Notes/Outline Question

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ArtVandelay
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Notes/Outline Question

Postby ArtVandelay » Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:28 pm

LEEWS, GTM, and everyone here says not to focus on cases but instead on "black letter letter law" and rules for note-taking and outlining. Where do the black letter laws and rules come from? The casebooks don't really seem to include them. Do I just get all of my notes/outlines straight from supplement and hornbooks? What is the purpose of the casebook and classes? Thanks.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:47 am

ArtVandelay wrote:LEEWS, GTM, and everyone here says not to focus on cases but instead on "black letter letter law" and rules for note-taking and outlining. Where do the black letter laws and rules come from? The casebooks don't really seem to include them. Do I just get all of my notes/outlines straight from supplement and hornbooks? What is the purpose of the casebook and classes? Thanks.


I think you're right for where to get the law but I would like some confirmation.

Cases I think are to get you thinking and see how the law is applied. LEEWS suggests thinking about why the cases was adjudged the way it was and also suggests changing the facts and how it would change the judge's ruling.

Class is for listening to your professor and seeing what you can squeeze out of him 50 minutes at a time to direct your exam answers (and hopefully your hypo practice).

270910
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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby 270910 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:34 am

*face palm*

The law you learn in any class is contained entirely within the cases you cover. Each case is applying a settled principle of law, overturning a settled principle of law, establishing a novel principle of law, or articulating a divergent principle of law (from a different jurisdiction, for example). You could get an A+ on every exam without reading anything out side of the casebook.

But it's hard to extract the law from cases, particularly when you have to trace its development over a series of cases and then figure out how to apply it "live" on an exam. For that reason, hornbooks can help you see the forest for the trees by laying out the way things work in a broader scale. But they'll never perfectly match your cases in class, so inevitably the hornbook will contain law you didn't study (unnecessary to your prep) while also excluding law that you did study (leaving holes in your knowledge).

As you have likely realized, however, the amount of time it takes to read a case, study it, and discuss it in class vastly exceeds the time necessary to be told something like "contracts require consideration, which is a bargain-like benefit or a detriment on both sides of the transaction." The process also involves you learning about legal reasoning and about legal decision making so that you can become a better advocate.

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ArtVandelay
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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby ArtVandelay » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:46 am

disco_barred wrote:*face palm*

The law you learn in any class is contained entirely within the cases you cover. Each case is applying a settled principle of law, overturning a settled principle of law, establishing a novel principle of law, or articulating a divergent principle of law (from a different jurisdiction, for example). You could get an A+ on every exam without reading anything out side of the casebook.

But it's hard to extract the law from cases, particularly when you have to trace its development over a series of cases and then figure out how to apply it "live" on an exam. For that reason, hornbooks can help you see the forest for the trees by laying out the way things work in a broader scale. But they'll never perfectly match your cases in class, so inevitably the hornbook will contain law you didn't study (unnecessary to your prep) while also excluding law that you did study (leaving holes in your knowledge).

As you have likely realized, however, the amount of time it takes to read a case, study it, and discuss it in class vastly exceeds the time necessary to be told something like "contracts require consideration, which is a bargain-like benefit or a detriment on both sides of the transaction." The process also involves you learning about legal reasoning and about legal decision making so that you can become a better advocate.


I understand that was a facepalm-worthy question, but nobody ever explained it like that. Thank you.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby 270910 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:50 am

ArtVandelay wrote:
disco_barred wrote:*face palm*

The law you learn in any class is contained entirely within the cases you cover. Each case is applying a settled principle of law, overturning a settled principle of law, establishing a novel principle of law, or articulating a divergent principle of law (from a different jurisdiction, for example). You could get an A+ on every exam without reading anything out side of the casebook.

But it's hard to extract the law from cases, particularly when you have to trace its development over a series of cases and then figure out how to apply it "live" on an exam. For that reason, hornbooks can help you see the forest for the trees by laying out the way things work in a broader scale. But they'll never perfectly match your cases in class, so inevitably the hornbook will contain law you didn't study (unnecessary to your prep) while also excluding law that you did study (leaving holes in your knowledge).

As you have likely realized, however, the amount of time it takes to read a case, study it, and discuss it in class vastly exceeds the time necessary to be told something like "contracts require consideration, which is a bargain-like benefit or a detriment on both sides of the transaction." The process also involves you learning about legal reasoning and about legal decision making so that you can become a better advocate.


I understand that was a facepalm-worthy question, but nobody ever explained it like that. Thank you.


It's all good, I'm glad that helped. Everyone who has lived through 1L didn't know that walking in, so the facepalm was bemused rather than aggressive :D

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby OperaSoprano » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:02 am

TCR is to listen to disco_barred, and also to get an outline specifically made for your professor from someone who has had the class. More than one, if possible. You'll still want to make your own, and you'll likely still want a hornbook or two, but hand me down outlines helped me a great deal. It is about plugging the holes and synthesizing information, and it helps to see how other people distilled the law from your cases. Keep in mind that any class may not be taught in exactly the same way each year, but old outlines remain a wonderful resource, and unlike other supplements, they are free.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:33 am

Thanks to Disco and Opera (ha, music) for clearing up the confusion.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby dudders » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:51 am

Supplements are "supplements." Use them where you need help, clarification, or a shortcut, but remember that the rest of your career won't necessarily come with supplements. Being able to decipher that law through cases, even when it's onerous, is a skill you still need to learn.

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ArtVandelay
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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby ArtVandelay » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:37 pm

I appreciate the help, guys. I guess I just didn't realize how difficult it is to actually figure out what I'm supposed to be studying. The professors are so focused on the cases in class that I feel like that's all I should be doing. There's really no focus on the specific laws or rules that (according to everyone) I need to know for the exam. I know the semester just started, but it seems very confusing. I felt very prepared having done LEEWS and reading GTM during 0L summer, but right have no idea what I should be writing down.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby goosey » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:38 pm

I am sooo confused about this. Because the cases we are discussing are not from NY and there are very few that are ruled by the supreme court so as to actually hold binding precedent in ny-->basically, how can we extract law from cases in different jurisdictions and then have them apply?

secondly, I am really worried about studying smart as well as hard (sorry to hijack, but i figure this is relevant here as well)--I read the cases carefully but quickly, then read the chapter in the hornbook, part of commercial outline, and any other supplement I can find dealing with the area of law we are working with, and then go back and read the cases once more, paying more attention to detail. I take notes while reading cases on post-its and then stick them to the page-->this makes formal briefing unnecessary but I like to get it all down on paper as well so that I can use the LEEWS method (1/3 of paper dedicated to brief--take notes on the 2/3 next to it, adding anything the professor says). I have found through undergrad that I learn best when writing things down..and if I write them over and over, I know them inside out. The only thing that concerns me with this approach is a) is it a productive use of my time? and b) I am never extracting law/principle out of these cases because I assume they dont apply in ny anyway. Also, I get the black letter law from supplements and fill in/alter where I feel my professor is diverging. Thoughts on this?

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby stonepeep » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:03 pm

goosey wrote:I am sooo confused about this. Because the cases we are discussing are not from NY and there are very few that are ruled by the supreme court so as to actually hold binding precedent in ny-->basically, how can we extract law from cases in different jurisdictions and then have them apply?


For exams it will probably make no difference at all whether the legal principles from the cases you're reading are from the state in which your school is located. Most of my professors ignored the jurisdictional element entirely, and all of the principles we learned were fair game for exam questions. Others made up jurisdictional rules for the exam, such as "if there is a California case on point, then act like that case is the binding precedent; otherwise, just treat any case like binding precedent." The former approach (use all of your cases, doesn't matter where they're from) was more common than the latter.

secondly, I am really worried about studying smart as well as hard (sorry to hijack, but i figure this is relevant here as well)--I read the cases carefully but quickly, then read the chapter in the hornbook, part of commercial outline, and any other supplement I can find dealing with the area of law we are working with, and then go back and read the cases once more, paying more attention to detail. I take notes while reading cases on post-its and then stick them to the page-->this makes formal briefing unnecessary but I like to get it all down on paper as well so that I can use the LEEWS method (1/3 of paper dedicated to brief--take notes on the 2/3 next to it, adding anything the professor says). I have found through undergrad that I learn best when writing things down..and if I write them over and over, I know them inside out. The only thing that concerns me with this approach is a) is it a productive use of my time? and b) I am never extracting law/principle out of these cases because I assume they dont apply in ny anyway. Also, I get the black letter law from supplements and fill in/alter where I feel my professor is diverging. Thoughts on this?


That sounds like WAY too much work to me. I don't think you need to read a hornbook, commercial outline, and a supplement for each case/area of law. In my opinion, supps are just that: supplemental. You should use them when you are unclear on an area of law or feel that it would increase your understanding to have the principle explained in a different fashion. In fact, I think it's dangerous to rely so heavily on supplemental materials, because it will become difficult to distinguish both in your head and your notes/outline what came from the prof/casebook and what came from the supps. Professors have told my classes numerous times that it doesn't help you and will probably hurt you to bring in arguments/explanations from supplements that disagree with their (the prof's) own explanation.

The only thing you actually need from cases is the law/principle. The cases are merely a tool used to explain the relevant legal principle. The facts are almost certainly going to be useless to you on an exam (unless your prof requires this type of knowledge for their exam, which you can find out by looking at past exam answers. Such a requirement is, however, unlikely). Sure, it can be helpful to know a basic outline of the facts come exam time, but never more than one or two sentences tops. You need just enough to remind you what the case was about so you have some context in case you would like to cite to the case on your exam.

I definitely don't think you need to read cases twice, although I can see how it might be helpful to you right now as you begin law school and are still learning how to read cases. However, in a month or two you shouldn't need to read them more than once.

As an aside, I would really like to know where this whole "the profs/casebook don't teach you the BLL" thing came from because it is patently untrue. It sounds like the type of thing someone would say when they don't really "get" caselaw, and they think every single "law" is in a statute somewhere.

I appreciate the help, guys. I guess I just didn't realize how difficult it is to actually figure out what I'm supposed to be studying. The professors are so focused on the cases in class that I feel like that's all I should be doing. There's really no focus on the specific laws or rules that (according to everyone) I need to know for the exam.


The profs are focusing on the specific laws and rules, you ding-dong. That's the whole point of reading cases!

I'm teasing you, because I know it's confusing at first, but I seriously think that a person could do extremely well in many classes without ever touching a supplement. If your prof is really confusing, then not so much; but at least in my experience, that's not the norm.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:40 pm

Goosey, I'm glad you brought this up. I'm struggling with this as well. I feel like I can find parts of BLL in a case but I can't find a statement of a rule that I can put in an outline and apply later. I'm finding that I have to read the case, brief it, and then read the supplement (usually E & E's) to see if I got the "R" right and therefore did the "A" properly too (like to do the A because it feels if I do it with great detail it actually could help with the exam). Next week or shortly after I'm thinking of messing with the hornbooks.
(I'm referring to "R" and "A" of IRAC)

I figure once I get good at spotting the holding and the rule statements this will go rather quickly.

The studying hard/smart thing is proving tough to figure out on days 1 & 2.

As for the people dancing around stating explicitly where BLL is found...can ya just tell us? An example would be great! I think those of us who have read some TLS "how to do well" wisdom are a bit confused.

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stonepeep
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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby stonepeep » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:04 am

Kobe_Teeth wrote:As for the people dancing around stating explicitly where BLL is found...can ya just tell us? An example would be great! I think those of us who have read some TLS "how to do well" wisdom are a bit confused.


It's in the cases... I'm not really sure how to be more specific than that. It's in there. You'll get better at distilling the cases down to the holdings, trust me.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:12 am

stonepeep wrote:
Kobe_Teeth wrote:As for the people dancing around stating explicitly where BLL is found...can ya just tell us? An example would be great! I think those of us who have read some TLS "how to do well" wisdom are a bit confused.


It's in the cases... I'm not really sure how to be more specific than that. It's in there. You'll get better at distilling the cases down to the holdings, trust me.


Doing torts now. I think I'm starting to track it down.

Goosey, I know you want to work smart and hard, but doing IRAC a few times seems to be helping me.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby keg411 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:17 am

The parts of the BLL makes up the rule. I've been pulling out everything that looks like some type of definition. The structure of the cases is the same as the structure of legal writing in general. The justice states the rule, the different parts of the rule and then applies the rule to the facts of the different cases. Also, there's a ton of information in the case notes as well; sometimes they even define parts of rules right there so you can refer back to the case and find what you need.

... at least, I think. I've only used something supplemental on one case so far. Maybe I'm missing something I'm probably missing something.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:25 am

keg411 wrote:The parts of the BLL makes up the rule. I've been pulling out everything that looks like some type of definition. The structure of the cases is the same as the structure of legal writing in general. The justice states the rule, the different parts of the rule and then applies the rule to the facts of the different cases. Also, there's a ton of information in the case notes as well; sometimes they even define parts of rules. You just have to pick them out. The organization is there for you.

... at least, I think. I've only used something supplemental on one case so far. Maybe I'm missing something I'm probably missing something.


I hope you're not because this is what I'm catching on to. The cases I read for days 1 of each class seemed to be more conceptual in scope. For instance, in Torts we had to read a case that highlighted the concept of fault. The question at hand was one discussing negligence but our teacher didn't want to talk about negligence, she wanted to talk about fault. There don't seem to be rules discussing "fault." (well there do...but they are called TORTS!!) There are rules that determine fault through intentional and unintentional acts. On day 2 we are discussing "battery" and "assault" and in the cases tonight I am seeing a lot more rule statements and easier to find holdings.

keg, are you briefing IRAC style or other?

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby 270910 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:22 am

Kobe_Teeth wrote:
keg411 wrote:The parts of the BLL makes up the rule. I've been pulling out everything that looks like some type of definition. The structure of the cases is the same as the structure of legal writing in general. The justice states the rule, the different parts of the rule and then applies the rule to the facts of the different cases. Also, there's a ton of information in the case notes as well; sometimes they even define parts of rules. You just have to pick them out. The organization is there for you.

... at least, I think. I've only used something supplemental on one case so far. Maybe I'm missing something I'm probably missing something.


I hope you're not because this is what I'm catching on to. The cases I read for days 1 of each class seemed to be more conceptual in scope. For instance, in Torts we had to read a case that highlighted the concept of fault. The question at hand was one discussing negligence but our teacher didn't want to talk about negligence, she wanted to talk about fault. There don't seem to be rules discussing "fault." (well there do...but they are called TORTS!!) There are rules that determine fault through intentional and unintentional acts. On day 2 we are discussing "battery" and "assault" and in the cases tonight I am seeing a lot more rule statements and easier to find holdings.

keg, are you briefing IRAC style or other?


1) IRAC is much more for writing than for briefing

2) Name some of the cases you've done. Chances are one is common enough that myself or another 2L can tell you what the one sentence rule from it was, which might help you realize what is wheat and what is chaff.

3) In re 2: Yeah, it takes a long time. It's especially hard because the more cases you read, the better you see how they fit together. It's also helpful to note that many of the first cases in classes are very general and not designed to teach a hyper specific rule, just introduce you to the themes of the area of the law. Don't get too stressed out over the first week or so of reading.

4) Secret tip: If you are on a unit (Example: intentional torts in torts, personal jurisdiction in civ pro, the law of finders in property) try reading all of the material for that section over the weekend, and THEN trying to briefly brief (1-2 sentences tops) each case. You'll realize that when you read case A you won't have nearly as good an idea of why you just read that case as you will once you've read cases A, B, C, D, and E.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby keg411 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:09 am

I've been briefing the way my Legal Writing book says to, but I don't think that matters). I just like really really strong organization and going back and editing my case briefs from the way I initially made them helped me clarify some things and understand some things better (maybe). But I think that's a personal thing. I also actually like briefing, as I said earlier, because I like to keep things very organized and systematic and it helps me go back and clarify things. I dunno, I'm one week into 1L. At this point, I just hope I'm not totally wrong in my approach and ideas.

Also, do any UVA people have Prof. Doug Leslie? My prof uses his material for Contracts.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:19 am

disco_barred wrote:
3) In re 2: Yeah, it takes a long time. It's especially hard because the more cases you read, the better you see how they fit together. It's also helpful to note that many of the first cases in classes are very general and not designed to teach a hyper specific rule, just introduce you to the themes of the area of the law. Don't get too stressed out over the first week or so of reading.

4) Secret tip: If you are on a unit (Example: intentional torts in torts, personal jurisdiction in civ pro, the law of finders in property) try reading all of the material for that section over the weekend, and THEN trying to briefly brief (1-2 sentences tops) each case. You'll realize that when you read case A you won't have nearly as good an idea of why you just read that case as you will once you've read cases A, B, C, D, and E.


I think most of my trouble dealt with the first few cases being super general. The cases i read last night had rules that were quite easy to spot. Also, thanks for number #4. Gonna give that a shot.

And keg, I agree, briefing and reading cases is fun!.......so far.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby charlesjd » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:17 am

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Last edited by charlesjd on Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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kalvano
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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby kalvano » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:23 am

I'm pretty sure our initial cases establish general rules at first, like the conditions of contact regarding battery, or is intent necessary.

I don't think you're going to find some super-specific rule in these familiarization cases.

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goosey
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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby goosey » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:09 am

I just finished the first two sections of my outline (don't judge me, I have harsh scholarship stipulations and I cnt lose tht money) and I think outlining really helped me synthesize the material.

The first few cases establish the rules for intent. Intent is a major component of battery, and within each rule u need to know precisely what the components mean, so basically, what I did is:

I. Intentional Torts
Definition of Intent
3 different acceptable interpretations of intent

Transferred Intent-definition
1. Whatever example I put here

Then I did a subsection on employer liability on employee condduct
Then I started with
A. Battery (definition and expounded with examples, defined the eothr components in subsection.
B. Assault
Etc..

If anyone is using the twerski/henderson casebook I was hoping to send it to someone and get a better idea of if I'm missing anything major

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:22 am

Not gonna judge ya. I'm going to outline on Friday. Our school doesn't have class on that day so I decided Fridays will be dedicated to outlining. I figure if I get at least two classes outlined every week, I'll be in good shape.

The question is, when to start hypos????? I'm thinking of going through and giving the E&E's hypos a shot first sometime soon.

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby BCLS » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:10 pm

Kobe_Teeth wrote:Not gonna judge ya. I'm going to outline on Friday. Our school doesn't have class on that day so I decided Fridays will be dedicated to outlining. I figure if I get at least two classes outlined every week, I'll be in good shape.

The question is, when to start hypos????? I'm thinking of going through and giving the E&E's hypos a shot first sometime soon.

After I finish a section, such as intentional torts, I plan to find that section in the E&E's and practice. Smart?

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Re: Notes/Outline Question

Postby username1 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:57 pm

BCLS wrote:
Kobe_Teeth wrote:The question is, when to start hypos????? I'm thinking of going through and giving the E&E's hypos a shot first sometime soon.
After I finish a section, such as intentional torts, I plan to find that section in the E&E's and practice. Smart?


This is what I do too although I thought the torts e/e was horrible. Also, if you are going to have multiple choice on your exam do a few out of crunchtime, siegels, lexis q/a or your bar prep.




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