Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

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TheDapperDruid

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Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby TheDapperDruid » Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:56 am

Should I be taking in depth notes on the casebooks? Or should I just pay close attention and take notes in class? I've been taking in depth notes of the text, but it's taking me an incredibly long time to get through the readings doing this. It may go by quicker once I switch over to onenote or word docs as I've been taking notes by hand, but it likely won't cut down my time by all that much. Any advice for getting through the readings faster? Things to focus/take notes on? It's currently taking about 2 hours for every 10 pages. Is this normal?

Should I not take notes on the articles within the text and just write down the "notes" and my answers to the "questions" at the end of each article? It seems that I'm re-writing a lot of what I took notes on when I go through the "notes and questions" section, but I'd like to hear from others what their experience has been before I forgo upon taking notes while doing the reading.

Thanks in advance.

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twenty

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby twenty » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:30 am

What are you taking notes on? If you're spending two hours on ten pages, that is WAY, WAY too much time.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby TheDapperDruid » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:39 am

twenty wrote:What are you taking notes on? If you're spending two hours on ten pages, that is WAY, WAY too much time.


I've been taking notes on the assigned readings, such as the excerpts from larger works of writing regarding whatever topic of law is being illustrated. Should I be taking any notes on the assigned readings or should I just do the reading, brief whatever cases appear, and take notes on what the professor brings up for discussion in class?

Thanks for letting me know that I'm taking far too much time... Rather learn that sooner than later :shock:
Last edited by TheDapperDruid on Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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KMart

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby KMart » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:45 am

TheDapperDruid wrote:
twenty wrote:What are you taking notes on? If you're spending two hours on ten pages, that is WAY, WAY too much time.


I've been taking notes on the assigned readings, such as the excerpts from larger works of writing regarding whatever topic of law is being illustrated. Should I be taking any notes on the assigned readings or should I just do the reading, brief whatever cases appear, and take notes on what the professor discusses in class?

Thanks for letting me know that I'm taking far too much time... Rather learn that sooner than later :shock:

I just took notes regarding what was important in the reading. You'll get a feel for it as class goes on. I never briefed a case my 1L year. I did write the case and then the important things like facts, what happened, and why - but certainly not a traditional brief in the sense you may be taking it. My pace as about an hour per 15pages for reading and notes but I think I was on the slower end.

You'll get a feel for it as the class moves on.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby TheDapperDruid » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:54 am

KMart wrote:
TheDapperDruid wrote:
twenty wrote:What are you taking notes on? If you're spending two hours on ten pages, that is WAY, WAY too much time.


I've been taking notes on the assigned readings, such as the excerpts from larger works of writing regarding whatever topic of law is being illustrated. Should I be taking any notes on the assigned readings or should I just do the reading, brief whatever cases appear, and take notes on what the professor discusses in class?

Thanks for letting me know that I'm taking far too much time... Rather learn that sooner than later :shock:

I just took notes regarding what was important in the reading. You'll get a feel for it as class goes on. I never briefed a case my 1L year. I did write the case and then the important things like facts, what happened, and why - but certainly not a traditional brief in the sense you may be taking it. My pace as about an hour per 15pages for reading and notes but I think I was on the slower end.

You'll get a feel for it as the class moves on.


Thanks for the input. I was an English major in undergrad, so I'm pretty familiar with reading dense text at a relatively swift speed and picking out the relevant info. I just don't believe I'm used to writing it down, so I'm probably writing down too much. And I've also found that my professors will touch upon points that I already wrote down, making it a bit superfluous to write it down again... So maybe I should just do case briefs, highlight the important notions in the text, take very bare bone outlines of the reading, and then build on them in class using what the professor brings up?

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twenty

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby twenty » Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:48 am

I'd err on the side of writing down too much rather than too little right now. You'll start to get a feel for it over the next couple weeks.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby TheDapperDruid » Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:08 am

twenty wrote:I'd err on the side of writing down too much rather than too little right now. You'll start to get a feel for it over the next couple weeks.


Got it. I'll have to find a way to cut my reading time in half though because I'll never get all the reading done in time at the speed I'm going. Typing rather than hand writing should speed things up a fair bit, I hope...

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby KMart » Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:27 am

TheDapperDruid wrote:Typing rather than hand writing should speed things up a fair bit, I hope...

I found typing notes helpful for speed, but at the same time it's great to be able to CTRL F your notes on an exam with a time-limit.

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twenty

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby twenty » Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:52 am

I think what you'll end up finding is that you're taking notes for things that don't matter/aren't going to help you on your final. I suspect you may be copying and pasting large chunks of information you don't fully understand.

For instance, at some point in contracts, you're going to have a case called Lefkowitz v. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store. Don't write down the full name. Just call it Lefkowitz. The only thing you need for the exam are these sentences:

"An offer must be clear, definite, and explicit, and cannot leave anything open to negotiation."
"An advertisement is an offer when it invites a particular action, and is clear, definite, and explicit."
"If an advertisement promises performance for something requested of the offeree, courts are more likely to consider this an offer."
"An offer accepted by the offeree is binding and non-revocable."

No case background. No procedural history. No "but what if the store was selling pianos?!"

You will absolutely not get something on your exam that asks you the price of the fur coats in Lefkowitz. You will absolutely get something on your exam that has a shady-looking "offer" and you have to provide arguments for BOTH SIDES as to why X is an offer or not.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby TheDapperDruid » Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:25 am

KMart wrote:
TheDapperDruid wrote:Typing rather than hand writing should speed things up a fair bit, I hope...

I found typing notes helpful for speed, but at the same time it's great to be able to CTRL F your notes on an exam with a time-limit.
twenty wrote:I think what you'll end up finding is that you're taking notes for things that don't matter/aren't going to help you on your final. I suspect you may be copying and pasting large chunks of information you don't fully understand.

For instance, at some point in contracts, you're going to have a case called Lefkowitz v. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store. Don't write down the full name. Just call it Lefkowitz. The only thing you need for the exam are these sentences:

"An offer must be clear, definite, and explicit, and cannot leave anything open to negotiation."
"An advertisement is an offer when it invites a particular action, and is clear, definite, and explicit."
"If an advertisement promises performance for something requested of the offeree, courts are more likely to consider this an offer."
"An offer accepted by the offeree is binding and non-revocable."

No case background. No procedural history. No "but what if the store was selling pianos?!"

You will absolutely not get something on your exam that asks you the price of the fur coats in Lefkowitz. You will absolutely get something on your exam that has a shady-looking "offer" and you have to provide arguments for BOTH SIDES as to why X is an offer or not.


Thanks guys. I'll make adjustments to my note taking today and see how it goes.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby twenty » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:08 pm

See how long it takes you and report back. Maybe give us some idea of what you're writing down or making notes of, and we can help you from there.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby z0mbiecatz1234 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:37 pm

I have an unconventional way of doing the readings for class. First, I take a lot of notes in-text. I do this for two main reasons: 1) it helps me locate parts of a case in class when I am either called on or simply looking for information we are discussing in class and 2) writing in the text is my way of "interacting" with it in such a way that will help me remember what I am reading. If I'm writing in the margins, I am more likely to be paying attention to what I am reading. For example, in the margins I might have "issue" or "facts" written. Right now, I am looking at a case I am reading and in the margins I have "right to control test," "P's first argument," P's second argument," etc. These notes are short and sweet to help me locate information. I also type a few main notes (not really case briefing per se) in a "homework document" I have for that particular class. It take me about an hour to do 15 pages if I'm 100% focused. Sometimes it could take longer depending on how confusing I find a case (usually they aren't too bad). You will become faster at reading cases as the semester progresses. I remember in the beginning of 1L fall I took about that long, which is okay! You will adjust and learn how to read more efficiently. Also, I never ever write out answers to the zillion questions the authors have at the end. I read them and mentally think about them but never actually write down answers. Good luck!

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby RareExports » Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:35 pm

Identify what the legal issue is, the arguments for BOTH SIDES (and responses, if any), and how the court sided (and why).

If you have all of that, you're good. Some people can achieve this by skimming through a case and others need to thoroughly dissect a case to see what's going on. In any case, you should get much quicker at this over time.

I actually don't think 2 hours for 10 pages is very slow if you're just starting law school. My goal is always 10-15 pages an hour. The more thoroughly you read the cases, understand the cases, and retain the information, the less work you'll have to do down the road.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby TheDapperDruid » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:45 pm

twenty wrote:See how long it takes you and report back. Maybe give us some idea of what you're writing down or making notes of, and we can help you from there.


Well, I figured I'd just post my "contracts" notes with the quoted portions of text partially/fully cut out. I felt this reading didn't have as much substantive info as the criminal law reading that took me forever, but I hope that this will give a general idea of what I've been taking notes on across all books. Let me know if there's anything that I shouldn't have bothered writing down. Also, not sure if this would constitute copyright infringement of a sort, so if it does, let me know asap so I can remove it.

Also, not sure how long this took me. There were a lot of distractions today, so in total I'd probably guess an equivalent of 2 hours of non-interupted reading.

Things may look a bit disorganized on here because the copy and paste removed all the tabs tiering the different topics/sections.

Many thanks in advance, you guys are incredible.

***Please do not quote***

Summers p.40-55 (8/28/16)

Part 1, Chapter 1, Section 3-B

B. Remedies (Important dimension of theory of obligation)

Monetary Remedies
(1) Lost expectancy damages
(2) Reliance damages
(3) sum equivalent to value conferred to defendant

-Even if requirements of theory of obligation are met, a plaintiff may recover no more than nominal damages.

Problem 1-1
...

-Goods: ...
-Does it fit? Yes, to say that it is sold out insinuates that it was previously in stock at the time of the contract, thus making it movable at the time of identification to the contract for sale.

UCC SS 1-305(a)
Remedies to be liberally administered: The aggrieved party must ...
-Neither consequential or special damages nor ...
-[descrip of what the promisee would be due]

Sullivan v O’Connor
See Brief and/or text
-doctors can...

Compensatory (Expectancy): an amount intended ...

Restitution: an amount corresponding to...
-acted innocently and without negligence hardly a defense

-Reliance: Plaintiff is to recover ...

-pain and suffering are simply not compensable...

-Suffering or distress ...compensable on the same ground as ...

-...hierarchy of contract interests.

Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 1: theory of obligation relevance...

-Theories of obligation operative in contractual and related affairs
-i.e. consideration, promissory estoppel, and unjust enrichment

• General theories of obligation predominate in this field.

• ...general theory of obligation are satisfied, the parties incur both rights and duties.

-The duty to keep a contract at common law means a prediction that you must pay damages if you do not keep it.

-When parties believe in the legal weight of their agreements, disputes in contractual and related affairs arise less frequently, and may be settled more simply and cheaply.
-parties see breaches of “legal” contracts as moral wrongs to be punished rather than taxed.

2 Basic Dimensions of General Theories of Obligation
(1) Substantive requirements, defined by law, for the prima facie applicability of each theory. Ex: requirements of a valid agreement with consideration
(2) General justifying rationale/’s supporting each theory.

• These rationales often influence judicial decisions on whether a theory applies.


Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 2: Obligation arising from an agreement with consideration

-Consideration: one of the basic requirements of the leading theory of obligation; bargained for exchange

-Agreement: Second basic requirement of this theory

Citation: Hardesty v Smith, Supreme Court of Indiana, 1851 (3 Ind. 39)

Plaintiff: Hardesty

Defendant: Smith

Procedural History: -Smith bought the rights to an invention using a promissory note assigned to Hardesty.
-Smith alleged affirmative defense that invention was worthless
-Hardesty brought suit to collect
-Hardesty disagreed generally
-Court overruled disagreement and made final judgment in defendants favor.

Issue: Did the court err in not sustaining the disagreement?

Holding: Yes, the court erred

Ruling: Judgment is reversed with costs

Reasoning:
• Parties of sufficient mental capacity for the management of their own business, have a right to make their own bargains.

• The simple parting with a right which is one’s own, and which he has a right to fix a price upon, must be a good consideration for a promise to pay that price.
-loss, trouble, or inconvenience, or expense, on the part of the grantor, or seller, without any profit to the buyer, is a good consideration.

• It does not matter whether or not the invention is worthless.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby whats an updog » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:54 pm

for me, all that is way too detailed unless you knew you were on call that day for a professor who liked to discuss facts. but just keep doing whatever you're doing and see how it works. idk, as cliche as it gets, i think everyone just needs to figure it out for themselves

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twenty

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby twenty » Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:51 am

I hope this is informative and you don't think I'm talking down to you; the problem is, the stuff you're writing down will not help you get better grades, and it will maaaaybe make you look better in class.

I'll delete the below when you want me to, but I hope to highlight a few things:

Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 2: Obligation arising from an agreement with consideration

-Consideration: one of the basic requirements of the leading theory of obligation; bargained for exchange

-Agreement: Second basic requirement of this theory


You clearly caught on that these are important, but I don't think you understand why they're important. You want to be picking up on rules, so for consideration, you want to be looking for "A legally-binding contract must have valid consideration." and "parties must bargain for the exchange in order for valid consideration."

Citation: Hardesty v Smith, Supreme Court of Indiana, 1851 (3 Ind. 39)

Plaintiff: Hardesty

Defendant: Smith

Procedural History: -Smith bought the rights to an invention using a promissory note assigned to Hardesty.
-Smith alleged affirmative defense that invention was worthless
-Hardesty brought suit to collect
-Hardesty disagreed generally
-Court overruled disagreement and made final judgment in defendants favor.



None of this will help you on the final. I promise you no one will ask you whether Hardesty was the plaintiff or defendant. Of course Hardesty disagrees generally - otherwise there wouldn't be a case! :P

Issue: Did the court err in not sustaining the disagreement?


This is dangerous, and will cost you points on an exam/study time later. Whenever you're tempted to write "Did the court make the right call?" force yourself to find the actual issue. Look at the case again, but it's going to look a lot more like, "Do parties with sufficient mental capacity have the legal right to form contracts?"

Also, always make sure you have a rule statement! It appears that you're missing this in the case. I would strongly encourage you to go back and read it now while it's fresh so you don't have to read it again in a month when you want to go back and update your outline.

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Clearly

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby Clearly » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:31 am

What the fuck? Bro just read the words and think about it for a few after each case.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby TheDapperDruid » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:43 am

twenty wrote:I hope this is informative and you don't think I'm talking down to you; the problem is, the stuff you're writing down will not help you get better grades, and it will maaaaybe make you look better in class.

I'll delete the below when you want me to, but I hope to highlight a few things:...


I see what you're saying. I'll try to adjust accordingly. Thanks for the input! It's very much appreciated.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby Unfathomableruckus » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:30 am

Hey I briefed that one too. Who wants a crack at mine?

Sullivan Vs. O’Connor
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
363 Mass. 579, 296 N.E. 2d. 183

The Facts:
At the trial court, plaintiff sued defendant, a doctor, for making her nose look worse, instead of better, than it did before the surgery. The defendant had promised to make her nose more attractive, but he disfigured her instead. A jury awarded her with $13,500 in damages for breach of contract, but rejected her accompanying charge of negligence.
The Issue:
• Whether or not the plaintiff was entitled to damages due to the extra surgery she had to undergo, and the difference between the nose promised to her and the one she got.
The Rules:
A successful plaintiff is entitled to “compensatory” damages to put them back in the same position they were in before the contract took place or “restitution” damages, to recover any benefit gained by the defendant in the performance of the action described in the contract.
Restatement: Contracts § 329
Comment a §§ 347, 384 (1)
Analysis
Because the defendant made her nose worse, not better, and caused her to undergo a third surgery that was not originally discussed, the trial court’s decision is affirmed. It is relevant that the plaintiff is an entertainer, because that connects her appearance to her livelihood more than in the cases of most other people.
Conclusion
Plaintiff’s exceptions waived. Defendant’s exceptions overruled.

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twenty

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby twenty » Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:48 pm

Unfathomableruckus wrote:The Facts:
At the trial court, plaintiff sued defendant, a doctor, for making her nose look worse, instead of better, than it did before the surgery. The defendant had promised to make her nose more attractive, but he disfigured her instead. A jury awarded her with $13,500 in damages for breach of contract, but rejected her accompanying charge of negligence.
The Issue:
• Whether or not the plaintiff was entitled to damages due to the extra surgery she had to undergo, and the difference between the nose promised to her and the one she got.
The Rules:
A successful plaintiff is entitled to “compensatory” damages to put them back in the same position they were in before the contract took place or “restitution” damages, to recover any benefit gained by the defendant in the performance of the action described in the contract.
Restatement: Contracts § 329
Comment a §§ 347, 384 (1)
Analysis
Because the defendant made her nose worse, not better, and caused her to undergo a third surgery that was not originally discussed, the trial court’s decision is affirmed. It is relevant that the plaintiff is an entertainer, because that connects her appearance to her livelihood more than in the cases of most other people.
Conclusion
Plaintiff’s exceptions waived. Defendant’s exceptions overruled.


This is definitely closer to what a worthwhile case brief should look like. Good work not getting bogged down in the facts or procedural posture. The issue is good, but try and phrase it more generally than "whether the plaintiff was entitled to..." because I think that will help you narrow your rule statement better. At this point in the semester, the case law is more of a thought experiment rather than something you should strictly outline, only because you probably won't get something on your exam that asks you to figure out whether the breaching party is required to pay any damages.

To both you and OP, going forward, take your briefs and try and divine a rule from them. Write down that rule on a separate sheet/word document, with just the first part of the case name. Over the next couple weeks, you should have something that looks like this:

Damages:

- Compensatory damages are allowed for breach of contract. Sullivan.
- A party may recover either or both expectation damages or reliance damages. Case name.
- Expectation damages compensate a party as if the promise had been fulfilled. Case name.
- Reliance damages compensate a party as if the the promise had never been made. Case name.
- Promissory Estoppel only gives rise to reliance damages. Case name.

Consideration:
- Consideration is the parting of rights bargained for by both parties. Case name.
- Nominal consideration is not bargained for, and is therefore not consideration. Case name.
- An illegal act is not valid consideration. Case name.
- A promise which does not actually bind a party is not valid consideration. Case name.
...


It will look kind of ugly, but it will get you in the habit of searching for and finding the rule from the case. Your goal should be finding rules that you can apply to facts on an exam. The more rules you know, the more rules you can apply. The more rules you can apply, the more points you get. The more points you get, the better your grade is.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby Unfathomableruckus » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:57 pm

twenty wrote:
Unfathomableruckus wrote:The Facts:
At the trial court, plaintiff sued defendant, a doctor, for making her nose look worse, instead of better, than it did before the surgery. The defendant had promised to make her nose more attractive, but he disfigured her instead. A jury awarded her with $13,500 in damages for breach of contract, but rejected her accompanying charge of negligence.
The Issue:
• Whether or not the plaintiff was entitled to damages due to the extra surgery she had to undergo, and the difference between the nose promised to her and the one she got.
The Rules:
A successful plaintiff is entitled to “compensatory” damages to put them back in the same position they were in before the contract took place or “restitution” damages, to recover any benefit gained by the defendant in the performance of the action described in the contract.
Restatement: Contracts § 329
Comment a §§ 347, 384 (1)
Analysis
Because the defendant made her nose worse, not better, and caused her to undergo a third surgery that was not originally discussed, the trial court’s decision is affirmed. It is relevant that the plaintiff is an entertainer, because that connects her appearance to her livelihood more than in the cases of most other people.
Conclusion
Plaintiff’s exceptions waived. Defendant’s exceptions overruled.


This is definitely closer to what a worthwhile case brief should look like. Good work not getting bogged down in the facts or procedural posture. The issue is good, but try and phrase it more generally than "whether the plaintiff was entitled to..." because I think that will help you narrow your rule statement better. At this point in the semester, the case law is more of a thought experiment rather than something you should strictly outline, only because you probably won't get something on your exam that asks you to figure out whether the breaching party is required to pay any damages.

To both you and OP, going forward, take your briefs and try and divine a rule from them. Write down that rule on a separate sheet/word document, with just the first part of the case name. Over the next couple weeks, you should have something that looks like this:

Damages:

- Compensatory damages are allowed for breach of contract. Sullivan.
- A party may recover either or both expectation damages or reliance damages. Case name.
- Expectation damages compensate a party as if the promise had been fulfilled. Case name.
- Reliance damages compensate a party as if the the promise had never been made. Case name.
- Promissory Estoppel only gives rise to reliance damages. Case name.

Consideration:
- Consideration is the parting of rights bargained for by both parties. Case name.
- Nominal consideration is not bargained for, and is therefore not consideration. Case name.
- An illegal act is not valid consideration. Case name.
- A promise which does not actually bind a party is not valid consideration. Case name.
...


It will look kind of ugly, but it will get you in the habit of searching for and finding the rule from the case. Your goal should be finding rules that you can apply to facts on an exam. The more rules you know, the more rules you can apply. The more rules you can apply, the more points you get. The more points you get, the better your grade is.


Hey thanks a lot for looking at this for me and I will use that advice for briefing and outlining.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby WhiskeyAndCupcakes » Mon Aug 29, 2016 5:03 pm

.
Last edited by WhiskeyAndCupcakes on Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby allthelawls » Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:37 am

mod edit: promotion of your own off-site material (like blogs) is not allowed here.

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Re: Should I be taking in depth notes on the text?

Postby pancakes3 » Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:55 am

Twenty dropping knowledge itt.

+1 on maintaining a case list with a one-sentence holding/takewaway separate from the main outline. helps with the big picture and gets at the heart of why LS instruction is case-oriented.



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