Ever wonder how you’re supposed to juggle everything in your head? How do you prioritize the rules to know for the bar exam?
How are you supposed to learn all this when time is tight? How do you tackle the massive body of rules to know?
How do you know you’ve completed the essay in full? Did you even talk about the correct issues? Are the graders going to give you the points? Are they even going to read your prose?!
You’d love to start practicing essays but feel like you just haven’t learned enough law yet. It’s overwhelming to even begin from scratch.
If you’re a bar taker struggling with coming up with what to write, essays are the bane of your existence. Your rambling paragraphs start to blur. There’s just so much to know (or so you think) and say.
Let’s breathe. We can simplify the essays and make them less scary…
Issues: Learn not just the rules but also how to present and organize the issues (with examples below)
Rules: Highest-priority issues and rules are those that have appeared in the past (there are two other priorities)
There are efficient and effective ways to hit both of the above at once
Be honest now. Imagine you’re mentoring a starry-eyed 1L starting law school. How would you explain how to “spot the issues” in an essay? How exact and specific can you get?
Is it just a mystical process where the crystal ball in your head somehow divines issues from the heavens?
On its surface, a bar exam essay is simply a string of IRACs (easier said than done of course). Prep companies and law schools tend to focus on the “R” and “A” and assume that you already know how to find the “I” naturally.
That’s funny (not really) because an issue that’s never raised, or an irrelevant issue, is completely worthless.
Unlike multiple choice with an objectively correct answer, essays are subject to the whims of the grader. Getting (“spotting”) the correct issues is the easiest way to quickly signal to the grader that you’re at least discussing the right things.
But has anyone actually taught you how to be able to spot those issues? They give you the IRAC framework and leave you in the dust to figure it out. How did those law school exams turn out?
Issue spotting is essential. And it’s a learnable skill you can practice for your bar essay preparation, even if your law school grades didn’t reflect it (like mine).
That’s why I’m going to explain it to you in more detail than this “tip”:
To spot issues, try your best.
Let’s try something more reliable, shall we? There’s a subtle difference between “issue spotting” and the technique I’m about to share.
We like to tell people we “don’t have time” or that “time is the most valuable resource” or that “life is short” (even though we love to procrastinate). But I think we do have a lot of time at our disposal. We just choose to squander a lot of it, too.
Then what’s the true scarcity of this world? What is the one thing that’s radically limited and expires very quickly?
Money? Time? Milk?
I think there’s something even more scarce: human attention.
Read on to see how you can use this scarcity principle to give yourself an edge on the written portions of the bar exam.