Spotting the rules! Any tips, give-a-ways?

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LAWYER2
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Spotting the rules! Any tips, give-a-ways?

Postby LAWYER2 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:47 pm

Can someone shed some light on spotting rules when reading cases, specifically meaning the language that typically surrounds them.
Any other tips for I R A C?

Kobe_Teeth
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Re: Spotting the rules! Any tips, give-a-ways?

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:53 pm

I have no good advice but I can tell you that you are not alone.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=127577

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soaponarope
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Re: Spotting the rules! Any tips, give-a-ways?

Postby soaponarope » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:40 am

Usually, or almost always, the "rule" is found in the court's opinion...

In order to find the rule, you have to understand the issue first, i.e. what the hell is the court trying to resolve: are they (defining intent, jurisdiction issues, an incorrect usage of a JNOV, etc...)

After you know what the issue is, look at the facts. What is going on in the case (the relevant facts of course), and ask yourself, (for example) Why did the court find the age of the defendant important, or why did the court cite how much money the defendant was to be held liable, etc...

Then you should focus on the court's opinion, which unfortunately is pretty much an arcane language to a 1L. Here is where the court analyzes and applies facts to the black letter law/rule. However, in most, or a lot, of the cases we're reading the BLL/rule is does not yet exist for the issue at hand...but rather, the courts examine prior cases that mirror the issues at hand. Sometimes the courts use the prior cases as persuasive authority, although not a binding one. This is were the law evolves and the courts either adds onto the already existing BLL, affirms a rule/BLL/tort/theory, or modifies a BLL, or states a new rule (whether that be a new tort, definition, whatever), and by doing so sets precedent and binds all courts in their jurisdiction to follow their "new rule". The new rule however, is usually persuasive in other jurisdictions, and not binding.

So to wrap it up: When you spot the issue, and pluck the relevant facts, the direction of the case should become clear. With the aforesaid in mind, pay close attention to the opinion of the court (it's usually where the court will state what they think ought to be done, and WHY). This is where the courts will reveal their RULE. The rule is now law (at least in the jurisdiction that the courts reside). At the end of the opinion is the judgment: rendered, affirmed, reversed, etc...

Disclaimer: I'm a 1L, and this is my understanding of how to pull out the BLL, or the rule, from our casebook.

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savagedm
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Re: Spotting the rules! Any tips, give-a-ways?

Postby savagedm » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:34 pm

Look the case up on westlaw/lexis and find that summary they have at the top... the rule is in there, just find what the court applied and figure out how to word it so it can apply it to other cases.

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zeth006
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Re: Spotting the rules! Any tips, give-a-ways?

Postby zeth006 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:06 pm

savagedm wrote:Look the case up on westlaw/lexis and find that summary they have at the top... the rule is in there, just find what the court applied and figure out how to word it so it can apply it to other cases.



Damn. As a 1L noob, I'm still learning the ropes on westlaw/lexis. If it does what you say it does, it'll be pure gold. Some of these cases are pretty dense!

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LAWYER2
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Re: Spotting the rules! Any tips, give-a-ways?

Postby LAWYER2 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:09 pm

zeth006 wrote:
savagedm wrote:Look the case up on westlaw/lexis and find that summary they have at the top... the rule is in there, just find what the court applied and figure out how to word it so it can apply it to other cases.



Damn. As a 1L noob, I'm still learning the ropes on westlaw/lexis. If it does what you say it does, it'll be pure gold. Some of these cases are pretty dense!



THIS!

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savagedm
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Re: Spotting the rules! Any tips, give-a-ways?

Postby savagedm » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:59 pm

LAWYER2 wrote:
zeth006 wrote:
savagedm wrote:Look the case up on westlaw/lexis and find that summary they have at the top... the rule is in there, just find what the court applied and figure out how to word it so it can apply it to other cases.



Damn. As a 1L noob, I'm still learning the ropes on westlaw/lexis. If it does what you say it does, it'll be pure gold. Some of these cases are pretty dense!



THIS!


As my uncle (an attorney) told me before classes started, "No attorney who isn't retarded will read a case then figure out what it's about. You don't have that kind of time. You find out what the case is about THEN you read it if it's relevant."

wpc1532
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Re: Spotting the rules! Any tips, give-a-ways?

Postby wpc1532 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:57 pm

savagedm wrote:Look the case up on westlaw/lexis and find that summary they have at the top... the rule is in there, just find what the court applied and figure out how to word it so it can apply it to other cases.

that's genius.

solidsnake
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Re: Spotting the rules! Any tips, give-a-ways?

Postby solidsnake » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:18 pm

look for any if/then test -- they are there, only usually implicit ('if this material fact, then that legal result'). Remember case law is supposed to be limited to the facts before the court and stare decisis says to treat similar facts the same. So look at each new case/hypo and make arguments why it's like/dislike the case to which you are analogizing (and plug it into the earlier case's if/then test). Then use policy/extralegal arguments to say why it should be a different result, despite the similarity, or to justify the one you reached, despite the dissimilarity. Argumentation is just result/support from that great, big ocean of law out there that draws on and from just about every facet of western civilization. All the tricks of legal analysis exist as a means through which to build support. And 1L is supposed to be "objective" rather than advocacy, so always do the math for each result (result X and ~result X).




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