You Down With OAC?
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You Down With OAC?

You Down With OAC?

Contracts MCQ’s can be pretty daunting and over the years it feels like the Cal Bar Examiners have made it their goal in life to make them even more difficult.  Over the past few years I have consistently heard students tell me that they feel the contracts questions got “longer” or were more difficult.  But, fear not, for I have some handy dandy tools which you can use to help you beat the Bar Examiners and maximize your MCQ points.

I created a video to show you how to put this diagramming into action!  Let me know if you like it!

The first tool I constantly use when working with Contracts MCQ’s is the “arrow diagram.”  Not only did I use this in my 1L for contracts, prepping for the Baby Bar, and for briefing cases, but I still use it today for Property, Civil Procedure, and many other classes.

The “arrow diagram” is very simple but can save you much confusion in the long run.  First, start by identifying your parties, then draw your arrows!  But, under no circumstances should you begin to try to identify what goes on the arrows until you have finished reading the fact pattern.

ALWAYS begin by reading the call of the question. The call of the question will guide you to where you need to focus.  Generally the call of the question will say “If Bob sues for breach of contract what results?”  This type of call is not very helpful but if you read one sentence back you will generally get a pretty good idea of what you need to focus on.

You should be able to easily discern whether you are being asked to identify an error in Formation, Performance, Breach, or a Remedy.

Now, on to the diagramming!

After reading the call of the question you begin by identify the parties, draw your “arrow diagram” and then begin step 2!

Step 2 begins with simply writing: O.A.C. onto your paper.  Write it vertically.

The O stands for Offer.

The A stands for Acceptance.

The C stands for Consideration.

As you read through your fact pattern begin by looking for the offer.  Once you find the offer, write the details of the offer next to the arrow.

Next look for the acceptance of the offer you identified above.  If you find an acceptance but you are in a Common Law contract and the terms are not a mirror image, write a new OAC below the one you started.  This time the O will be the terms you identified which were not a mirror image acceptance and thus became a new offer.

If you are in a UCC contract and you see a shipment of conforming goods, non-conforming goods, or acceptance by any reasonable means then you will write that next to the A as your acceptance.

Finally, look at your offer and acceptance, make sure there is valid consideration and then simply write something along the lines of “$ for ice cream”.

Now you can finish your “arrow diagram” in step one.

At this point, in a Formation question, you should easily be able to identify the correct answer.  If your fact pattern goes further into Defenses to Formation, you should easily be able to identify those issues based on your OAC diagram.  You will have noted in your OAC diagram whether the offer was written, if the acceptance was written, if it differed from the mirror image terms, etc.

If your question delves even further into Remedies, then your OAC should help you easily calculate those Remedies.  You will have already noted the contract price and for most questions, be able to easily identify the damage amounts.

Give it a try, see how you like it, and remember to reach out to us if you have any questions!


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