Understanding the “Call” of a question (complete information)

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The statement that normally follows the conclusion of an essay is sometimes referred to as the “call” of the question. It is usually something like: “discuss,’ “discuss the rights of the parties,” “what are X’s rights,” “advise X,” etc.

The call of the question should be read carefully since it may limit the relationships of issues about which you must be concerned. If the inquiry in a question is, “what are X’s rights against Y?”, you don’t have to worry one iota about Y’s rights against Z.

You will usually receive absolutely no credit for discussing relationships that are not required by the question. On the other hand, if the call of the question is simply “discuss” or “discuss the rights of the parties”, then all potential relationships must be covered by your answer.

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Unfortunately, students are sometimes led astray by a question’s call. For example, if you are asked for “X’s rights against Y” or to “advise X,” many students will present only X’s viewpoint with respect to the issues contained in the hypothetical.

This is not correct! You cannot advise a client of his/her rights or describe one’s rights against another party without indicating the issues which would arise (and the arguments which would likely be make) if litigation occurred. In short, although the call of the question may appear to focus on only one of the parties to the litigation, a superior answer will cover all of the issues and arguments which that person would encounter in attempting to pursue his/her rights against the other side.

Preparation

Read the facts carefully. Make sure you know who are the partiesare in a case. Another common mistake involves making the right argument on behalf of the wrong party. A foolish way to loose points.

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