Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: jeffjoe on August 15, 2004, 02:22:29 PM

Title: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on August 15, 2004, 02:22:29 PM
OK, I'm excited.  I hope this feeling last for the rest of law school.

I finished my first case brief in prep for the first day of class.

Now I know why lawyers want to become judges.  So they can write misleading and unclear opinions as revenge for the horrible opinions they had to read in law school. ::)
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: lawgirl on August 15, 2004, 02:49:59 PM
Just wait until you are done with Research and Writing. My old school emphasized clear and concise writing to the point that you felt they would beat you over the head with a casebook if you couldn't master that concept. Now, when I have to read older cases that have paragraph long sentences and take 5 pages to express a concept, I literally want to find the old coots and knock them over the head with my casebook.  :o
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on August 15, 2004, 03:48:26 PM
I've been writing for years and have obsessed over words.  I search and destroy unnecessary words.  So the style is familiar.  But I can't get cocky about it, I know that.

Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: lawgirl on August 15, 2004, 04:35:24 PM
You can get cocky, it's allowed!!!   ;)
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: Bigwilliestyle on August 15, 2004, 04:46:02 PM
I'm excited as well. Excited that I'm finshed briefing my contracts cases. I had fun with Torts. Not too sure about contracts.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on August 15, 2004, 05:28:30 PM
WooooHooooo I can get cocky.  Now I'm ready to be a real law student.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on August 16, 2004, 10:50:24 AM
I sent my first brief to my writing prof, even though class hasn't started.

She responded the next day.  I missed some of the issues, because I didn't read carefully.  She was very helpful. 

I just finished my second brief and I'm already sick of looking at them.  This is not a good sign.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: Bigwilliestyle on August 16, 2004, 11:12:52 AM
I just finished my 7th. I'm more confused than before I started. :-\. I have my first class tonight, so I will see if I hit SOME of the issues.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: duma on August 16, 2004, 01:44:28 PM
I just finished my second brief and I'm already sick of looking at them.  This is not a good sign.

LOL! I just finished 5 hours worth of breifing 4 cases... OMG! I have just thought the same thing... if it takes me 5 hours everytime I do this  :'(
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on August 16, 2004, 08:06:39 PM
i think what is taking the longest is getting the nerve to try it and risking getting it wrong.  I've become the world's greatest procrastinator

I just finished my second brief and I'm already sick of looking at them.  This is not a good sign.

LOL! I just finished 5 hours worth of breifing 4 cases... OMG! I have just thought the same thing... if it takes me 5 hours everytime I do this  :'(
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: duma on August 16, 2004, 10:45:26 PM
5 hours of breifing... 3 hours of class. nice.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: Bigwilliestyle on August 17, 2004, 03:03:32 PM
Went to my first class last night. Did pretty will with the briefing, although I found out that briefs need to brief. 
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: Todd on August 17, 2004, 08:25:39 PM
I am briefing Sullivan v. O'Connor (Mass. Supreme Ct.).  It’s way confusing 7pgs of incoherent rambling I have the facts and the conclusion, but issue and analysis are tough.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: Todd on August 17, 2004, 08:52:54 PM
Oh ya baby, I got it!  The 3rd time through the case, but ya I got it.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: duma on August 17, 2004, 10:26:35 PM
Oh ya baby, I got it!  The 3rd time through the case, but ya I got it.
congrats.. now when you go to class, you will find out you were wrong... or maybe that is just my experience.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on August 18, 2004, 11:14:19 AM
I am told briefs should be one page if possible.  You want something that will quickly tell you the important aspects of the case.

I've done two so far.  both were a page and a half.  tomorrow is my first class.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: _DOWNY_ on August 25, 2004, 08:07:24 AM
Come back.

Your friend,

DOWNY
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: buddha on August 25, 2004, 08:10:08 AM
jj, I'm finding that my briefs for contracts & property are longer than those for Torts and Crim law.  How about you?
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on August 25, 2004, 10:25:34 AM
jj, I'm finding that my briefs for contracts & property are longer than those for Torts and Crim law.  How about you?

I've been working very hard to keep them short.  Don't you know my contracts prof said it was short on facts.  My longest brief so far is two pages, but I haven't gotten much feedback from the profs, so.....
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on August 25, 2004, 09:39:43 PM
Well, I have to be up at 5:30 to go to work.  I have four cases to read and five to brief.  I feels just like law school in the movies.   ::)
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: Coregram on August 25, 2004, 09:45:58 PM
Mine have been a page and a half or so as well, though I leave a wide margin on the right to jot down comments in class as we discuss the cases.  I don't worry about it though.  I'd rather they run onto 2 pieces of paper than be squeezed onto one.  And it gives blank space at the bottom to write down hypos, etc. that get discussed with the cases.

Our professors told us the briefs are for us, not them.  Do them the way that works for you.  After a few weeks in the course, I'm sure we will know better what to write and weed out the rest. 
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: Todd on August 26, 2004, 01:11:54 AM
Here's a table a 2L gave me.  I take notes on my labtop in class and I find it much easier to modify mistakes in my briefs and add the teachers views.  I don't use every category for each class and it's set up in a word table so it looks neat.

NAME   
FACTS   •   
HISTORY   •   
PRECEDENCE   •   
P CLAIM   •   
D CLAIM   •   
ISSUE   •   
DECISION   •   
RULE   •   
REASONING   •   
CONCURRING   •   
DISSENT   •   
TEACHER’S COMMENTS   •   


NAME   
STATUTE   •   
FACTS   •   
CHARGE   •   
PRECEDENCE   •   
HISTORY   •   
D CLAIM   •   
P CLAIM   •   
ISSUE   •   
DECISION   •   
RULE   •   
REASONING   •   
CONCURRING   •   
DISSENT   •   
TEACHER’S COMMENTS   •   
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on August 26, 2004, 08:14:49 AM
Argh!  I have now officially seen 10,000 different ways to brief a case. 
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: egfmba on August 26, 2004, 08:15:43 PM
FWIW, I used Microsoft Access and created a table, form and report function for each of my classes (Civ Pro, Contracts, Torts) that have cases and I enter data there.  Each field in Access can hold a max of 255 characters, so it forces me to be brief, and the report prints out as a 1 page document, each section boxed off for easy identification.

It's easy to read it this way, and I can move between cases easily in class.  Also, when it comes time to study, I can print out the most important cases.  I've got it broken down into the following categories to make it easier for me to enter the data:

DATE
CLASS
CASE HEADING
COURT NAME
DATE OF DECISION
CITATION
CASEBOOK PAGE NUMBER
PROCEDURAL HISTORY
FACTS
ISSUE
JUDGMENT
HOLDING
REASONING
CONCURRING/DISSENTING OPINIONS
COMMENTS
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on August 27, 2004, 07:41:11 AM
Much too organized for me.   ;)

FWIW, I used Microsoft Access and created a table, form and report function for each of my classes (Civ Pro, Contracts, Torts) that have cases and I enter data there.  Each field in Access can hold a max of 255 characters, so it forces me to be brief, and the report prints out as a 1 page document, each section boxed off for easy identification.

It's easy to read it this way, and I can move between cases easily in class.  Also, when it comes time to study, I can print out the most important cases.  I've got it broken down into the following categories to make it easier for me to enter the data:

DATE
CLASS
CASE HEADING
COURT NAME
DATE OF DECISION
CITATION
CASEBOOK PAGE NUMBER
PROCEDURAL HISTORY
FACTS
ISSUE
JUDGMENT
HOLDING
REASONING
CONCURRING/DISSENTING OPINIONS
COMMENTS
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: Todd on August 27, 2004, 01:13:29 PM
textbook page # was one thing I added to the table the 2L gave me.  If the prof asks some dumb question that isn't related to the issue in the case I want to be able to look up the case quick.  This has already happened, the student says the PP did xyz and the prof's like what was the PP's name?  I'm thinking who cares, the name has nothing to do with the rule of law we're trying to learn.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on August 27, 2004, 08:36:52 PM
Here is the list of brief components my torts prof gave me.  He is the staff attorney for the Tenn. Supreme Court.  He told us that this is the structure that the court uses to write their opinions:


1.   Citation
  a.   Case name
  b.   Case reporter
  c.   Court
  d.   Date decided
2.   Facts – events that pitted parties against each other
3.   Procedural history
4.   Issues – the narrow legal questions that court must decide to settle the case
               (look for the word “whether”)
5.   Arguments of the parties
6.   Law
7.   Application – court’s reasoning (matching the law to the facts)
8.   Holding – one for each issue
9.   Disposition
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: Todd on August 27, 2004, 09:04:30 PM
Still hitting the books eh jj? 

Ya my prof also said "whether" is her favorite word when trying to discover the issue in a case.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on August 27, 2004, 09:16:45 PM
Still hitting the books eh jj? 

Ya my prof also said "whether" is her favorite word when trying to discover the issue in a case.

I just bought storelaw.  I decided I wanted the extra features.


Yeah, whether.  The torts prof told us to get in the habit of starting all issues with the word whether.  But if I do that it won't be a question.  I haven't made up my mind yet.

You'd have to phrase it like this:  The issue is whether .....

I dunno, but I like the torts prof.  Some of the people in  the class don't. 
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: _DOWNY_ on September 01, 2004, 12:37:13 PM
WooooHooooo I can get cocky.  Now I'm ready to be a real law student.

DOWNY is always cocky.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: duma on September 01, 2004, 12:45:01 PM
I have done the combination of book breifing and actually writing up the brief. I think that this is affective. I have everything I need for class right before me. I only type out the very important details that I will need to study.

After class, I add in my notes as to what the Prof thought was important. This is to help my outline, and try and decrease placing un-stressed facts into my brief.
The net affect after one week, I have more time to understand the case, and I have spent less time just typing (more time).

Just to be specific on details, the book has everything that you would type out (duh), I only mark them for quick access when I am asked a question. I use a different color highlighter to hit each point (Fact, Holding, Issue, etc) and I write in the margin how one relates to the other.

Example, if I have a Minor Deduction by the court, I mark it as such. I than will mark the part of facts they apply the minor deduction to.

Anyway, so far it is working for me, and I am less stressed about the time of reading and typing out the brief.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on September 01, 2004, 12:55:18 PM
You only type up the important points that you need for study....

I thought that's what the brief was supposed to be.

Am I missing a point?

I have done the combination of book breifing and actually writing up the brief. I think that this is affective. I have everything I need for class right before me. I only type out the very important details that I will need to study.

After class, I add in my notes as to what the Prof thought was important. This is to help my outline, and try and decrease placing un-stressed facts into my brief.
The net affect after one week, I have more time to understand the case, and I have spent less time just typing (more time).

Just to be specific on details, the book has everything that you would type out (duh), I only mark them for quick access when I am asked a question. I use a different color highlighter to hit each point (Fact, Holding, Issue, etc) and I write in the margin how one relates to the other.

Example, if I have a Minor Deduction by the court, I mark it as such. I than will mark the part of facts they apply the minor deduction to.

Anyway, so far it is working for me, and I am less stressed about the time of reading and typing out the brief.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: duma on September 02, 2004, 10:35:52 PM
You only type up the important points that you need for study....

I thought that's what the brief was supposed to be.

Am I missing a point?

The citation, statement of the case, SOME rational, SOME deduction, etc, IMO are not essential come exam time. My brief used to go for two to three pages, I have it down to one now. I use StoreLaw to combine my notes from class and info from my breif to make a key point for the case. I also add info from the book that the prof pointed out.
After the completion of a topic, I combine all the information in the Key point into the topic key point. I have started to think of this as a way of doing a short outline (topic key points), mid-range outline (topic key pionts and case key points), and finally the large outline (briefs, keypoints of the case, and topic key points).
I no longer see the need for a citation, statement, various facts, etc when they are not making the cut into any keypoint.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: BennyQ on September 05, 2004, 12:48:11 AM
I never really thought the point of a brief was class use.  Sure it can help when you need to recite on a case, but if you just recently read the material you shouldn't really NEED it.  I have really found the briefs to be beneficial when it is finals-time.  Here is my study-tip to 1L's: before your final, go through each brief.  Read only the facts you have written.  From the facts alone(if you have chosen them wisely), you should be able to recognize the issue AND the analysis the under the black-letter law.  In all likelihood, this will be the single most important skill on any final exam you will take.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: jeffjoe on September 11, 2004, 03:44:42 PM
My experience has been the opposite, so far.  Keep in mind I've just been in law school for a few weeks and I am in a night program.  I have to do my reading and briefs on the weekend ususally.  By the time I get to class, I don't remember anything about the cases.  I'd be lost without my briefs.

I never really thought the point of a brief was class use.  Sure it can help when you need to recite on a case, but if you just recently read the material you shouldn't really NEED it.  I have really found the briefs to be beneficial when it is finals-time.  Here is my study-tip to 1L's: before your final, go through each brief.  Read only the facts you have written.  From the facts alone(if you have chosen them wisely), you should be able to recognize the issue AND the analysis the under the black-letter law.  In all likelihood, this will be the single most important skill on any final exam you will take.
Title: Re: 1L - First Brief
Post by: lawgirl on September 11, 2004, 07:48:42 PM
I use my briefs for in-class prep. We normally have too many cases to remember them all of the top of my head during the next week, so I use them there. I incorporate them (condensed form) later into my outline.