Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

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Dacos
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Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Dacos » Wed May 06, 2009 1:17 pm

I am a 0L and I heard its good to read something that will teach me how to brief cases. Any suggestions?

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Wahoo1L
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Wahoo1L » Wed May 06, 2009 1:42 pm

Dacos wrote:I am a 0L and I heard its good to read something that will teach me how to brief cases. Any suggestions?


You heard wrong. Don't bother.

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stavand
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby stavand » Wed May 06, 2009 1:43 pm

Read Law School Confidential... it's the best pre law school book... PLS is uses scare tactics and tells you to spend like a thousand dollars in supplaments... trust me, its not worth it. You don't need those green "hornbooks" for example.

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premierock
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby premierock » Wed May 06, 2009 1:49 pm

I haven't read it yet, so I can't reccommend it, but I recently bought Delany's logical reasoning book. It's kind of like a work book. I think maybe it has three cases or so that you brief, and also has some pretty basic terminology in the beginning. I don't think it will be a great help, because I don't think anything will really get me ahead. I just bought it to feel a little more confident on the first day of class.

E\/ERLAST
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby E\/ERLAST » Wed May 06, 2009 1:57 pm

DO NOT OUTLINE. Buy canned case brief books. They will be your life/time saver.

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lazyewok
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby lazyewok » Wed May 06, 2009 2:00 pm

briefing cases is TTT. buy high court case summaries.

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RonSantoRules
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby RonSantoRules » Wed May 06, 2009 2:03 pm

premierock wrote:I haven't read it yet, so I can't reccommend it, but I recently bought Delany's logical reasoning book. It's kind of like a work book. I think maybe it has three cases or so that you brief, and also has some pretty basic terminology in the beginning. I don't think it will be a great help, because I don't think anything will really get me ahead. I just bought it to feel a little more confident on the first day of class.


I recommend this book (buy it on half.com or something) if you are as clueless as I was. I read it before school and thought it was useful considering (1) I didn't even know what the hell "appellate" meant and (2) it helped me with picking the important stuff out of the case so I could then not brief once school started. YMMV depending on your previous law school related experience.

Dacos
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Dacos » Wed May 06, 2009 3:24 pm

lazyewok wrote:briefing cases is TTT. buy high court case summaries.


Ok, so I'm guessing that top students don't brief, and that they either buy canned case brief books or case summaries?

So most of my focus should go on outlining and not briefing?

snotrocket
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby snotrocket » Wed May 06, 2009 3:48 pm

Delaney's Learning Legal Reasoning is fine for this, and its short enough. If you can read a case and state the issue presented and the holding in one coherent sentence, then that's all you need to know about "briefing." If you haven't got a clue what that means, then Delaney will clue-ify you. Reading cases is one skill you need, but briefing is not an essential part of that or of exam prep (it's probably a waste of time, once you learn the basics of how to read a case and break down the reasoning in it). The more important thing is learning to make inferences from the rules of law that the cases set forth, and how to apply the law to the close questions presented by new sets of facts. You should spend as little time as possible on outlining, because it's also largely a waste of time.

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DelDad
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby DelDad » Wed May 06, 2009 3:55 pm

You should learn how to brief, but there's no need to do so before school. Once you have the skill down, which happens faster for some than others, there's really no need to do it any more - with the big caveat being that in law school, when you find something that works for you, you continue doing it. So, if you find briefing valuable, continue; otherwise stop.

The only time I actually wrote out briefs after about October of 1L was when I was on call for Civ Pro or ConLaw: both professors counted class participation and tended to focus on different stuff than I found in some of the commercial products.

As far as "So most of my focus should go on outlining and not briefing?":

You may find that the time when you feel comfortable enough with a case not to brief it on your own is about the same time you feel comfortable enough with the material to start outlining seriously - again, for me, that was around October.

YMMV.

edit: left out a rather useful "no"
Last edited by DelDad on Wed May 06, 2009 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DelDad
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby DelDad » Wed May 06, 2009 3:58 pm

snotrocket wrote: You should spend as little time as possible on outlining, because it's also largely a waste of time.


I disagree with this, but, again, YMMV. Do what works for you. My outlining process involves starting with a good outline from a previous year, and the majority of my outlining time goes into editing it and putting it into my own words, keeping what's useful and scrapping what's not.

snotrocket
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby snotrocket » Wed May 06, 2009 4:02 pm

DelDad wrote:I disagree with this, but, again, YMMV. Do what works for you. My outlining process involves starting with a good outline from a previous year, and the majority of my outlining time goes into editing it and putting it into my own words, keeping what's useful and scrapping what's not.

I'm not saying the outline is useless, but 80% of the time most people spend on making them would be better spent using them by working practice exams. A useful attack outline suitable for exams shouldn't take more than a day or two at the most to do, especially if you're smart like you say and start from an older outline or the capsule summary from Emanuels / Gilberts or whatever.

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Corsair
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Corsair » Wed May 06, 2009 4:39 pm

..

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RVP11
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby RVP11 » Wed May 06, 2009 4:42 pm

I wish I had a ::sadly shaking head:: emoticon for this thread.

Fly
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Fly » Wed May 06, 2009 5:09 pm

Dacos wrote:Ok, so I'm guessing that top students don't brief, and that they either buy canned case brief books or case summaries?


For what it's worth, I'm a "top student," and I brief. Granted, I don't do enormous briefs with useless information like procedural history and dicta, but I write up a brief statement of facts and a brief explanation of the court's reasoning. I find this useful for three reasons. One, it doesn't cost money. Two, I've found that it is helpful when making an outline to have very brief snippets to look back on (a lot of the commercial briefs are unnecessarily thorough). Three, I just think it's good to figure these things out for one's self (and I don't mind reading judicial opinions nearly as much as most law students).

adam.brown
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby adam.brown » Wed May 06, 2009 5:21 pm

There is not one way to do a brief. Different professors look for different things in recitation. Some quiz you about every damn fact in the entire case. Some give you the facts and ask you only to analyze the law. Some will not care as much about the law as the policy behind it. You will learn within the first week or two what works best for each class. After you get how it works, you will do it for a couple more weeks, then realize that book briefing or using canned briefs are better. The point is that briefing only helps for when you get called on in class (in five classes this semester I only got called on 4 times total); so its a waste to spend all your time briefing just to sound a little smarter when you get called on. At any rate, if you are a good reader, then it won't be hard to remember the facts that you just read the night before, specially if you highlight and make a few notes in your book.

But whatever you do, don't waste your time reading a book about it. They will most likely go over briefing in orientation. Until then, here is a general way a brief works...it's not that difficult:

1. Procedural History: What court is the case in now, what court did it come from, what year did it take place, what parties won/lost at trial or appeal; which parties are plaintiff/defendant

2. Facts of the Case: Again, some profs ask more than others about the facts, but you can usually get this w/in a few sentences.

3. Rule: What rule/law does the court apply? There can be several statements of the law w/in a case, but look for the one or two that really make a difference in the court's decision.

4. Rationale/Analysis: How the court applies the law to the facts of the case.

5. Holding: What the court held, and why...kind of tied into the above.

6. Judgment: i.e. Plaintiff recovers damages, motion overruled, appeal dismissed, etc.


See? Not that hard...don't fret about this, you'll quickly figure it out. Hope this helps.

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Radio King
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Radio King » Wed May 06, 2009 5:29 pm

lazyewok wrote:briefing cases is TTT. buy high court case summaries.


FWIW, Xeoh85 was first in his/her class at UCLA and supposedly briefed everything.
See here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=36635

stavand wrote:Read Law School Confidential... it's the best pre law school book... PLS is uses scare tactics and tells you to spend like a thousand dollars in supplaments... trust me, its not worth it. You don't need those green "hornbooks" for example.


Also, FYI, PLS specifically recommends against wasting money and time using hornbooks. It does recommend using Delaney and E&Es for all of the first year classes. I looked at Delaney (both the briefing and the crim law book), he was okay, not great. Using the E&Es is solid advice, though.

The only thing I found that useful in Law School Confidential was the book briefing method, which doesn't really need explaining (highlight green for facts, yellow for critical reasoning, red for holding, blue for precedent, purple for dissent, etc. Write notes in the margins). I'd only recommend this method, though, after you've mastered writing your own briefs.

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NewHere
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby NewHere » Wed May 06, 2009 6:09 pm

What DelDad said.

And you don't need a book to teach you how to brief. You don't get graded on briefs, they are a study tool for yourself. So it doesn't matter if the first month your briefs are too long (with too much redundant information) or too short (so you find out in class that you missed important things). You'll figure it out as you go.

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TTT-LS
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby TTT-LS » Wed May 06, 2009 6:12 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TTT-LS
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby TTT-LS » Wed May 06, 2009 6:13 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mr. Costello
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Mr. Costello » Wed May 06, 2009 6:13 pm

Since books are being recommended (or not), would anyone mind weighing in on "Law School Insider?" I was checking out "LSC" on Amazon, and "Law School Insider" showed up as well (it seemed that a reviewer of "Law School Confidential" was trolling for "LS Insider"). Has anyone here read it?

Fly
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Fly » Wed May 06, 2009 6:27 pm

adam.brown wrote:The point is that briefing only helps for when you get called on in class


I really don't think this is true. I think a good (meaning short, but with all the truly essential information) brief can serve as a valuable study tool later. Everyone studies differently, so I'm not saying that looking back at your briefs is the best way to study or anything, but I do think they have some utility beyond in-class recitation.

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TTT-LS
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby TTT-LS » Wed May 06, 2009 6:41 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Wahoo1L
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Wahoo1L » Wed May 06, 2009 8:57 pm

Radio King wrote: The only thing I found that useful in Law School Confidential was the book briefing method, which doesn't really need explaining (highlight green for facts, yellow for critical reasoning, red for holding, blue for precedent, purple for dissent, etc. Write notes in the margins). I'd only recommend this method, though, after you've mastered writing your own briefs.


Do people actually use this method? Maybe it's just me, but is it really that hard to figure out what part of a decision the Court is referring to?

Dacos
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Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Dacos » Wed May 06, 2009 9:24 pm

adam.brown wrote:There is not one way to do a brief. Different professors look for different things in recitation. Some quiz you about every damn fact in the entire case. Some give you the facts and ask you only to analyze the law. Some will not care as much about the law as the policy behind it. You will learn within the first week or two what works best for each class. After you get how it works, you will do it for a couple more weeks, then realize that book briefing or using canned briefs are better. The point is that briefing only helps for when you get called on in class (in five classes this semester I only got called on 4 times total); so its a waste to spend all your time briefing just to sound a little smarter when you get called on. At any rate, if you are a good reader, then it won't be hard to remember the facts that you just read the night before, specially if you highlight and make a few notes in your book.

But whatever you do, don't waste your time reading a book about it. They will most likely go over briefing in orientation. Until then, here is a general way a brief works...it's not that difficult:

1. Procedural History: What court is the case in now, what court did it come from, what year did it take place, what parties won/lost at trial or appeal; which parties are plaintiff/defendant

2. Facts of the Case: Again, some profs ask more than others about the facts, but you can usually get this w/in a few sentences.

3. Rule: What rule/law does the court apply? There can be several statements of the law w/in a case, but look for the one or two that really make a difference in the court's decision.

4. Rationale/Analysis: How the court applies the law to the facts of the case.

5. Holding: What the court held, and why...kind of tied into the above.

6. Judgment: i.e. Plaintiff recovers damages, motion overruled, appeal dismissed, etc.


See? Not that hard...don't fret about this, you'll quickly figure it out. Hope this helps.


thanks!




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