apl6783 wrote:You're not learning extra stuff by reading the supplement instead of the casebook. The only times the supplements don't have cases you cover in class are times when the principle is so well founded that there are hundreds, or maybe thousands of cases to choose from that illustrate the principle. In crim, for example, a supplement might cite 5 cases for one of the mens reas of murder. Maybe none are the ones your teacher wanted you to read to learn that that mens rea, but who cares? They all apply the same principle, so it doesn't matter which you read.
See, I disagree with this. I think the key to doing well on exams is regurgitating what your professor wanted you to read, and sticking to that. Professors convey their opinions about how cases were decided when they lecture, and while the BLL may be the same case to case, the professor's opinion about its application may vary. The difference between "okay" and "awesome" I think is knowing the nuances, including the professor's opinions on them, of the assigned cases. Things about other cases? Totally useless.
reformed calvinist wrote:I dunno, I think this is part law school exceptionalism mythos law students seem to love. All the cases you read are someone's rationale for resolving a dispute between parties. And then you recognize that every case has slightly different facts, judges look to precedent, sometimes extend or choose not to extend things, or even strike out into new territory, yadda yadda yadda. Beyond contextualizing what your casebook is like that, it's just reading comprehension. I also think "learning how to read a case" is part of this silly mythos. It's reading. A casebook can be better than a supplement in that sometimes it's better to learn directly from primary sources and digest it yourself, but that's hardly unique to law school.
Now, some supplements are basically Wikipedia. I think the nutshell series is pretty underwhelming. But the outstanding supplements, like Freer's Civ Pro and Chemerinsky? I think the argument holds less water there.
I think that, although reading a case is reading comprehension, learning how to comprehend it has a learning curve. Whether that's different from all other disciplines, I don't know, but learning how to parse cases definitely threw me off my first couple weeks; I do believe that reading cases is a skill. And, based on the people I know at school - which may not be representative sample - those that are good with case-reading are the ones that do better on our exams. This is anecdotal, though, so you may be right.
Regardless of whether it is unique to law school or not, I think there's undoubtedly something to be said for getting things from the primary source and digesting it oneself.
I hear great things about Chemerinsky, and based on its size I'm sure that there's plenty of synthesis readers can do from the supplement alone. That said, I think even the best supplements are not substitutes for reading the cases oneself. I know some of the other guides address using supplements more thoroughly, though, and they all seem to speak highly of Chemerinsky. Freer I'm less familiar with, but I'll take your (and their) word that it goes beyond BLL Wiki.