So I stopped briefing cases

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1l2016
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So I stopped briefing cases

Postby 1l2016 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:48 pm

So yeah, I stopped briefing cases and I'd love to hear some input from 2Ls and 3Ls who didn't brief. The first couple of weeks I briefed heavily and I've come to realize that it was a huge waste of time. My profs go over the cases well and lay out the rules so I just use my notes to to get the important rules and stuff and just write a couple of facts the jog my memory. Did any one else do something similar and have a successful 1L. i started outlining over the weekend and I didn't even look at my briefs, I just used my notes and looked back at the cases if I had to. Does this sound reasonable? 1 of my profs explicitly told us briefing was a wasted, but the others are all about briefing.

BigLawer
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby BigLawer » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:55 pm

1l2016 wrote:So yeah, I stopped briefing cases and I'd love to hear some input from 2Ls and 3Ls who didn't brief. The first couple of weeks I briefed heavily and I've come to realize that it was a huge waste of time. My profs go over the cases well and lay out the rules so I just use my notes to to get the important rules and stuff and just write a couple of facts the jog my memory. Did any one else do something similar and have a successful 1L. i started outlining over the weekend and I didn't even look at my briefs, I just used my notes and looked back at the cases if I had to. Does this sound reasonable? 1 of my profs explicitly told us briefing was a wasted, but the others are all about briefing.



I had a very similar experience. In the first 2 weeks of 1L I briefed every case and found myself putting in tons of hours each day...Complete waste of time. When I went back to make my outlines (end of October) I never looked at a single brief, just used my notes from class.

It sounds like you are moving to the system I used. Read the assigned readings, take a couple notes in margins if necessary, pay attention in class. It is to early to start outlining though IMO. I would wait till you at least have a month under your belt.

Since you asked if it was successful...I ended up around top 10-15% after first semester at a T14. BUT each person needs to take different routes, so do whatever you think will be best for your learning style.

TL;DR: Dont brief. Read the assigned readings, pay attention in class.

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kay2016
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby kay2016 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:06 pm

I'm a 1L but I'm in a very similar situation

Input appreciated!

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Totalimmortal
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby Totalimmortal » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:30 pm

I didn't brief at all after the first week. Made As in Contracts and Torts, an A- in Criminal, and a B in Constitutional Law. B+ median but no A+s. On reflection, not briefing was the right decision, without a doubt. The B was not because I didn't know the law, it was because I didn't know what my professor wanted.

It is rare that the name of a case is relevant on a final, much less the facts. I would focus on reading the material at your own pace, finding the best supplement for everything with a final, and building your own outline from scratch. If you're at a good school, you probably did well in college. You know when a professor thinks an approach to or point of view on a topic is important.

* Civil Procedure not listed because of a health issue that bogged down my performance on the final. Property not listed because it was a take-home essay.

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lawhopeful10
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby lawhopeful10 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:34 pm

I'm a 1L and feel similar my profs basically highlight anything they think is important in class and are pretty straight forward. I haven't been briefing at all and instead just reading the cases, learning the rules and paying attention to what my professor thinks is important. Any input from older students is welcome but I feel comfortable with this method so far.

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AlanShore
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby AlanShore » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:35 pm

i made another thread about this but i read ahead a week. i feel like i need to brief cases to jog my memory. my briefs are a half page long.. just enough to remember the case i read and survive a cold call, maybe (but i dont care if i sound like an idiot).

i feel like the time i "waste" briefing these cases may be worth it in the end to be a week ahead and not feel stressed if i cant read for a few days when memos are due or maybe even have an extra week at the end of the semester to outline/take practice exams without having to read anything new.

i think if i only read a day or two ahead i definitely wouldnt brief.

1l2016
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby 1l2016 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:38 pm

BigLawer wrote:
1l2016 wrote:So yeah, I stopped briefing cases and I'd love to hear some input from 2Ls and 3Ls who didn't brief. The first couple of weeks I briefed heavily and I've come to realize that it was a huge waste of time. My profs go over the cases well and lay out the rules so I just use my notes to to get the important rules and stuff and just write a couple of facts the jog my memory. Did any one else do something similar and have a successful 1L. i started outlining over the weekend and I didn't even look at my briefs, I just used my notes and looked back at the cases if I had to. Does this sound reasonable? 1 of my profs explicitly told us briefing was a wasted, but the others are all about briefing.



I had a very similar experience. In the first 2 weeks of 1L I briefed every case and found myself putting in tons of hours each day...Complete waste of time. When I went back to make my outlines (end of October) I never looked at a single brief, just used my notes from class.

It sounds like you are moving to the system I used. Read the assigned readings, take a couple notes in margins if necessary, pay attention in class. It is to early to start outlining though IMO. I would wait till you at least have a month under your belt.

Since you asked if it was successful...I ended up around top 10-15% after first semester at a T14. BUT each person needs to take different routes, so do whatever you think will be best for your learning style.

TL;DR: Dont brief. Read the assigned readings, pay attention in class.


Thanks for the input! Your experience def. sounds very similar. My school started earlier than most (I think) so we're already wrapping up our 5th week which is why I just started outlining, and I realized I wasted hours on all of the briefs.

1l2016
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby 1l2016 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:41 pm

Totalimmortal wrote:I didn't brief at all after the first week. Made As in Contracts and Torts, an A- in Criminal, and a B in Constitutional Law. B+ median but no A+s. On reflection, not briefing was the right decision, without a doubt. The B was not because I didn't know the law, it was because I didn't know what my professor wanted.

It is rare that the name of a case is relevant on a final, much less the facts. I would focus on reading the material at your own pace, finding the best supplement for everything with a final, and building your own outline from scratch. If you're at a good school, you probably did well in college. You know when a professor thinks an approach to or point of view on a topic is important.

* Civil Procedure not listed because of a health issue that bogged down my performance on the final. Property not listed because it was a take-home essay.


Thanks for the info! Yeah, at least for my classes this semester our profs told us we don't have to cite cases (except for a few important ones in Crim.) which is why I especially feel like briefing is a waste of time, since I make sure I thoroughly read all cases.

1l2016
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby 1l2016 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:43 pm

AlanShore wrote:i made another thread about this but i read ahead a week. i feel like i need to brief cases to jog my memory. my briefs are a half page long.. just enough to remember the case i read and survive a cold call, maybe (but i dont care if i sound like an idiot).

i feel like the time i "waste" briefing these cases may be worth it in the end to be a week ahead and not feel stressed if i cant read for a few days when memos are due or maybe even have an extra week at the end of the semester to outline/take practice exams without having to read anything new.

i think if i only read a day or two ahead i definitely wouldnt brief.


True, definitely sounds like it would make sense in your situation. I started off reading ahead, but I felt it wasn't helpful for me. I like to carefully read cases the day before class so it's really fresh and then take notes on what the prof says.

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AlanShore
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby AlanShore » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:44 pm

1l2016 wrote:
AlanShore wrote:i made another thread about this but i read ahead a week. i feel like i need to brief cases to jog my memory. my briefs are a half page long.. just enough to remember the case i read and survive a cold call, maybe (but i dont care if i sound like an idiot).

i feel like the time i "waste" briefing these cases may be worth it in the end to be a week ahead and not feel stressed if i cant read for a few days when memos are due or maybe even have an extra week at the end of the semester to outline/take practice exams without having to read anything new.

i think if i only read a day or two ahead i definitely wouldnt brief.


True, definitely sounds like it would make sense in your situation. I started off reading ahead, but I felt it wasn't helpful for me. I like to carefully read cases the day before class so it's really fresh and then take notes on what the prof says.

makes sense! i was more than a week ahead but i found that once i passed a week, i really had no idea where we were going so it was useless to read with no real context. good luck to you!

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kay2016
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby kay2016 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:45 pm

Wrapping up my 6th week.

I briefed the first week and found it terribly inefficient. I only read a couple days ahead max, and usually glance over to jog my memory before class (or overhear conversations.. Oh yea that was the one with the guy kicking his ex's belly for example)

I started outlining for torts and civ pro. Civ pro because we had a practice test after we finished personal jurisdiction and torts because he's a very detailed professor and I wanted to start that after we finished our first section.

Briefing just doesn't seem conducive to my learning style and I haven't noticed my classmates talking about anything that we haven't gone over in class that I forgot from not writing every little thing down.


My torts professor said even if we don't remember the case name if we need to refer back we can say "the case where the guy had a seizure and crashed into the bike shop" and he'll count it just the same

1l2016
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby 1l2016 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:49 pm

AlanShore wrote:makes sense! i was more than a week ahead but i found that once i passed a week, i really had no idea where we were going so it was useless to read with no real context. good luck to you!


Thanks! Likewise!

kay2016 wrote:Wrapping up my 6th week.

I briefed the first week and found it terribly inefficient. I only read a couple days ahead max, and usually glance over to jog my memory before class (or overhear conversations.. Oh yea that was the one with the guy kicking his ex's belly for example)

I started outlining for torts and civ pro. Civ pro because we had a practice test after we finished personal jurisdiction and torts because he's a very detailed professor and I wanted to start that after we finished our first section.

Briefing just doesn't seem conducive to my learning style and I haven't noticed my classmates talking about anything that we haven't gone over in class that I forgot from not writing every little thing down.


My torts professor said even if we don't remember the case name if we need to refer back we can say "the case where the guy had a seizure and crashed into the bike shop" and he'll count it just the same


I feel exactly the same! I'm glad I'm not the only one. I also found briefing to be really, really inefficient. Like quite a few hours wasted every week. I feel like instead of writing out a brief I can just carefully read the case and write notes in class and then add that to my outline.

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kay2016
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby kay2016 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:53 pm

Good luck!!

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sinfiery
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby sinfiery » Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:31 am

Same, I haven't briefed a case yet 3 weeks in. I feel full of energy and cannot wait to start my outline. I think I may do my outlines by section though so since we just finished personal jurisdiction in Civ Pro, I may begin my initial draft of that part of my outline.

I think it will be a huge advantage going forward that I'm not just totally burned out going into the last month or so.

shock259
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby shock259 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:01 am

3L here. I never briefed. Did very well 1L. Did well 2L.

Briefs have way too much unnecessary information and are far too time-consuming (both to create and to read over again).

I used a LEEWs strategy and forced myself to make 1-2 sentence summaries of each case. The first sentence was usually a fact summary to jog my memory, and the second was the holding. I would then add 1-2 sentences of what we talked about in class. End of notes. This made it possible to actually review my notes at the end of the semester. If you write huge briefs/summaries, you'll have hundreds of pages to go back over at exam time. And ain't nobody got time for that.

pingpong86
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby pingpong86 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:46 am

Also a 3L here. First semester of 1L I did not brief and did very well. Second semester I virtually never read, much less briefed, and did even better.

In my experience, in the vast majority of classes, the professor explicitly declares or points out whatever she wants you to take away from the case(s)/lecture. I can honestly think of two classes I've had so far where this wasn't the case. And because I knew it wasn't the case in those classes, I did a better job of working outside of class for them. For most classes, I just read the facts from canned briefs so that I had the context for the class discussion. If the professor ever said anything that required actual reading (e.g. "I think the dissent's analysis was superior" without explaining the dissent's analysis)--a rare phenomenon in my experience--I made a note to myself then went back later and read whatever was mentioned.

My point isn't that you shouldn't read, or even that you shouldn't brief. I think that being effective at reading and analyzing cases is a very useful skill for practice, and there's no better time to train that skill than during 1L. Reading also develops insights into how legal analysis should be structured, what can be good or bad about legal writing, etc. In part for these reasons, even I read nowadays, ironically, though my "briefing" is extremely minimal. My only point is that there is almost no reason to fear that by departing from the norm in how you prepare for class you will foreclose yourself from being able to get top grades. So long as you're paying attention, taking good notes, and feel like you're understanding everything, the odds are in your favor that you're getting everything out of the cases/class that you'll need to be a top performer on the exam.

Do what works best for you and makes sense in your circumstances. Good luck.

blahblewblah
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby blahblewblah » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:00 am

I think book-breifing is a really good, easy alternative. Highlight the case as usual, but make notes in the margin for the holding and other pieces that seems important. It will help you just as much when you go to outline and takes barely any more time than just reading cases straight out.

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thesealocust
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby thesealocust » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:23 am

Extensive, fact-intensive briefing is a waste of time. No problemo.

Keeping a list of cases and a sentence or two of their main point wouldn't, but can also be accomplished in class.

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soj
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby soj » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:49 am

lol there are still people briefing? people stopped doing that after one week. if you must, note the key holding and maybe (if the prof emphasizes it) the key fact you'll use to distinguish and analogize. procedural posture and crap like that is relevant only in cold calls--in other words, irrelevant.

and don't worry if you don't wanna do even the above work. old outlines, preferably for the same prof, will already have this info.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:00 am

soj wrote:lol there are still people briefing? people stopped doing that after one week. if you must, note the key holding and maybe (if the prof emphasizes it) the key fact you'll use to distinguish and analogize. procedural posture and crap like that is relevant only in cold calls--in other words, irrelevant.

Pretty much this. I will say that it can be tough in the first month of 1L to know exactly what to write down, so it's not a bad idea to write a few more notes while you figure things out. But if you have a section titled "Procedural Posture" you are doing it wrong.

bdm261
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby bdm261 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:00 pm

WestlawNext > TWEN > Study Aids Subscription > High Court Case Summaries ....all I need for class.

Myself
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Postby Myself » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:23 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

bdm261
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby bdm261 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:55 pm

ajax adonis wrote:Do what works for you and makes you comfortable and makes you feel like you're learning something.

I briefed like two cases and found that it wasn't helping me learn anything. Stopped doing it and I did all right for myself.


Except for the one professor who told us on the first day of class we cannot book brief or use canned briefs and must prepare a full summary of each assigned case for each class. Didn't bother briefing anyways until he called a student out for his inadequate brief and asked to see it.

Larry Tate
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby Larry Tate » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:03 pm

1l2016 wrote:So yeah, I stopped briefing cases and I'd love to hear some input from 2Ls and 3Ls who didn't brief. The first couple of weeks I briefed heavily and I've come to realize that it was a huge waste of time. My profs go over the cases well and lay out the rules so I just use my notes to to get the important rules and stuff and just write a couple of facts the jog my memory. Did any one else do something similar and have a successful 1L. i started outlining over the weekend and I didn't even look at my briefs, I just used my notes and looked back at the cases if I had to. Does this sound reasonable? 1 of my profs explicitly told us briefing was a wasted, but the others are all about briefing.



Stop ASAP lol. One of my professors told us all to just come in with one sentence to describe the take away of the case....That is really all you need to know, don't get caught up in all the facts. I stopped reading completely after first year and just studied from outlines for a couple days. Briefing is honestly a joke....pm me if you wanna know how I really feel lol.

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snowpeach06
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby snowpeach06 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:20 pm

Yeah, I boiled each sentence down to two sentences - one sentence of facts and one of the law. Graduated top 15%. I think it's helpful to boil down information instead of enlarge it, because you have so much to memorize as is. Plus, if you can turn a large case into one sentence, you know you understand it. Briefing is a total waste - no need. I don't actually think anyone briefs after 1L anyway.




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