Briefing cases a waste of time?

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cgs230
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Briefing cases a waste of time?

Postby cgs230 » Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:47 am

That was more or less my assumption when I started, but one of my teachers told me she was SPECIFICALLY going to be testing us on our cases, and that hypos done on the final would be similar to cases we read about and briefed, and she expected us to cite.

That pretty much throws out all of the advice I've been reading (various posts, pls, not to mention this humble person: http://www.top-law-schools.com/success- ... chool.html).

rynabrius
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Re: Briefing cases a waste of time?

Postby rynabrius » Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:50 am

Briefing cases is a waste of time if you don't care about getting good grades, I guess.

dougroberts
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Re: Briefing cases a waste of time?

Postby dougroberts » Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:22 am

rynabrius wrote:Briefing cases is a waste of time if you don't care about getting good grades, I guess.


This is false. Briefing cases does not necessarily equal good grades.

Some write very detailed briefs and others only "book brief." Whatever works for you and for the specific class. For example, if you have a statutory class where ultimately the rules are the only important thing on the exam (and usually your Prof. will tell you cases are unimportant for the exam), then perhaps you should not waste so much time briefing, but instead book brief and still read the cases of course.

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SwollenMonkey
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Re: Briefing cases a waste of time?

Postby SwollenMonkey » Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:25 am

cgs230 wrote:That was more or less my assumption when I started, but one of my teachers told me she was SPECIFICALLY going to be testing us on our cases, and that hypos done on the final would be similar to cases we read about and briefed, and she expected us to cite.

That pretty much throws out all of the advice I've been reading (various posts, pls, not to mention this humble person: http://www.top-law-schools.com/success- ... chool.html).


The humble person presented a perspective. Whether it applies to you or you can utilize it, is of course a different story. While there may be similarities in the posts you you may have read, everyone will have a different experience when it comes down to briefing. Follow what your professor says at all times, and let what you read here on TLS be a perspective. :D

rynabrius
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Re: Briefing cases a waste of time?

Postby rynabrius » Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:52 am

I was lazy about briefing second semester. I would book brief, throw up a template, and fill out my brief in class. (Well, if we were going to do a bunch of cases, I'd do one 'seed case' to start things off.) I would not have been able to do this, though, had I not been fanatic about briefing first semester.

All law school advice must, of course, be tailored to the individual student, and the individual class they are taking. For code-based classes, it's generally more important to be familiar with the code and what it means than the cases; for common law classes, briefs and cases are more important.

This being said, briefing is an important skill. Briefing well teaches you to read and analyze well, and having good briefs gives you a huge leg-up when it is time to start outlining. People look for ways to avoid briefing because it's boring and hard. In short, to quote noted legal scholar and ex-Supreme Court clerk Ronnie Coleman, "everybody wanna get big, but ain't nobody wanna lift no heavy-ass weights."

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rdcws000
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Re: Briefing cases a waste of time?

Postby rdcws000 » Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:04 pm

I'm only 1 week in and I've been briefing every case, but I find it useful.

The class discussion generally revolves around the cases, and I use the brief pages to take notes. I haven't filled more than one page per class of additional notes yet, meaning for me, thorough briefing gives me more time to listen in class instead of writing notes.

We'll see how it goes as I get further along and experience different profs.

Pip
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Re: Briefing cases a waste of time?

Postby Pip » Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:27 pm

It depends on the class and how the professor runs it. Also once you get access to Westlaw you just use it to find out what was/is important in any given case... yes you aren't supposed to do it that way but half the people will.

Sounds like the class you are in requires knowing the cases in the class.. your other option is to drop that class and sign up for another one, some professors like to act John Houseman while others realize it was just a movie.

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nealric
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Re: Briefing cases a waste of time?

Postby nealric » Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:02 pm

I only know of one person who claims to have fully briefed (i.e. including every holding/concurring opinion/dissent and procedural history) every case in law school.

Most people lasted about two weeks before realizing it's a waste of time. Perhaps a useful exercise to do a couple of times to understand how cases are structured, but a full case brief contains way more information than you would ever need to retain for the exam. Some people do a two-three line brief stating the basic principle of the case, but you can usually create that that from your class notes.

That said, everyone is different. Do what works for you.

rynabrius
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Re: Briefing cases a waste of time?

Postby rynabrius » Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:06 pm

For some reason I feel the need to give another plug for briefs here. If you use a personal wiki program or OneNote to make your briefs, you can link briefs to one another. This is very useful in two ways. First, when the professor asks questions like, "and what other cases is this similar to?" you will be able to answer quickly. Second, seeing links between cases--the "big picture"--is very helpful when outlining time comes around, and, ultimately, on exams.

Your briefs will of course get smaller and more focused as you get better at them. However, be wary of stripping down briefs or ditching them too soon. I suspect that most 1L's won't really know what they will need for an exam until they are in their second semesters.




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