Black Letter law for Outlining

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corporatelaw87
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Black Letter law for Outlining

Postby corporatelaw87 » Thu May 20, 2010 7:42 pm

Where do you get it from? Not the casebook right? I am assuming your supplements lay out the BLL and when you professor speaks in class, correct?

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Matthies
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Re: Black Letter law for Outlining

Postby Matthies » Thu May 20, 2010 8:00 pm

corporatelaw87 wrote:Where do you get it from? Not the casebook right? I am assuming your supplements lay out the BLL and when you professor speaks in class, correct?


The law comes from the casebook/cases. "BLL" is really just a summary of the law based on the cases that developed the law. Supplements will take the rules from different cases or cases that built upon each other and put it into a summarized version that contains any keywords or elements. You professor may or may not do this as well, and you can, with enough practice, make your own BLL. BLL is not the law so much as a shorthand summarization of the basic principle/requirements of the law in general, though not state specific.

For example each state has a bunch of cases and likely statutes that define what constitutes the defense of mistake of fact or mistake of law in criminal cases in that state. Some may be great, long, well written holdings from cases you would read in Criminal law Casebook (most likely from different states or common law) but will be based upon the specfic facts in THAT CASE. BLL is summerzied law to applyto any set of facts on an exam, or in pricple, but not as "case law."

But you don't need to know what the law is in X state vs. Y state, vs, common law on a law school exam, you need an easy to memorize summary of the rule that you can apply to any hypo, that's "black letter law." I.E. its not citable law, because of course you would cite to the statue or case law and use the words from those decisions in practice, but BLL is what you would use on the bar or in class, or a basci summerization of the basic elemnts or a rule that would apply to any set of facts, then be annylized to those facts. An example of BLL for mistake in criminal law would be just the core elements:

Mistake of fact: Whether a defendant’s mistake of fact will be a defense depends upon the mental state for the crime and whether the mistake is reasonable or unreasonable. So, if the mental state is –
1. SPECIFIC INTENT, then any mistake (even an unreasonable one) will be a defense.
2. GENERAL INTENT, then only a reasonable mistake will be a defense.
3. STRICT LIABILITY, then mistake will not (ever) be a defense.

Mistake of Law: Mistake of law is NOT a defense
1. One exception - if the statue specifically makes knowledge of the law an element of the crime.

(In some states there maybe be exceptions to this, or other lements, but for general purposes, like on a LS exam, this is BLL, but you would NOT cite so simple a rule in your brief or memo, becuase there you would cite to case spefic (and fact specific) examples to illistatte the basic BLL concept.)

Does that make sense?

corporatelaw87
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Re: Black Letter law for Outlining

Postby corporatelaw87 » Thu May 20, 2010 9:59 pm

Yes, I think I understand. The BLL comes from the "issues" and "holding" of the cases? The reason I ask is because I have old outlines (or maybe there just notes from the casebook) from a person who was Top 6% at the school I am going to, so I figure they'd be good for at least reference even if our professors are different. It seems they have briefs in them (summary of case, issue, and whether the issue is a viable one), but also small tidbits about the actual definition say of battery, false imprisonment (it's a torts outline). I am just curious if there was BLL in this persons outline, so I wanted to know where you actually get it.

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Matthies
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Re: Black Letter law for Outlining

Postby Matthies » Thu May 20, 2010 10:08 pm

corporatelaw87 wrote:Yes, I think I understand. The BLL comes from the "issues" and "holding" of the cases?


Well kind of, but BLL is not really the law, its more like you said a definition, whats in the case is the law, BLL is just a summary of it. Can you copy/patse part of the outline with both a case brief and what your thinking is BLL, then we might be bale to see what your refering to.

solidsnake
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Re: Black Letter law for Outlining

Postby solidsnake » Thu May 20, 2010 10:23 pm

Depending on the strength of the professor, outlines from different profs (even if at same school) are pretty useless. The worse a prof is, the better supplements work for that class; and outlines from your upperclassmen should reflect that. How do you know whether a prof is good or bad? Well, besides simply asking upperclassmen (which will usually elicit too biased of an answer to get an accurate picture), you won't know until about a week or so once class begins; hence, why substantive prep during 0L summer is POINTLESS.

It's amazing how much you will figure out once you begin law school. Stop with the incessant prep threads, op, and enjoy your summer.




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