Academic Success Tip - Analyze the Elements

Analyze each element of the relevant causes of action in your examination answer.  For example, an Assault is often defined as the intentional placement of another in apprehension of an imminent battery.  If the fact pattern on your torts exam raises the possibility of “A” assaulting “B”, then you MUST address all the elements of an assault.  Was the defendant’s conduct intentional, was the plaintiff placed in apprehension, and was that apprehension of an imminent battery?  While you must address all of these elements, the depth of your analysis regarding each element will depend on the complexity of the problem.  For example, it might be quite obvious that the defendant was acting intentionally, but the real question is whether the plaintiff’s apprehension was of an imminent battery.  In this instance, your analysis of imminence will likely be longer than your analysis of intent.  Forcing yourself to analyze every element will accomplish two things: (1) it will let the professor know that you understand that every element of a cause of action must be proven; and (2) it will force you to consider whether each element has been satisfied, thus avoiding the mistake of failing to discuss a complex problem that, at least on the surface, seemed quite obvious.  (Adapted from Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy.)