Outlining with lots of cases?

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Holly Golightly
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Outlining with lots of cases?

Postby Holly Golightly » Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:50 pm

So I'm an interesting situation...

My Torts prof expects us to know EVERY case mentioned in the notes (no, I'm not exaggerating), and told me that on our exams she expects us to cite to cases with similar facts. She has also never taught Torts before, so I can't ask students who have had her in the past for their outlines.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to outline for a class like this? I'm trying to start because I have my mid-term next week, but I'm just so overwhelmed with cases that I don't even know where to begin.

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romothesavior
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Re: Outlining with lots of cases?

Postby romothesavior » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:00 pm

Holly Golightly wrote:So I'm an interesting situation...

My Torts prof expects us to know EVERY case mentioned in the notes (no, I'm not exaggerating), and told me that on our exams she expects us to cite to cases with similar facts. She has also never taught Torts before, so I can't ask students who have had her in the past for their outlines.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to outline for a class like this? I'm trying to start because I have my mid-term next week, but I'm just so overwhelmed with cases that I don't even know where to begin.


I sometimes will throw in a quick (X v. Z) next to my bullet point or rule in an outline. I don't put any facts or rationale or anything like that, but usually just the case name will help me remember something from the case. If you need more than that, you could even do something like this:

I. Battery
......a. Definition: The intentional infliction of harmful or offensive contact
......b. Mere jostling or touching in everyday setting is not battery
..............-Wallace v. Rosen: During fire drill, teacher (D) bumps and injures P. P not liable for battery because some contact must be accepted by members of society.
......c. Yadda yadda
..............-Illustrative case

And so on...

This will add a lot of lines to your outline and make it really long, but hopefully a quick line like this will jog your memory and allow you to make quick reference on the exam.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Outlining with lots of cases?

Postby Holly Golightly » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:06 pm

That's what I do with normal classes, but in this class, she expects us to know around 20 cases for each class period. Clearly I can't fit all of them into my outline, but she also doesn't seem to think that the cases we read full opinions of are any more important than the cases we read 2 lines about in the Notes & Questions section, so it's really difficult to figure out what's important.

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kalvano
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Re: Outlining with lots of cases?

Postby kalvano » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:21 pm

That's insane.

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romothesavior
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Re: Outlining with lots of cases?

Postby romothesavior » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:22 pm

kalvano wrote:That's insane.

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Ersatz Haderach
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Re: Outlining with lots of cases?

Postby Ersatz Haderach » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:36 pm

That's a strange expectation. Make flashcards, maybe?

I do what romo suggested. Organize by concept/tort and put the cases below. If you have twenty, you have twenty. Your outline might look weird, but if it works, it works.

LurkerNoMore
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Re: Outlining with lots of cases?

Postby LurkerNoMore » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:40 pm

Expects you to know the cases for class or for the exam? Is the exam open or closed note?

If you have a timed exam, you aren't going to have a chance to expound on the cases. romothesavior has the right plan. Keep doing this. Write it down in your outline even if it makes your outline ridiculously long. This is how you learn it. Then distill the longer outline down to one that has the seminal cases in it. Then distill that down to a checklist/attack outline.

These cases should be able to be grouped together. Your outline should reflect that and should be very brief in describing them. Each case should go by the rule that it illustrates or contradicts. You need to figure out why each case was assigned and distill that concept into one sentence. That is all you will have time for in the exam.

Remember the exam is graded on a curve. You just need to identify cases better than others in your class (and it's better to quickly write down "like the case where the teacher injures the student during a fire drill" than spend 5 minutes trying to remember Wallace v. Rosen).

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mmmadeli
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Re: Outlining with lots of cases?

Postby mmmadeli » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:24 am

Holly Golightly wrote:That's what I do with normal classes, but in this class, she expects us to know around 20 cases for each class period. Clearly I can't fit all of them into my outline, but she also doesn't seem to think that the cases we read full opinions of are any more important than the cases we read 2 lines about in the Notes & Questions section, so it's really difficult to figure out what's important.


This sounds a lot like my torts class -- I think by the end of the course, we cover something like 500+ cases. Our professor is all about analogy, and we know our exam is not an issue-spotter. There's one essay where we predict the outcome of a case and analogize it to cases from class, and then the rest of the exam is multiple choice. (Which of the following, if true, would best flip case A into case B? (i.e. make them factually and logically equivalent) Which of the following best distinguishes case C from case D? The examples I've seen are a hell of a lot like LSAT questions, actually.)




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