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June 20, 2015


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Beau Baez

Reviewing the exam is useful, but what we really need is his grading rubric. Given the era, he may have just awarded grades based on his sense of how the student performed. I suppose we could reconstruct his grading methodology if we could also find some bluebooks and the grades he assigned to those exams.

Al Brophy

Very good points, Beau. Though I have to say that the idea of reading blue books doesn't thrill me, it would be supremely useful to have them. We could learn a lot by seeing how students responded, especially to question two on the 1931 exam (which asks about a contracts case, Harris v. Shorall, in light of a series of other cases and what they say about precedent). Harris is about whether a contract under seal can be modified -- and the New York Court of Appeals allows a modification (and thus bends the common law rule). Cardozo wrote about Shorall in the Nature of the Judicial Process as an example of a case where an old/outmoded rule is modified to a shadow of itself (to use Cardozo's apt imagery). I'm now thinking that such a jurisprudential question may be what Llewellyn's students were complaining about.

I'm not yet sure what the other cases are, but I might guess that they're some of the cases cited in Harris and leading up to it, which had begun to wear away the rule that contracts under seal can't be modified by a parol, unexecuted contract. At any rate, I'd like to post a little more about this if I can figure out the other cases that Llewellyn had his students read for the exam.

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