Tips For Conflict of Laws On The Multistate Essay Exam

conflict of laws on the Multistate Essay Exam

What To Know About Conflict of Laws On The Multistate Essay Exam

When thinking about conflict of laws on the Multistate Essay Exam, you should consider two questions: how is it tested? And how often is it tested?  We don’t typically see conflict of laws on the Multistate Essay Exam, and we never see it tested by itself.  When it is tested, it is combined with another subject.  Since July 2007 (20 administrations), we have seen conflict of laws on the Multistate Essay Exam only five times.  There was even a five year gap between July 2012 and February 2017.  It is one of the most rarely tested subjects!

What To Know About Conflict of Laws On The Multistate Essay Exam

Now, just because the odds are against seeing conflict of laws on the Multistate Essay Exam, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for it!  You should always be ready for any of the possible subjects!  This just means that you shouldn’t be focusing all of your time on conflicts.  Spend the most time on what is most likely to come up – but don’t ignore any subject!

So, here are the most common ways we see conflict of laws on the Multistate Essay Exam:

Combined with Family Law

In February 2017 we saw family law combined with conflict of laws on the Multistate Essay Exam.  The topic tested was the recognition of a marriage and the full faith and credit clause.

Remember: A marriage valid under the law of the state in which it was contracted will be valid elsewhere.  The only exception is if it violates a strong public policy of the state that has the most specific relationship to the spouses and the marriage.  Common law marriage is often the focus when this subject is tested.

We have also seen a few other topics tested when family law is combined with conflict of laws on the Multistate Essay Exam.  For example, there are differences between the jurisdiction requirements for a court to render a divorce decree (jurisdiction over only one spouse is needed), and for spousal support and property division orders (jurisdiction over both parties).  Another question previously asked is which state’s law should govern a premarital agreement, as well as how to handle varying statutes of limitations regarding adoption.

Combined with Federal Civil Procedure

In July 2017, February 2012 and February 2009, civil procedure was combined with conflict of laws on the Multistate Essay Exam.  An important topic to know is the Klaxon rule:

Remember: A federal district court sitting in diversity must apply the choice-of-law approach prevailing in the state in which it sits.  Relatedly, when a case is transferred to a more convenient venue, the new court must apply the laws that the original court would have applied. This Klaxon rule is tested over and over!

Another question involved how to handle choice-of-law tort cases.  The rule to remember is that a jurisdiction analyzes a tort claim under the “most significant relationship” approach.  This involves considering the place where the injury occurred, the place where the conduct causing the injury occurred, the domicile/residence/nationality/incorporation of the parties, and the place where the relationship between the parties is centered.

Combined with Decedent’s Estates

This is tested much less frequently, but we have seen decedent’s estates combined with conflict of laws on the Multistate Essay Exam.  This occurred in July 2012.  You should be aware of the fact that the distribution of personal property is governed by the law of the state in which the decedent was domiciled at the time of his death.  By contract, distribution of real property is governed by the law of the situs (aka where the property is).

Laura Sigler, who graduated magna cum laude from Wayne State University Law School, wrote this post.

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Ashley Heidemann is the owner and founder of JD Advising. Ms. Heidemann scored over a 180 on the Michigan Bar Exam in February of 2011 after graduating as the #1 student in her law school class of over 200 students in 2011. She, as well as a team of others, offer bar exam courses, seminars, and private tutoring for bar exam students nationwide. This includes services for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and Michigan bar exam.  Please click here to contact her company, with any questions.

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