Briefing when professor requires it?

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psm11
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Briefing when professor requires it?

Postby psm11 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:55 pm

Hey guys I know a lot of ppl on here say briefing is a waste of time for the most part and one shouldn't waste time on it. However, what do you guys suggest when a professor requires it? Specifically, I just got my syllabus for my property class and there is a section within it that lays out what the prof. expects. She says she expects cases to be briefed in a particular way, she says she will go over it the first day of class, and that she expects that students contribute in class. Specifically, if you are called on you are to recite a case in the format she expects for the briefs. Since law school is blind graded how much should I be concerned with this?

UnderrateOverachieve
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Re: Briefing when professor requires it?

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:07 pm

I am curious what your other 138 posts were like...

Umm, even if it is blind grading some professors will work in participation into the grade. Especially professors that are this anal about it. Some schools allow professors to give a down or up bump to students in general for many reasons.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Briefing when professor requires it?

Postby Scotusnerd » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:09 pm

Do it at first and see how it's working for you. I'd give it maybe a few weeks to a month. But don't feel obligated after that unless she gets power trippy about it and starts being a pain. If you find it works for you, keep on doing it. If not, drop it.

And yeah, professors have participation grades. Don't butt heads if you can help it (general rule of thumb in the legal profession)

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kalvano
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Re: Briefing when professor requires it?

Postby kalvano » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:45 pm

Requires as in wants you to turn it in? Or requires as in wants it done but just wants you to be able to recite on command?

psm11
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Re: Briefing when professor requires it?

Postby psm11 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:01 am

kalvano wrote:Requires as in wants you to turn it in? Or requires as in wants it done but just wants you to be able to recite on command?


As in reciting it on command. She expects us to recite it in the same format she requires for briefs.

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kalvano
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Re: Briefing when professor requires it?

Postby kalvano » Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:08 am

psm11 wrote:
kalvano wrote:Requires as in wants you to turn it in? Or requires as in wants it done but just wants you to be able to recite on command?


As in reciting it on command. She expects us to recite it in the same format she requires for briefs.


So don't brief, just jot down notes that follow her format that will let you get by.

Really, how many different ways of briefing or formats can there be?

UnderrateOverachieve
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Re: Briefing when professor requires it?

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:09 am

psm11 wrote:
kalvano wrote:Requires as in wants you to turn it in? Or requires as in wants it done but just wants you to be able to recite on command?


As in reciting it on command. She expects us to recite it in the same format she requires for briefs.


Brief however you want. She can't reimagine the wheel. She is going to ask some formulation of facts, holding, reasoning, procedural history, disposition.

You should be able to answer her questions.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Briefing when professor requires it?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:35 pm

psm11 wrote:Hey guys I know a lot of ppl on here say briefing is a waste of time for the most part and one shouldn't waste time on it. However, what do you guys suggest when a professor requires it? Specifically, I just got my syllabus for my property class and there is a section within it that lays out what the prof. expects. She says she expects cases to be briefed in a particular way, she says she will go over it the first day of class, and that she expects that students contribute in class. Specifically, if you are called on you are to recite a case in the format she expects for the briefs. Since law school is blind graded how much should I be concerned with this?


I think all new 1Ls should brief in long-form until they can look at a case and "sense" what the professor is going to ask about from that case. Sure it takes time - its called working hard. Try and predict what exact line from the case your professor will highlight, and once you can predict all of them, you can start book briefing. Literally do this - mark the text you think is important, and see if the professor discusses it. If not, assess why you didn't flag that point.

I never understood the "waste of time" viewpoint - you don't run before you can crawl, and if you tried you'll fall flat on your face like an idiot. Learning how to read a case and extract the essentials is best learned through TRIAL AND ERROR. And maybe its the undergrad mindset of "I just need to know X Y and Z, so just give it to me so I can memorize it." NO. Knowing the rules isn't enough - you have to know what facts implicate what rules. And you just cannot know this until you ANALYZE fact pattens (a foreign concept to legal rookies). And you'll never analyze them by passively reading and bracketing the "facts" section - you have to play with them, which means briefing. /endrant

johnnystrong
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Re: Briefing when professor requires it?

Postby johnnystrong » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:55 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:I think all new 1Ls should brief in long-form until they can look at a case and "sense" what the professor is going to ask about from that case. Sure it takes time - its called working hard. Try and predict what exact line from the case your professor will highlight, and once you can predict all of them, you can start book briefing. Literally do this - mark the text you think is important, and see if the professor discusses it. If not, assess why you didn't flag that point.


I also never really got the aversion to briefing. I don't think that I ever spent more than 15-20 minutes on an individual case brief, with most of the shorter cases taking significantly less time. The information in a briefed case is either stuff that you should basically know after reading the case (facts, important elements of the court's reasoning, holding) or can find very quickly (procedural history). It never makes sense to me when people go on and on about how much time briefing takes. Maybe people tend to do much more detailed briefs than I did.

With that being said, I stopped briefing about halfway through first semester of 1L year. But I think it was a useful way to learn how to organize my thoughts about a case until I could do so without a crutch.

Plus, to the extent you care about being able to usefully participate when called on in class, having something in front of you can make that much easier. If you care about participation, briefing probably saves you time because you don't need to know the cases as well since you have an aid in front of you should you forget the case when called on.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Briefing when professor requires it?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:22 pm

Might as well do it for a while. It's not useless at the start, and helps you learn to pay attention to important aspects of the cases. By the end of the semester you'll probably stop. What your prof is really broadcasting to you is that she wants you guys to be able to talk about the facts of the cases thoroughly in class. Wanting students to be able to recite the color of Ms. Palgraf's dress on command is probably the sign of a bad professor, but that's a different problem.

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2014
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Re: Briefing when professor requires it?

Postby 2014 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:51 am

She is giving you a pretty large indication of what is important to her which is the entire law school game of figuring out. I think you should ask an upperclassman who has had her whether this preference of hers is manifested in her exam grading though.

I agree you should do it for the first week or two and adjust accordingly. There is only so much information a 5 page case snippet can have and you can process it whatever way you want. The end game here is to know what you need to know going into the test and if you deviate from her requirements all that happens is MAYBE her and your classmates think you are marginally more stupid, but that should not be something that worries you.

Again, you need to try it her way first and talk to an upperclassman though to figure out if her idiosyncratic demands make it onto her test and if they do you should follow them to the T.

Gorki
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Re: Briefing when professor requires it?

Postby Gorki » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:07 pm

psm11 wrote:Hey guys I know a lot of ppl on here say briefing is a waste of time for the most part and one shouldn't waste time on it. However, what do you guys suggest when a professor requires it? Specifically, I just got my syllabus for my property class and there is a section within it that lays out what the prof. expects. She says she expects cases to be briefed in a particular way, she says she will go over it the first day of class, and that she expects that students contribute in class. Specifically, if you are called on you are to recite a case in the format she expects for the briefs. Since law school is blind graded how much should I be concerned with this?


I had a professor like this (cannot be your prof tho cause mine has never taught property). Just do your best and follow the format she tells you for briefs. We would have people after the midterm still missing her questions because, surprise, she intentionally cold called on really nuanced stuff such as "given the similar facts, why did this case not turn out like case X from yesterday's reading)."

The fact that she says she will go over it on day 1 indicates that she is aware of the fact you guys will all struggle with it for a bit. Brief a lot at first IMHO, as it really gets you out of your previous mindset and into understanding what is and is not important in a legal opinion.


But newsflash: If the final is just an issue spotter, you better get a supplement or something too. The prof will not test you on the BS she wants asked in class. Classes where the profs go into the brambles of a case are always bimodal in curve in my experience: those who did what they were told medianed out or below, those who did what they were told to an extent and then bought commercial supplements and took lots of PTs did best.




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