you believe that assumption is valid and whether the service on Isolde in the hospital establishes jurisdiction.

Sample Essay Response

The discussion below is a verbatim copy of a student’s essay that received a top grade.  Commentary by Professors Banks and Entman appears in brackets. [LEEWS note:  We reprint this commentary in blue.]

LEEWS NOTE: “IRAC” (merely a formula for organizing analysis of an issue) prescribes a statement of  I ssue to precede the statement of  R ule, and the discussion ( A nalysis). (And  C onclusion at the end.) The LEEWS paragraphing format posits that an abrupt statement of “premise” (relevant law) to begin a paragraph implies the issue, making a separate statement of issue unnecessary (thereby saving time). Richard’s model response in LEEWS format does this. Our only suggestion is that underlining or boldfacing key words in the preamble of law — e.g.,  Subject matter jurisdiction  in the opening paragraph,  federal diversity statute  in the next — to assist the professor in recognizing the topic (issue).

Subject-matter jurisdiction.  The federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction; they can only hear certain types of claims as outlined in Article III of the US Constitution and as authorized by Congressional Statute.  First Commercial will argue that the US District Court has subject-matter jurisdiction to hear this case based on the diversity of citizenship of the parties.  First Commercial is a citizen of Prussia.  Isolde has been living in Swabia for one month. [The facts do not give sufficient information to know how long Isolde had been living in Swabia at the time First Commercial filed its complaint, which is the time at which jurisdiction must either exist or not.  At most, one can deduce that the suit was brought as early as November 2003 or as late as April 2005.  Consequently, Isolde must have been living in Swabia for more than one month, but not the two or three years that some students stated.]   She can argue that she is still domiciled in Prussia, where she lived her whole life up to June of 2003, because she only moved to Swabia temporarily, to see “if she would enjoy” life on her own.  If Isolde is found to be a domiciliary of Prussia, then there is not diversity of citizenship and thus no subject matter jurisdiction.  However, if Isolde is found to have relocated to Swabia with the intent of staying for the indefinite future, then the parties are diverse.

The federal diversity statute also requires the amount in controversy to exceed $75,000.  The $100,000 judgment against Isolde satisfies this requirement. N.B.  [Please do not use abbreviations, including this one.]   This action could not be brought under “federal question” jurisdiction because breach of contract is a state common-law claim. Therefore nothing in the plaintiff’s complaint arises under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Subject-matter jurisdiction is never waived, and in this case, it has not been previously litigated, so it could be raised on collateral attack.  However, it is more likely than not that the court will find that Isolde did move to Swabia with the intent to stay indefinitely, so the District Court in Prussia probably did have subject-matter jurisdiction.

Personal jurisdiction.  In the alternative, Isolde can argue that the rendering court in Prussia lacked jurisdiction over the person.  Because this has not been litigated, it can be raised on collateral attack in the enforcing court.   [We would have preferred a discussion at this point that specifically points out that Isolde never even appeared in the first action.  Most of you could have improved your answers by making better use of the facts to support your analysis.  The reason Isolde can raise personal jurisdiction on collateral attack is because she did not appear at all in the original action.  Since she did not appear, there is no reason to discuss Rule 12.]   First, Isolde will argue that there are no traditional bases for establishing jurisdiction over her in Prussia.  N.B. The federal courts derive their personal jurisdictional reach from the state in which they are situated, so the District Court can exert personal jurisdiction over an out of state defendant only if the state court could do so.  Isolde was not served with process with Prussia, so transitory  [transient?]  jurisdiction does not attach.  Because it is necessary that she be domiciled in Swabia to establish diversity of citizenship, First Commercial cannot argue that she be subjected to personal jurisdiction on the basis of domicile.  Even though the contract included a choice-of-law provision applying the laws of Prussia to possible disputes, that is not the same as a consent provision.  [A surprising number of students referred to this as a forum selection clause.  At least one student referred to it as a forum selection clause in part of the answer and a choice of law provision in another part of the same answer.  Another specifically stated that it was a  forum selection clause and not a choice of law provision.  Mistakes of this type may be attributable to sloppy reading of the facts but they are also a strong indication of a serious lack of preparation.  Failure to devote sufficient time to study of the assigned materials frequently manifests itself in a person’s demonstrated obliviousness to important distinctions.  Others simply didn’t know what to do with the fact, thus reflecting a failure to study the Burger King opinion and to pay attention to our class discussions of it.]

Statutory basis.  First Commercial will argue that the long-arm statute conferred specific jurisdiction over Isolde on the basis of the first of the  enumerated acts: “a) transacting any business within the State.”  The claim for relief, the $100,000 breach of contract, arises from the defendant’s act of entering into the loan contract, which First Commercial will argue was executed on Tristan’s delivery of the loan documents to the Bank’s main office in Prussia.  Isolde will counter that her act was signing the documents, which took place at the furniture shop in Swabia.  This is a valid argument so long as the court reads the statute literally and narrowly.  However, if a court interpreted the statute broadly (See Gray v. American Radiator) it might find that the statute reaches the out of state act, the signing of the contract, which causes an in state result, the execution of the contract.   [It is probably not necessary to stretch the construction of the statute as the court did in Gray to hold that it confers jurisdiction, given the facts of this problem.  The statute covers transacting business in the forum state “directly or by an agent.”  Like McShara in Burger King, Tristan was acting on behalf of the partnership (thus as an agent) in delivering the papers to the bank.  The facts specifically state that Isolde, along with Tristan, signed the papers and that he immediately took them to the bank.  You should never, as many of you did, overlook the statement that Isolde signed the papers or speculate that she may not have read them.  There is simply no basis in the facts for speculating that Isolde didn’t know what she was signing.  Indulging in speculation that she might not have reveals desperation.]

Constitutional Standard.  The Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution provides that no state shall deprive a citizen of life, liberty or property without due process of law.  The U.S. Supreme Court defined the due process standard as it relates to imposing personal jurisdiction on an out of state defendant in International Shoe: jurisdiction is constitutional only if the cause of action arises from the defendant’s minimum contacts with the forum, such that the assertion of jurisdiction would not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.  Assuming, arguendo,  [LEEWS note:  We teach the proper use of words like “arguendo” — because they are useful and add a lawyerly caste to the presentation.]  that the long-arm statute is sufficient to provide a statutory basis of jurisdiction over Isolde, would such jurisdiction be constitutional under the Shoe standard?   [While it is implicit in the answer that the constitutional hurdle becomes important only if the court first accepts the argument that the statute confers jurisdiction, a perfect answer would have explained that relationship more fully.]    Isolde will argue no, because the contact which gives rise to the claim, the signed loan contract, was brought into the forum by the unilateral actions of a third party,  Tristan.  Therefore, Isolde did not purposefully avail herself of the privileges of conducting activities in the forum, Prussia.  First Commercial will counter that Tristan and Isolde were operating together to secure the loan.  They reached into the forum when they called First Commercial.  Isolde knew that Tristan was taking the documents to Prussia, [run-on sentence, a sin committed by many students in these essays] therefore it was imminently [eminently]  foreseeable that the contract would be executed there, and she could reasonably anticipate being haled into court in Prussia over any disputes to the contract.  (See Denckla, Worldwide VW).

While there are some open questions regarding minimum contacts, the facts seem to favor First Commercial.  In the alternative,  [In addition?]  can Isolde raise any of the fairness factors, defining “fair play and substantial justice,” articulated in the US Supreme Court’s Burger King decision?  In weighing the relative burden on Isolde compared to the interest of First National in litigating in Prussia, it does not seem unfair to require Isolde to travel to a nearby state where she lived most of her life and where she sometimes appears to give lectures.  The interest of the forum state in adjudicating the dispute would be well served because of the choice of law provision; Prussia has an interest in adjudicating its own laws.  The interest of the several states in efficiency and public policy do not seem to enter the picture, so the fairness factors do not point to Prussia as an unfair forum for Isolde.

Conclusion.  Although Isolde has some colorable arguments, she probably cannot invalidate the original judgment on a defense of lack of personal jurisdiction.

[Many of you neglected altogether most of the issues about validity of the Prussia judgment treated in the foregoing answer, instead discussing at length personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, and service of process in the enforcement proceedings in Swabia and Bavaria.  Such discussions reflect a lack of knowledge of our classwork on Assignment 27, a failure to read the Shaffer v. Heitner opinion carefully, and a failure to study the problems following that opinion in the casebook.]

The Supreme Court upheld the traditional transitory  [transient?]  jurisdiction in the Burnham case.  A state is all powerful within its borders, and service of process within a state is usually certain to establish personal jurisdiction over the person served, regardless of whether or not that person has any other contacts with the forum.  However, in the case of a defendant who was served after having been brought into the forum against her will or without her knowledge, there seems to be something fundamentally unfair about asserting personal jurisdiction over that defendant.  There are certain times when people are immune from service of process, e.g. while in the forum under subpoena as a witness.  A plaintiff cannot fraudulently induce a defendant into the form for the purpose of a “gotcha” service of process.  By analogy, it would seem that policy should demand that a person brought into the form unconscious, as a result of a medical emergency, should not be subject to personal jurisdiction as a result of being served with process under those circumstances.

Get LEEWS Now!

NOTICE. The latest edition of the Primer (book)—Tenth Edition, copyright 2016— is included with the … Read More

Search Our Site

Connect with us.

Prepare for HLS Exams

Law school exams tips, research guides for 1ls, study guides and tools, take a study break, wellness at hls.

There's no doubt that preparing for law school exams can be stressful.  Check out this guide for some recommended resources to help make the process a little easier.  And don't forget to build in a study break or two!

law school exam essay examples

FEATURED RESOURCE!    Aspen Learning Library

Access hundreds of study aids -- from Glannon's Examples & Explanations to audio and video lectures -- on campus or at home, using your laptop or tablet.

  • HLS Registrar's Examinations page Everything you could want to know about HLS exams is located on this page from the Registrar's Office. Info includes schedules for exams and exam information sessions for students, exam policies, and information about exam software.

There are many books with strategies and tips for doing your best on law school exams. Here are a few.

Note: all book descriptions are taken directly from the publishers.

law school exam essay examples

Consult past HLS exams to get an idea of what might be in store for you in current exams. 

The HLS Office of the Registrar maintains an online exam archive containing exams from Fall 2010 to present. Digitized copies of past exams from 1871 through 1995 are available online from the library.  The library does not maintain print copies of old exams.  No exams are available between 1995 and 2010.

  • HLS Official Exam Question Archives, Fall 2010-present Harvard Key login required
  • HLS Exam Archives, 1971-1995 Alternate URL: https://id.lib.harvard.edu/alma/990004217910203941/catalog
  • HLS Exam Archives, 1871-1971 Alternate URL: https://id.lib.harvard.edu/alma/990041699240203941/catalog

We've created research guides to help you find the best study guides, hornbooks, and treatises on first year topics.

  • Civil Procedure Basics
  • Contracts Basics
  • Criminal Law Basics
  • Property Law Basics
  • Torts Basics
  • LexisNexis Courtroom Cast Access restricted to Law School users. Register for an account using your HLS email address. LexisNexis Courtroom Cast is the academic portal for Courtroom View Network. CVNs AudioCaseFiles provides audio recordings of opinions selected from cases commonly read in first and second year courses and video recordings of trials and trial court proceedings often involving well known and highly regarded litigators. The audio recordings are produced using professional voice actors and are available for download as mp3 files. CVN Videos are streamed using an embedded player and often include synchronized snapshots of digital evidence displayed alongside the video. Browse for audio recordings by law school course subject area or by casebook title. Browse for video recordings by case name, by practice area or by jurisdiction.
  • CALI Access is limited to the Harvard Law School community. In order to access the lessons, you must first register using an HLS CALI authorization code . CALI provides access to an extensive collection of interactive digital lessons covering a number of subject areas. The lessons are designed to augment traditional law school instruction and can be assigned as supplemental study material or integrated with other course materials. The lessons are written by law faculty and librarians and are regularly reviewed and revised. The format of the individual lessons varies according to the educational objectives of the author. CALI Lessons are available in one or more. Not all lessons are available in all formats.
  • Study Guide Collection The HLS Library Study Guide Collection contains print copies of Questions & Answers , Understanding , and other series to help you review legal topics. The Study Guide Collection books are held at the Circulation Desk and may be checked out for two hours.
  • Aspen Learning Library (formerly WK Study Aid Library) Access is available on the Harvard Law School campus. Off-campus access is available to current HLS affiliates and controlled by Harvard Key. The Aspen Learning Library contains electronic textbooks, ebooks, supplements, and reference materials for law school students. There are over 400 textbooks in more than eighty disciplines, reference book series including the Bouvier Law Dictionary, and supplements from popular series such as Examples & Explanations, Emanuel Law, CrunchTime, CaseNote Legal Briefs, Glannon’s Guides, and more.

Taking a study break can help you be more productive, retain knowledge, and be more creative--but don't take our word for it,  it's science !

We're including a variety of ideas for things to do on a study break below, plus a link to our full study break guide. Enjoy, and remember--it's good for you!

law school exam essay examples

  • Play a game! Channel that competitive spirit and challenge a friend to a good game. Chess tables are available on the 3d floor (pieces are in the drawers; check out a timer from Circulation), and board / card games are available for 3-day loan. Learn more about what's available at this link. And if you're into jigsaw puzzles as I am, come visit the Reference area in 3 South and add a section or two to the ones we have out.
  • Read a book! Harvard has a good collection of popular fiction. Visit this page for suggestions on fun novels with legal themes from a variety of genres so you can enjoy something light but not feel too guilty!
  • Watch a movie - on DVD! Did you know that the LIbrary has DVDs to loan? Titles include documentaries, popular films and television series with legal themes, award winners, foreign language films, and some excellent comedies. Ask for them at the Circulation Desk.
  • Watch a movie - streaming on FilmPlatform! Film Platform is an on-demand streaming video service with a wide variety of documentary films for the academic world.
  • Watch a movie - streaming on Kanopy! Kanopy is an on-demand streaming video service for educational institutions. In addition to a huge variety of documentaries, it has a strong collection of early, classics, and foreign films.
  • Even more study break ideas! Visit our full guide to taking a study break for information about local attractions, planning day trips, increasing mindfulness, and more!
  • The Well: Health and Wellness at HLS Taking care of yourself is important at every time of year, but especially during exams. The law school offers programs, events, and resources to help you stay healthy and balanced in all aspects of life. Resources range from information about nutrition and exercise to mindfulness to getting help with stress, anxiety, and depression from lawyers and law students who have been there too.
  • Harvard Chaplains on call 24/7 617-879-8365 Harvard chaplains are on call 24/7 for both emergency and non-emergency consultation at 617-879-8365. The Harvard chaplaincy includes representatives of Baha'i, Buddhism, many Christian denominations, Hinduism, Humanist/Atheist/Agnostic, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, and others. Reach the Chaplains' office Monday-Friday at 617-495-5629.
  • Counseling and Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Harvard's CAMHS offers in-person counseling, a 24/7 mental health support line (617-495-2042) and workshops and support groups.
  • Last Updated: Apr 24, 2023 3:26 PM
  • URL: https://guides.library.harvard.edu/law/exams

Harvard University Digital Accessibility Policy

  • Baby Bar Review
  • Law School Success
  • Performance MPT
  • Practice to Pass
  • Our Products
  • Law School Philosophy
  • The Way From Law Student To Professional Lawyer
  • CA and UBE Bar Exam
  • Baby Bar FYLSE
  • Exam Writing
  • MBE/MPRE Courses
  • Student Reviews
  • Practice to Pass!

How To Write a First-Class Law School Essay Exam Answer

Every student wants to write a first-class law school essay exam answer.  To excel at law school essay exam writing, you must know and understand the law, spot all the pertinent issues in the exam hypothetical, thoroughly analyze those issues by persuasively applying the law to fact, and provide sound legal conclusions based on your analysis.  These skills are fundamental to writing an outstanding law exam essay answer, and they require extensive law school exam preparation combined with law exam practice.  

Having Knowledge and Understanding of the Law

Knowing the legal rules is foundational to writing a top-notch law school essay exam answer. When working as a law school writing professor, I tested my first-year law students on strict liability involving animals that were the product of crossbreeding domestic and wild animals. When I read all the exam answers submitted, one stood out from the rest because it demonstrated with precision all the essential skills required to produce a superior essay answer. 

The answer demonstrated the student’s ability to state the relevant rules.  The student achieved this knowledge from briefing his cases because briefing assists with not only learning the legal rules but also with the legal reasoning required to apply the rules.  He also attended all his classes, which is important because the class discussions assist with the ability to apply the law.  

This same student utilized the Fleming’s Torts Substantive Law Outline , another important resource in his law school preparation arsenal.  This outline distilled the law and provided him with crisp rule definitions that made their way into his impressive answer.  

By following the law school process and utilizing proper legal resource materials, it was clear this student knew the law and understood which standards to use for what was being tested. As a reader, I did not have to guess at the legal standards when scoring the answer – the content in the exam answer spoke for itself.

It’s Essential to Spot all the Issues In Law School Essay Exams

The next aspect of this student’s first-class law school essay writing was that he spotted all the major and minor issues.  Achieving that put him a cut above the majority of other student examinees who did not.

Many students can spot several of the major issues. However, many miss the minor issues.  Using as an example this strict liability exam, there was a subtle fact that created an intervening factor that arguably could sever liability.  For students who did not spot this issue, their conclusions were flawed.  For the few students who spotted the intervening factor, they set themselves apart from the rest of the class because they recognized the issue, cited the applicable law, analyzed the law to the specific facts, and came to the proper conclusion based on their reasoned analysis. They also received the high score for their effort.

Writing a superior law school essay exam answer is not just about knowing the substantive law – it is about applying the law to facts that raise issues. Thus, a student can know all the law in the world, but if he or she cannot spot issues on a law school exam, there is no chance to demonstrate application, which is the cornerstone to becoming a lawyer. 

Thus, as part of law school exam preparation, I recommend students review practice exams and model answers for issue spotting to increase this necessary issue spotting skill. Integrating law school exam practice into the study process will always lead to higher grades.

Writing Precise and Persuasive Law School Essay Exam Analysis

Knowing the rules and spotting the issues will afford a certain number of points, but in law school essay writing, you can knock it out of the park with precise and persuasive analysis/application of the facts.  

Referring again to the student mentioned above, his outstanding answer utilized all the facts in the exam.  He stated what the facts actually said, and then interpreted the facts within the context of the law. He finished with a reasoned conclusion based on his analysis. 

As a law school professor, I have graded thousands of law school exams. I am always frustrated when I read law exam answers wherein the law student paraphrases the facts because paraphrasing can change the nature of the facts.  It is never a good idea to frustrate the person who is grading the exam answer. Law students must understand that the facts are given as they are for a reason. The facts must be used specifically and in the same language given in the exam hypothetical so they can then be properly interpreted and analyzed when applying the law. 

Another reason why the student referred to above wrote a first-class law school essay exam was because he analyzed the law and facts persuasively.  A problem for most students is writing analysis that is conclusory.  It is conclusory because they are not answering the “why” for each issue.  

To correct conclusory analysis, law students must provide analysis for each element of the rule using the facts in support e.g., “The large goats owned by Mr. Farmer wandered onto Mr. Field’s neighboring property after the lock pulled out from the connector on their pen. The gate then swung open, and the animals entered the neighboring land without that landowner’s knowledge.  Thus, the goats were trespassing livestock.” Here in this example, the student answered why the large goats were trespassing and how it happened.  If you are not writing this way, you must practice by tying the element of the rule and the facts together to answer the “why.” 

When writing a superb law school essay exam, you must analyze the law and facts for each party because the intent of law school essay exams is to train you to think like a lawyer.  As a civil litigation attorney, I not only research the facts and law for my client, but I must do the same for the opposing party because I must be able to anticipate and refute their arguments.  

In the student’s essay exam referred to above, he skillfully argued on behalf of both the plaintiff and defendant. When I read his exam answer, his arguments flowed flawlessly from one issue to the next, addressing the arguments for each party.

Legal reasoning is the method of thought and argument used when applying the rules to the facts. In the crossbred animal case, the neighbor used an electric cattle prod on the animals to try to move them off his property.  The student provided a brief, yet exceptional analysis on behalf of the plaintiff, explaining why an electric cattle prod could incite domestic animals, not only the crossbred animals, to be aggressive.  He had the skill to apply a reasonable argument that extended from the fact pattern in support of the plaintiff’s defense.

Legally Sound Conclusions 

Outstanding law school essay writing requires correct and concise conclusions.  As a grader, I would assign “0” points to a conclusion that began with, “If the court finds . . . ”  or conclusions that did not comport with the reasoning in the analysis.  You are being trained to think like a lawyer, so ultimately you must pick a position and assert it in your conclusion.  Always write conclusions where it’s relevant, as well as an overall conclusion for each call of the question.

Do Not be Afraid to Seek Help Learning to Write Law School Essay Exams

It can be exceedingly difficult for law students to assess their own strengths and weaknesses when developing their essay writing.  Students can also hit roadblocks.  If this is happening to you, I recommend that you discuss your essay exams with your professors because their feedback can be truly enlightening.  They also tend to be very dedicated and enjoy assisting law students, so be courageous and ask for help.  

If you are still having difficulty with exam test-taking after consulting with your professors, private tutors, like those available through Fleming’s Fundamental of Law, are a tremendous resource because they can address and provide direction regarding your specific strengths and weaknesses. 

Work Hard to Master Law School Essay Writing

You must master each aspect of law school essay writing to achieve a first-class exam.  It

takes dedication to learning and applying the facts to the law in a persuasive manner.  It also takes a tremendous amount of practice because you must keep working on developing the skill until you achieve your goal.  Once you do, you will be well on the road to thinking and writing like a lawyer. 

Law School vs. Bar Exam Essay Writing

The law school essay exam principles discussed above are the same for bar exam essays. Bar examiners are looking for the same ingredients in essay exam answers that law professors are looking for in law school exam answers. Thus, when you prepare to take law school essay exams, you are also preparing to take bar exam answers. 

Embrace the law school process because every practice exam you take and every mid-term and final exam you take brings you closer to your goal to pass the Bar Exam and begin your legal career as a lawyer.

Craig Hudson - September 14, 2022 I need help writing law school exams.

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields

Be in the know and join our mailing list.

Download Your Free Sample Bar Exam Essay Q&A

Added to your cart:.

Hypos and Practice Exams

Taking practice exams is a proven way to improve performance on exams. Applying legal rules to a new set of facts will help you learn those rules, even if you have not yet had time to review them. This exercise also helps to identify complexities and nuances that you might not catch when passively reading through your notes or outline. And, finally, writing out answers to practice questions forces you to practice the other skill that is being tested: legal analysis.

The practice question does not need to be from your current professor; any exam in the same format will work just fine. Write out answers to hypos and practice exam questions early and often–even if you have not yet finished (or started!) reviewing and outlining. If you need help getting started, check out this short guide: Practice Questions: Why, When, and How . 

Here are some resources for finding hypos and practices questions:

Law Library Exam Database

The law library maintains a database of past exams for you to use for practice. You can find those exams here .  You can ask your professors if they plan to release old exams or hypos, but know that many reuse questions and so do not release them. If you have a sample answer (or a friend’s answer), consider using  this worksheet to assess your performance and drill down on your analysis.

Commercial Study Aids

Full-length exam questions.  Use full-length exam questions later in the semester to practice issue-spotting and time management as well as legal analysis. In addition to the Law Library’s exam database, you also  can  use the Siegel’s and the Emanuel  study aids. Siegel’s is not available online, but there are hard copies on reserve in the Library or you can buy it. It has sample exam questions (issue-spotter and multiple-choice) along with sample answers.  Emmanuel CrunchTime and Emanuel’s First Year Questions and Answers similarly have sample essay questions and answers. They are both available for free online. Click  this link  and then search for Emanuel  (there’s one for each first-year subject). Quimbee  and  CALI  (Computer Assisted Legal Instruction) also offer sample exam questions and answers. If you have trouble registering for Quimbee or CALI, please contact the Law Library. As always, if the sample answer explains the law in a different way than your professor, it is a helpful exercise to think about how you would rewrite the answer using the framework you learned in class.

Multiple-choice questions

Quimbee  and  CALI  both offer a tutorial in addition to practice multiple-choice questions. The Siegel’s and Emanuel CrunchTime study aids include multiple-choice questions and answers. Siegel’s is not available online, but we have it on reserve in the Library and you can also buy it in the bookstore or online. Emanuel CrunchTime is available for free online. Click  this link  and then search for Emanuel  (there’s one for each first-year subject). As always, if the sample answer explains the law in a different way than your professor, defer to your professor. 

myAU | AU Library | myWCL | Library Home | myLEAGLE Library Account

My Library Banner

Pence Law Library Guides

Library Home | Research Guides | LEAGLE Catalog | E-Journals & Articles | Library Databases | Frequently Used Resources | Ask a Librarian

Exam Resources: Evidence

  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Study Aids @ Pence
  • How to Study
  • Sample Exams

Case Briefs

Cover Art

Examples and Explanations

law school exam essay examples

Audio Lectures

Cover Art

  • << Previous: Criminal Procedure
  • Next: Property >>
  • Last Updated: Oct 18, 2023 12:12 PM
  • URL: https://wcl.american.libguides.com/exams

Law Tutors

How To Answer Law School Exam Questions

by Tania N. Shah, Esq. | 1st Years , Law School Exams | 0 comments

How To Answer Law School Exam Questions

Organizational Paradigms

Step one: issue spotting/ conclusion/ thesis-what is the legal question that i need to analyze.

First, start with a sentence that identifies the legal issue that you are trying to solve and predicts the likely outcome of the case. A good issue sentence should incorporate the facts that give rise to the issues you are trying to answer.

Examples in an exam:

“The issue is whether opening an unlocked door to a building at twilight to commit a theft is sufficient to constitute a charge of burglary.”

“The issue is whether Defendant, who repeatedly telephoned the victim and left threatening voice messages, engaged in “course of conduct” sufficient to constitute “stalking” under the relevant statute.

Step Two: Rule / Rule Proof / Explanation – What is the governing law for the issue?

Second, state the rule or legal principle that the court will use to resolve the issue. Briefly state the holdings of cases, and only include relevant facts and conclusions. You may also be expected to explain how courts have applied the rule in the past (and also how they have chosen not to apply the rule) and explanation of the policy behind the rule.

Sample Answers in an exam:

“According to the Georgia statute, a charge of burglary requires that the defendant (i) enter the dwelling of another person, (ii) without authority to enter such dwelling; and (iii) intends to commit a felony or theft within the dwelling.”

“The Pennsylvania statute requires that a person committing the crime of stalking (x) engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts towards another person, (y) under circumstances which demonstrate either (i) an intent to place such other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or (ii) to cause substantial emotional distress to such other person.”

Step Three: Application – How does the rule apply to the facts in my case? 

Third, apply the rule to your facts , using the cases you’ve discussed in the rule / rule explanation section to draw analogies and distinctions and avoiding conclusory statements. Use transition words such as “Here, …” “In this case, …” Be sure to include any arguments by the counter-parties. The application section is the most important part of the analysis since this is where your critical thinking skills will be tested.

Example in an exam:

“Although the door was ajar and unlocked, Carl’s merely opening the door was sufficient minimal force to constitute a breaking since the nearly shut door was meant to deter unwanted entry. No actual breaking of the door or lock is necessary.”

Step Four: Conclusion – What is the outcome of the issue?

Lastly, state one or two sentences concisely stating (or re-iterating) the likely outcome of your case, based on the application of the rule to the facts of your case.

“Therefore, because Victim posed no threat to Officer and was only liable for a minor infraction, Officer’s use of force was excessive under Graham.”

“Because Vince entered a house at twilight through a nearly shut door that was meant to deter unwanted entry to steal computer equipment valued at $5,000, Vince is probably subject to charge of burglary even though it was not technically nighttime and the door was unlocked.”

Sample Law School Exam Answer Using IRAC

The issue is whether the defendant was negligent. ( ISSUE )  To establish negligence, the plaintiff must prove a duty existed, a breach of that duty, causation, and damages. ( RULE ) As a matter of law, we all owe a general duty of care to reasonably foreseeable plaintiffs whenever we act. ( RULE explanation specific to DUTY ) Here, the facts show that [ discuss facts that show a duty ].  However, the defendant may argue that a duty does not exist because [ discuss facts that show no duty owed ].  Nevertheless [ discuss facts or legal doctrines that break the tie one way or the other ] which strongly suggests that the plaintiff was reasonably foreseeable to the defendant. ( APPLICATION ) Therefore, a court will likely find that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff. ( CONCLUSION )

The next issue is whether the defendant breached his duty to the plaintiff.  ( ISSUE )  A duty is breached when an actor fails to meet the standard of care under the circumstances.  ( RULE explanation specific to BREACH )  Here, the fact that the defendant used an ABC tool instead of the customary XYZ tool suggests that the defendant may have breached his duty…”  [ repeat IRAC steps ].

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent posts

  • Approaches to the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)
  • Quick Guide to the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)
  • The Four Kinds of Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) Answers You Do Not Want to Write
  • Step-by-Step Approach to Writing the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE)
  • Contracts Topics Tested on the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) Between 2011-2020
  • 3rd-year Law Students
  • Coronavirus
  • Internships
  • Law School Exams
  • Law Students
  • Lawtutors News
  • MPRE Videos
  • Study Skills
  • Tip of the Day
  • Uncategorized
  • Writing Skills
  • January 2021
  • December 2020
  • November 2020
  • October 2020
  • August 2020
  • January 2020
  • October 2018
  • November 2011
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • September 2006
  • August 2006
  • February 2006
  • January 2006
  • November 2005
  • October 2005
  • September 2005

Get Our Information Pack

Topics Law Bar MPRE

You have Successfully Subscribed!

info This is a space for the teal alert bar.

notifications This is a space for the yellow alert bar.

National University Library

JFK Law Library

  • Spring '24 Pre-Reading & Book Info This link opens in a new window
  • Past and Upcoming Zoom Workshops
  • Past Exams for JD courses
  • Legal Databases
  • Fall 2022 - PLS/BLS Pre-Reading
  • Legal Research Consultations
  • Legal Research and Writing Readings
  • Register - State Bar of California This link opens in a new window
  • MPRE This link opens in a new window
  • CA Bar Past Exams & Performance Tests This link opens in a new window
  • Register - State Bar Exam
  • Bar Prep on Demand Video Series
  • Housing Clinic Resources This link opens in a new window
  • Resources for Law Alumni
  • Career Services

Spring 2022 Past Exams

  • Law 112B - Torts Question 1
  • Law 112B - Torts Answer 1
  • Law 112B - Torts Question 2
  • Law 112B - Torts Answer 2
  • Law 112B- Torts Question 3
  • Law 112B - Torts Answer 3
  • Law 115B Contracts B - Question 1
  • Law 115B Contracts B - Answer 1
  • Law 115B Contracts B - Question 2
  • Law 115B: Contracts B - Answer 2
  • Law 115A - Contracts A - Question 3
  • Law 115A - Contracts A - Answer 3
  • Law 212B: Real Prop Question 1
  • Law 212 Real Property Answer 1
  • Law 212 Real Property - Question 2
  • Law 212: Real Property Answer 2
  • Law 212: Real Property Question 3
  • Law 212: Real Property Answer 3
  • Law 120: Criminal Law - Question 1
  • Law 120: Criminal Law - Answer 1
  • Law 120: Criminal Law - Question 2
  • Law 120: Criminal Law - Answer 2
  • Law 120: Criminal Law - Question 3
  • Law 120: Criminal Law - Answer 3
  • Law 313: Community Property- Question 1
  • Law 313: Community Property - Answer 1
  • Law 313: Community Property - Question 2
  • Law 313: Community Property - Answer 2
  • Law 216B Evidence Question 1
  • Law 216B Evidence Answer 1
  • Law 216B Evidence Question 2
  • Law 216B Evidence Answer 2
  • Law 214B: Civil Procedure Question 1
  • Law 214B: Civil Procedure Answer 1
  • Law 214B Civil Procedure Question 2
  • Law 214B Civil Procedure Answer 2
  • Law 214B Civil Procedure Question 3
  • Law 214B Civil Procedure Answer 3
  • Law 320B: Con Law Question 1
  • Law 320B Con Law Answer 1
  • Law 320B Con Law Question 2
  • Law 320B Con Law Answer 2
  • Law 320B Con Law Question 3
  • Law 320B Con Law Answer 3
  • Law 420 Remedies Question 1
  • Law 420 Remedies Answer 1
  • Law 420 Remedies Question 2
  • Law 420 Remedies Answer 2
  • Law 420 Remedies Question 3
  • Law 420 Remedies Answer 3

Spring 2021 Past Exams

  • Law 115B: Contracts - Spring 2021 Includes Prof. Tonsing's notes on right margin (beginning on page 10)
  • Law 212: Real Property Question 1
  • Law 212: Real Property Answer: 1
  • Law 212: Real Property Question 2
  • Law 212 Real Property Answer 2

Fall 2021 Past Exams

  • Law 120 Criminal Law Question 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 120 Criminal Law Answer 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 120 Criminal Law Question 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 120 Criminal Law Answer 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 120 Criminal Law Question 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 120 Criminal law Answer 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 212A Property Question 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 212A Property Answer 1 Fall 2021.docx
  • Law 212A Property Question 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 212A Property Answer 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 212A Property Question 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 212A Property Answer 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 216A Evidence Question 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 216A Evidence Answer 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 216A Evidence Question 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 216A Evidence Answer 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 216A Evidence Question 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 216A Evidence Answer 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 315 Wills & Trusts Question 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 315 Wills & Trusts Answer 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 315 Wills & Trusts Question 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 315 Wills & Trusts Answer 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 315 Wills 7 Trusts Question 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 315 Wills & Trusts Answer 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 318 Crim Pro Answer 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 318 Crim Pro Question 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 318 Crim Pro Question 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 318 Crim Pro Answer 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 318 Crim Pro Question 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 318 Crim Pro Answer 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 320A Con Law Question 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 320A Con Law Answer 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 320A Con Law Question 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 320A Con Law Answer 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 320A Con Law Question 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 320A Con Law Answer 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 418 PR Question 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 418 PR Answer 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 418 PR Question 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 418 PR Answer 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 112A Torts Question 1_Fall 2021.
  • Law 112A Torts Answer 1_Fall 2021.
  • Law 112A Torts Question 2_Fall 2021.
  • Law 112A Torts Answer 2_Fall 2021.
  • Law 112A Torts Question 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 112A Torts Answer 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 115A Contracts Question 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 115A Contracts Answer 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 115A Contracts Question 2_Fall 2021.
  • Law 115A Contracts Answer 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 115A Contracts Question 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 115A Contracts Answer 3_Fall 2021.
  • Law 214A Civ Pro Question 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 214A Civ Pro Answer 1_Fall 2021
  • Law 214A Civ Pro Question 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 214A Civ Pro Answer 2_Fall 2021
  • Law 214A Civ Pro Question 3_Fall 2021
  • Law 214A Civ Pro Answer 3_Fall 2021

FALL 2020 Past Exams and Model Answers (Essays)

  • Law 112A: Torts - Questions (2020)
  • Law 112A - Torts - Q1 Model Answer (2020)
  • Law 112A - Torts-- Q2 Model Answer (2020)
  • Law 115a: Contracts - Questions 1-2 (2020)
  • Law 115A: Contracts Model Answers 1-2 (2020)
  • Law 120: Criminal Law - Questions (2020)
  • LAW 120: Criminal Law - Q1 Model Answer (2020)
  • Law 120: Criminal Law - Q2 Model Answer (2020)
  • Law 318 Criminal Procedure - Questions (2020)
  • Law 318 Criminal Procedure - Q1 Model Answer (2020)
  • Law 318 Criminal Procedure - Q2 Model Answer (2020)
  • Law 214a: Civil Procedure - Questions (2020)
  • Law 214a: Civil Procedure - Q 1-2 Model Answers (2020)
  • Law 216a: Evidence - Questions (2020)
  • Law 216a: Evidence- Q 1-2 Model Answers (2020)
  • Law 425: Business Associations - Questions (2020)
  • Law 425: Business Associations - Q1 Model Answer (2020)
  • Law 418: Professional Responsibility - Question (2020)
  • Law 418: Professional Responsibility - Model Answer (2020)
  • Law 315: Wills & Trusts - Questions (2020)
  • Law 315: Wills & Trusts - Model Answer (2020)
  • Law 216B: Evidence - Questions (2021)
  • Law 216B: Evidence - Answers (2021)
  • Law 212 - Question 1
  • Law 212 - Answer 1

2018-2019 Past Exams and Model Answers

  • Zimba - Civil Procedure Essay Questions - Spring 2019
  • Zimba - Civil Procedure - Model Answers Spring 2019
  • Prochovnick - Real Property Essay Questions - Spring 2019
  • Prochovnick - Real Property Model Answer - Spring 2019
  • Kanios - Torts Essay Questions - Fall 2018
  • Kanios - Torts Model Answer - Fall 2018
  • Taylor - Remedies Essay Questions - Spring 2019
  • Taylor - Remedies - Model Answers - Spring 2019
  • Kelley - Criminal Law - Essay Questions - Spring 2019
  • Kelley - Criminal Law - Model Answer -Spring 2019
  • Kelley - Criminal Procedure - Essay Questions - Spring 2019
  • Kelley - Criminal Procedure - Model Answers - Spring 2019
  • Taylor - Wills & Trusts - Essay Question - Fall 2018
  • Taylor - Wills & Trusts - Model Answer - Fall 2018
  • Business Associations - Essay Questions - Spring 2019
  • Business Associations - Model Answer - Spring 2019
  • Community Property (CA) - Essay Question - Spring 2019
  • Community Property (CA) - Model Answer - Spring 2019
  • Contracts Essay Question - Spring 2019
  • Contracts Model Answer - Spring 2019
  • Mills - Remedies Exam Question - Spring 2019
  • Mills - Remedies Exam Model Answer - Spring 2019
  • Harper - Con Law Exam Questions - Spring 2019
  • Harper - Con Law Exam Model Answer - Spring 2019
  • Hyden - Con Law Exam Questions - Spring 2019
  • Hyden - Con Law Exam Model Answer - Spring 2019

Older Exams

  • Law 216B: Evidence - Questions (FALL 2017)
  • Law 216B: Evidence Answers (FALL 2017)
  • Law 216B: Evidence Questions (SPRING 2017)
  • Law 216B: Evidence Answers (SPRING 2017)
  • << Previous: Past and Upcoming Zoom Workshops
  • Next: Legal Databases >>
  • Last Updated: Dec 15, 2023 9:54 AM
  • URL: https://resources.nu.edu/lawlibrary

National University

© Copyright 2024 National University. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy | Consumer Information

  • 0 Shopping Cart $ 0.00 -->

JD Advising

With the bar exam fast approaching, our FREE MEE Highly Tested Topics guide and our FREE February 2024 UBE Study Guide can help you use your remaining study time wisely!

Calling all 1Ls: Exclusive VIP networking events Skadden and Kirkland & Ellis in Feb. and March. Apply here !

Looking for the perfect study tool for your last minute bar exam review? Check out our MEE , MBE , and MPT One-Sheets! Plus, our Bar Exam Crash Course is your on-the-go overview of what you need to know!

how to succeed in law school, excel in law school, excel 1L year

What are law school final exams like?

You may wonder exactly what law school final exams are like. Law school final exams are different than exams you may have taken in college or prior. Knowing what to expect will help ease your anxiety and lower your stress so that you can approach the exams with confidence. So, here we tell you exactly what to expect!

1. Every professor will give a different exam

Most law schools divide students into different sections during their first year. So, there might be two or three different sections, and although every section takes the same classes, they usually have different professors. What does this mean? Practically speaking, your Torts exam may—and probably will—look very different from the torts exam that another professor gives. Some professors will ask students to complete multiple-choice questions, short answer questions and a long essay question. Other professors may forgo asking multiple-choice questions in lieu of two lengthier essay questions. If your professor has not yet discussed the overall format of the exam, ask him or her about it in class or during office hours. Or, better yet, look to see if you can find past exams on file. Be prepared for the type of test that your professor gives.

2. Law school exams are usually racehorse exams

Law school essay exams pack a lot of issues in one fact pattern. Generally, an essay fact pattern will be one to three pages long. The fact pattern is basically a story where a lot happens. For example, in a Torts essay fact pattern, you may read a story of how a man goes grocery shopping, slips on the floor and can’t get up, the store fails to help him in a timely manner, a friend helps him but then lets him fall again. Then another person might get mad and punch the friend in the face . . . you get the idea. There will be a lot going on!

Your goal is to identify as many of the relevant issues as possible (i.e., negligence, assault, battery, etc.), accurately state the law for those issues, apply the law to the facts, and reach a well-reasoned conclusion.

The best way to prepare for this kind of exam is to practice. Practicing ahead of time will give you a huge advantage over your classmates who are  not  likely making practice a priority. Check out this in-depth guide on how to answer law school exam questions .

3. Exams may be open-book or closed-book

Most students are happy to hear that an exam is open-note or open-book. While this does provide a sense of comfort, do not rely on your outline or notes too much. Students often think that if an exam is open-note they do not have to memorize the law. This could not be further from the truth! There is no time to look up each rule in your outline. Do your best to memorize your outline regardless of whether your exam is open-book or closed-book! Memorization is an important skill—use techniques that have worked for you in the past (e.g., writing out the rules, reciting the rules, etc.). We actually recommend you prepare in a very similar manner whether your exam is open-book or closed-book. The primary difference is that if your exam is open-book, you want to make sure you have a very organized outline in case you need to look something up. But, either way, you should have the law memorized so you do not need to look it up . An outline is a safety net and the more grasp you have of the law, the more efficiently you will be able to apply it.

Please see this post on how to prepare for an open-book law school exam .  Please see this post on how to prepare for a closed-book law school exam . Please see this post on how to learn your law school outlines .

4. The final exams are generally three to four hours long

When was the last time that you sat down and took an exam that was three or four hours long? To perform your best on exam day, try to be well-rested and well-nourished. Almost all professors allow students to bring some coffee, tea, water, juice, etc. to the exam, as well as snacks that are not too noisy (e.g., you do not want to be the person munching loudly on chips!). Choose your snacks wisely—pick something that is high in protein and not too sugary. You want to make sure that you have enough energy to complete the entire exam. Practicing exams ahead of time will also help you get used to sitting and taking an exam for this lengthy period of time!

To make sure you don’t forget anything critical on law school final exam day, please see our law school final exam day checklist here .

5. You will hear other people typing their answers

By now you probably have a fairly good idea of whether it bothers you when you hear other people typing. If you are sensitive to noise and find earplugs helpful (and you’ve used them before), bring some with you. If you have never used earplugs before and you are interested in doing so, try them out now when you do a practice exam! It is better to get used to working with earplugs sooner rather than later.

Takeaway: practicing exams is the best way to prepare

Law school final exams are different than exams you may have taken in college. They are longer. They often have a racehorse fact-pattern format. And, you have to be prepared for whatever exam your  professor gives.

For this reason, do not make the mistake of thinking that the final exam for any of your classes is going to be similar to what you have been doing on a daily basis (i.e., reading and briefing cases). During the semester you learn one issue at a time (e.g., what constitutes a valid offer?). However, on the final exam you will be asked to spot many issues all at once—e.g., offer, acceptance, consideration, Statute of Frauds violations, anticipatory repudiation, etc. Most students do not practice identifying and analyzing multiple issues at once.

The best thing to do to prepare for final exams is to take the time to do practice exams your professor wrote. This will give you the best idea of what you might encounter on exam day.

If your professor is kind enough to give you a model answer or grading rubric for his or her practice exams, pay close attention to each issue the professor spotted and the rule of law. Then, if you encounter the same issues on exam day, you will have a better idea of how to write your answer. If you have a new professor or a professor who has not released any practice exams, do practice exams that other professors in your school have released for the same subject. For more information on how to take law school practice exams, see this post .

Go to the next topic, How do I answer law school exam questions? (an in-depth guide) .

Seeking success in law school.

  • Benefit from personalized one-on-one tutoring by our seasoned law school tutors.
  • Explore our NEW and highly acclaimed law school study aids , available for a free trial.

Related posts

Law School Success Affirmations

  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Public Interest

July 2017 washington dc bar exam results

By using this site, you allow the use of cookies, and you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service .

Cookie and Privacy Settings

We may request cookies to be set on your device. We use cookies to let us know when you visit our websites, how you interact with us, to enrich your user experience, and to customize your relationship with our website.

Click on the different category headings to find out more. You can also change some of your preferences. Note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our websites and the services we are able to offer.

These cookies are strictly necessary to provide you with services available through our website and to use some of its features.

Because these cookies are strictly necessary to deliver the website, refusing them will have impact how our site functions. You always can block or delete cookies by changing your browser settings and force blocking all cookies on this website. But this will always prompt you to accept/refuse cookies when revisiting our site.

We fully respect if you want to refuse cookies but to avoid asking you again and again kindly allow us to store a cookie for that. You are free to opt out any time or opt in for other cookies to get a better experience. If you refuse cookies we will remove all set cookies in our domain.

We provide you with a list of stored cookies on your computer in our domain so you can check what we stored. Due to security reasons we are not able to show or modify cookies from other domains. You can check these in your browser security settings.

We also use different external services like Google Webfonts, Google Maps, and external Video providers. Since these providers may collect personal data like your IP address we allow you to block them here. Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. Changes will take effect once you reload the page.

Google Webfont Settings:

Google Map Settings:

Google reCaptcha Settings:

Vimeo and Youtube video embeds:

You can read about our cookies and privacy settings in detail on our Privacy Policy Page.

Law School Optional Essay Examples: When and How to Write Supplementals

Law School Optional Essay Examples

Reading law school optional essay examples is a wonderful way to learn the format and expectations of this supplementary law school application component. Law school optional essays, like a law school letter of continued interest , are a useful tool in drawing attention to your application and helping you increase your chances of getting in. While there is some disagreement on whether optional essays are always required, knowing how to write them well is important. In this blog, we’ll learn what law school optional essays are, how to write them, some common essay prompts, which schools ask for optional essays, and some optional essay samples to help you in writing your own.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 7 min read

What is a law school optional essay.

A law school optional essay is a secondary, supplementary essay you can submit as part of your application to law school. As the name implies, they are not always required of students and are different from a law school personal statement . For example, law school diversity statement is a common optional essay in the US and Canada. An optional essay is similar in structure and intent to a personal statement, but will usually be written in response to a specific prompt. Optional essays are usually submitted concurrently with your primary application.

Law school optional essays are a student’s response to supplementary prompts or questions. Some law schools will have specific instructions on writing and submitting an optional essay, or provide writing prompts or a list of potential questions.

There is some debate whether law school optional essays are actually optional. Some law schools state that students who do not submit an essay in response to at least one of their optional essay prompts are not considered for admissions. And given how competitive law school acceptance rates are, it’s in your best interest to write an optional essay if the school provides a prompt, question or topic. If they do not, you can brainstorm a topic of your choice to write a supplementary essay.

If you choose to do so, it’s vital that you respond to the prompt or prompts you feel you can provide an answer to.

Optional essays should be used strategically to bolster your application. It can be a useful tool to tell the admissions committee of your chosen law school more about you or provide them additional information about why you should be considered for admissions.

Want to see a summary of some of our key points from this blog? This infographic is for you:

How to write a law school optional essay

Law school optional essays follow the same formula as college essays or law school personal statements . They are an essay that highlights your personal experiences, perspectives and answer the given prompt. Some schools will allow students to submit an optional essay on the topic of their choosing, too.

Optional essays need to include an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, same as other college essays . A typical word count for the optional essay is only 250 words, although some schools will ask students to submit multiple optional essays or allow for a greater word count. Schools like Stanford and Yale are among the top schools which allow only 250 words for optional essays.

If you’re unsure how to begin writing an optional essay or brainstorm ideas, law school admissions consulting can help you develop the writing and researching skills you need to craft an excellent essay. Or you can read our examples below for some help and inspiration in writing your own.

Some things you need to consider when writing your own optional essay for law school, though, is to avoid repeating any information you shared in your personal statement or other parts of your application, use your optional essay strategically, and follow the instructions you’re given for the prompt.

Be sure to address the prompt directly. Brainstorm your answer and write a couple of drafts to see how your ideas flow on the page. Admissions committees will be evaluating not just your writing skill but your answer, so be sure your response to the prompt is compelling and informative of your skills and mindset. This is your chance to be a little creative and stand out from the crowd. Even if the prompt is a simple \u201cWho is your favourite author?\u201d type of question, don\u2019t just spout out a name that sounds impressive. Be genuine and discuss why that particular author is your favourite and what you\u2019ve learned from their writing. ","label":"Follow the instructions","title":"Follow the instructions"}]" code="tab1" template="BlogArticle">

One of the most common law school optional essay prompts is “Why do you want to attend X law school?” You may have already answered this question in your personal statement or another part of your initial application, but it is a favourite question law schools ask of prospective students.

To answer this prompt, you’ll need to find your distinct reason or motivation for applying for that specific law school. Research the school’s program, culture, values, and mission and demonstrate your knowledge in your answer. For example, if you’re applying to Harvard Law School as it is arguably the best law program in the country, tell them why you agree the program is excellent and why having a top-tier law education is so important to you personally.

Some other common prompts for law school optional essays will be to ask you off-beat or quirky type questions, sometimes similar to law school interview questions , to see what kind of unique, stand-out responses you’ll submit. Other optional essay questions will be relatively simple to answer, such as “what is your favourite book?” or “what are your most important extracurricular interests?” These questions might sound simple for a 250-word essay, but it’s key to always tie your answer back to your motivation for applying to law school and reveal something pertinent about yourself.

Would you rather watch a video?

Below we’ve listed recent prompts provided by some of the top law schools in the US, including Stanford Law School, Harvard Law School and Georgetown University.

Some recent prompts from Stanford Law School include:

Lastly, write a letter to your future roommate. "}]">

There are some law schools which encourage students to submit an optional essay for consideration as part of their application. If you’re thinking of applying to law school in Canada, for example the University of Toronto, an optional essay is highly encouraged as part of your OLSAS application . If you’re researching potential law schools in Canada , it’s also a good idea to check out their admissions requirements as well.

Many of the top law schools in the US strongly encourage students to submit an optional essay or statement as well, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, and Duke University, to name a few.

Law school optional essay sample #1

Prompt: What important challenge does society face today?

The most important challenge society faces today is to collaborate for a better future. There are more people on the planet than ever before, and with so many different generations, cultures and peoples all trying to find common ground, it can create a sort of “too many cooks in the kitchen” dilemma. Society has been changing rapidly, and the world is changing more drastically than ever before. It is my belief that collaboration is our biggest challenge.

We’re all aware of the global problems facing our society today, and the various efforts around the globe to implement solutions and come up with the answer. However, with so many different voices clamoring to be heard and different perspectives all clashing in the discussion, it can be hard to see any forward progress. Solving our problems on a global scale will be some of the most significant challenge any of us will know in our lifetimes, so in my opinion learning to work together for a solution will be the biggest obstacle. It is my thinking that it is time we see new voices, and new solutions in the room.

This may of course contribute further to the problem since there are already so many individuals wanting to be heard. But we have also seen in recent years how the younger generations have been stepping up and adding their contributions in positive ways. In politics, in technology, in environmentalism, in law and in industries across the globe, there has been a turnover of new ideas. And I think focusing on new ideas and figuring out how to make them work now is far more beneficial than another debate. We already know what needs to be done. Our biggest challenge will be to stop thinking of our individual needs and start thinking collectively of our global futures.

Law school optional essay sample #2

Prompt: List and describe your academic interests and tell us how they are related to your future career.

My academic interests are broad, but I have always been interested in a career in the law. I studied my undergrad with a Bachelor of Communications with a minor in criminology and forensic science. I have always been fascinated with forensic sciences and I believe a thorough understanding of science and criminology are essential to my future goal to become a criminal defense lawyer.

As an undergrad, I also took several optional seminars and courses on criminology, and I interned at a local forensic lab during the summer as a file clerk. During my internship, I was allowed to safely observe many common forensic procedures and learn more about the inner workings of a forensic lab. It was fascinating to learn the science behind these procedures and witness how they are performed with my own eyes. My criminology seminars also afforded me the chance to speak to practicing lawyers and retired police officers about their experiences with the criminal justice system.

My major in Communications has also been invaluable to me as I pursue my goal to become a lawyer. As a lawyer I will need the skills I have learned in communicating effectively and clearly in any medium. I have also been able to develop my writing skills considerably, which will be a necessary tool in my skillset.

All of these experiences have given me a well-rounded and holistic view of my future career and given me a solid foundation to build on as I prepare to enter law school. I believe my undergraduate experiences and academic interests will add to my learning at law school. 

A law school optional essay is a supplementary essay you can include in your law school application. They are a good way to boost your application and provide further information to the school admissions committee about your background, personal experience and motivations.

No; not every law school asks for optional essays, and not every law school will expect one. Even so, an optional essay can be a great tool to help your application stand out, especially with the right writing prompt.

One of the most common prompt is “Why do you want to attend X law school?”, although different law schools may provide a list of prompts for students to choose from.

An optional essay is typically no more than 250 words, but some law schools will allow some flexibility on this matter.

While it is not required, Harvard Law School does provide applicants with a list of optional essay prompts, so it’s a good idea to pick at least one to submit to help strengthen your application.

An optional essay may have a diversity prompt, but sometimes diversity statements are required separately as well.

Stanford doesn’t require an optional essay, but students who choose to do so are asked to submit at least two essays of 250 words maximum. Applicants are provided a list of prompts to choose two topics from.

The university doesn’t require an optional essay in their applications, but they do provide a prompt list for those who choose to submit one.

The only time it’s advisable NOT to submit an optional essay is if the prompt or prompts provided don’t resonate with you personally. Submitting a weak optional essay is worse than not submitting one at all. If you’re struggling on picking a topic or a prompt you like for an optional essay, don’t submit one.

Want more free tips? Subscribe to our channels for more free and useful content!

Apple Podcasts

Like our blog? Write for us ! >>

Have a question ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions, get started now.

Talk to one of our admissions experts

Our site uses cookies. By using our website, you agree with our cookie policy .

FREE Training Webinar:

How to make your law school application stand out, (and avoid the top 5 mistakes that get most rejected).

Time Sensitive. Limited Spots Available:

We guarantee you'll get into law school or you don't pay.

Swipe up to see a great offer!

law school exam essay examples

IMAGES

  1. Law School Exam Essay Format.pdf

    law school exam essay examples

  2. How to write a why x law school essay

    law school exam essay examples

  3. Pin on Law Study Guides

    law school exam essay examples

  4. The Ideal Length Of An Essay Question On A Law School Exam

    law school exam essay examples

  5. ESSAY QUESTIONS

    law school exam essay examples

  6. 😀 Law school essay writing service. Law School Essay Writing Service

    law school exam essay examples

VIDEO

  1. Legal Studies Essay Structure Tips from a State Ranker

  2. How To Procrastinate a LAW SCHOOL EXAM!!! Day in the Life of a law student

  3. Teacher v/s students part-52😂”exam papers esthanugaa” #shishira #comedy #viral #explore #trending

  4. Math Exam Simple Trick #exam #shorts #school

  5. Can We Write Law Answers in Our Own Language, During Exam, A guidance to Students!

  6. Law Writing Practice

COMMENTS

  1. Law School Practice Exams and Model Answers

    We've listed several resources below Capital University Law School Emory Law Empire College School of Law has exams and model answers George Washington University Law School (Contracts, Constitutional Law, others) Gonzaga Law School (Torts exams) University of Kentucky College of Law (multiple exams)

  2. PDF California First-Year Law Students' Examination

    This publication contains the four essay questions from the October 2021 California First-Year Law Students' Examination and two selected answers for each question. The selected answers are not to be considered "model" or perfect answers. The answers were assigned high grades and were written by applicants who passed the examination. They are

  3. Bar Exam Sample Essays

    Tips Try writing a response to a practice question, then comparing your response to the model answer. Some bar exam questions require the application of state law (e.g., California civil procedure), and may not be helpful if you are studying federal law. Read the question carefully. Subject coverage will vary by exam and by state. Subjects

  4. PDF WRITING LAW EXAMINATIONS

    Law examinations share a good deal in common with other stock forms of legal w riting, such as the brief, the law office memorandum, and the judicial opinion. Developing proper skills of exam writing will have, therefore, permanent returns.

  5. Sample Exams

    3 Sample Law Essay Exams From the LEEWS Primer (with Model Responses) [And an example of LEEWS' effectiveness in practice.] 1 Actual Civil Procedure Exam With Model Response (written by a LEEWS grad) and Professor Comments Introduction

  6. How to Write a Law School Exam Answer

    How to write a Law School Exam Answer for Essay Questions Use IRAC! You will most likely have to answer an essay question or two on exam day. If you are asked to do so, use the "IRAC" method unless your professor has told you during the semester to write your answers in a different format The letters in "IRAC" stand for the following words:

  7. Research Guides: Prepare for HLS Exams: Past Exams

    Essay exams don't have to be a mystery. With its wealth of visual aids, examples, and practical advice, Professor Dernbach's concise guide enables pre-law and law school students to develop the strong essay-writing skills they need to succeed and feel confident taking essay exams.

  8. How To Write a First-Class Law School Essay Exam Answer

    To excel at law school essay exam writing, you must know and understand the law, spot all the pertinent issues in the exam hypothetical, thoroughly analyze those issues by persuasively applying the law to fact, and provide sound legal conclusions based on your analysis.

  9. Hypos and Practice Exams

    The Examples & Explanations study aid series has short hypos with answers/explanations. It is available for free online. Click this link and then search for Examples & Explanations (there's one for each first-year subject). The Acing series also has short hypos with sample answers. This series is available for free online.

  10. Exam Resources

    Exam Pro-Essay is a study aid that helps law students prepare to take their Evidence exam. Answering the sample essay exams and the specific subject matter essay questions, followed by review of the corresponding answers and analysis, provides students with a more thorough comprehension of the Federal Rules of Evidence and a better ...

  11. Mastering Issue Spotting on Exams

    Most students come to law school having never taken an issue spotting essay exam. Despite this, very little (if any) time is devoted to teaching students how develop this skill. In the most basic terms, issue spotting occurs when a student uses the facts in a fact pattern to trigger a discussion of the relevant law from the course.

  12. How To Answer Law School Exam Questions

    Examples in an exam: "The issue is whether opening an unlocked door to a building at twilight to commit a theft is sufficient to constitute a charge of burglary." "The issue is whether Defendant, who repeatedly telephoned the victim and left threatening voice messages, engaged in "course of conduct" sufficient to constitute ...

  13. LibGuides: JFK Law Library: Past Exams for JD courses

    Everything you need for the JD and BALS programs in the JFK School of Law including textbooks, study aids, legal databases, research services, workshops, guides and more. Here is where you will find past essay exams and model answers for your exam prep. Don't see a course you want? Contact your instructor and ask them to send it to [email protected]

  14. PDF Sample Short Essay Law School Exam Question

    Sample Short Essay Law School Exam Question VIC AND DAN: BURGLARY QUESTION RULE: In this jurisdiction, burglary means the breaking and entering of a dwelling of another, in the nighttime, with the intent to commit a felony therein. FACTS: One night, when it was raining lightly, Dan went looking for Vic saying, "I'll get that guy for

  15. What are law school final exams like?

    Law school final exams are different than exams you may have taken in college. They are longer. They often have a racehorse fact-pattern format. And, you have to be prepared for whatever exam your professor gives. For this reason, do not make the mistake of thinking that the final exam for any of your classes is going to be similar to what you ...

  16. Law School Optional Essay Examples: When and How to Write ...

    A law school optional essay is a secondary, supplementary essay you can submit as part of your application to law school. As the name implies, they are not always required of students and are different from a law school personal statement. For example, law school diversity statement is a common optional essay in the US and Canada.