The Serious Deal With "Briefs"

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Bigsby
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The Serious Deal With "Briefs"

Postby Bigsby » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:43 pm

Hey everyone,

I'm working on my case briefs right now for a bunch of cases assigned. the cases are relatively simple and, as the TLS advice goes, I've identified clearly the rule to be picked out from each case. how important is it really, BESIDES to survive cold calls, to brief these cases? i've seen conflicting things on TLS and frankly I don't care if my prof asks me a question about how many barrels of fish the plaintiff ordered or other pieces of irrelevant detail.

For briefs, I've been writing down a bunch of these 'facts' and 'procedural' things, but I find that it's basically just flooded with detail to survive cold calls on questions that are, from what ive seen from practice exams, irrelevant! and its a WASTE OF TIME. such a huge timesink.

So I really wanna just grab a brief from online, which basically tells you the exact rule I picked out and then some pertinent facts...as a n00b 1L i feel like im making some sort of egregious error by doing this. but when it comes to outlining, i highllly doubt most of what I write down in my facts/procedural history is not going to matter at all and that the online briefs pretty much have it all summed up neatly. sure I might suck at cold calls, but its all about the exam right?

so i appeal to you, more learned TLSers, to help me out:

1. should i just know my cases for what's important and then just grab a brief online? should i not trust the briefs? i always check them for accuracy but is there another reason not to do this?

OR

2. should i just write down in my own words all the important stuff, even though the online briefs pretty much say the same thing, if not better?

OR

3. should I just go ahead and do my ridiculous briefs like I do now and feel good about myself for 'completing' things... (i have a feeling this is not the answer)?

Thanks guys!!

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grtbooks91
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Re: The Serious Deal With "Briefs"

Postby grtbooks91 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:55 pm

Just another 1L here, so take my advice for what it's worth, but I limit my summary of the facts of any given case to about 1 sentence (following the LEEWS approach) and beef up my summary of the rule instead, trying to distill it to as abstract of a formulation as possible. I don't really have to do much to outline each weekend, and I'm done with everything hours before most of my friends. I've yet to be embarrassed in class, but I think that as long as you have the actual case in front of you, you should be able to think on your feet and find the answer to any fact-based questions on the spot (provided your prof isn't a total d-bag, which mine aren't).

In sum, I think the only relevant facts are those which are dispositive, as those are the ones which you're going to use in applying the case on an exam. You should be able to get those down to a sentence or two.

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kalvano
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Re: The Serious Deal With "Briefs"

Postby kalvano » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:26 pm

Briefs are worthless. Just use online ones if you get called on.

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JCFindley
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Re: The Serious Deal With "Briefs"

Postby JCFindley » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:49 pm

My brief on Dread Scott.

"Dread Scott"
"Slavery"

My Brief on Bryne and Boadle

"Bryne v. Boadle"
"Flower Barrel"

I go into more detail on Res Ipsa Loquitur in my typed section after class which will eventually turn into an outline but above is all I bring to class or write out as a brief. Same with how Dread Scott is relevant to property law as my professor teaches it but my briefs are indeed brief.

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OneMoreLawHopeful
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Re: The Serious Deal With "Briefs"

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:20 pm

I'm a 2L, top 10%, and I brief basically every case.

Usually I'll read the case, then close the book and write a brief in One-Note from memory. When we go over the case in class I'll update/annotate the brief as needed.

For me, the key is to remember the case so that I can recall it on the final. I'll often think something like "Wow that sounds a lot like the case with the chickens," when I read the issue-spotter fact pattern, and then I'll recall the rule from that case and see if it's relevant.

On the one hand, the details of the case don't matter to get the rule of law, but on the other hand, you cannot argue by analogy if you do not remember the case you are analogizing to. Since it only takes like 5 minutes to write a brief, and it helps your memory to no end, why not just write the brief?

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Davidbentley
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Re: The Serious Deal With "Briefs"

Postby Davidbentley » Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:38 pm

...Probably helpful to have the name of the case spelled properly somewhere though...

NotMyRealName09
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Re: The Serious Deal With "Briefs"

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:55 pm

OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:I'm a 2L, top 10%, and I brief basically every case.

Usually I'll read the case, then close the book and write a brief in One-Note from memory. When we go over the case in class I'll update/annotate the brief as needed.

For me, the key is to remember the case so that I can recall it on the final. I'll often think something like "Wow that sounds a lot like the case with the chickens," when I read the issue-spotter fact pattern, and then I'll recall the rule from that case and see if it's relevant.

On the one hand, the details of the case don't matter to get the rule of law, but on the other hand, you cannot argue by analogy if you do not remember the case you are analogizing to. Since it only takes like 5 minutes to write a brief, and it helps your memory to no end, why not just write the brief?


Yeah, this. Well said. I concur completely. I'll only add you can book brief too - just make notes in the book margins - facts, issue, rule, analysis, with notes on important comments / observations, and, perhaps most importantly - stars next to the portions you professor specifically covered. Your professor covered specific parts for a reason - because his model answer for the exam is based on those points and he or she wantss to ensure students had the chance to see them.

Oh and always make your own outlines. That helps with the memory jog far better than just reading someone else's outline.




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