Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
JaHerer22
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:57 am

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby JaHerer22 » Wed May 06, 2009 9:30 pm

I hate to get on my high-horse and sound arrogant but I am in the top 2% and I think the only cases I have ever briefed were made up practice ones during orientation. The best thing you can learn about briefing cases is how to smugly grin and shake your head when you see people carrying around their giant binders full of 6 page briefs.

I know everyone has their own way of learning yada, yada, yada--but thing about briefing is you spend 75% of your time and energy learning obscure, pointless, inane material. It's not a matter of how you're leaning--it's a matter of what you are learning is useless. You will NEVER be tested on why the podunk lower court was overturned or what analogies the judge makes or how far over the speed limit the defendant was driving or what the grumpy dissent thinks. All that matters is what the law is and how it's applied--that's all you need to know--3 sentences max.

And if you are worried the scary socratic professor will interrogate you on some obscure detail--just stop--seriously that should be the last thing on your mind, chill. Even if you skimmed the case 2 minutes before class you will have your book in front of you and will know enough to trudge your way through. If the prof. is quizzing you on some inane detail just say "I'm not sure about that, I was concentrating on the court's holding." Or better yet just pass. A few times this semester I got called on and asked to pass b/c I was in the middle of negotiating blockbuster fantasy baseball trades. Participation counts for 0% of your grade so why would you ever waste you time or energy making sure you can jump through your professor's hoops in class?

User avatar
Radio King
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:34 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Radio King » Wed May 06, 2009 10:40 pm

TTT-LS wrote:
Radio King wrote:
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

What does this prove? What if I told you a T14 student was first in her class and briefed nothing?

Wasn't supposed to prove anything. Briefing isn't necessary to succeed in law school. While it's time consuming, it's still a good method for making sure you're getting everything out of the reading. It's just a reading comprehension tool that works for some people, including one who was first in his/her class at UCLA.

User avatar
RVP11
Posts: 2774
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:32 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby RVP11 » Wed May 06, 2009 10:42 pm

Radio King wrote:
TTT-LS wrote:
Radio King wrote:
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

What does this prove? What if I told you a T14 student was first in her class and briefed nothing?

Wasn't supposed to prove anything. Briefing isn't necessary to succeed in law school. While it's time consuming, it's still a good method for making sure you're getting everything out of the reading. It's just a reading comprehension tool that works for some people, including one who was first in his/her class at UCLA.


It's worth mentioning that Xeoh was a grinder to the umpteenth degree, studying 8 hours a day and only sleeping 5 hours a night.

snotrocket
Posts: 334
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:13 am

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby snotrocket » Thu May 07, 2009 5:31 am

JaHerer22 wrote:I hate to get on my high-horse and sound arrogant but I am in the top 2% and I think the only cases I have ever briefed were made up practice ones during orientation. The best thing you can learn about briefing cases is how to smugly grin and shake your head when you see people carrying around their giant binders full of 6 page briefs.

I know everyone has their own way of learning yada, yada, yada--but thing about briefing is you spend 75% of your time and energy learning obscure, pointless, inane material. It's not a matter of how you're leaning--it's a matter of what you are learning is useless. You will NEVER be tested on why the podunk lower court was overturned or what analogies the judge makes or how far over the speed limit the defendant was driving or what the grumpy dissent thinks. All that matters is what the law is and how it's applied--that's all you need to know--3 sentences max.

And if you are worried the scary socratic professor will interrogate you on some obscure detail--just stop--seriously that should be the last thing on your mind, chill. Even if you skimmed the case 2 minutes before class you will have your book in front of you and will know enough to trudge your way through. If the prof. is quizzing you on some inane detail just say "I'm not sure about that, I was concentrating on the court's holding." Or better yet just pass. A few times this semester I got called on and asked to pass b/c I was in the middle of negotiating blockbuster fantasy baseball trades. Participation counts for 0% of your grade so why would you ever waste you time or energy making sure you can jump through your professor's hoops in class?

TITCR. High horses are underrated. You can see stuff from up there.

JaHerer22
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:57 am

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby JaHerer22 » Thu May 07, 2009 11:27 am

Let me add that I'm sure there are countless people who are at the top of their class and have briefed every case they were ever assigned. You will get the information you need from briefing, but you'll also get tons of stuff you won't.

Think about it like this: lets say you were going to have a quiz on Mozart--if you followed the case brief approach you would prepare by grabbing the "M" Encyclopedia Britannica, starting at page 1 and reading the whole volume. Sure, you would learn everything it had to say about Mozart and you'd probably even learn some other interesting stuff along the way--but all that stuff would be worthless when it came to preparing for what matters--your quiz. You could learn the information this way, but it's hardly efficient or productive--your time would be much better spent going straight to the Mozart entry and then using the rest of your time to check other sources and compare what they have to say.

Likewise, instead of spending an hour briefing a case you will learn much more critical information by skimming the case and concentrating on what the law is, then reading what a hornbook or treatise has to say about that law, then maybe working through a couple examples in an E & E. Same time expenditure--much higher payoff.

seeker63
Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:32 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby seeker63 » Thu May 07, 2009 7:00 pm

Briefing is a waste of time. The people who do it are stupid people.

User avatar
RUQRU
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby RUQRU » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:02 am

seeker63 wrote:Briefing is a waste of time. The people who do it are stupid people.


Agreed.

But why during orientation does professor after professor come forth and try to scare the crap out of all incoming 1Ls with the admonition that they really can never be a lawyer if the don't slog through briefing ALL the assigned cases?

What should the student do? Knowing, and they tell you this, that the exam is 100% of your grade, why do they mislead you into wasting so much time briefing cases, rather than trying to understand the logic of the case?

User avatar
Duralex
Posts: 447
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:25 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Duralex » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:11 am

At least two reasons: It's because the profs can't test you on everything they'd like you to know. They'd like to be able to test on some of that extra stuff, but they just can't, so they're basically trying to get you to do homework for them to enrich your understanding of their area of law, and fix it in your mind over time so it lasts, rather than just lecturing while everyone does semester-long exam prep and then soon forgets a good amount of it. Which leads to the second reason: it makes teaching class easier--and if everyone did brief each case every day I bet you would have some enjoyable exploratory discussions because you could just jump into the edge case whacko hypos right away. Which I'm told is the fun part.

Has anyone taken a film class? They are somewhat unique in that during the discussion sections, everyone has 'done the reading' (because the screenings are done in class.) The quality of discussion (and argumentation) tends to be better for it.

I think they may also believe that doing lots of briefs is the best way to rapidly transmogrify student brains into lawyer brains. In our methods orientation the prof talked about briefing cases to prepare for class (but he presented a pretty minimal example--almost more like a reference card for class and a base for notes) but then went on to emphasize the importance of outlining and talked about when to start--so I felt that was fair.

dshirs32
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:36 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby dshirs32 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:27 am

To address the OP's question, Delaney's Learning Legal Reasoning is a great book. It introduces several basic legal concepts and provides effective steps for case briefing. Assuming you complete the exercises in the book (which is the point) you will have a general idea of how to extract the necessary info from a case. Delaney provides you with sample good and bad briefs for each case, as well as some additional legal insight, which I found to be a great intro. Whether or not case briefing is worth your time is another discussion entirely.

LoriBelle
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:00 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby LoriBelle » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:57 pm

I am in the top 5-10% of my class. I stopped briefing cases in the second week of school, but I always read them (and highlight to make sure I'm reading actively). The individual who is #1 in our class has briefed every assigned case and will likely continue to do so this year. Another friend who I'm VERY confident is in the top 10% (though I admit I don't actually know) told me she quit reading cases in February and relies on canned briefs/case summaries and hornbooks. It really depends on the person, I think.

User avatar
stonepeep
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:08 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby stonepeep » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:10 pm

seeker63 wrote:Briefing is a waste of time. The people who do it are stupid people.


What is wrong with people on this forum? Is it really so damaging to your e-peen if less than 100% of successful law students share your methods? Some people find briefing helpful and some don't. I briefed every case in some classes because I knew that the profs asked case-specific questions and expected us to reference cases in our essays.

Just brief if it helps you and don't brief if it doesn't. I know law school and common sense don't often go hand in hand, but seriously.

TL:DR version: ONLY TARDS DON'T BRIEF LOLZ

User avatar
SwollenMonkey
Posts: 640
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:28 am

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby SwollenMonkey » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:36 pm

Learning Legal Reasoning by Delaney is great. I learned so much reading it, especially about the trial courts. I now have an understanding of the functions of appellate courts thanks to Delaney!

Another book that I read and found to be helpful is Logic for Lawyers. It's a pretty good supplement because it actually breaks down the types of logic involved in cases. It reads more like a philosophy book on critical thinking because it discusses fallacies that may appear in court cases. However, it deals more with reasoning for the "law student than a philosophy student."

User avatar
Bustang
Posts: 439
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:26 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Bustang » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:42 pm

It seems to me that learning to brief cases in a concise, succinct matter (described in Delaney's book etc) is step 1 towards good legal writing and thinking, which leads to better examine grades. Not everyone can jump into practice exams within the first week of school with adequate knowledge to spot the issues and then dissect them. Briefing CORRECTLY helps you start thinking like a lawyer, which is necessary, but not sufficient, to success in law school.

User avatar
Bustang
Posts: 439
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:26 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Bustang » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:26 pm

betasteve wrote:
Bustang wrote:It seems to me that learning to brief cases in a concise, succinct matter (described in Delaney's book etc) is step 1 towards good legal writing and thinking, which leads to better examine grades. Not everyone can jump into practice exams within the first week of school with adequate knowledge to spot the issues and then dissect them. Briefing CORRECTLY helps you start thinking like a lawyer, which is necessary, but not sufficient, to success in law school.

The ability to brief a case in a concise, correct, and succinct matter has absolutely nothing to do with writing an exam.


Edit: All I'm trying to say is writing like a lawyer is a skill one needs to succeed in law school. Some people may find that by briefing cases in a clear and succinct manner will lead them to enhancing said skill so that they can apply it to practice exams and eventually the real deal.

User avatar
Duralex
Posts: 447
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:25 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby Duralex » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 am

This reeks of 0L advice (I'm just guessing 0L).

Quite right, and totally fair. I'm not saying I know, this was a first impression. (And was not intended to be 'advice' so much as reportage on the most honest take on this I've had from a prof so far.)

User avatar
RUQRU
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby RUQRU » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:27 am

Duralex wrote:
This reeks of 0L advice (I'm just guessing 0L).

Quite right, and totally fair. I'm not saying I know, this was a first impression. (And was not intended to be 'advice' so much as reportage on the most honest take on this I've had from a prof so far.)


Thanks for the clarification. I would be nice if 0L's who wish to share their visions would add a disclosure that they have no direct knowledge.

StudentAthlete
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:48 am

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby StudentAthlete » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:12 pm

It is really discretionary. I lot of people book briefed, but I did the briefs and did very well. Was it because I briefed most of the cases? I can't say for sure, but it sure didn't hurt. And yes, I still had a social life. (my briefs werent more than 3/4 of a page tops)

User avatar
RUQRU
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: Best book that teaches one how to brief cases

Postby RUQRU » Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:10 pm

Radio King wrote:***
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.

***
Additional FYI, Atticus no longer recommends Delaney's Learning Legal Reasoning because he says Delaney told him he was coming out with a new version of Learing that no longer stresses briefing. But since he as not done that, Atticus stop recommending the book on his Yahoo! forum.

Now most folks on TLS don't give a crap what Atticus recommends, so make up your own mind.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests