Do I brief every case?

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Kayre14
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Do I brief every case?

Postby Kayre14 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:09 pm

I am a 1L and classes start Monday. I have began my readings. I was assigned 30 pages to read in a casebook for the first day. Within those pages are about 6 cases, do I brief every case?

sparkytrainer
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby sparkytrainer » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:10 pm

Yes. Welcome to 1L.

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UVA2B
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby UVA2B » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:16 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:Yes. Welcome to 1L.


Yup. Also figure out how you process the cases in a way that helps you understand the subject matter. There may be classes where you brief every class, while other classes you stop within the first week or two, because it doesn't fit in the scheme of the course.

You've had to be smart to get to this point. Keep being smart and figure out what works for you.

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KissMyAxe
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby KissMyAxe » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:42 pm

UVA2B wrote:
sparkytrainer wrote:Yes. Welcome to 1L.


Yup. Also figure out how you process the cases in a way that helps you understand the subject matter. There may be classes where you brief every class, while other classes you stop within the first week or two, because it doesn't fit in the scheme of the course.

You've had to be smart to get to this point. Keep being smart and figure out what works for you.


This is more accurate than sparky's. You've got to do what works for you. I never brief any cases, since I don't think it helps me, and the process of briefing would actually cause me to lose track of the big picture. Try it for a week or two and see if it helps you out. If not, feel free to stop. Everyone has a unique learning style, and what works for me, UVA, or Sparky will not work for you.

sparkytrainer
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby sparkytrainer » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:43 pm

KissMyAxe wrote:
UVA2B wrote:
sparkytrainer wrote:Yes. Welcome to 1L.


Yup. Also figure out how you process the cases in a way that helps you understand the subject matter. There may be classes where you brief every class, while other classes you stop within the first week or two, because it doesn't fit in the scheme of the course.

You've had to be smart to get to this point. Keep being smart and figure out what works for you.


This is more accurate than sparky's. You've got to do what works for you. I never brief any cases, since I don't think it helps me, and the process of briefing would actually cause me to lose track of the big picture. Try it for a week or two and see if it helps you out. If not, feel free to stop. Everyone has a unique learning style, and what works for me, UVA, or Sparky will not work for you.


I actually agree with you guys that it isn't a necessity depending on learning style, but I believe a 1L should at least start with briefing every case and learning what they do not need versus starting class not briefing and realizing too late you need to.

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UVA2B
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby UVA2B » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:49 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:
KissMyAxe wrote:
UVA2B wrote:
sparkytrainer wrote:Yes. Welcome to 1L.


Yup. Also figure out how you process the cases in a way that helps you understand the subject matter. There may be classes where you brief every class, while other classes you stop within the first week or two, because it doesn't fit in the scheme of the course.

You've had to be smart to get to this point. Keep being smart and figure out what works for you.


This is more accurate than sparky's. You've got to do what works for you. I never brief any cases, since I don't think it helps me, and the process of briefing would actually cause me to lose track of the big picture. Try it for a week or two and see if it helps you out. If not, feel free to stop. Everyone has a unique learning style, and what works for me, UVA, or Sparky will not work for you.


I actually agree with you guys that it isn't a necessity depending on learning style, but I believe a 1L should at least start with briefing every case and learning what they do not need versus starting class not briefing and realizing too late you need to.


Agreed, it's a learning process. Manner of processing the information changes pretty drastically from student to student. Some people work incredibly hard to be median, while others just "get it" and nail law school without meticulously briefing every case. It's about knowing your own learning style.

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KissMyAxe
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby KissMyAxe » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:56 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:
KissMyAxe wrote:
UVA2B wrote:
sparkytrainer wrote:Yes. Welcome to 1L.


Yup. Also figure out how you process the cases in a way that helps you understand the subject matter. There may be classes where you brief every class, while other classes you stop within the first week or two, because it doesn't fit in the scheme of the course.

You've had to be smart to get to this point. Keep being smart and figure out what works for you.


This is more accurate than sparky's. You've got to do what works for you. I never brief any cases, since I don't think it helps me, and the process of briefing would actually cause me to lose track of the big picture. Try it for a week or two and see if it helps you out. If not, feel free to stop. Everyone has a unique learning style, and what works for me, UVA, or Sparky will not work for you.


I actually agree with you guys that it isn't a necessity depending on learning style, but I believe a 1L should at least start with briefing every case and learning what they do not need versus starting class not briefing and realizing too late you need to.


Oh, okay, I misunderstood. I've heard others on here saying always brief all cases, and thought you were saying that. Yeah, try it out and see how it works with your learning style. I briefed all my cases for my first week or two, and haven't briefed one since. But that's just my learning style. One of my friends on this site briefs all of theirs, and is a great student.

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Br3v
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby Br3v » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:59 pm

I briefed every case, 1L through 3L. I think I saw that DF did too. Many people will says that's a waste of time, but it worked for me and I would recommend it. It's not that hard.

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mjb447
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby mjb447 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:36 pm

+1 for do it for a while and then re-evaluate whether it seems to be working for you. Like tabbing and multi-colored-highlighter systems, it can be an aid to understanding the reading, but it can also be busy work that you do and check off without really enhancing your understanding.

devilblue
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby devilblue » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:25 am

I briefed every heading case and took notes on all notes cases and got top 5%. If you read closely enough to brief every case and do it every assignment you are almost surely going to do well because most other students won't have the discipline. I agree with the above posters that it isn't purely NECESSARY to do well... some people will do well without briefing ever... but briefing almost surely will not hurt and will make you perform better.

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pancakes3
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby pancakes3 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:44 am

Briefing cases is like showing your work for math. For the vast majority of ppl starting out, it's a good necessary part of the learning process. Don't overemphasize its importance but don't underestimate it either.

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Nebby
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby Nebby » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:54 am

Do it and see if it's helpful. If you feel like it's not helpful, and you can retain material another way, then stop briefing and do that. I briefed for the first two weeks of 1L and never again.

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Tycho
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby Tycho » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:47 am

+1 to all of the above. I created full briefs for the first week or so, and then settled into a system of abbreviated briefs. I'd just note a sentence or so about the facts and a bullet point or two re: the holding/reasoning as it relates to the subject matter of the reading. This worked for me and I did well, but only you can decide if it works for you. Regardless of how you do it, the most critical part of reading a case, IMO, is appreciating how the holding falls into the portion of the course you're in--each case is another piece of the big-picture puzzle.

LurkerTurnedMember
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby LurkerTurnedMember » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:02 am

Tycho wrote:+1 to all of the above. I created full briefs for the first week or so, and then settled into a system of abbreviated briefs. I'd just note a sentence or so about the facts and a bullet point or two re: the holding/reasoning as it relates to the subject matter of the reading. This worked for me and I did well, but only you can decide if it works for you. Regardless of how you do it, the most critical part of reading a case, IMO, is appreciating how the holding falls into the portion of the course you're in--each case is another piece of the big-picture puzzle.


This. Don't just open up to the assigned page and start reading. Open to the book's table at the beginning and spend a good 15 minutes on it, going through to see the big picture of how the law in that subject is broken down. Then see where the 30 pages you've been assigned fall within that breakdown. When you're briefing the case, and most people fail to realize this, you don't just brief the stuff within the case. You brief the general stuff first.

When I briefed cases, I would first start with roman numeral I and give the section a title (the title under which it's in the book most likely). Then underneath I'd have a subsection titled "A. General" and in my own words would explain what that section is about in the book. Can be very short 2 or 3 sentences. Then I'd have subsection "B. Rule" where after we finish that section I would basically synthesize the rule (usually the painting holdings of the cases in that section painted) that way on the exam the rule is already written out for you in your outline and cites to proper cases. Only then do I have a subsection that says "C. Cases/Examples" where I've outlined the assigned cases that are meant to explain the rule and that section. Once you get good enough at this, for the sake of exams, it could legit be a 4 or 5 sentence brief of the case. You'll figure out what are the most determinative facts, the holding, and why it's important. For now, feel free to brief it more thoroughly. Then when you're studying, you basically already have an outline done and it's easy to see how everything fits and to spot and analyze the issues on exam day. Good luck!

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:30 am

To echo others, you should brief if and only if it helps you. Personally, I briefed cases for the first week or so of classes. After that, I stopped briefing and just marked the issue, holding, and reasoning in the margins, with a few words to distill the reasoning (e.g., "custom" to identify reasoning that referred to custom).

You may also find that you're able to do well without even reading the cases, of course...
Last edited by iamgeorgebush on Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

nick417
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby nick417 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:44 pm

Helpful hint: mostly every 1L case has already been briefed online if you type in the case name. I found it helpful to read the online briefs prior to reading the case (thus you understand what is going on in the case). However, some simply skip the reading and use the online briefs (the professors are wise to this trick) so I wouldn't do that.

Briefing the case helps you with cold calls, at least you have something in front of you to read if you are called on the spot. The key to every case are the facts, the parties' arguments, and the court's reasoning for agreeing/disagreeing with the arguments.

patrick248
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby patrick248 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:30 pm

In law school time is always your enemy since there never seems to be enough of it. In my opinion briefing every case is a waste of time but you can't skip reading the case. I agree with briefing for the first few weeks and then just incorporating a case brief from one of the online sites into your outline. Having a good outline is more important than briefing. Here is a good link on how to brief a case

http://lawnerds.com/guide/briefing.html#HowtoBriefaCase

This site has links to case briefs for almost every course

http://www.law-school-books.com

elephant210
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby elephant210 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:43 pm

I agree with a lot of the advice here saying to start out trying it and reevaluate. I'd also add that you might end up briefing differently for different classes. Depending on what a Professor focuses on, different information might be helpful. I had some classes where I summarized the facts with a fair amount of detail, and others where I only put enough facts to jog my memory and focused on the holding and reasoning. And some where briefing was basically useless. You'll learn what you need to do as time goes on.

rwhyAn
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby rwhyAn » Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:14 pm

I'm a 3L and I've briefed most of the cases. The biggest benefit to briefing that I've found is when it comes time to making an outline because it saves a lot of time. When I'm outlining, I simply look to my briefs and condense them even further with a 1-2 sentence summary followed by the holding. It definitely beats having to re-read the material later on.

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dbalkaran
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby dbalkaran » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:19 pm

I took a few classes in undergrad for law and we had to do one page maximum briefs, but would anyone with more experience mind sharing their format for briefing? Is the one page max something I should stick with? I haven't done one in 2-3 years and would love to see what worked for people who did use case briefs and found that it worked.

Edit: I saw the link Patrick posted, but just looking for some different opinions.

cavalier1138
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:21 pm

dbalkaran wrote:I took a few classes in undergrad for law and we had to do one page maximum briefs, but would anyone with more experience mind sharing their format for briefing? Is the one page max something I should stick with? I haven't done one in 2-3 years and would love to see what worked for people who did use case briefs and found that it worked.


I believe most schools teach you some version of "how to brief a case", but the general form I know is:
Name
Procedural history (if any and if relevant to class)
Facts
Issue
Holding
Reasoning

Or you can do the short version:
Name
Very short factual summary (some people omit this, but it's how I remember cases)
Issue
Holding

mcmand
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby mcmand » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:38 pm

nick417 wrote:Helpful hint: mostly every 1L case has already been briefed online if you type in the case name. I found it helpful to read the online briefs prior to reading the case (thus you understand what is going on in the case). However, some simply skip the reading and use the online briefs (the professors are wise to this trick) so I wouldn't do that.

Briefing the case helps you with cold calls, at least you have something in front of you to read if you are called on the spot. The key to every case are the facts, the parties' arguments, and the court's reasoning for agreeing/disagreeing with the arguments.


I agree that online briefs can be helpful prior to reading the case, but sometimes I felt like they misdirected me or emphasized things differently than the professor or I would. In other words, I second nick417's point and you shouldn't rely on them. They're there to help you learn, not replace your learning (which will come from reading and/or briefing and other methods where you are the person analyzing the case).

Good luck OP, and don't panic if you're super slow at first! That's part of the process of figuring out what's efficient and effective for you. I honestly never got very fast at briefing cases, but I still did it for nearly every class that was heavily focused on cases, and it worked well for me.

RaceJudicata
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Re: Do I brief every case?

Postby RaceJudicata » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:28 pm

Should start law shool by building good habits -- e.g., briefing all cases, starting outlines early, attending office hours even if you feel like you are getting the material, etc.

It is inevitable that some or all of these will fall by the wayside, but you at least want to start in the right direction and figure out what works for you. As others have said, everyone learns differently and different things will work for different folks.

Another great piece of advice was reading online casebriefs prior to reading the case. This will allow you to focus during your reading on the "important" stuff (its all b/s). Sure, sometimes the professor will focus on different aspects of the case, but 90%+ of the time, the take aways will be the same. . . and if you find that one prof takes a different spin on things, stop reading the briefs beforehand. Basically its gonna take a month (or two) to figure out the styles of your professors.




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