FYLSE Essay Offenders
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FYLSE Essay Offenders

FYLSE Essay Offenders

You can write every past essay, review every school practice essay, every possible essay on the internet; but that will never quell your fears of what you may face on your FYLSE.  There is no way to predict what will be on your FYLSE but you can try to prepare and you can practice strategically.

Keep in mind that just because you hear things like “Don’t worry about specific performance they never test on that”, this could be completely wrong.  I heard quite a bit the statement above before my FYLSE and wouldn’t you guess, one of the calls of one of my contract questions, specifically asked about specific performance!


When thinking about potential tort essays that you could face there are the common offenders: Intentional Torts, Negligence, Strict Liability, and Intrusion Upon Seclusion.  There are plenty of past FYLSE essays you can re-write to practice your essay writing skills.  One of my personal favorites is the Torts essay from June 2011.

Lets take a look at the essay:

Paula has owned property in a relatively undeveloped area near the top of Black Mountain for many years.
Six years ago, Telephone Company erected a cell phone transmission tower on Black Mountain not far from Paula’s property.
Four years ago, Paula built a cabin on her property and began to spend most of her free time there engaging in bird watching and other outdoor activities.
Last year, Telephone Company leased space on the tower for an emergency alert siren and agreed to install the siren and to test it regularly. The site was chosen because it allows the siren’s warning to carry farther than from any other site.
Telephone Company promptly installed the siren. Since its installation, it has tested the siren for a five-minute period weekly. The resulting sound is so loud as to cause Paula to stop whatever she is doing and cover her ears. It also greatly reduces the local bird population.
Two months ago, Paula sent a letter to Telephone Company outlining the effects of the siren and demanding that it cease its activities. Telephone Company has not responded to Paula’s demand.
Does Paula have any claim against Telephone Company? Discuss

This is one of my favorite essays because it is tricky.  This essay will really remind you why it is important to have your outlining skills down to a science and really utilizes your ability to issue spot with accuracy.  Most people automatically see the nuisance but easily skip over all the other discussable issues.  Give it a shot and see what you come up with.  The model answer can be found here.

Criminal Law

When practicing for Criminal Law essays the repeat offenders are always your homicides, larceny’s, and a spatter of your Burglary, Arson, Robbery, Rape, and Kidnapping (BARRK) crimes.   But, as I stated above, be ready for everything the June 2017 FYLSE had a Criminal Law question with no homicide!  Here is one of my favorite Criminal Law essays from June 2012:

Van is short and small. One day, as he was walking down a street near his office, he was suddenly grabbed by Abe and Bob, who were each much taller and larger than he, and was dragged into an alley. Abe and Bob beat Van severely with brass knuckles and took several items from him, including a ring. Charles had been standing nearby watching the attack. After the attack, Abe and Bob gave Charles the ring they had taken from Van.
Van was traumatized by the attack, and decided to carry a knife for protection.
Not long after the attack, Van was walking down the street near his office when he saw Abe walking toward him. He suddenly felt fear and rage. He quickly pulled out his knife and held it behind his back. Not noticing Van, Abe put his hands into his pocket. Van believed Abe was reaching for his brass knuckles. Van immediately stabbed Abe, killing him instantly. In fact, Abe had been reaching for a bus pass, not brass knuckles.
1. With what crimes, if any, can Bob reasonably be charged and what defenses, if any,
can he reasonably raise? Discuss.
2. With what crimes, if any, can Charles reasonably be charged and what defenses, if
any, can he reasonably raise? Discuss.
3. With what crimes, if any, can Van reasonably be charged and what defenses, if any,
can he reasonably raise? Discuss.

This essay got me many times.  There are so many issues that you can easily spot here but there are also so many sub-issues that must be brought up in order to ensure that you have an accurate essay analysis.  The model answer can be found here.


When dealing with contract essays the call of the question is vital.  More often than not you will have to go through a valid enforceable contract analysis on most essays but the occasional essay has shown up with a call requesting only that consideration or some other single issue be discussed. With contracts essays, I find the smaller the fact pattern, the more terrifying, because essentially the graders are saying “Tell me everything you know!”  Here is the October 2014 contact fact pattern:

Zena placed an advertisement in a local newspaper: “Wanted: Someone to clean my four-bedroom, four-bath house (2500 square feet) once a week for the next month; pay $35 per hour. No interview or references necessary. The first to apply will be accepted.” She included her phone number.
Carl called her the next day and said, “I accept on the terms you have offered.” Zena said, “You should know there was a mistake in the advertisement. The pay will be the same, but my house is actually 3000 square feet.”
Carl said, “Let me think a moment.” Zena replied, “I have a call on another line, and I’ll call you right back.”  When she called Carl two minutes later, Carl said, “I agree to clean for you on the terms you described. An extra 500 square feet does not matter to me.”
Zena told Carl, “I’m sorry, but I’ve changed my mind and I think I’ll do my own cleaning.”
Carl sues Zena for breach of contract.
Is Zena liable to Carl? Discuss.

The shorter the fact pattern the more is left to the imagination and this means there are more discussable issues left open and more issues to spot.  At first glance it is easy to identify the advertisement, they clearly state it is an advertisement, but remember this is a short fact pattern.  They call it an advertisement but what is our rule statement for an offer?  You would definitely want to bring up whether this was an advertisement or actually constituted a valid offer.  Does it contain definite terms?  Don’t write yourself out of an essay and remember to be the Perry Mason of issue spotting!  See here for the model answer.

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