Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

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Will this method be successful for exam prep?

Yes
12
32%
No
26
68%
 
Total votes: 38

law777
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Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby law777 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:16 pm

Current 1L here...

I got behind in the readings, and for a period of a few days, I only read briefs before class. I found that I was able to follow the discussions and anticipate the direction of the professor's lecture much better.

I think this is because my entire focus was on the relevant facts and specific rule of law, as opposed to being inundated with the judge's minutiae (also I was able to get plenty of sleep the night before).

My question is:

For the purposes of the exam - would it be better to read casenotes (aka case briefs), the notes at the back of the case in the casebook, listen in class, and then follow this by reading the relevant legal topic in a supplement, without reading the actual case from the casebook? Any 2Ls or 3Ls have any experience with this?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:28 pm

Probably depends upon the professor's test design.

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AVBucks4239
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby AVBucks4239 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:23 pm

If you want to cut down on reading, read the facts and procedural history from a brief but still at least skim over the court's analysis/application. That is essentially what you will be doing on an exam. Reading how judges apply the law to the facts should be of some benefit if you can internalize it and analogize/distinguish it to future situations.

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cinephile
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby cinephile » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:39 pm

I guess it depends on the professor. I have one professor who feels that 50% of the cases we read were decided wrongly, so it'd be tough to understand his reasoning without having read the case.

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ahduth
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby ahduth » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:33 pm

I think you might run into this problem where some of your classmates have actually read the casebook, and kinda know it.

bdubs
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby bdubs » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:44 pm

I'm sure your classmates will appreciate your experiment when you pad the curve for them.

dreakol
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby dreakol » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:58 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Probably depends upon the professor's test design.


titcr

i've seen tests with model answers that look like they came straight from the EE

dreakol
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby dreakol » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:58 pm

bdubs wrote:I'm sure your classmates will appreciate your experiment when you pad the curve for them.


lolwut?

mrloblaw
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby mrloblaw » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:00 pm

law777 wrote:Current 1L here...

I got behind in the readings, and for a period of a few days, I only read briefs before class. I found that I was able to follow the discussions and anticipate the direction of the professor's lecture much better.

I think this is because my entire focus was on the relevant facts and specific rule of law, as opposed to being inundated with the judge's minutiae (also I was able to get plenty of sleep the night before).

My question is:

For the purposes of the exam - would it be better to read casenotes (aka case briefs), the notes at the back of the case in the casebook, listen in class, and then follow this by reading the relevant legal topic in a supplement, without reading the actual case from the casebook? Any 2Ls or 3Ls have any experience with this?


The solution isn't to stop reading the casebook; it's to start reading the casebook in a way that doesn't squander more time on the trivialities than necessary to understand it.

Take a game-plan into every case you read. You're in it to (1) walk away with a succinct enough summary of the facts in mind that you can intelligently discuss it, but without getting bogged down in details [I can usually boil the entire facts section down into 3-5 short, declarative sentences]. (20 Find the court's statement of what issue it's resolving, and then go through the analysis/discussion section to see how it relates back to (a) what issue the court says it's trying to decide, and (b) more importantly, whatever issue/broad set of considerations sectioni the casebook threw the case into. (3) Then find the rule the court is applying, and how the rule works in regard to the case. Also flag the procedure posture, because in about 1/10 cases (poll not at all scientific), it will help to explain something seemingly counter-intuitive the court is doing.

A huge percentage of the time, the rule is all that matters, because you're likely reading the case just to learn a single point of black letter law. Everything else just helps you get slightly better with treating fact patterns the way lawyers ought to be able to.

By the time you're nearing the end of 1L, you should be able to do all of that just as quickly as you could pull out your laptop, go to lexis, find the case, and skim the brief. Seriously.
Last edited by mrloblaw on Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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quiver
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby quiver » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:02 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Probably depends upon the professor's test design.
100% this.

That said, I did this:
AVBucks4239 wrote:If you want to cut down on reading, read the facts and procedural history from a brief but still at least skim over the court's analysis/application.
And it worked out pretty well.

target
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby target » Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:22 am

quiver"[quote="AVBucks4239 wrote:If you want to cut down on reading, read the facts and procedural history from a brief but still at least skim over the court's analysis/application.
And it worked out pretty well.[/quote]

the "sad" part is the facts and procedural history are usually very short compared to the analysis part. :|

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DMBFan
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby DMBFan » Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:24 am

Read both?

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quiver
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby quiver » Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:12 am

target wrote:
quiver wrote:
AVBucks4239 wrote:If you want to cut down on reading, read the facts and procedural history from a brief but still at least skim over the court's analysis/application.
And it worked out pretty well.


the "sad" part is the facts and procedural history are usually very short compared to the analysis part. :|

Eh, depends on the case (and the class). Also, you don't have to read every single word of the analysis/discussion. I mainly did something between a skim and full reading. One caveat is that I would suggest actually reading the facts for Con Law.

DebtandTaxes
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby DebtandTaxes » Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:04 pm

The cases are the only part of the casebook that are worth reading. The notes and everything else that follows is just a bunch of fucking worthless drivel, read the cases, learn the law. Pay attention in class.

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Detrox
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby Detrox » Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:06 pm

DebtandTaxes wrote:The cases are the only part of the casebook that are worth reading. The notes and everything else that follows is just a bunch of fucking worthless drivel, read the cases, learn the law. Pay attention in class.


+1 /thread.

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leobowski
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby leobowski » Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:25 pm

bdubs wrote:I'm sure your classmates will appreciate your experiment when you pad the curve for them.



Meh I stop reading the casebook in the crunch month before finals and it's worked pretty damn well for me. I spend the extra time on supplements/outlining.

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king3780
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby king3780 » Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:52 pm

Detrox wrote:
DebtandTaxes wrote:The cases are the only part of the casebook that are worth reading. The notes and everything else that follows is just a bunch of fucking worthless drivel, read the cases, learn the law. Pay attention in class.


+1 /thread.


Are you both 1Ls? This is true for some classes, but I've had multiple classes where the notes are incredibly important. For example, in Crim Pro if I only read the cases I'd be screwed b/c the casebook would give a case to show the rule and then have 3-6 cases in the notes which would show the nuances of how that rule has been applied. The nuances are essential to giving a quality exam answer. Trusts & Estates was another class where the book had tons of good info in the notes. Now the questions, that's another story. I suppose the questions in notes could help get you thinking about concepts, but without any answers it's pretty pointless.

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YourCaptain
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby YourCaptain » Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:43 pm

king3780 wrote:
Detrox wrote:
DebtandTaxes wrote:The cases are the only part of the casebook that are worth reading. The notes and everything else that follows is just a bunch of fucking worthless drivel, read the cases, learn the law. Pay attention in class.


+1 /thread.


Are you both 1Ls? This is true for some classes, but I've had multiple classes where the notes are incredibly important. For example, in Crim Pro if I only read the cases I'd be screwed b/c the casebook would give a case to show the rule and then have 3-6 cases in the notes which would show the nuances of how that rule has been applied. The nuances are essential to giving a quality exam answer. Trusts & Estates was another class where the book had tons of good info in the notes. Now the questions, that's another story. I suppose the questions in notes could help get you thinking about concepts, but without any answers it's pretty pointless.


+1

Professors love testing on nuances buried within the notes. Oh, in the first line in that fact pattern it states that it occurs in Montana, hah, there's the issue, apply the rule. But wait, deep within note 6 of Case XYZ v. ABC, it states that Montana is the SOLE EXCEPTION to that almost universal rule.

This has happened on more exams than I'd like to recall - furthermore, Professors frequently test on obscure information that was passingly mentioned in your readings. Yes, if you blast through hornbooks, you have a great chance of B+s across the board. If you're very smart, and really understand what the hornbooks are telling you, you'll convert that into A-/As, but are you that smart?

Finally, professors enjoy giving you portions in fact patterns that played integral parts in the court's rationale in a particular case, and they also occasionally incorporate the same facts that drove a dissent.

If you're going to do this, I would pay A+ attention in class during coldcalls and focus on what facts the prof highlites and jot down the facts recited, so even though you don't know them you'll have them later to incorporate in an outline.

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Detrox
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby Detrox » Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:31 pm

king3780 wrote:
Detrox wrote:
DebtandTaxes wrote:The cases are the only part of the casebook that are worth reading. The notes and everything else that follows is just a bunch of fucking worthless drivel, read the cases, learn the law. Pay attention in class.


+1 /thread.


Are you both 1Ls? This is true for some classes, but I've had multiple classes where the notes are incredibly important. For example, in Crim Pro if I only read the cases I'd be screwed b/c the casebook would give a case to show the rule and then have 3-6 cases in the notes which would show the nuances of how that rule has been applied. The nuances are essential to giving a quality exam answer. Trusts & Estates was another class where the book had tons of good info in the notes. Now the questions, that's another story. I suppose the questions in notes could help get you thinking about concepts, but without any answers it's pretty pointless.


2L who had decent success in 1L. I did not have a single class where I'd say the notes in and of themselves were of any importance, nor did people who utilized them seem to gain any appreciable advantage on their final grades. The one class I did have in which the note cases were used to some extent on the tests was a class where those note cases were specifically mentioned in the lectures on the day we covered that topic. So maybe it depends highly on your professor, but personally I have found the notes to be of little to no value.

mrloblaw
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby mrloblaw » Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:39 pm

Detrox wrote:
king3780 wrote:
Detrox wrote:
DebtandTaxes wrote:The cases are the only part of the casebook that are worth reading. The notes and everything else that follows is just a bunch of fucking worthless drivel, read the cases, learn the law. Pay attention in class.


+1 /thread.


Are you both 1Ls? This is true for some classes, but I've had multiple classes where the notes are incredibly important. For example, in Crim Pro if I only read the cases I'd be screwed b/c the casebook would give a case to show the rule and then have 3-6 cases in the notes which would show the nuances of how that rule has been applied. The nuances are essential to giving a quality exam answer. Trusts & Estates was another class where the book had tons of good info in the notes. Now the questions, that's another story. I suppose the questions in notes could help get you thinking about concepts, but without any answers it's pretty pointless.


2L who had decent success in 1L. I did not have a single class where I'd say the notes in and of themselves were of any importance, nor did people who utilized them seem to gain any appreciable advantage on their final grades. The one class I did have in which the note cases were used to some extent on the tests was a class where those note cases were specifically mentioned in the lectures on the day we covered that topic. So maybe it depends highly on your professor, but personally I have found the notes to be of little to no value.


For some inexplicable reason, my civ pro casebook discussed Hanson v. Denckla solely as a note/squib case. My contracts book did the same with Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co. Both are kind of a big deal, and these aren't the only instances in which my casebook editors decided to hide the ball in that fashion. Perhaps most important are when the note explains that LOL THE 30 PAGE INDECIPHERABLE CASE WE JUST MADE YOU READ REPRESENTS A MINORITY RULE USED IN ONLY THREE STATES, which my Property casebook was especially fond of.

I wouldn't recommend skipping notes.

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dood
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby dood » Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:02 am

focus factor bro

shock259
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby shock259 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:03 am

Do you really have that much reading and other stuff to do that you can't stay up with the readings? I can power through the week's reading in like a half day on the weekend without too much trouble. I just read them, highlight important sentences in the case, and do a 3-4 sentence/fragment writing on the facts + hold + why. Pull out an bll from the case, notes, or both. Move on.

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ahduth
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Re: Stop reading casebook --> Better focus?

Postby ahduth » Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:42 am

mrloblaw wrote:For some inexplicable reason, my civ pro casebook discussed Hanson v. Denckla solely as a note/squib case. My contracts book did the same with Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co. Both are kind of a big deal, and these aren't the only instances in which my casebook editors decided to hide the ball in that fashion. Perhaps most important are when the note explains that LOL THE 30 PAGE INDECIPHERABLE CASE WE JUST MADE YOU READ REPRESENTS A MINORITY RULE USED IN ONLY THREE STATES, which my Property casebook was especially fond of.

I wouldn't recommend skipping notes.


Yeah, Hanson v. Denckla was squibbed in ours too (Friedenthal), but our prof's name is on the front of the book and... I dunno, I'm reading all the notes. I'll put out Smith v. KC Title and Trust as an even stranger squib, since that's the actual federal question test that gets hammered around in the following full cases.




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