Case Briefing = Rabbit Trail ?

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Case Briefing = Rabbit Trail ?

Postby CaptainCrunch » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:53 pm

I'll get straight to the point, how important is it to brief cases? And what is the best method for briefing cases? The author of PLS seems to detest the whole system, even going so far as to say (Admiral Ackbar line) it's a trap. Law School Confidential doesn't go quite that far, but the author does suggest developing a method of highlighting the various aspects of a case and saving the trouble of retyping the text you read.

Both authors stress the importance of learning how to analyze a case. So what do you guys do? Specifically any pointers from 2Ls that can Monday morning quarterback their old study habits would be appreciated.

I'm sure this has been asked before, but please opine nonetheless. While I'm at it, is it practical to avoid note-taking? That is, instead of writing during class, should I focus instead on capturing every word the professor says and maybe just jot a few important points down into the casebook?

Thanks for any insight.

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Re: Case Briefing = Rabbit Trail ?

Postby SwollenMonkey » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:38 am

Please read Delaney's Learning Legal Reasoning :P

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Re: Case Briefing = Rabbit Trail ?

Postby 20160810 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:55 am

For me personally, briefing was a complete waste of time. For many other people I know with good grades, briefing was a complete waste of time.

However I know only a very few people who religiously briefed every single case, and they all did really, really well. Infer from what what you will.


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Re: Case Briefing = Rabbit Trail ?

Postby 270910 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:48 am

Long case briefs with a focus on facts are useless. Short succinct restatements of the main holding - i.e. what that case can be used (not necessarily cited) for on an exam - can be extraordinarily useful.

But there's no "right answer." Spend a lot of your first weeks reflecting on what seems to be preparing you for the exam and what seems to be wasting your time. Feel free to experiment and hash things out on TLS as you develop more of a sense for what's actually going on. Every student and course is different, and there are many paths to success, so it's hard to answer stuff like this before classes start.


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Re: Case Briefing = Rabbit Trail ?

Postby Mal » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:29 pm

It is important to learn how to brief, it isn't important to everyone to brief all the cases.

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Re: Case Briefing = Rabbit Trail ?

Postby rdcws000 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:44 pm

In my 3 days of law school experience I have briefed every case, in part because one prof requires it.

As for the value of it, I feel like the exercise is very helpful, but I can also see clearly that it seriously increases my studying/reading time. I am hoping either I get faster at it, or I develop some hybrid method.

At the bottom of a brief template for my prof who requires briefs is the question (Why is this case in the book?) I find this to be the most valuable line of the brief. This gives me an opportunity to take 1-3 lines and summarize what I think the case was intended to teach us, and what it's role was in developing the law. I think even if I eventually taper off on the briefing I will continue to prepare this explanation.

As for the LSC highlighter method, I think it's excessive mainly because of the use of different colors for every element. I am not opposed to doing minimal highlighting while reading, but if you highlight the important elements, do you really need a different color to distinguish between a fact, and a holding?

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Lawl Shcool

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Re: Case Briefing = Rabbit Trail ?

Postby Lawl Shcool » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:53 pm

1) read case
2) write your own brief
3) consult commercial brief for any major omissions
4) profit

At least that has been my strategy, still working on 4 though...

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