So I stopped briefing cases

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tfer2222
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby tfer2222 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:26 pm

try to look at your professors old exams. depending on professor, sometimes you can stop reading the cases all together if you have good supplements or old outlines, and you pay attention to what the prof highlights in class.

focus on the exam from day 1. briefing cases, for most people, is a waste of time. (although I've seen people who brief succeed - to each his own)

who cares if you look stupid in class. just google the case name when you get called on and do your best. in-class performance is totally irrelevant.

after about a month of 1L, I just started skimming the cases, highlighting the important statements of law, and hammering out supplements and old outlines.

just graduated top ~2%

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Dogg
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby Dogg » Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:21 pm

tfer2222 wrote: just google the case name when you get called on and do your best. in-class performance is totally irrelevant.


LOL at just going to google when you're cold called

Honestly, it's a waste of time to brief since you only need to take out the major issues in a case rather than every detail of it. Once you are able to see how it relates to whatever topic of the law you're studying and write a few sentences summarizing the comparison, then you can move on.

odoylerulez
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby odoylerulez » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:00 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.


Whether you should brief or not really depends on the class and the professor. For most classes, briefing is a waste of your time, not because it won't help you, but because it's a huge time-sink. 1L, for the most part, is a race.

The quoted person probably got pwned in Constitutional Law because he/she didn't brief. That's one of the few classes where I would highly, highly advise everyone to brief most or all of the cases. Yes, it's a lot of work, but if you can't analogize cases to make arguments, you just aren't going to do well in Constitutional Law, because you're going to be applying the fact pattern to thin air.

Briefing in Civil Procedure (and most other completely rule-based classes, probably) is a complete waste of time. For most other classes, it's a matter of preference, but most won't benefit from it unless the alternative is to do less work.

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bk1
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby bk1 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:12 pm

Dogg wrote:
tfer2222 wrote: just google the case name when you get called on and do your best. in-class performance is totally irrelevant.


LOL at just going to google when you're cold called

It's a credited strategy.

Myself
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Postby Myself » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:21 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

odoylerulez
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby odoylerulez » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:34 pm

ajax adonis wrote:Did other people use the headnotes from Westlaw as much as I did? Those were really useful.


Those were fantastic for cold calls. Those headnotes usually gave me enough to bluff my way through any questions. I would recommend going that route before just typing random key words into google.

They were a little too simplistic for actual exam prep, but I suppose they could help with outlines to an extent

Myself
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Postby Myself » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:12 pm

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Dogg
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby Dogg » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:15 pm

ajax adonis wrote:Did other people use the headnotes from Westlaw as much as I did? Those were really useful.

I usually look at these on lexis/west before actually reading the case so I skim over the minor details and focus on the main points

really helpful and saves a lot of time

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alicrimson
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby alicrimson » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:59 pm

I never briefed. I've always read for class and do the highlighter thing. Sometimes I'll write a rule in the margins. Top 1% at my school and am definitely not the brightest crayon in the box. I think a lot of it is looking for how things are applied and figuring out how you can apply those same things in different fact combinations.

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941law
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby 941law » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:10 pm

Thoughts on Crim Pro in regards to briefing?

1l2016
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby 1l2016 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:21 pm

Thanks everyone for the input!! I definitely feel more confident about my method. I guess what really scared me was straying away from the norm, but maybe that can be a good thing?

odoylerulez
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby odoylerulez » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:49 am

941law wrote:Thoughts on Crim Pro in regards to briefing?


This may depend on how your professor teaches the class. I'm briefing everything for this one (I'm in this class now too).

My gut tells me that for most professors in this one, there's too much that needs to be taken out of the cases and tracked across cases in terms of policy/rationale. This is where briefing can help.
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odoylerulez
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby odoylerulez » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:50 am

1l2016 wrote:Thanks everyone for the input!! I definitely feel more confident about my method. I guess what really scared me was straying away from the norm, but maybe that can be a good thing?


Yes, it can.

Very few people rise to the top in law school without both working hard and having a somewhat unique approach.

odoylerulez
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby odoylerulez » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:57 am

bdm261 wrote:
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.


Your professor sounds like a moron. If I were you, I'd ignore him unless it impacts your grade (or unless it's Con Law - I promise that briefing is the way to go there).

Having a good 1L gpa >>>>>>>>>>>>> appearing competent in class.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby Scotusnerd » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:15 am

Briefing has utility in the real world. But you can get the skill of briefing in about 2 weeks. Besides, reading cases quickly and retaining information is far more useful.

I stopped briefing at about the two-week mark. Never looked back. Got top 20% first semester, bumped up to top 10% second semester. Definitely just write a few sentences.

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Br3v
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby Br3v » Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:30 am

When you guys say you stopped briefing, what did you start doing? I mean I brief but I just write down facts issue and holding (rule). Seems like I need that info.

I also then take notes on the reasoning which I could probably cut out?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:52 am

Br3v wrote:When you guys say you stopped briefing, what did you start doing? I mean I brief but I just write down facts issue and holding (rule). Seems like I need that info.

I also then take notes on the reasoning which I could probably cut out?

I think "stopped briefing" just means "took fewer, less formal notes." If I read a case I still write down a few sentences about the facts and the rule, with the rule basically being a summary of the reasoning.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:54 am

odoylerulez wrote:(or unless it's Con Law - I promise that briefing is the way to go there).

I don't know why Con Law is any different than other classes. I probably read the least for that class because the opinions tend to be both really long and really well summarized by Wikipedia.

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Dogg
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby Dogg » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:31 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:
Br3v wrote:When you guys say you stopped briefing, what did you start doing? I mean I brief but I just write down facts issue and holding (rule). Seems like I need that info.

I also then take notes on the reasoning which I could probably cut out?

I think "stopped briefing" just means "took fewer, less formal notes." If I read a case I still write down a few sentences about the facts and the rule, with the rule basically being a summary of the reasoning.

pretty much this
just a basic skeleton of what the case is but focus more on how it changed/applies to the law

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First Offense
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby First Offense » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:39 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:
Br3v wrote:When you guys say you stopped briefing, what did you start doing? I mean I brief but I just write down facts issue and holding (rule). Seems like I need that info.

I also then take notes on the reasoning which I could probably cut out?

I think "stopped briefing" just means "took fewer, less formal notes." If I read a case I still write down a few sentences about the facts and the rule, with the rule basically being a summary of the reasoning.

I have stopped taking notes for most of my readings, and instead just highlight and write a bit in the margins. I think that a key to 1L (and law school in general) is working efficiently. I'm a 1L, but I think that taking a ton of notes is counter-intuitive, when you are going to need to trim them down to the important bits later on for your outline... having a ton of info on the facts strikes me as wasted effort, both now (when taking the notes) and later (when you have to read through all of that information again and determine what is and isn't important).

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alicrimson
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby alicrimson » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:27 am

Br3v wrote:When you guys say you stopped briefing, what did you start doing? I mean I brief but I just write down facts issue and holding (rule). Seems like I need that info.

I also then take notes on the reasoning which I could probably cut out?


I mean, I don't typically write down anything. I highlight with my five color system and I take notes on the basic facts, issue, and holding in class, as the teacher talks about it. If I get cold called, I typically just remember it from the night before. I think what really helps me is taking time after reading to think about how the stuff works/what the rationale is behind everything. That way, I can think of how this can be applied. That's just me though.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:35 am

First Offense wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
Br3v wrote:When you guys say you stopped briefing, what did you start doing? I mean I brief but I just write down facts issue and holding (rule). Seems like I need that info.

I also then take notes on the reasoning which I could probably cut out?

I think "stopped briefing" just means "took fewer, less formal notes." If I read a case I still write down a few sentences about the facts and the rule, with the rule basically being a summary of the reasoning.

I have stopped taking notes for most of my readings, and instead just highlight and write a bit in the margins. I think that a key to 1L (and law school in general) is working efficiently. I'm a 1L, but I think that taking a ton of notes is counter-intuitive, when you are going to need to trim them down to the important bits later on for your outline... having a ton of info on the facts strikes me as wasted effort, both now (when taking the notes) and later (when you have to read through all of that information again and determine what is and isn't important).

Except that by writing down the key facts you'll quickly remember what the case was about when you go back to outline. Re-reading even a small portion of a case when outlining strikes me as far less efficient. There's also a personal preference here; for some reason I just hate writing anything in the book and maybe what we're talking about isn't that different.

Regardless, whatever method you choose is fine. Write tons of notes. Write very few notes. It really doesn't matter. Every school I know of give 1L's tons of time to learn this stuff, especially at the end of the semester.

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First Offense
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby First Offense » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:09 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
First Offense wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
Br3v wrote:When you guys say you stopped briefing, what did you start doing? I mean I brief but I just write down facts issue and holding (rule). Seems like I need that info.

I also then take notes on the reasoning which I could probably cut out?

I think "stopped briefing" just means "took fewer, less formal notes." If I read a case I still write down a few sentences about the facts and the rule, with the rule basically being a summary of the reasoning.

I have stopped taking notes for most of my readings, and instead just highlight and write a bit in the margins. I think that a key to 1L (and law school in general) is working efficiently. I'm a 1L, but I think that taking a ton of notes is counter-intuitive, when you are going to need to trim them down to the important bits later on for your outline... having a ton of info on the facts strikes me as wasted effort, both now (when taking the notes) and later (when you have to read through all of that information again and determine what is and isn't important).

Except that by writing down the key facts you'll quickly remember what the case was about when you go back to outline. Re-reading even a small portion of a case when outlining strikes me as far less efficient. There's also a personal preference here; for some reason I just hate writing anything in the book and maybe what we're talking about isn't that different.

Regardless, whatever method you choose is fine. Write tons of notes. Write very few notes. It really doesn't matter. Every school I know of give 1L's tons of time to learn this stuff, especially at the end of the semester.

I don't think we're on different paths here. I just don't want to pull out my notepad while I'm reading, and write whatever notes I have in the margins.

And yeah, I'll agree that whatever works for you is most important. If there was a "right way" to law school, everyone would have figured it out by now and there would be a lot less stress.

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bsktbll28082
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby bsktbll28082 » Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:36 pm

My briefs consist of: parties, facts, question, rule, and court. Pretty basic.

Would it be suicide to stop reading the cases for torts? Professor is pretty straight forward in this class. Writes an outline of the class on the board and follows it. I'm looking at 60+ pages of reading on 'Standard of Care'.....

I usually look up the case on casebriefs.com or Lexis (gotta get those points).

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ph14
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Re: So I stopped briefing cases

Postby ph14 » Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:41 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.


3L here. Manually briefing is not a good use of your time. Especially if there are old outlines or online case briefs are available.




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