University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series
Last Updated: 27 July 2013
Answering Legal Problem Questions in a Grid Format
Alex Steel, University of New South Wales
Dominic Fitzsimmons, University of New South Wales
This paper is available for download at Available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2289089
This paper is to be published in Marking Time:
Leading and Managing the Development of Assessment in Higher Education,
2013 . This paper may also b/e referenced as  UNSWLRS 44.
The development of legal reasoning skills is a fundamental aspect of legal education. What has sometimes been called “learning to think like a lawyer” is a threshold competency that students must acquire before they can progress to more complex analyses of broader legal issues. This chapter discusses the use of problem-based scenarios to both engage students and to develop legal analysis. It outlines the threshold difficulties students must overcome in order to read texts as lawyers and explains how use of a grid format answer – rather than an essay format – can both assist students to overcome these difficulties more easily and also provide a more efficient form of marking. The chapter describes the advantages of a grid format answer both for beginning students and also for later year and postgraduate students. It also suggests ways the format can be used to require students to consider broader issues than merely legal analysis.