"Law School Confidential" briefing method

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
User avatar
vamedic03
Posts: 1579
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:50 am

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby vamedic03 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:19 pm

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.


Um . . . I highly recommend not following the advice given in the quoted post:

1) The Commercial outline, if you choose to use it, should act only as a SUPPLEMENT

2) You're not taking "Tort's"; you're taking Professor X's Torts - hence, the supplement can, and should, only be a SUPPLEMENT

3) Outlining before class is a waste of time - until you know what the professor wants and focuses on, you're wasting your time and energy

4) You absolutely should be taking notes in class - I hate to tell y'all this, but what you think is important doesn't matter - all that matters is what the professor thinks is important.

5) Don't think about outlining until the class is at least half-way finished - used outlining to organize, analyze, and synthesize your class

6) Your outline should be based primarily on your class notes

Thane Messinger
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:54 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby Thane Messinger » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:04 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
1) The Commercial outline, if you choose to use it, should act only as a SUPPLEMENT



This is correct, but the commercial outline supplements should be used at the beginning of the process, not as some amorphous “supplement.” Just because it’s a supplement doesn’t mean it takes a back seat. What’s key is in knowing how all these pieces fit together. The case, while important, should NOT be up front. That is a path to a lot of confusion and a lack of real understanding of why that case is even being discussed. This is why supplements are so important. (Note: casebooks and their edited cases and talking points are not supplements in this context.)


vamedic03 wrote:
2) You're not taking "Tort's"; you're taking Professor X's Torts - hence, the supplement can, and should, only be a SUPPLEMENT


Correct. The paradox is that because you’re taking Professor X’s torts, it’s MORE important to use the supplement first. The more you understand the context before class, the more sense Professor X’s discussions will make.

vamedic03 wrote:
3) Outlining before class is a waste of time - until you know what the professor wants and focuses on, you're wasting your time and energy



Nope. You will know what to focus on (for reasons stated in GGG), and you won’t waste your time and energy. Quite the opposite. You’ll be wasting class time if you don’t know exactly why the case being discussed is being discussed. This, for most students, is the norm. It shouldn’t be. (And it isn’t for students who excel.)


vamedic03 wrote:
4) You absolutely should be taking notes in class - I hate to tell y'all this, but what you think is important doesn't matter - all that matters is what the professor thinks is important.



You’re absolutely right that “what you think is important doesn't matter,” and you’re also right that what “matters is what the professor thinks is important.” What doesn’t follow is that this is some bizarre philosophical musings utterly unique in each classroom. This is THE LAW. It is consistent across classrooms across the country. It is consistent, with very few exceptions, across time. Our grandfathers would recognize 90% of the discussions of Professor X.

Are there differences? Of course. Do they make a difference? Yes and no. They absolutely do not make a difference in your first initial efforts to place those cases into the context of the legal principles under discussion.



vamedic03 wrote:
5) Don't think about outlining until the class is at least half-way finished - used outlining to organize, analyze, and synthesize your class



No way. Wait until then and you’re lucky to hit the top 33%.

vamedic03 wrote:
6) Your outline should be based primarily on your class notes


Nope. Your class note (which should be no more than one page per class) are the supplement. They’re nowhere near the meat.

User avatar
Cavalier
Posts: 1994
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:13 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby Cavalier » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:11 pm

Book briefing is almost as pointless as actual briefing. Personally I used two highlighters - one color for "facts" (mainly for smoother cold calls), and one color for the court's reasoning, important dicta, etc. But that's not even necessary - you can easily get by with one color or even just by underlining with a pen. It doesn't matter.

User avatar
yinz
Posts: 205
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 8:36 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby yinz » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:18 pm

Cavalier wrote:Book briefing is almost as pointless as actual briefing. Personally I used two highlighters - one color for "facts" (mainly for smoother cold calls), and one color for the court's reasoning, important dicta, etc. But that's not even necessary - you can easily get by with one color or even just by underlining with a pen. It doesn't matter.


1. I use rainbow colors per the LSC-method, pastels for adjectives, crayons for conjunctions, and erasable markers for possessive pronouns.

2. I thought Thane was a shameless plugger, but I've come to think that is hardly his only reason for posting; I think he actually enjoys imparting knowledge.

kehdrms
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:46 am

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby kehdrms » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:36 pm

bump

User avatar
chicagolaw2013
Posts: 584
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:38 pm

Someone posted in the last 30 minutes. Don't waste one of your first 10 posts to bump, especially unnecessarily. That'll get you chewed out faster than you can say "YO! MTV Raps".

User avatar
vamedic03
Posts: 1579
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:50 am

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby vamedic03 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:54 pm

Thane Messinger wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:
1) The Commercial outline, if you choose to use it, should act only as a SUPPLEMENT



This is correct, but the commercial outline supplements should be used at the beginning of the process, not as some amorphous “supplement.” Just because it’s a supplement doesn’t mean it takes a back seat. What’s key is in knowing how all these pieces fit together. The case, while important, should NOT be up front. That is a path to a lot of confusion and a lack of real understanding of why that case is even being discussed. This is why supplements are so important. (Note: casebooks and their edited cases and talking points are not supplements in this context.)


vamedic03 wrote:
2) You're not taking "Tort's"; you're taking Professor X's Torts - hence, the supplement can, and should, only be a SUPPLEMENT


Correct. The paradox is that because you’re taking Professor X’s torts, it’s MORE important to use the supplement first. The more you understand the context before class, the more sense Professor X’s discussions will make.

vamedic03 wrote:
3) Outlining before class is a waste of time - until you know what the professor wants and focuses on, you're wasting your time and energy



Nope. You will know what to focus on (for reasons stated in GGG), and you won’t waste your time and energy. Quite the opposite. You’ll be wasting class time if you don’t know exactly why the case being discussed is being discussed. This, for most students, is the norm. It shouldn’t be. (And it isn’t for students who excel.)


vamedic03 wrote:
4) You absolutely should be taking notes in class - I hate to tell y'all this, but what you think is important doesn't matter - all that matters is what the professor thinks is important.



You’re absolutely right that “what you think is important doesn't matter,” and you’re also right that what “matters is what the professor thinks is important.” What doesn’t follow is that this is some bizarre philosophical musings utterly unique in each classroom. This is THE LAW. It is consistent across classrooms across the country. It is consistent, with very few exceptions, across time. Our grandfathers would recognize 90% of the discussions of Professor X.

Are there differences? Of course. Do they make a difference? Yes and no. They absolutely do not make a difference in your first initial efforts to place those cases into the context of the legal principles under discussion.



vamedic03 wrote:
5) Don't think about outlining until the class is at least half-way finished - used outlining to organize, analyze, and synthesize your class



No way. Wait until then and you’re lucky to hit the top 33%.

vamedic03 wrote:
6) Your outline should be based primarily on your class notes


Nope. Your class note (which should be no more than one page per class) are the supplement. They’re nowhere near the meat.


Um, I stand by my suggestions and utterly disagree with your recommendations. I think your recommendations are dangerous and seriously risk setting people up for failure. Further, they remind me a lot of PLS II. I would recommend that people follow other, well proven advice, and not your shameless plus that will likely result in disappointment.

MVB99
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:49 am

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby MVB99 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:02 am

Thanks for responding to my post Thane. I cant thank you enough for how much your book changed the way I view law school. I am fortunate I stumbled upon as early as I did.

Thane Messinger
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:54 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby Thane Messinger » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:03 am

vamedic03 wrote:
Um, I stand by my suggestions and utterly disagree with your recommendations. I think your recommendations are dangerous and seriously risk setting people up for failure. Further, they remind me a lot of PLS II. I would recommend that people follow other, well proven advice, and not your shameless plus that will likely result in disappointment.



Perhaps we can agree that the smart move for a soon-to-be-1L is to read a variety of opinions about what they should be doing, and to decide from there. Among those opinions, in my opinion, are those of Atticus Falcon and me. (I have to laugh, as Atticus and I have had an extended falling out, in part because I part with him in some of his approach. Nonetheless, it's absolutely essential for a new student to have at least seen it. To do otherwise would be, in your words, a damned serious risk of being set up for failure.)

I try not to comment on other books, but I'll say that if the others were as good as they should be, I would never have spent a vacation writing Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold. And try as I might to be light-hearted about much of this, this really IS damned serious. My student loans are paid off. And they were far, far lower. Anyone entering now ought to be sure, really sure, that they're not taking any of this lightly. (Note: this does not mean "just race around doing lots of 'study'"--it means think about how one ought to get ready to study.)

Thane.

Thane Messinger
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:54 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby Thane Messinger » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:14 am

chicagolaw2013 wrote:
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?


Dr. Chicago -

Sorry, I nearly missed this. Yes, you're quite right. Given that it's in Oct., you're on the right track: do audio first, and the live presentation will make more sense.

I have to smile, as Wentworth and I had a friendly dispute. I believed, half-seriously, that most students (if they were anything like I was) probably wouldn't really get how different and serious law exams were. So, I wondered whether they needed it a second time around. He said, "No, not if they follow it . . . really follow the materials." I agree. So once you've gone through the audio you'll be better placed to decide whether you should also attend. I'd be predisposed to say "Yes," but if it's making sense and if you're really using it, that might be sufficient. And I would take his advice over mine anyway. = : )

For all, the secret to all of these "secrets" is that they're not really secrets. You can buy a dozen books, and if they sit on your shelf, they'll provide a bit of moral comfort but they'll not help at all in the only way that counts, on exams. If instead you buy one book at a flea market and pore through it a dozen times, pulling its every morsel, THAT is far more likely to help. (Even if it's not my book, that would make me more proud: really USE the advice given by those who've been there.)

And I hope this helps,

Thane.

Thane Messinger
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:54 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby Thane Messinger » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:19 am

MVB99 wrote:Thanks for responding to my post Thane. I cant thank you enough for how much your book changed the way I view law school. I am fortunate I stumbled upon as early as I did.


Aloha, MVB99 -

You are most welcome, and congratulations! It's very nice indeed to read about how this is helping. I thank you as well for sharing with the next group of 1Ls--that is an important responsibility that is undertaken only sporadically. Were graduates and 2-3Ls to reflect on their experiences, honestly, and share what didn't work, law school would be a much more intellectual, much less treacherous place.

Again, thank you,

Thane.

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

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby RUQRU » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:45 am

Thane Messinger wrote:Perhaps we can agree that the smart move for a soon-to-be-1L is to read a variety of opinions about what they should be doing, and to decide from there. Among those opinions, in my opinion, are those of Atticus Falcon and me. (I have to laugh, as Atticus and I have had an extended falling out, in part because I part with him in some of his approach. Nonetheless, it's absolutely essential for a new student to have at least seen it. To do otherwise would be, in your words, a damned serious risk of being set up for failure.)

I try not to comment on other books, but I'll say that if the others were as good as they should be, I would never have spent a vacation writing Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold. And try as I might to be light-hearted about much of this, this really IS damned serious. My student loans are paid off. And they were far, far lower. Anyone entering now ought to be sure, really sure, that they're not taking any of this lightly. (Note: this does not mean "just race around doing lots of 'study'"--it means think about how one ought to get ready to study.)

Thane.


Thane,

I am starting my 1L year in August and want to thank you for GGG and all the advice you have provided. I am a non-trad student with many, many years of "real world" experience. I know this forum is overwhelmingly populated by folks just getting out of college and who have not fully developed their "BS" detectors. For this reason people may not understand that efficiency, not quantity of work, is essential to success. In business we seek to maximize ROI. We want the greatest return on investment for the absolute minimum input of resources consistent with moral and ethical behavior.

When I hear people say they plan to spend only four hours sleeping and 12 hours studying, I think, "my god, these folks are suicidal." Yes, I do not have any law school experience, but I do have friends who survived the process as later in life lawyers, and none of them studied in such a counter productive way. Yet they graduated and succeeded. Now success to some may mean a six figure salary at some "big law" firm. But that is only one measure. The key is ROI and for me that means zero debt upon graduation. Everything after that is just fun!

Based on my own experience in other endeavors, I find the advice given in GGG reasonable and practical to implement. I am going to do the LEEWS CDs in July and then utilize your recommendations when school begins. Your admonition that it is all about learning the law and how to succeed on the law school exam seems very straight forward. I cannot imagine anyone, on this forum or elsewhere, who would disagree with that.

Now there may be some "natural born geniuses of the law" who can do well not matter what study methodology they implement; however, I am pretty certain I am not one of them. So, like any project, structure, methodology and a feedback mechanism to provide continuing improvement are proven ways to succeed.

Thanks for that!

User avatar
chicagolaw2013
Posts: 584
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:24 am

Thane Messinger wrote:
chicagolaw2013 wrote:
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?


Dr. Chicago -

Sorry, I nearly missed this. Yes, you're quite right. Given that it's in Oct., you're on the right track: do audio first, and the live presentation will make more sense.

I have to smile, as Wentworth and I had a friendly dispute. I believed, half-seriously, that most students (if they were anything like I was) probably wouldn't really get how different and serious law exams were. So, I wondered whether they needed it a second time around. He said, "No, not if they follow it . . . really follow the materials." I agree. So once you've gone through the audio you'll be better placed to decide whether you should also attend. I'd be predisposed to say "Yes," but if it's making sense and if you're really using it, that might be sufficient. And I would take his advice over mine anyway. = : )

For all, the secret to all of these "secrets" is that they're not really secrets. You can buy a dozen books, and if they sit on your shelf, they'll provide a bit of moral comfort but they'll not help at all in the only way that counts, on exams. If instead you buy one book at a flea market and pore through it a dozen times, pulling its every morsel, THAT is far more likely to help. (Even if it's not my book, that would make me more proud: really USE the advice given by those who've been there.)

And I hope this helps,

Thane.


Thanks, Thane. I think I'm going to do both like you said. I'll see how I feel after the audio, but the class may put it in better context.

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

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby RUQRU » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:31 am

chicagolaw2013 wrote:Thanks, Thane. I think I'm going to do both like you said. I'll see how I feel after the audio, but the class may put it in better context.


Maybe not. Wentworth says on his web site:
The audio program duplicates, but is not a mere recording of the live program. It was produced in a sound studio from a transcript with an audio listener in mind. If anything, the audio program is more complete and articulate in setting forth LEEWS than the live program. You'll feel as if you're attending live, but you work at your own pace. THERE IS NO DISCERNIBLE DIFFERENCE IN EFFECTIVENESS BETWEEN THE LIVE AND AUDIO PROGRAMS IF YOU TAKE THE TIME TO DO IT (!!). However, because we have no control over the use to which the audio program is put (e.g., some students don't go through it, or only partially), the money back guarantee does not extend to the audio program. Share the cost with a friend!...

Someone who has been through the audio program should not need to attend the live program, and vice versa. However, some students wish to do both. If so, it is best to purchase the audio program first. You may then take advantage of the LEEWS “repeater” rate of $60 when subsequently attending a live program.


Source: http://www.leews.com/program.html#audiocd

So there you have it!

rando
Posts: 908
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:57 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby rando » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:39 am

Thane Messinger wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:
Um, I stand by my suggestions and utterly disagree with your recommendations. I think your recommendations are dangerous and seriously risk setting people up for failure. Further, they remind me a lot of PLS II. I would recommend that people follow other, well proven advice, and not your shameless plus that will likely result in disappointment.



Perhaps we can agree that the smart move for a soon-to-be-1L is to read a variety of opinions about what they should be doing, and to decide from there. Among those opinions, in my opinion, are those of Atticus Falcon and me. (I have to laugh, as Atticus and I have had an extended falling out, in part because I part with him in some of his approach. Nonetheless, it's absolutely essential for a new student to have at least seen it. To do otherwise would be, in your words, a damned serious risk of being set up for failure.)

I try not to comment on other books, but I'll say that if the others were as good as they should be, I would never have spent a vacation writing Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold. And try as I might to be light-hearted about much of this, this really IS damned serious. My student loans are paid off. And they were far, far lower. Anyone entering now ought to be sure, really sure, that they're not taking any of this lightly. (Note: this does not mean "just race around doing lots of 'study'"--it means think about how one ought to get ready to study.)

Thane.


I'm glad that you found some common ground because in the above posts you both seemed to suggest that there was only one "correct" way, which I think everyone can agree is silly. Everyone knows the people who don't even use their own outlines and manage to do well. And everyone knows people who did 0L prep, leews etc. and did terribly.

That being said, I think it was very advantageous to start outlining very early in the process. But I did so from the casebook readings which I outlined, then supplemented intermittently with class notes. Once every couple weeks I would go through and fill holes with commercial supplements.

I personally think book briefing is stupid. During finals I saw people in the library with their casebooks out time and time again poring back through the material while I never opened the casebook again after the last day of class.

What is really clear is that everyone needs to find what works for them. But what seems to be universally helpful is doing your own outlines, doing them early, and supplementing them with some sort of commercial outline to get a broad understanding of the subject matter so you can apply what your prof. taught you.

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

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby RUQRU » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:48 am

rando wrote:
I'm glad that you found some common ground because in the above posts you both seemed to suggest that there was only one "correct" way, which I think everyone can agree is silly. Everyone knows the people who don't even use their own outlines and manage to do well. And everyone knows people who did 0L prep, leews etc. and did terribly.


One of the problems with categorical statements, like "everyone knows people who did 0L prep, leews etc. and did terribly" is that we have no way on knowing what the subject really did. Did they really take LEEWS? Did they buy the CDs and not really use them? Who knows? So until some kind of controlled experiment can be fashioned it is really difficult to know how much weight to give these observations.

The point is we all must utilize our own experience about what is effective to make judgments about the methodologies presented. I have read Thane's book, and PLS II too. What Thane is saying makes sense to me. He sets an objective, learning the law so as to do well on law school exams, provides a methodology and is not dogmatic at all. Time will tell. But no matter how well, or poorly, I do, it is all on me! No one can do the work for you. The important thing is to find a methodology the gives you maximum ROI. I want to do the best I can in the most efficient way I can find. Make sense?

rando
Posts: 908
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:57 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby rando » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:55 am

RUQRU wrote:
rando wrote:
I'm glad that you found some common ground because in the above posts you both seemed to suggest that there was only one "correct" way, which I think everyone can agree is silly. Everyone knows the people who don't even use their own outlines and manage to do well. And everyone knows people who did 0L prep, leews etc. and did terribly.


One of the problems with categorical statements, like "everyone knows people who did 0L prep, leews etc. and did terribly" is that we have no way on knowing what the subject really did. Did they really take LEEWS? Did they buy the CDs and not really use them? Who knows. So until some kind of controlled experiment can be fashioned it is really difficult to know how much weight to give these observations.

The point is we all must utilize our own experience about what is effective to make judgments about the methodologies presented. I have read Thane's book, and PLS II too. What Thane is saying makes sense to me. He sets an objective, learning the law so as to do well on law school exams, provides a methodology and is not dogmatic at all. Time will tell. But no matter how well, or poorly, I do, it is all on me! No one can do the work for you. The important thing is to find a methodology the gives you maximum ROI. I want to do the best I can in the most efficient way I can find. Make sense?


Sure it makes sense. And I'm not even telling you it is a bad idea. But it is ridiculous to say, or assume, that those things are necessary to do well. Sure, we don't know what people actually did. And you're right, until there is a controlled experiment then you won't have the answer. But I know what worked for me and what worked for some other highly successful students, and it didn't include the things that you are mentioning.

Again, that is not to say it is a bad idea. It is to say, that a "correct answer" as to how to do well in LS is not available.

User avatar
edcrane
Posts: 322
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:28 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby edcrane » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:29 pm

I'm a big fan of book briefing. The time cost is minimal and it's an excellent way to visually organize cases. I can't say it's ever helped me in class, but it's nice to be able to flip to a case at the end of the semester and disregard the first 3-4 pages of facts, which are color coded green. Since I refer to the casebook a lot during my outlining process, I'd estimate that book briefing saves me about 5 hours per class. That doesn't sound like a lot, but every little bit helps.

User avatar
edcrane
Posts: 322
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:28 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby edcrane » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:54 pm

Thane Messinger wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:
5) Don't think about outlining until the class is at least half-way finished - used outlining to organize, analyze, and synthesize your class


No way. Wait until then and you’re lucky to hit the top 33%.


What world do you live in? I do not know a single person on law review who starts outlining during the beginning of the semester. I mean it's fine to recommend a more aggressive approach, but I think you need to come up with a justification that comports with reality.

rando
Posts: 908
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:57 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby rando » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:09 pm

edcrane wrote:
Thane Messinger wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:
5) Don't think about outlining until the class is at least half-way finished - used outlining to organize, analyze, and synthesize your class


No way. Wait until then and you’re lucky to hit the top 33%.


What world do you live in? I do not know a single person on law review who starts outlining during the beginning of the semester. I mean it's fine to recommend a more aggressive approach, but I think you need to come up with a justification that comports with reality.


Follow this guys advice for sure fire failure

User avatar
edcrane
Posts: 322
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:28 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby edcrane » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:29 pm

rando wrote:
edcrane wrote:
Thane Messinger wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:
5) Don't think about outlining until the class is at least half-way finished - used outlining to organize, analyze, and synthesize your class


No way. Wait until then and you’re lucky to hit the top 33%.


What world do you live in? I do not know a single person on law review who starts outlining during the beginning of the semester. I mean it's fine to recommend a more aggressive approach, but I think you need to come up with a justification that comports with reality.


Follow this guys advice for sure fire failure


Are you directing that comment at me? If so, wut?

User avatar
willnumber85
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:46 am

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby willnumber85 » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:33 pm

FWIW I went the book briefing route at my T3 school, and it saved me so much time over any other briefing method. I ended up doing very well both semesters of 1L year. I think it really helps to know that test prep is way more important than class prep. Everything you read/do 1L year should be done with a "how will this help my final exam" mindset. I'm sure different people have different approaches that work for them, but book briefing was effective for me.

tomwelling
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 2:54 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby tomwelling » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:14 pm

Thane Messinger wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:
1) The Commercial outline, if you choose to use it, should act only as a SUPPLEMENT



This is correct, but the commercial outline supplements should be used at the beginning of the process, not as some amorphous “supplement.” Just because it’s a supplement doesn’t mean it takes a back seat. What’s key is in knowing how all these pieces fit together. The case, while important, should NOT be up front. That is a path to a lot of confusion and a lack of real understanding of why that case is even being discussed. This is why supplements are so important. (Note: casebooks and their edited cases and talking points are not supplements in this context.)


vamedic03 wrote:
2) You're not taking "Tort's"; you're taking Professor X's Torts - hence, the supplement can, and should, only be a SUPPLEMENT


Correct. The paradox is that because you’re taking Professor X’s torts, it’s MORE important to use the supplement first. The more you understand the context before class, the more sense Professor X’s discussions will make.

vamedic03 wrote:
3) Outlining before class is a waste of time - until you know what the professor wants and focuses on, you're wasting your time and energy



Nope. You will know what to focus on (for reasons stated in GGG), and you won’t waste your time and energy. Quite the opposite. You’ll be wasting class time if you don’t know exactly why the case being discussed is being discussed. This, for most students, is the norm. It shouldn’t be. (And it isn’t for students who excel.)


vamedic03 wrote:
4) You absolutely should be taking notes in class - I hate to tell y'all this, but what you think is important doesn't matter - all that matters is what the professor thinks is important.



You’re absolutely right that “what you think is important doesn't matter,” and you’re also right that what “matters is what the professor thinks is important.” What doesn’t follow is that this is some bizarre philosophical musings utterly unique in each classroom. This is THE LAW. It is consistent across classrooms across the country. It is consistent, with very few exceptions, across time. Our grandfathers would recognize 90% of the discussions of Professor X.

Are there differences? Of course. Do they make a difference? Yes and no. They absolutely do not make a difference in your first initial efforts to place those cases into the context of the legal principles under discussion.



vamedic03 wrote:
5) Don't think about outlining until the class is at least half-way finished - used outlining to organize, analyze, and synthesize your class



No way. Wait until then and you’re lucky to hit the top 33%.

vamedic03 wrote:
6) Your outline should be based primarily on your class notes


Nope. Your class note (which should be no more than one page per class) are the supplement. They’re nowhere near the meat.


Most of these things are arguable, as there are clearly multiple ways to succeed in law school. However, Thane's response to number 5 is wrong. Many, many people wait till the second half of the semester (or even the last couple weeks) to outline and do very well. Of the top third/quarter at my T25 school, probably around half the people did no outlining until at least the last half of the semester.

Also, in my opinion, I don't see how one would gain anything by outlining before class. Individual classes tend to be over fairly narrow aspects of law; anyone who simply reads the case should already know why the case is being discussed. If you don't, making an outline of it won't help.

Thane Messinger
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:54 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby Thane Messinger » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:26 pm

RUQRU wrote:
Thane Messinger wrote:Perhaps we can agree that the smart move for a soon-to-be-1L is to read a variety of opinions about what they should be doing, and to decide from there. Among those opinions, in my opinion, are those of Atticus Falcon and me. (I have to laugh, as Atticus and I have had an extended falling out, in part because I part with him in some of his approach. Nonetheless, it's absolutely essential for a new student to have at least seen it. To do otherwise would be, in your words, a damned serious risk of being set up for failure.)

I try not to comment on other books, but I'll say that if the others were as good as they should be, I would never have spent a vacation writing Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold. And try as I might to be light-hearted about much of this, this really IS damned serious. My student loans are paid off. And they were far, far lower. Anyone entering now ought to be sure, really sure, that they're not taking any of this lightly. (Note: this does not mean "just race around doing lots of 'study'"--it means think about how one ought to get ready to study.)

Thane.


Thane,

I am starting my 1L year in August and want to thank you for GGG and all the advice you have provided. I am a non-trad student with many, many years of "real world" experience. I know this forum is overwhelmingly populated by folks just getting out of college and who have not fully developed their "BS" detectors. For this reason people may not understand that efficiency, not quantity of work, is essential to success. In business we seek to maximize ROI. We want the greatest return on investment for the absolute minimum input of resources consistent with moral and ethical behavior.

When I hear people say they plan to spend only four hours sleeping and 12 hours studying, I think, "my god, these folks are suicidal." Yes, I do not have any law school experience, but I do have friends who survived the process as later in life lawyers, and none of them studied in such a counter productive way. Yet they graduated and succeeded. Now success to some may mean a six figure salary at some "big law" firm. But that is only one measure. The key is ROI and for me that means zero debt upon graduation. Everything after that is just fun!

Based on my own experience in other endeavors, I find the advice given in GGG reasonable and practical to implement. I am going to do the LEEWS CDs in July and then utilize your recommendations when school begins. Your admonition that it is all about learning the law and how to succeed on the law school exam seems very straight forward. I cannot imagine anyone, on this forum or elsewhere, who would disagree with that.

Now there may be some "natural born geniuses of the law" who can do well not matter what study methodology they implement; however, I am pretty certain I am not one of them. So, like any project, structure, methodology and a feedback mechanism to provide continuing improvement are proven ways to succeed.

Thanks for that!



RUQRU -

Thank you, and I appreciate your comments. It is indeed easy to get riled up in these forums, and, as you write, at the end of the day each person will have to live their own life. I take it as my duty to at least be a voice countering the greater silliness that passes for advice. I assume that few on here have read Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold, and so it's easy to assume I'm asserting something that, as you know, is not true. No matter.

The important part for all to take out of this is that neither neither extreme will help in law school. Following the advice to "Relax!" for the next two months is all-but suicidal, not because law cannot be learned well in nine months but because for most, it is not. As you state, in GGG the answer is efficiency as well as good study habits: getting the maximum learning with the least amount of wasted effort.

Again, thank you,

Thane.

User avatar
edcrane
Posts: 322
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:28 pm

Re: "Law School Confidential" briefing method

Postby edcrane » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:31 pm

tomwelling wrote:Also, in my opinion, I don't see how one would gain anything by outlining before class. Individual classes tend to be over fairly narrow aspects of law; anyone who simply reads the case should already know why the case is being discussed. If you don't, making an outline of it won't help.


Yeah, this is a pretty bizarre suggestion. Maybe things have changed in the 20 years since Thane attended law school. I have certainly never felt that this level of preparation was necessary to absorb the material presented in class.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSNbot Media and 3 guests