How to read cases

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Venom
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:20 pm

How to read cases

Postby Venom » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:30 pm

I spend an inordinate amount of time reading/briefing cases. Is there any advice you guys would have as to streamlining that process?

I am getting too caught up in knowing all the details, rather than just focusing on the facts, law, and the rationale behind the judicial decision.

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sambeber
Posts: 255
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: How to read cases

Postby sambeber » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:35 pm

I mean, what is the difference between this

Venom wrote:all the details


and this?

Venom wrote: the facts, law, and the rationale behind the judicial decision


What I focused on in a given case were two questions: (1) why is this case in the book (there's always a reason, and it's usually because it establishes a default rule, or illustrates an exception to that rule) and (2) what can I take from this case that will be helpful in terms of legal analysis when faced with a hypothetical fact pattern at the end of the semester?

Venom
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: How to read cases

Postby Venom » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:47 pm

I've come up with some things I should gather from a case, and then move on after finding them. Rather than trying to understand every little thing in the case.

-What is the law?
-What are the facts?
-What is the issue?
-What was the court's decision?
-What was the rationale behind the decision?

Thoughts on this? Too little? Too much? Anything you would alter?

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homestyle28
Posts: 2312
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:48 pm

Re: How to read cases

Postby homestyle28 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:08 pm

In my experience it depends a bit on the class/prof. My Conlaw prof only cared about majority holdings, so all you really had to know was things like "Brown v Board = no segregation in education b/c seperate schools are inherently unequal." My Property and contracts prof wrote incredibly fact dense issue spotters, so knowing the facts of studied cases was (or woulld have been!) helpful b/c you can better see what each sentence is getting at: "Oh this fact A is almost identical to Fact A in Smith v Jones, let me talk about how they're the same and how they differ."

So my advice is to scrutinize your prof and each topic by finding sample exams and answers, then identify what kind of information from a case is helpful on an exam.

Venom
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: How to read cases

Postby Venom » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:30 pm

Thanks, Homestyle. That is good advice. My background is in engineering, where I used checklists for everything. Stuck in my ways I was looking to form a checklist that I could use for every case, that would I ensure I got the important details of the case in the least amount of time.

But I see your point that depending on the prof it may be overkill or it could even be insufficent.

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glitter178
Posts: 771
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:21 pm

Re: How to read cases

Postby glitter178 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:35 pm

CaseBriefs/ CaseNotes ...............




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