What to you use to learn black letter law

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TierForceOne

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What to you use to learn black letter law

Postby TierForceOne » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:33 pm

So from what I can tell by talking to students and reading TLS, law school exams are mostly about "applying law to fact". If our casebooks use the 'hide-the-ball' approach when it comes to 'black letter law', where can I learn the black letter law?

Or, what do you use to learn black letter law?

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tfer2222

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Re: What to you use to learn black letter law

Postby tfer2222 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:50 pm


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pancakes3

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Re: What to you use to learn black letter law

Postby pancakes3 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:26 pm

BLL is easy and obvious. I think a big problem 1Ls have is that they overestimate the difficulty of mastering the substantive law.

lavarman84

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Re: What to you use to learn black letter law

Postby lavarman84 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:15 pm

Professors. If you pay attention, you'll get the rule of the case. Or, at least, the rule they want you to know. You'll take too many notes early on. But you'll likely figure it out at some point in the semester.

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TLSModBot

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Re: What to you use to learn black letter law

Postby TLSModBot » Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:46 am

lawman84 wrote:Professors. If you pay attention, you'll get the rule of the case. Or, at least, the rule they want you to know. You'll take too many notes early on. But you'll likely figure it out at some point in the semester.


This. Pay attention in class, do the reading, and ask questions if you don't get something. You don't need anything besides what the professor thinks the rule is.

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thesealocust

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Re: What to you use to learn black letter law

Postby thesealocust » Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:23 am

pancakes3 wrote:BLL is easy and obvious. I think a big problem 1Ls have is that they overestimate the difficulty of mastering the substantive law.


+1

Every time you read a case, the black letter law law is nothing more than the rule the judge uses to reach their decision. The cases are typically complex because of their wacky facts and the logic the judge uses to apply the law.

The law itself is usually pretty simple. That's why you can read the E&E on torts, and it will make sense, but then you sit down and read Palsgfraff and walk away no longer capable of speaking English.

Then in class you spend time talking about every weird student hypo imaginable, and the professor grills people on details and nuance, none of which is actually the black letter law itself. It may help you practice 'thinking like a lawyer' and understanding how legal argument works, but it's fundamentally not actually what you will be tested on.

The critical thing to extract from readings + class time are the rules. The critical thing to studying is figuring out precisely how to state and organize those rules, so that they are easily at your grasp for exams (supplements and old outlines can help, but as stated above, what matters is what your professor thinks the rule is, not what it actually is or what other sources say that it is). The critical thing to exams is applying the rules you've mastered and organized to wacky, brand-new facts on the exam, being thorough and creative.

The overwhelming majority of the confusing and hard parts of 1L year aren't actually relevant to the exam. There are some exceptions (thorny con law/civ pro case lines sometimes really are just hard to understand but still important if you'll have any prayer of applying it later)

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star fox

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Re: What to you use to learn black letter law

Postby star fox » Sat Sep 10, 2016 3:09 pm

Don't read to memorize, read to understand.

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BVest

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Re: What to you use to learn black letter law

Postby BVest » Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:26 am

If your professor references the Restatement (or the UCC in contracts), there's your BLL, at least for torts/K/property. Also, don't underestimate wikipedia.
Last edited by BVest on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

JGMotorsport

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Re: What to you use to learn black letter law

Postby JGMotorsport » Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:02 am

Supplements are for chumps. Learn how to use Westlaw now and look up the answer. Find the restatement sections/UCC/Model Codes, look at the Notes of Decisions. Read the rule and look at the context.

I always have the rules/cases ready on Westlaw, most of the stupid questions your class mates will ask are easily found.



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