Meredith Muller served as a law professor for many years teaching 1L and bar review classes. Her classes consistently passed the California First Year Law Student’s Exam (FYLSE) at a higher rate than the state average. She has consolidated her methods into her latest book, Essential Elements: Contracts, Torts, and Criminal Law.
The book may be used as a textbook by professors teaching an FYLSE review course. It can also be used as a supplemental resource for students taking Contracts, Torts, and Criminal Law. The book is not an outline of the black letter law. Rather, it focuses on how the topics are connected as well as how they are tested. The first section consists of a series of substantive flowcharts and commentary. This allows students to understand how the material fits together while providing a visual “mental checklist” to use when issue spotting on exams. The second section focuses on essay writing. It begins with a lesson regarding organization and IRAC. This is followed by a series of practice essay questions, sample answers, and specific guidance highlighting important takeaways and common problems. The third section focuses on multiple choice testing strategy and includes specific, useful advice followed by a series of practice multiple choice questions, answers, and commentary.
Accompanying Teaching Notes encourage course professors to assign practice material and provide feedback. Students using the book on their own also have the opportunity to submit practice essays for feedback via the author’s website.