To Thane, a question...
I know I'm not Thane, but my experience is quite different than his so I want to add my perspective too. Not saying I'm right, he's wrong - people are different, that's all.
So I understand what lawyers do is to try to establish each element of a claim, and since casebook (which is largely appellate decisions clarifying/explaining each element in detail) focuses on how each element should be applied under detailed circumstances, it alone wouldn't be effective in learning the BLL.
The case-book method of learning the law is horribly f-ing flawed. The only reason we're sticking with that method is because it allows professors to create a 1100 page book by 97.5% copy/pasting legal opinions, but still charge $175 for it.
There's a reason why the case-book method isn't used most over the world.
1.Would you say using someone else's outline (instead of creating your own) could actually hurt you more than help you? I already have an outline for the class I'll take next semester. I plan to use the headings and title of cases as guidance as to what I need to read on E&E. Do you think this is ok?
I did not write a single outline myself, 1L or later. (My GPA is currently 3.9, was 3.65 after 1L). Get outlines, either online or from friends, and use them as guidelines for your studying. A few weeks before exams, print out your class notes, take the outline and write up a 5-10 page note sheet for your exam. Focus on getting the BLL and put down any buzzwords and major case names, since professors are often lazy slobs and just give +1 point for words mentioned (I wish I was making this *&^% up).
2.This girl I got the outline from claims to have gotten an A. When I looked at her outline (about 40 pages) it was filled with case briefs and bunch of rules. (Promissory estoppel, ___ v. ____, rule) If what I understand is correct, these rules (40 pages of info) are mainly to clarify/explain the elements of each law. So if I added information about the BLL (general rule about other elements of each law, history, rationale etc) I assume that will be A LOT of information. Considering what I need to do on an exam is legal analysis (prove each claim/ argue against it), making such outline is essential right? (I will of course try to trim it down and make it as set of applicable rules containing elements to be proven)
Law exams involve very little legal analysis. 90% of the exam question is actually identifying the issues, 9% is remembering the correct rule, 1% is putting the facts given to you into the IRAC pattern. Your conclusion generally doesn't matter much, unless you're ending up on stuff totally batshit crazy.
3.This may be a stupid question, but... does every law have its own elements? I figure primary purpose of most lawsuits is to recover and what lawyers do is proving each element of the law/doctrine. Could there be any doctrine/law that has no elements? or to put it more correctly, can a lawyer do something else in a courtroom other than proving elements? (please understand this question comes from a (legally) uneducated lay person )
I don't know what elements
mean (and I only got 1 week left of law school!). Being a lawyer is about selling analogies and distinctions. You have an issue (i.e. negligent infliction of emotional distress), you have a set of facts, and you have black letter law. You look to case law to see what the black letter law is (or just Google it tbh), and then you match your facts to those in those cases. You draw analogies to the cases that are in your favor, you find the distinctions in the cases that don't support you.
Short example; case for NIED (as mentioned above), mother hears her daughter get hit by a car and killed in the drive-way, immediately after she left for school. Case law supports recovery for NIED when parent has seen
that accident, but there is no case law supporting "other sensory observation". There is case law saying no recovery
when parent heard the accident, but did not have any reason to know it was his daughter until he went into the street and saw the scene.
Neither cases are directly on point, you'll be trying to explain why case 1 is relevant because it had a sensory perception of the accident, and seeing something isn't inherently different than hearing it. You'll make sure to explain why case 2 is not relevant, because that parent had no idea their child was in the street in the first place, so the immediate knowledge of the victim isn't present.
4.What sources of CO would you suggest? What is good for laying out elements of each doctrine?
CO == Commercial Outlines? If so; get the "Crunchtime" series from Emmanuel. They are invaluable for exam preparation. As for just getting normal class outlines; www.outlinedepot.com