We know that the background facts help put the questions into context and makes for a more coherent fact pattern. But you must recognize the differences between background facts and legally significant facts. Background facts are there to put the whole fact pattern together. But do not mistake legally significant facts for just background noise. You must be able to see and understand those legally significant facts that enable you to trigger issues in your mind. For example, if the fact pattern reads, “defendant screamed and called the plaintiff stupid”, you are probably looking at a legally significant fact that should trigger your issue of defamation or even negligent infliction of emotional distress. You can then key into the issue presented, writing down all the elements of defamation or NIED, making sure that you blend the elements of defamation with the facts you just read. This is critical reading in a nutshell.
These skills make you a better test taker and you will be successful in finding your issues for discussion. Don’t ever just skim the words or read the fact pattern like you would a novel. This will not help you find your legally significant facts.
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