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contact Dean Lori Shaw.


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All testable Issues whether factual or legal can be describe within a four level framework
bulletTransactional Issue
bulletTheory Issue
bulletRule Issue
bulletElement Issue
bulletNear Miss Issue
Transactional Basic facts that form the corner stone of all other issues Isolate each transaction or occurrence which, under the call of the question is legally significant
Most exams multi-Transactional
Required to recognize and label each transaction
Absolute condition precedent to demonstrating any level competence
Events or occurrences
Separate motions in civil procedure
Distinct pieces of evidence in evidence
Each injury in torts
Every agreement in contract
 Multiple parties
  Each separate party whose rights or liabilities
 Items of property
Listed item of property
Arises out of Transactional Issues
Determine what legal theories and concepts are involved in each transaction
Require legal competence
must be creative and well informed
Advanced level of competence "problem-solving" and "judgment" deals with 
the capacity to prioritize among these theories
ability to assess likelihood of success
For Issue-spotting sufficient to see the possible application of a theory so that he/she can subject it to further analysis
If a student fails to identify a theory issue, the student also loses the opportunity to demonstrate competency on the sub-issues related to that theory.
Questions to be answered
What Theory or Concept applies
What Cause of Action applies
What Defenses applies
Arises out of Theory Issues
Determine the rule that must be applied to controversy
What rule or legal proposition must be applied to the controversy
Applicable rule of law
Alternative Rules
Unsettled or first impression = develop a rule
 What formulation of the felony murder rule
 Questions as to the applicable rule of law are rule issues 
Some legal issues have only one possible formulation 
Others (felony murder rule) require that student recognize splits among states and alternative rules
 Most law school test items directly or indirectly test a student's ability to spot and handle rule issues.
Arises Out of Rule Issues
Determine which elements are met/not met by the facts
 Whether the individual elements of the rule are satisfied by the facts.
 Each rule can be broken down into operative element
larceny is
trespassory taking
carry away of
personal property 
known to be another
with the intent of permanently depriving.
 Systematically examine.
 May be legal or factual 
Example =
carrying away = legal
personal property = legal
intent to permanently deprive = factual
Near Miss Issue
troublesome - teacher wants to see the student discuss possible points of controversy even if it is clear that there is no legitimate basis for dispute:
 Burglary - the trespassory breaking and entering of a dwelling in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony or larceny.
Assume every element present except one, the window was left open
while reasonable attorneys might not raise the issue of burglary, 
the savvy law student knows he/she should discuss the issue of burglary and state whey there is none in this case



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 Copyright @ 1997,  2004
Vernellia Randall. All Rights Reserved