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  • Writer's pictureTommy Sangchompuphen

Less Is More: The Case for Short Conclusions

When responding to bar exam essays, you might feel compelled to craft lengthy conclusion paragraphs to wrap up your response, putting extra emphasis on the "C" in IRAC, CRAC, CIRAC, or any other paradigm you follow. Please, don’t. This approach is not only unnecessary but can also detract from the overall effectiveness of your response.

In academic writing, conclusions often summarize the main points and restate the thesis compellingly. However, bar exam essays are different. Your primary goal is to demonstrate your knowledge of the law and your ability to apply it to specific fact patterns. The examiners are looking for clear, direct, and well-reasoned answers, not eloquent prose.

Here are some reasons why lengthy conclusions are unnecessary:

Repetition is Redundant: By the time you reach the conclusion of your response, you should have already articulated and analyzed all the relevant legal points and applied them to the facts. Repeating these points in a conclusion does not add value and consumes precious time that could be better spent elsewhere.

No Additional Points for Restating: Bar examiners do not award extra points for reiterating information. Once you have made your argument and applied the law to the facts, the examiners have all the information they need to evaluate your answer. A brief conclusion that succinctly states your final position is sufficient.

Time Management: Time is one of your most critical resources during the bar exam. Each minute spent crafting a lengthy conclusion is a minute not spent on developing your substantive response or starting the next essay. Efficient use of time can significantly impact your overall performance.

Your conclusion should be a brief statement that directly answers the question posed. For example, if the issue is whether a contract was formed, your conclusion might simply be: “Therefore, a valid contract was formed between the parties.” This provides closure without unnecessary elaboration.

A final conclusion statement should not look like this: “Therefore, a valid contract was formed between the parties because there was an offer when Buyer stated, ‘I love these knives! I’ll take 10 of them,’ there was an acceptance when Seller agreed to ship the knives, there was consideration because Seller agreed to sell the knives for $1,000, and the agreement satisfied the Statute of Frauds.”

Keep it short and sweet, understanding that sometimes less is indeed more. Focus your time and energy on developing a thorough and well-reasoned analysis in the body of your essay. This strategy will maximize your score potential and improve your chances of passing the bar exam.


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