MEE Essay February 2013 Property – Answer and Self-Assessment

by thedesertion

What I gathered from my score report was that I could use some improvement in both areas. I want to see where and how I could improve, since my essay and multiple choice score breakdown weren’t too far apart. I only did a couple of points better on the essay than the multiple choice. This was mind-blowing to me because walking out of the exam, I had felt a world of difference between the essay and the multiple choice in that I felt I did light years better on the essays than the multiple choice.

I would like to do a series in this journal where I review all 6 of the February 2013 MEE essays that I wrote. I will share an honest and sincere self-assessment. I think it will be really helpful to write about it. Self-reflection is the key to growth!

Since the MEE questions are copywritten by the NCBE, you will have to go to their website to view the essay questions at no charge. After each exam, they post them on the website for all the world to see. February 2013 MEE Questions.

Here is my self-assessment. I wrote this down on paper and now I am transcribing it here.

The property essay was the first one in my exam booklet. I was nervous and spinning my wheels. I didn’t know where to begin or what to write down. I know that my writing was not reflective of my normal style. There are few coherent legal arguments based on good, solid rule statements because I barely wrote any rule statements. I was so nervous and had the worst anxiety, that once my ideas started to come out, they flew all over the place.  I didn’t have any grasp on how I should make the analysis flow.

I should have seen that constructive eviction was the most important argument the tenant could have used. Constructive eviction elements: 1) LL breached duty to T, 2) breach caused loss of substantial use & enjoyment for T 3) T gave LL adequate notice & opportunity to repair 4) T vacated. Overall, on these facts this argument would lose because the LL hadn’t breached an express or implied duty to the T to repair the premises.

I fell into the covenant of quiet enjoyment/implied warranty of habitability trap. I realize that implied warranty of habitability could have been argued, but that I had to discuss constructive eviction as my main issue and describe whether it would be a winning or failing argument. What I am taking from this is that I need to review constructive eviction, warranty of implied habitability, and covenant of quiet enjoyment. I need to know the differences between all of the concepts and when each should be applied and when each will not be appropriate – commercial/residential. Next time I should look at the big picture and see what other arguments I can put in rather than take the sucker trap.

For damages, I misstated the rule. The rule is that under common law, a L doesn’t have a duty to mitigate damages. But, he can’t sue for rents due in the future – he can’t sue for rents that go all the way to the expected lease end date. I focused my argument around mitigation, which is ok, since some courts authorize recovery for future rents – fair market rental value. I must remember to state the common law rule for everything. 

I am upset that I completely missed the surrender issue. After having reviewed my property lecture notes and then reviewing this essay answer, I realized quickly that there was an issue with the surrender/reconveyance/abandonment. Upon looking at the exam again, I would have argued the surrender issue. This means I learned at least one new thing that I didn’t know in February.

I know that self-assessment was just one big jumbled mess. But here are some other reflections and things I will do differently from here on out:

  1. I will switch my IRAC for CRAC. I think it’ll keep me more focused. If I state my conclusion at the outset, I will be less likely to flounder around with my analysis because I will already know how I am going to end it.
  2. I believe there are generally just three main issues. If you’re only spotting two, you haven’t found the third, and if you spotted more than 3, then you’re looking too deeply into the question. Some issues have sub issues, like 1a), 1b), 2), 3) or 1), 2a), 2b).
  3. With regard to issue statements, I will not concern myself with the “Whether” format, or the “Under-does-when” or even the “Under-when-does” formats of issue statements, unless they flow naturally and effortlessly for you. Simple rule statements like, “Does ∆ have a defense against π for ABC?” is perfectly fine.  Barbri tells us not to worry too much about making rule statements, and that just a simple – “P v. D – Breach” is fine.
  4. If there is a “common law” rule and a “modern” rule, I promise myself that I will list both and do an analysis on both, just in case.