Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

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dingbat
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby dingbat » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:24 am

FranklinSims wrote:It would be great to "start working as an attorney" but before we cross that bridge we have to earn good enough grades to land the job. Read cases? Sure. But let's read them smart. I think our bosses will appreciate our resourcefulness in working smarter and not harder so long as we meet the billables.

I take it you never worked at a big law firm?

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thelawyler
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby thelawyler » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:28 am

I would highly discourage this method at a T14 school. You need to read the cases to grasp any possible subtitles and complexities that the prof might introduce in class, as all of your classmates will get the easy black letter rules.

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presh
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby presh » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:33 am

FranklinSims wrote:
presh wrote:Telling people to not read cases is dumb. Why? Because once you actually start working as an attorney, you are going to be spending a significant amount of time reading cases. If you don't learn to do it efficiently now when it is more or less your job, you are going to be learning that skill on the job and it is going to cost your bosses extra time, something that they will not like.


There is a lot of truth to this message. Much of the skills you will need as an attorney is honed in Legal Research and Writing. This is a part of the reason that many attorneys say that the most relevant law school course is legal research and writing. As litigators research and writing is the bulk of the job and their bread and butter. That being said, I am not quite sure if Torts or Contracts is the best place for 1L's to hone this skill because they are in a race against the clock with little time to write both a winning brief for LRW plus brief cases for all 3 or 4 core classes in the traditional manner plus complete practice exams in time enough to review a few with professors.

It would be great to "start working as an attorney" but before we cross that bridge we have to earn good enough grades to land the job. Read cases? Sure. But let's read them smart. I think our bosses will appreciate our resourcefulness in working smarter and not harder so long as we meet the billables.


I don't disagree with everything in the OP. In fact, I didn't brief a single case my 1L (just highlighted in the book to prep for class) and ended up in the top 10%.

However, if you can't manage to read the material (keeping in mind that this should go more quickly as the semester progresses and you become better at it) and complete the LRW assignments and do a few practice exams over the course of the semester, you probably shouldn't be an attorney. It is not that much work and is perfectly doable in the amount of time allotted for a semester.

There are all kinds of ways to be a successful law student as far as grades go. Some people outline, some use supplements, some study very little, some cram at the end of the semester. But imo, it is a mistake to develop your study method in a way that deprives you of practicing for the actual skills you will need as an attorney when doing so completely unnecessary.

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20130312
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby 20130312 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:59 am

Do whatever works for you. People that are bashing the OP's methods and then declaring their own methods as God's gift to TLS are equally wrong.

FranklinSims
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby FranklinSims » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:24 am

thelawyler wrote:I would highly discourage this method at a T14 school. You need to read the cases to grasp any possible subtitles and complexities that the prof might introduce in class, as all of your classmates will get the easy black letter rules.


Notice that this response focuses on "class participation". My mentees do not focus on class participation or wowing the professor in class with minute details on a case that you all know did not appear on the exam this December. At nearly all law schools 90% or more of grades are based on the final exam not class participation. "all of your classmates will get the easy black letter law"... this may be true but again you miss the point. So here is the point again. 'Getting the black letter law' to spit out during lecture is not the issue. Being able to apply the black letter law in the 2 to 3 hour time slot one has to cover a laundry list of issues with full analysis is the issue. Good luck pulling that off with reading all cases in the text book, briefing them in the traditional manner, outlining, meeting memo deadline and possible eating and sleeping. Somethings gotta give because alot of people did it the traditional way and sat for the exam having had little time to actually write practice exams.

My point is simple; A number of those students with nuanced knowledge on case law in class found themselves at or below the median because they focused on prepping for class and not for the exam. Don't let fear of a cold call stop you from doing what is actually in your best interest. The exam is curved not "in class participation". Focusing on what happens in class is bringing an undergraduate mentality to law school and it just doesn't work.

My mentees have and do attend law schools above and below your T14 school. They have landed jobs with top firms as 2L's (several offers) and some have transferred to T10 and above. Yes my method is not for everyone but certainly those students are glad they did not take your "highly discourage" advice.

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Ludo!
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby Ludo! » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:26 am

lolwut. He didn't say anything about class participation. He said you should have a basic understanding of the case so that you can grasp the complexities of it when the professor discusses it, not that you should read so you can look good while cold called.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby Bildungsroman » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:34 am

Ludovico Technique wrote:lolwut. He didn't say anything about class participation. He said you should have a basic understanding of the case so that you can grasp the complexities of it when the professor discusses it, not that you should read so you can look good while cold called.

I'm not ashamed; I'll admit that I brief cases because it helps me look good on call.

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Ludo!
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby Ludo! » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:36 am

Bildungsroman wrote:
Ludovico Technique wrote:lolwut. He didn't say anything about class participation. He said you should have a basic understanding of the case so that you can grasp the complexities of it when the professor discusses it, not that you should read so you can look good while cold called.

I'm not ashamed; I'll admit that I brief cases because it helps me look good on call.


I did 1l year too brother

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20130312
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby 20130312 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:38 am

--ImageRemoved--

FranklinSims
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby FranklinSims » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:41 am

dingbat wrote:
FranklinSims wrote:It would be great to "start working as an attorney" but before we cross that bridge we have to earn good enough grades to land the job. Read cases? Sure. But let's read them smart. I think our bosses will appreciate our resourcefulness in working smarter and not harder so long as we meet the billables.

I take it you never worked at a big law firm?


I take it that by your statements you believe that you will work for a big law firm. I certainly hope that you will. However, while you are optimistic I actually know several of my mentees who have accepted offers at Big Law firms for this summer (Some at top tiers and some at low and mid tiers). They are 2L's, nailed 1L and landed Big Law. I respect your opinion (all though a bit snarky) concerning what you think is the best approach to law school. My only point is that there are opinions and then there are facts. The fact is that a lot of students worked hard last fall, did exactly what faculty advised them and ended up at or below the median. These students may benefit from a different outlook on how to approach law school. That my approach is right for everyone (or even you) in not a fact (probably a fallacy) but that my approach helped most of mentees who will enjoy Big Law life (if we can call it that) this summer...well that, dingbat, is a fact.

FranklinSims
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby FranklinSims » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:45 am

InGoodFaith wrote:--ImageRemoved--


Love this! You have a great sense of humor.

for10s88
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby for10s88 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:49 am

TaipeiMort wrote:
FranklinSims wrote:
dingbat wrote:I'd like to know what grades OP and OP's mentees got.

1) If you don't read cases but only the rules, you won't get the subtleties that can make or break an exam answer. The law isn't that black and white, if it was the world wouldn't need (m)any lawyers
2) An argument can be made to not brief cases. Many of my classmates stopped briefing within a few weeks. I found it very helpful for a number of reasons, but I can understand that for many it's not necessary. However, I agree that most briefs are too long. The key points (issue/rule/holding) should be no more than a few lines (each)
3) OP is somewhat contradictory, but makes a great point: you shouldn't be taking page after page of notes in class.
4) Everyone is different and one size does not fit all. Personally, I think the ideal setup is to have both a short attack outline that basically contains all the key issues to look out for and a long outline to look up anything you may have forgotten. But, each to their own.

edit: noticed that a third of this guy's posts have been flagged/edited for SPAM. Nuff Said.


Several of my mentees have transferred from Loyola Law School to UCLA, USC and Michigan. Others stayed at their law schools and landed top jobs. You can talk to them if you like dingbat. No it isn't for everyone. As for the SPAM what can I say... I am a shameless self promoter. :wink: My methods are unorthodox but they have worked. Will they work for everyone? They can't law schools have curves so we will never know.


I'm a 3L at CCN and my mentors have appellate clerkships. One previously clerked on the Supreme Court, and he briefed each case twice and swore by this method.

TCR is to synthesize the material in a way that works for you and prepare materials in light of what the prof wants (and exam format/course material will allow). There is no magic bullet. Some faculty members care about policy arguments made in note cases. Others care about the number of words you can rip off, occasionally glancing at a half page attack outline.

My best grades have always been when I approached exams with a knowledge of what the prof wanted. Sometimes this has meant memorizing an attack outline based upon two points from each class meeting, and other times it has meant bringing a 45 page outline filled with detailed policy discussion and summaries of supplemental material.


^THIS. This. A thousand times this. Figuring out your professor is the most important thing, as it is your professor who is going to be awarding points on the exam.

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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby FranklinSims » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:00 am

Ludovico Technique wrote:lolwut. He didn't say anything about class participation. He said you should have a basic understanding of the case so that you can grasp the complexities of it when the professor discusses it, not that you should read so you can look good while cold called.


Yes you are right, he said nothing about class participation but the "professors discussions" of "case complexities" that are made clearer from reading cases is the result of a class preparation approach to law school as opposed to an exam preparation approach to law school. The statement was masked as if reading cases was beneficial to excelling on exams while the truth is that the nuances of cases are far more relevant to shinning on the prof during lecture than the blazing fast but precise analysis expected on a winning exam.

Reading commercial briefs does not inhibit a "basic understanding of the case" (especially of basic understanding is your mark). In fact it helps you read a case much faster if you read the brief first but out of a guilty conscience want to say that read the case as well. Some students get a kick out of saying that they stayed up late the night before because there were "so many cases!" I say, let them read their cases while you write your practice exams and we will see who is better prepared for class and who is better prepared for exams. If you want your professors job read the cases if you want a top grade and at the same tie cut the BS you may want to read fewer cases so that you can write more exams.

Also, the idea that reading commercial briefs is somehow a disadvantage is pretty funny when I compare that observation against my several mentees who have transferred to higher tier schools or landed Big Law.

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Ludo!
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby Ludo! » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:02 am

FranklinSims wrote:
Ludovico Technique wrote:lolwut. He didn't say anything about class participation. He said you should have a basic understanding of the case so that you can grasp the complexities of it when the professor discusses it, not that you should read so you can look good while cold called.


Yes you are right, he said nothing about class participation but the "professors discussions" of "case complexities" that are made clearer from reading cases is the result of a class preparation approach to law school as opposed to an exam preparation approach to law school. The statement was masked as if reading cases was beneficial to excelling on exams while the truth is that the nuances of cases are far more relevant to shinning on the prof during lecture than the blazing fast but precise analysis expected on a winning exam.

Reading commercial briefs does not inhibit a "basic understanding of the case" (especially of basic understanding is your mark). In fact it helps you read a case much faster if you read the brief first but out of a guilty conscience want to say that read the case as well. Some students get a kick out of saying that they stayed up late the night before because there were "so many cases!" I say, let them read their cases while you write your practice exams and we will see who is better prepared for class and who is better prepared for exams. If you want your professors job read the cases if you want a top grade and at the same tie cut the BS you may want to read fewer cases so that you can write more exams.

Also, the idea that reading commercial briefs is somehow a disadvantage is pretty funny when I compare that observation against my several mentees who have transferred to higher tier schools or landed Big Law.


Do you have any posts where you don't talk about your mentees

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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby FranklinSims » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:11 am

Do you have any posts where you don't talk about your mentees


This one... lol (does that count?)

FranklinSims
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby FranklinSims » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:14 pm

Do you have any posts where you don't talk about your mentees[/quote]

Oh yeah... I forgot to tell you that I just heard from another mentee at USC. She got a 3.825 last fall semester doing exactly what I described in this post.

odoylerulez
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby odoylerulez » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:06 pm

Reading cases and briefing everything is the easiest and surest way to get totally median pwned in every single class.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Why you should stop reading cases, briefing and outlining

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:38 am

odoylerulez wrote:Reading cases and briefing everything is the easiest and surest way to get totally median pwned in every single class.

If only I had known...




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