Sample NextGen Bar Exam Integrated Question Sets

layers of pages portraying the concept of integration

About Integrated Question Sets

Just under a quarter of the exam time will be devoted to integrated question sets. Each of these sets is based on a common fact scenario and may include some legal resources (e.g., excerpts of statutes or judicial opinions) and/or supplemental documents (e.g., a police report or excerpt from a deposition) and include a mixture of multiple-choice and short-answer questions. In addition to testing doctrinal law, some integrated question sets will be focused on drafting or editing a legal document; other sets will be focused on counseling and/or dispute resolution.

Below are two integrated question sets.

Integrated Question Set 1

Your law firm encourages you to take on pro bono cases. Recently, you agreed to take on a pro bono case through your local bar’s volunteer lawyers program in which you represent a tenant whose apartment has flooded. The following is an excerpt from your notes from the initial interview with the client:

The client is in a month-to-month lease. The lease identifies the landlord as “Rentals LLC.” The lease was signed by both your client and the property manager, who signed as “the Managing and Sole Member of Rentals LLC.” The lease includes the following provision:

The lease does not include any provision on what damages may be available in the event of breach. Your jurisdiction has a residential landlord-tenant statute that applies to the lease. The following is an excerpt from that statute:

Integrated Question 1

Which of the following is an accurate application of Section 6-20-5 to the facts? Select one.

A. The section allows the landlord to enforce the lease provision, making the client responsible for repairs, but the tenant may seek damages of three times the periodic rent.

B. The section makes the lease provision unenforceable but does not decide the issue of which party is responsible for which portion of the repairs.

C. The section makes the lease provision unenforceable and makes the landlord responsible for the full extent of the repairs.

D. The section does not decide the issue of the lease provision’s enforceability but establishes the landlord’s negligence per se.

Question 1 Answer

The correct answer is (B). Section 6-20-5(d) makes the lease provision unenforceable, but § 6-20-5(b) relieves the landlord’s duty to maintain the premises in a habitable condition if the uninhabitable condition was caused by an act or omission of the tenant or a tenant’s guest or family member. (A) is incorrect because, as noted above, § 6-20-5(d) of the statute makes the lease provision unenforceable. (C) is incorrect because the statute does not necessarily make the landlord responsible for the full extent of the repairs; as noted above, § 6-20-5(b) makes the tenant responsible in certain circumstances. (D) is incorrect because, as noted above, § 6-20-5(d) of the statute makes the lease provision unenforceable. Although § 6-20-5(a) establishes a landlord’s duty to provide habitable premises, it does not establish negligence per se.

Integrated Question 2

Section 6-20-5 of the statute does not define the term “habitable.” A partner at your firm has asked a law clerk to determine the jurisdiction’s meaning of the term for the purposes of potential litigation, and the law clerk has asked you for guidance.

Advise the law clerk on two specific legal sources that are the most likely to provide a controlling definition of the term “habitable.”

Question 2 Representative Correct Answers

  • State statute that defines the term as it is used in this statute, such as a “definitions” subsection within the same statutory scheme.
  • High court decision in this state interpreting “habitable” as it is used in this statute.
  • Appellate court decision in this state interpreting “habitable” as it is used in this statute.
  • State regulatory or administrative source if an administrative agency regulates the area and has provided a definition.

Integrated Question 3

You receive an email from your client. In the email, the client asks you “whether it would be a good idea to sue.” You begin your reply to the client by explaining that litigation will consume the client’s personal time and will almost certainly take longer to resolve than reaching a settlement before litigation. You consider what other risks your client would face in litigation.

Considering your client’s objectives and the applicable statute, describe two other potential risks of filing a claim or claims on the client’s behalf.

Question 3 Representative Correct Answers

  • The landlord may be able to use subsection (c) of the statute to terminate the lease, if it is necessary for the client to vacate in order to repair the flood damage.
  • Termination of the lease could also be a concern based on the month-to-month status of the lease (regardless of the statutory provision). Termination is a risk for this client even if the jurisdiction has a statute that prohibits a landlord from terminating in retaliation for filing a complaint.
  • Even if the client remains in the apartment, a lawsuit will further sour the client’s relationship with the landlord.
  • The landlord might counterclaim and allege that the client was negligent, which could open the client up to potential liability.
  • Litigation, particularly about your home, can be extremely stressful and frustrating.

Integrated Question 4

After discussing your research with the client and assisting the client in setting goals, you contact the property manager on the client’s behalf and attempt to negotiate a settlement. The property manager agrees to replace the carpet but refuses to refund any of the client’s past rent or to pay any of the client’s costs. Eventually, negotiations break down, and you prepare to draft a complaint on behalf of the client.

Which of the following facts provide the most support to a cause of action under § 6-20-5(d)? Select two.

A. The lease provides that the client “waives any . . . right to bring a claim related to the habitability of the leased premises.”

B. The apartment has an unbearably bad smell.

C. The property manager claims that the client did not take proper precautions to prevent flood damage.

D. The client bought a water pump and fans at the property manager’s recommendation.

E. The client cannot afford to make any other repairs.

F. The flooding was caused by a hurricane.

Question 4 Answer

The correct answers are (A) and (D). Section 6-20-5(d) states that any provision in a lease prohibited by subsection (a) is unenforceable. If the landlord seeks to enforce the provision or accepts the tenant’s voluntary compliance with the provision, the tenant has a cause of action in the amount of three times the periodic rent. (A) is correct because the lease’s inclusion of a provision that violates this statute is relevant to a request for damages under § 6-20-5(d). (D) is also correct because the fact that the client bought a water pump and fans at the property manager’s recommendation is evidence that Rentals LLC is seeking to enforce the prohibited provision. The client’s purchase of the water pump and fans at the property manager’s recommendation is relevant and supportive even if it is not dispositive. (B), (E), and (F) are incorrect because none of these options is relevant to the lease’s inclusion of a provision that violates the statute or Rentals LLC’s attempt to enforce the provision. (C) raises an issue that, if true, would be relevant but not favorable to the client. Partial credit is available for this question.

Integrated Question 5

Your legal research since the initial client interview supports a finding that the condition of the client’s apartment after the storm fell below the standard of habitability in the jurisdiction. In addition, your factual investigation has established the following:

  • There was nothing that Rentals LLC could reasonably have done to prevent the flooding from the hurricane.
  • The client spent money on fans and a water pump.
  • Since the client notified the property manager about the flood five months ago, the client has continued paying monthly rent in full.

List two claims you could bring on behalf of your client to seek the greatest possible damages for your client. For each claim, describe what remedy you will seek in the complaint. If the remedy is uncertain, describe the information you need to determine the appropriate remedy.

Question 5 Representative Correct Answers

  • Breach of § 6-20-5(a) – I’m going to need to determine remedies through the remedies provision. [We don’t know what it would cover, though possibilities could be the fans/pump and the rental value.]
  • Breach of § 6-20-5(d) – The remedy is three times the monthly periodic rent. I’m going to need to determine what the client’s monthly rent payment is.

Integrated Question 6

Your firm has had some experience with Rentals LLC. The company does not always show up in court to defend small claims against it, and you are concerned that it might be difficult to collect a future judgment against the company.

List two factual issues you could investigate to help determine whether the LLC’s veil can be pierced to collect a future judgment from the property manager personally. In your jurisdiction, the test for piercing the veil of an LLC is the same as the test for piercing the veil of a corporation.

For example, in a torts matter, a factual issue that might require investigation is “whether the plaintiff lost wages as a result of the accident.”

Question 6 Representative Correct Answers

  • Whether any commingling of the company’s assets and the property manager’s assets occurred.
  • Whether the company maintained adequate business records, to the extent the company was required to keep business records.
  • Whether the company disregarded legal formalities, to the extent that the company was required to follow formalities.
  • Whether the property manager was so inseparable from the company as to be its “alter ego.”
  • Whether the property manager used the company as an agent.
  • Whether the property manager intended to use the company to perpetrate a fraud.
  • Whether the company was undercapitalized.

New! Integrated Question Set 2

You are an associate in a law firm. Your supervisor has asked you to work on a case for a new client, a landscaping company who recently completed a major project for a homeowner and is now in a dispute with the homeowner over payment.  

Assignment

Following the instructions in the email from your supervisor, find five mistakes in the complaint. For each mistake, (1) identify the paragraph that includes the mistake, (2) describe the mistake, and (3) explain how you would correct the mistake.  

A mistake can be a mistake of fact, a mistake of substantive law, or a violation of the provided procedural rule. Missing information is not a mistake. Assume that the following are correct: (1) all bracketed material and (2) all formatting and numbering. 

Representative Correct Answers

  • Mistake: Paragraph 31 does not comply with Rule 10(b)’s requirement that “[a] party must state its claims or defenses in numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable to a single set of circumstances.” The paragraph includes two different circumstances: (a) the request for the fishpond and (b) the fishpond contract. Correction: Split this paragraph into two paragraphs that each address a single set of circumstances. 
  • Mistake: Paragraph 33 may misrepresent the facts. There is no indication in the file that the homeowner acknowledged that the fishpond was completed as requested. Correction: Delete this paragraph or suggest new wording that removes the incorrect/misleading language. 
  • Mistake: Paragraph 34 may misrepresent the facts. According to the interview transcript, the homeowner stated that she wouldn’t pay until the landscaper did something about the oak tree, not that she wouldn’t pay at all. Correction: This paragraph should be revised to ensure accuracy. 
  • Mistake: Paragraph 50 improperly includes damages related to the initial contract in violation of Rule 10(b). Correction: This paragraph should include only the owed fishpond payment of $20,000. 
  • Mistake: Paragraph 52 requests an award of specific performance, which is not available for this claim. Correction: This paragraph should be deleted. 
  • Mistake: Paragraph 53 aggregates the damages related to both the initial contract and the fishpond contract. Correction: For clarity, the prayer for damages should be split into two separate paragraphs: one focused on the initial contract and one focused on the fishpond contract. 

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