I have a Torts final exam in a few hours, so blogging will continue to be light (and by light, I mean non-existent). This is my first final, and I’m finding it to be one hell of a challenge. The trick in Torts examinations is spotting all the relevant issues, and with negligence there are a lot of them. Spotting an intentional tort is pretty easy – someone hits somebody, you have battery. Somebody takes a swing at someone, that’s probably assault (provided the contact was imminent and the person was aware). With negligence, you have a complex analysis involving whether there’s a duty involved, whether that duty was breached, whether there was an actual injury, and a very complex causation analysis to show that the defendant’s negligent conduct was a cause of the injury. It’s very easy to miss things like intervening and subsequent causes along the way. There’s a reason why law school is considered one of the most intellectually challenging endeavors out there.
For those considering law school or those unlucky saps going through finals, I’m finding that doing lots of practice exams is extremely helpful. For Torts, this site has some very helpful practice exam questions, some of which have answer keys that let you see what issues you missed. Outlining is important, but ultimately you don’t get judged on what you know, but how well you can spot the issues and then apply that outline. If you don’t spot the issues, you don’t get the points, and the only way to get good at spotting issues is to practice as much as possible.
If nothing else, I’ve learned one thing: it’s generally a bad idea to carry fireworks on the Long Island Railroad. (And if you get that reference without clicking on the link, you’re either a lawyer, a law student, or absurdly overeducated.)