"Law School Confidential" briefing method

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waytofailself
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby waytofailself » Sun May 31, 2009 6:59 pm

So many of my classmates thought I book-briefed it was rediculous. In fact, I just got so used to using 3 or 4-in-1 pens that I got used to writing my notes and in the books in strange combinations of red, green, blue, and black.

Did the colors mean anything? Nope. Did it hurt like hell to try and read my notes when I had to put them all together? Yep. Was I trying to follow LSC even though I read through parts of it? Not really.

What was my 1L strategy? Focus on what's going to be tested. Don't freak out if you get embarrassed because you don't know anything in class. It's a fun feeling blowing a question that was from a note in the Torts textbook right after the case and having bunches of hands fly up in the air afterwards (something about explosions and strict liability). Was that question on the final? Nope.

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RonSantoRules
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby RonSantoRules » Sun May 31, 2009 10:56 pm

Before doing anything in law school, ask yourself one question: will this help me prepare for the final exam? If it does, then do it. If it only is preventing you from looking stupid in class and serves no purpose with regards to the final exam, don't do it. The only people who truly look stupid are those who spend all their energy preparing for class when they should be preparing for the exams. Their grades will likely suffer accordingly.

I "briefed" all year, but a brief was never more than 7 lines of text in my notes. I used the LEEWS method of briefing and thought it worked well because I could then just cut and paste into my outline.

MLaw11
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby MLaw11 » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:30 pm

I did it. I'm way too lazy to actually brief, and I found that it kept me from zoning out or nodding off while slogging through dozens of pages of material. It was useful the few times I had to flip back and look up a case, but certainly not often enough to justify it. I'd encourage you to find some form of "active" reading that works for you and go with it (this was fine for me).

snotrocket
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby snotrocket » Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:51 am

RonSantoRules wrote:I "briefed" all year, but a brief was never more than 7 lines of text in my notes. I used the LEEWS method of briefing and thought it worked well because I could then just cut and paste into my outline.

Tell us more about LEEWS.

braun223
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby braun223 » Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:13 am

I'd like to hear about LEEWS as well

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:27 am

Bump for the current cycle of 0L's (myself included). Any currents students have thoughts on book briefing vs normal briefing vs not at all?

And anyone have further info on LEEWS version of briefing?

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billyez
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby billyez » Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:58 am

All I know is that there's a friend of mine who has a year to go before he's done with UG who has already bought LSC and has started book briefing for his upcoming Con Law UG class. I guess I should have been doing this in UG for my pre-law classes too.

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20160810
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby 20160810 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:05 am

I don't brief cases at all. I think it's a waste of time. Buy a book of canned briefs or just jot down a few quick notes if you must.

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RUQRU
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby RUQRU » Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:39 am

RonSantoRules wrote:Before doing anything in law school, ask yourself one question: will this help me prepare for the final exam? If it does, then do it. If it only is preventing you from looking stupid in class and serves no purpose with regards to the final exam, don't do it. The only people who truly look stupid are those who spend all their energy preparing for class when they should be preparing for the exams. Their grades will likely suffer accordingly.

I "briefed" all year, but a brief was never more than 7 lines of text in my notes. I used the LEEWS method of briefing and thought it worked well because I could then just cut and paste into my outline.


TITCR

MVB99
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby MVB99 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:48 am

Before 1L, I read the “LEEWS” primer and “Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold” by Thane Messinger. Some of the advice in the books seemed crazy at the time, but I followed them both and ended up in the top 10% of the class after first year. Also, I think I spent a lot less time studying than most. Here is a basic summary:

1.Before classes begin, buy a commercial outline for each class (I recommend Emanuel). You will use these as sort of a textbook for the class.

2.When preparing for class, first read the syllabus and see what subject matter the professor will be going over that day. Quickly skim through the assigned pages in your casebook and jot down some of the main headings. Locate this subject matter in your commercial outline and read it thoroughly.

3.Use the commercial outline to prepare an outline for the material you will be going over in the next class. Outlines should be started the first week of class and much of your study time should be spent working on and refining it.

4.After preparing your outline, quickly read/scan the assigned cases. Do not worry much about the facts but see why the case was put in the book and make sure that relevant piece of law is in your outline. If your professor uses the Socratic Method and you are worried about getting called on, summarize each case in 2-4 sentences in your notes. However, if you do the work above, you should be able to handle anything the professor throws at you.

5.During class, do NOT take any notes. Especially do not write down other students comments or tangents the professor might go off on in answering other students questions. Your time in class should be spent listening to the professor and perfecting your outline.

6.After your have gone over a full unit in class (such as negligence), get your hands on every old exam/hypos you can find and practice writing essays using the LEEWS method. (I also recommend the Explanation and Examples Series and CALI Lessons)

7.At the end of the semester, while other students are stressing out over making their outlines, you will have a refined 20-30 page outline filled with everything you need for the exam. During the two weeks before finals, make an “attack outline” where you narrow your 20-30 page outline down to 2-3 pages of main points of law. Whether the exam is closed or open book, memorize the attack outline completely to either trigger your memory if the exam is closed book or to know where to look if the exam is open book.

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RUQRU
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby RUQRU » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:57 am

Thane has been very generous in providing advice here and on other law school discussion forums. He has offered free copies of his books from time to time. I am glad to see his advice has been proven in the field.

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chicagolaw2013
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:53 am

Speaking of LEEWS, is it possible to find a copy on Craigslist, or am I stuck paying the $160 for the audio program?

JOThompson
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby JOThompson » Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:59 am

chicagolaw2013 wrote:Speaking of LEEWS, is it possible to find a copy on Craigslist, or am I stuck paying the $160 for the audio program?

Try Amazon and eBay too IMO.

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chicagolaw2013
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:03 am

JOThompson wrote:
chicagolaw2013 wrote:Speaking of LEEWS, is it possible to find a copy on Craigslist, or am I stuck paying the $160 for the audio program?

Try Amazon and eBay too IMO.


Ooh, will do. Totally didn't even cross my mind, I'm a ditz.

tomwelling
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby tomwelling » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:12 am

SoftBoiledLife wrote:I don't brief cases at all. I think it's a waste of time. Buy a book of canned briefs or just jot down a few quick notes if you must.


Yes. Or just look up a brief online if you are worried about getting called on.

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animalcrkrs
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby animalcrkrs » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:22 am

Like a previous poster, I HATE highlighters in my books, which will make the future purchasers happy since there is barely anything in them.

First semester, I usually read the case, underlining if something stood out especially, then made a short brief in my notes before class (like half a page typed single spaced usually). (what section of the book it was in--UNDERRATED and helpful to know you are in remedies before you start a contract case...parties, main point, any good quotes from the judge or justice writing, outcome) then took notes in class and compiled the info for my outline along with for a good amount of cases scanning a brief online to make sure I wasn't getting it totally wrong.

Second semester I had the hang of it more and I basically just read the case before class, maybe typed up the main point and any juicy quotes, then if after class I still felt a little lost I would read and re-read until I got it... (HELLO 'Semtek' from Civ Pro 2!)

Both things worked for me.

IMO, it was MUCH more important to keep on top of the reading and come to and pay attention in class than it was to have 7 highlighters at all times. But everyone is different.

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chicagolaw2013
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:24 am

animalcrkrs wrote:Like a previous poster, I HATE highlighters in my books, which will make the future purchasers happy since there is barely anything in them.

First semester, I usually read the case, underlining if something stood out especially, then made a short brief in my notes before class (like half a page typed single spaced usually). (what section of the book it was in--UNDERRATED and helpful to know you are in remedies before you start a contract case...parties, main point, any good quotes from the judge or justice writing, outcome) then took notes in class and compiled the info for my outline along with for a good amount of cases scanning a brief online to make sure I wasn't getting it totally wrong.

Second semester I had the hang of it more and I basically just read the case before class, maybe typed up the main point and any juicy quotes, then if after class I still felt a little lost I would read and re-read until I got it... (HELLO 'Semtek' from Civ Pro 2!)

Both things worked for me.

IMO, it was MUCH more important to keep on top of the reading and come to and pay attention in class than it was to have 7 highlighters at all times. But everyone is different.


Out of curiosity, does everyone return their casebooks at the end of each semester? Are they good to have on hand or something through the rest of LS to refer back to, or is it like UG, where after your final you return the book and burn your notes/outline in a big ass bonfire? (yes I've done this, and it was cathartic.)

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animalcrkrs
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby animalcrkrs » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:39 am

Textbooks I kept all year (and re-used one from Civ Pro since it was also used in the 2nd semester when I took the second course of Civ Pro 2 as an elective) and plan to sell most in the fall either at school or on half.com.

Some people keep them, but unless I think the topic is going to be super useful I don't see why, they are expensive and heavy...but I can see keeping your tax text if you're gunning to be a tax lawyer.

Also, there is always the risk that when you try to resell the school will have moved to a new version, which may or may not make your old version worthless.

E&Es and other supps, with some exceptions are usually timeless even when new editions come out. Exceptions being that if there is a landmark case and your book is missing it b/c its 7 years old that might be a drawback...

I am keeping my outlines more than the books themselves, I can always look the cases back up.

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chicagolaw2013
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:44 am

animalcrkrs wrote:Textbooks I kept all year (and re-used one from Civ Pro since it was also used in the 2nd semester when I took the second course of Civ Pro 2 as an elective) and plan to sell most in the fall either at school or on half.com.

Some people keep them, but unless I think the topic is going to be super useful I don't see why, they are expensive and heavy...but I can see keeping your tax text if you're gunning to be a tax lawyer.

Also, there is always the risk that when you try to resell the school will have moved to a new version, which may or may not make your old version worthless.

E&Es and other supps, with some exceptions are usually timeless even when new editions come out. Exceptions being that if there is a landmark case and your book is missing it b/c its 7 years old that might be a drawback...

I am keeping my outlines more than the books themselves, I can always look the cases back up.


I'm guessing you mean in Westlaw or Lexis? Which does make sense now that you mention it...

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animalcrkrs
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby animalcrkrs » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:46 am

chicagolaw2013 wrote:
animalcrkrs wrote:Textbooks I kept all year (and re-used one from Civ Pro since it was also used in the 2nd semester when I took the second course of Civ Pro 2 as an elective) and plan to sell most in the fall either at school or on half.com.

Some people keep them, but unless I think the topic is going to be super useful I don't see why, they are expensive and heavy...but I can see keeping your tax text if you're gunning to be a tax lawyer.

Also, there is always the risk that when you try to resell the school will have moved to a new version, which may or may not make your old version worthless.

E&Es and other supps, with some exceptions are usually timeless even when new editions come out. Exceptions being that if there is a landmark case and your book is missing it b/c its 7 years old that might be a drawback...

I am keeping my outlines more than the books themselves, I can always look the cases back up.


I'm guessing you mean in Westlaw or Lexis? Which does make sense now that you mention it...


Yeah, although almost always the cases in your casebook are heavily edited from the original (so a 60 pager in Westlaw becomes 8 in your casebook) since there are sometimes multiple/side issues you aren't as concerned with for your main course. But in the end if you need to look it up for another class a combo of westlaw/lexis and briefs online should get you there.

Thane Messinger
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby Thane Messinger » Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:14 am

MVB99 wrote:Before 1L, I read the “LEEWS” primer and “Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold” by Thane Messinger. Some of the advice in the books seemed crazy at the time, but I followed them both and ended up in the top 10% of the class after first year. Also, I think I spent a lot less time studying than most. Here is a basic summary:

1.Before classes begin, buy a commercial outline for each class (I recommend Emanuel). You will use these as sort of a textbook for the class.

2.When preparing for class, first read the syllabus and see what subject matter the professor will be going over that day. Quickly skim through the assigned pages in your casebook and jot down some of the main headings. Locate this subject matter in your commercial outline and read it thoroughly.

3.Use the commercial outline to prepare an outline for the material you will be going over in the next class. Outlines should be started the first week of class and much of your study time should be spent working on and refining it.

4.After preparing your outline, quickly read/scan the assigned cases. Do not worry much about the facts but see why the case was put in the book and make sure that relevant piece of law is in your outline. If your professor uses the Socratic Method and you are worried about getting called on, summarize each case in 2-4 sentences in your notes. However, if you do the work above, you should be able to handle anything the professor throws at you.

5.During class, do NOT take any notes. Especially do not write down other students comments or tangents the professor might go off on in answering other students questions. Your time in class should be spent listening to the professor and perfecting your outline.

6.After your have gone over a full unit in class (such as negligence), get your hands on every old exam/hypos you can find and practice writing essays using the LEEWS method. (I also recommend the Explanation and Examples Series and CALI Lessons)

7.At the end of the semester, while other students are stressing out over making their outlines, you will have a refined 20-30 page outline filled with everything you need for the exam. During the two weeks before finals, make an “attack outline” where you narrow your 20-30 page outline down to 2-3 pages of main points of law. Whether the exam is closed or open book, memorize the attack outline completely to either trigger your memory if the exam is closed book or to know where to look if the exam is open book.



Many thanks, MVB99. Much appreciated.

What you've described is how law school can be both less work and a lot more fun. These are ways to stop stressing out (so much) while nodding as the professors' lectures start making a whole lot more sense.

Again, thank you,

Thane.

Thane Messinger
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby Thane Messinger » Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:19 am

RUQRU wrote:Thane has been very generous in providing advice here and on other law school discussion forums. He has offered free copies of his books from time to time. I am glad to see his advice has been proven in the field.


Thank you, RUQRU -

I know it sounds odd, but this is my pro bono effort of sorts. What's scary is that, as I've read many of these threads, I'm both surprised and dismayed at how the pathologies of law school are perpetuated. This is not intended as a slight to anyone. Quite the opposite: it is intended in respect. You are all--even the ones I disagree with, strongly--just as smart as any group of law students before you (smarter than many, actually), and so the real challenge is to figure out why law school is so disorienting for so many, and why nearly all law students do less well than they should--and work too damned hard in the process.

I hadn't in a hundred years thought I would write a book for new lawyers, much less for law students. But, as the saying goes, here we are. = : )

Again, thank you,

Thane.

Thane Messinger
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby Thane Messinger » Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:26 am

chicagolaw2013 wrote:Speaking of LEEWS, is it possible to find a copy on Craigslist, or am I stuck paying the $160 for the audio program?


Chicago & All -

A disclaimer: I've known Wentworth Miller, founder of LEEWS, for some years.

Disclaimer #2: I receive not a dime for what I'm about to write.

Sidebar #1: What I'm about to write would have struck me, as a starving law student years ago, as outrageously callous. Even so . . .

Here goes . . .

You should attend the live seminar.

Including tuition, room and board, and opportunity costs, the average law student will spend one-quarter of a million dollars on law school. [!]

LEEWS, if followed, is probably the single best investment in your legal career. Why? Because it is one of a handful of exam prep programs that will measurably improve your grades. (Again, if followed.)

Not only should you attend a live seminar, and read and re-read (and re-work) the materials, but it might not be a bad idea to assume that you'll attend twice--if nothing else to make sure you do take it seriously the first time around. The key to this or any other "secret" is not in the ingredients: it's in the practice.

Following this (or other) advice carefully is likely to pay for itself many times over.

Thane.

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Paichka
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby Paichka » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:38 am

I agree with a lot of what MVB wrote, but for two caveats.

1) I hate commercial outlines. I prefer hornbooks, and most of my professors wouldn't allow you to bring commercial outlines into the exam. That's entirely a personal preference, though, so YMMV.

2) If you can listen to your professor without taking notes and both keep your mind on topic and retain what s/he's saying, then yeah, okay, don't take notes. If your "listening" consists of zoning out in any form, then I recommend taking notes. Sometimes the tangents can come in really handy, particularly if your professor goes off on the SAME tangent more than once. That indicates a hot button area for your professor, which could appear in some form on the exam (or net you points if you spot/mention it).

I also think it's best to start outlining after each major block of instruction -- IE, look at your professor's syllabus and how s/he organizes the class. My torts professor broke the class into 1) intro to theory; 2) intentional torts; 3) negligence; 4) nuisance and 5) strict liability torts with a slice of products liability thrown in for good measure. I outlined once we were through with each block -- I think that was most helpful because it gave me a better view of how the different cases fit into that overall section of tort law. Then, once the class was over, I went back and edited my outline to bring out themes my professor had hit on throughout the course -- strict liability vs. negligence; critical legal studies vs. law & economics; etc. Then I worked on memorizing it. That way, I'd gone over and refined each part of my outline more than once before starting to use it during practice tests.

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chicagolaw2013
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Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:51 am

Thane Messinger wrote:
chicagolaw2013 wrote:Speaking of LEEWS, is it possible to find a copy on Craigslist, or am I stuck paying the $160 for the audio program?


Chicago & All -

A disclaimer: I've known Wentworth Miller, founder of LEEWS, for some years.

Disclaimer #2: I receive not a dime for what I'm about to write.

Sidebar #1: What I'm about to write would have struck me, as a starving law student years ago, as outrageously callous. Even so . . .

Here goes . . .

You should attend the live seminar.

Including tuition, room and board, and opportunity costs, the average law student will spend one-quarter of a million dollars on law school. [!]

LEEWS, if followed, is probably the single best investment in your legal career. Why? Because it is one of a handful of exam prep programs that will measurably improve your grades. (Again, if followed.)

Not only should you attend a live seminar, and read and re-read (and re-work) the materials, but it might not be a bad idea to assume that you'll attend twice--if nothing else to make sure you do take it seriously the first time around. The key to this or any other "secret" is not in the ingredients: it's in the practice.

Following this (or other) advice carefully is likely to pay for itself many times over.

Thane.


Thanks for the advice Thane. Just to clarify though, it does specifically say on the website that, if planning on doing both the live and the audio, to get the audio first, and get the discount for the live program. With the Chicago program not taking place until the end of October, and because I'd like to get started with LEEWS WAYYYY before October, I was planning on doing audio, then live, paying that full $160 and getting the discount on the live program (was just curious about other options for getting it cheaper just in case). Would you advise doing LEEWS in this order as well?




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