Instructions for the Essay Portion of the California Bar Exam

The following instructions have appeared on the essay portion of the California Bar Exam for many years (and presumably will appear on future exams as well):

“Your answer should demonstrate your ability to analyze the facts in question, to tell the difference between material and immaterial facts, and to discern the points of law and fact upon which the case turns.  Your answer should show that you know and understand the pertinent principles and theories of law, their qualifications and limitations, and their relationships to each other.

“Your answer should evidence your ability to apply law to the given facts and to reason in a logical, lawyer-like manner from the premises you adopt to a sound conclusion.  Do not merely show that you remember legal principles.  Instead, try to demonstrate your proficiency in using and applying them.

“If your answer contains only a statement of your conclusions, you will receive little credit.  State fully the reasons that support your conclusions, and discuss all points thoroughly.

“Your answer should be complete, but you should not volunteer information or discuss legal doctrines which are not pertinent to the solution of the problem.

“Unless a question expressly asks you to use California law, you should answer according to legal theories and principles of general application.”

Mr. Josephson explains to his tutees exactly how to use these instructions as a roadmap for success.