Saturday, April 29, 2017

Final Exam Information (so there are no surprises)


Format:
This is your in-class Final Examination. Because this exam is being administered to two different classes and because some students take exams at different dates or times, you must ensure that you do not discuss the exam with, or in the vicinity of, anyone who has not already taken it. If you take the exam at some later point, you must ensure that you do not discuss the exam with anyone until you take it.
The exam can be completed either on computer using ExamSoft or in blue books. If you write in blue books, please be legible; I cannot evaluate an answer that I cannot read or decipher.
The exam consists of 15 Short-Answer Questions, worth a maximum of four (4) points each.
Questions are in Bold. Facts and details about the hypothetical are in Plain Text.

Note on the Hypotheticals:
The basic factual scenarios all are taken from actual cases; most underlying real-world facts and procedural issues are real, with some slight elaborations or changes. One case scenario/fact pattern often covers multiple questions, as indicated. When this is so, the introductory paragraphs present the basic factual and procedural situation and apply to every question arising from that scenario. Additional facts may be added for subsequent questions; a question may take into account all facts already presented in the case. All facts necessary to resolve a question are presented before the question is asked; a question will not require any facts that have not already been presented. Later questions may rely on all previously introduced facts.
All cases are in the courts indicated in the facts. Cases in federal court are governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and applicable federal jurisdictional and procedural statutes and principles.
Read the facts carefully. While some are quite detailed, the questions and issues to be drawn out of each question are straightforward; don’t go looking for hidden balls. All necessary facts are provided; if some fact is not provided, that means it is not necessary to the analysis. You may draw appropriate conclusions from the absence of a fact and you may draw fair inferences from the facts you have. Do not assume any facts and do not fight or overcomplicate the facts you have. Some of the problems include details about the law at issue in the question.
Most questions ask you to take a position--court or counsel for one of the parties. Pay close attention to the precise question in framing your argument.
Names in the multiple-choice fact patterns correspond (in obvious ways) to the role someone plays in the factual scenario and in the case. Thus:
   Name begins with P: Plaintiff
   Name begins with D: Defending party
   Name begins with Th: Third-party defendant
   Name begins with N: Non-party character in the real-world drama (who is not party to the case)
   Name begins with A: Attorney
If the question provides a short version or abbreviation for some name, please use that short name or abbreviation in your answer.

Approaching Short-Answer Questions
You may write up to 150 words on each question. That is an intentionally wide figure (even wider than in your mid-term) to give you maximum room to write, although you will not write that much on most questions. Save your words and avoid throat clearing; jump right into your answer.

Answer each question in a separate paragraph, clearly identifying the question being answered at the start (preferably by writing the question number in bold above the paragraph--e.g. Question 1). In a parenthetical at the end of each answer, indicate the number of words in that answer. If you are using ExamSoft, you can do this by highlighting the paragraph and doing “word count” for just the highlighted portion. If you are handwriting in bluebooks, you must manually count.

Each answer should be concise, brief, and direct, but still thorough. A good answer will identify and briefly state the applicable rule (or relevant portion of the applicable rule) and apply it to the facts at hand to produce a conclusion with a short explanation. You need not write out the entire explanation of the rule (as you did with your Essays); focus on application of that rule to the facts. The questions lend themselves to short, quick answers, although you obviously must briefly present the applicable legal rule, apply it to the facts, and explain your conclusions. The word limit still leaves you a lot of room to write what you need to, including the precise words of the applicable rule or statute. Make sure any conclusion is supported by discussion of the facts at hand (e.g., don’t say “The parties are from different states”; say “The parties are from different states because the plaintiff is from California and the defendant is from Oregon.”). Keep yourself out of the argument; I know the role or position you are playing, so no need to repeat it. Get to your point.

Questions often require you to answer from a particular position--as counsel for plaintiff or defendant or as the court. Be sure to read the question carefully and answer the precise question asked. Answer only the question asked.

Materials:
You may bring to the exam and use any and all assigned materials from the class, including your casebook, rules pamphlet, and Glannon, as well as any and all other rules, statutes, cases, and documents, provided or assigned through the Blog. You may bring to the exam and use any original notes, outlines, or other study document that you were at least 25% responsible for creating (i.e., a communal outline created by a study group). You may not bring to the exam or use commercial outlines, supplements, or other materials and books that were not assigned as part of the class.

Academic Policies and Regulations:
This examination is administered and conducted in accordance with all the provisions of the Florida International University College of Law Academic Policies and Regulations, reprinted in the College of Law Student Handbook.  Students are expected to be familiar with and to conduct themselves in accordance with those policies and regulations.