How To Issue Spot On The Multistate Essay Exam
Remember how in law school, especially 1L year, you’d read a four-page fact pattern of your exam and the call of the question would say, “Discuss the issues?” Talk about overwhelming! Well, the good news about the essay portion of the bar exam is that it is nothing like law school exams. In other words when it comes to the question of how to issue spot on the Multistate Essay Exam, the answer is, you generally don’t have to!
How To Issue Spot On The Multistate Essay Exam
You may be wondering, “why?” or “how is that?” But the answer is actually quite simple. Most Multistate Essay Exam questions enumerate questions posed to the examinee. So, the examinee’s job is to pay attention to the call of the question so they actually answer the question. It may sound silly, but one of the biggest, fixable, errors we see when it comes to the Multistate Essay Exam is students don’t answer the question posed.
So, you generally don’t have to worry about how to issue spot on the Multistate Essay Exam. They provide the issues that they want you to handle in the call of the question! Your job is to simply answer the questions. For more information about how to write a Multistate Essay Exam answer check out this post.
However, we keep using the word “generally” and that is because here and there, there are tough Multistate Essay Exam questions. These questions require the examinee to issue spot an issue or two. But, even under these circumstances, there are still pointed questions posed at the end of the fact pattern.
What is an example of a previous MPT that requires issue spotting?
In the February 2010 Torts question, there are two questions specifically asked. (The question is provided for free on the National Conference of Bar Examiners website here.) However, they are general questions—one of them simply asks the examinee if Penny has a viable tort claim against Dennis. So, in this case, the examinee does have to issue spot on the multistate essay exam to get full credit. In order to identify the issues, the examinee has to go back up to the fact section of the question. In the paragraph above the call of the question it specifically explains what Penny sues Dennis for—battery and negligence.
Further, that same paragraph that provides the information that Penny is suing Dennis for battery and negligence, explains that Penny has suffered extensive injuries due to a pre-existing condition that she has. Thus, while the call of the question does not provide the exact legal claims that Penny was suing under, the fact pattern does explicitly provide the relevant information.
Additionally, the facts put you on notice of a possible damage issue, given that they explain the extent of the harm and the pre-existing condition issue. Thus, again, you really don’t have to issue spot on the multistate essay exam, at least not in the traditional law school sense. You simply have to scan the fact pattern to determine what precisely you should be analyzing.
For the second question posed by the February 2010 Torts question, it states, “Does Penny have a viable tort claim against Fernbury Flies?” Again, just like with the first question, the call does not provide the explicit claims that Penny is trying to bring against the Flies. But, you can quickly determine what the claims are by scanning the facts. The facts explain that the Flies own the park where Dennis was playing when he injured Penny. It also explains that Dennis is a Flies’ player. The facts then provide different information illustrating custom of other parks as it relates to nets around the park.
Thus, the question does not explicitly ask the examinee to analyze the issues of vicarious liability and direct liability. However, the facts put you on notice of these issues. So, to effectively issue spot on the Multistate Essay Exam, you should pay attention to the facts—as they provide the issues!
If you are overwhelmed or nervous about the possibility of having to issue spot on the essay exam remember two things. First, you generally don’t have to because the question tells you what you should be analyzing. Secondly, even if you do have to “issue spot” the relevant issues should be clear by the fact pattern. Try answering the February 2010 question, as discussed above, and you will see exactly what we are talking about! If you want more personalized, in-depth help, check out our services!
Meagan Jabbori, a JD Advising bar exam tutor and course instructor, wrote this post. Meagan scored in the 96th percentile on the Uniform Bar Exam. She scored in the 99th percentile on the essay portion (MEE). She has helped hundreds of students pass the bar exam, including the MEE portion of the bar exam.
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