There are five keys to raising your MEE scores by mastering the law.
Here are five keys to raising your MEE scores by mastering the law. (1) Be systematic and focus on the basics. (2) Study every subject in the same way. (3) Master the vocabulary of each subject. (4) Distinguish the main categories and sub-categories of law in that area. (5) Note which law governs and which main issues fall under the uniform laws or federal statutes or the law of the Constitution.
The Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) tests both on the seven subjects on the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) and also on an additional eight state-law subjects.
This post focuses on the state-law subjects. They are Agency, Conflict of Laws, Corporations, Family Law, Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies, Secured Transactions, Trusts, and Wills.
1. The first of the five keys to raising your MEE scores is to be systematic.
The areas of law on the MEE are widely divergent. But the more you can study them all as though they conformed to a single pattern, the more easily you can master the rules. Look over the table of contents of your review material on the subject. Note which parts are basic, and especially the definitions of terms. Note which parts contain the greatest amount of material.
All other things being equal, the basic parts and the most extensive parts are the rules where you will focus your energy. In Family Law, for example, the rules for marriage and divorce are far more copious than the rules for alternatives to adoption. You must master the rules for getting married and getting divorced, but it is enough to be familiar with the alternatives to adoption. In Wills, the rules for executing a will are more copious than the rules for Totten trusts. You must master the rules for executing a will, but it is enough to understand how Totten trusts work.
2. The second of the five keys to raising your MEE scores is to study every subject in the same way.
First, what are the key categories in the area of law? Second, what human problems does the area of law work to solve? Third, what is the governing law? Fourth, which courts have jurisdiction? Fifth, how are court decrees enforced?
3. The third of the five keys to raising your MEE scores is to master the basic vocabulary of each subject.
Key to mastering the law is to master the definitions of the key terms. What is the basic vocabulary? Do not ever just assume that you are getting the meaning of words from the context. Keep your Black’s Law Dictionary with you at all times, and use it. A lawyer is someone who uses words the way a lawyer uses words. Use flashcards to master the basics.
Some subjects present larger numbers of new terms to be mastered than others. Trusts law requires mastery of the meanings of numerous terms including settlor, trustee, beneficiary, testamentary trust, inter vivos trust, revocable trust, irrevocable trust, charitable trust, and estoppel. Wills law requires mastering the definitions of issue, per capita, per stirpes, representation, joint tenants, and numerous other terms.
4. The fourth of the five keys to raising your MEE scores is to distinguish the main categories and sub-categories of the law in the area.
In Wills law, intestacy is one big category and wills are a second big category. In Family Law, it’s marriage, divorce or annulment, child custody, and adoption. Think about the law as arranged under those headings. Study how the headings are similar to and differ from one another. Again, use flashcards to master the basic rules. Will a beneficiary take under the will or under intestacy? Will the marriage be annulled or will the parties get a divorce?
5. The fifth of the five keys to raising your MEE scores is to note which law governs. Note which main issues fall under state law–including the uniform laws–and which main issues, if any, come under federal statutes or Constitutional law.
In many subjects, the basic law concerns creation (of a will, of a partnership, of a marriage, etc.) and termination or revocation. The governing law within those topics may differ. With a will, the governing law for admission to probate may be different from the governing law for disposition of real property. In Family Law, there are many state law rules, some of which are also uniform law rules, concerning marriage and divorce. There are also federal statutes, including the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), just to choose one of several federal statutes. And some issues that at first glance appear to be appropriate to Family Law, for example, whether non-marital children can be excluded from a will, are Constitutional issues. Which law governs points to fundamental and key distinctions.
If you study the eight state-law subjects on the MEE by using the five keys to raising your MEE scores, you will learn more. You will also enjoy it more.
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