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Author Topic: Is using canned briefs + reading the case sufficient?  (Read 3610 times)

ElizaB

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Is using canned briefs + reading the case sufficient?
« on: September 10, 2005, 04:28:02 PM »
So far I have been briefing all of my cases and it is taking alot of time...especially considering that it seems like the prof or the person he/she calls on just repeats everything in class.  This seems like an exercise in futility and a big waste of time to me.

Yesterday I purchased a book of canned briefs situated to the textbook for Civ Pro.  The canned briefs seem to be better than what I come up with on my own and would certainly save me alot of time. 

However, my mentor told us that she briefed every case all year long & that it really helped her and she would highly reccommend it.

So I am torn.  Should I rely on canned briefs or do my own briefs?  It seems like I could better use the time I would spend briefing on outlining or on doing sample exam questions or on trying to fit everything together or on reviewing or on something.

Wonder what others, especially 2Ls and 3Ls think...

I just started 1L so I don't want to not do something that could potentially bite me in the butt later.
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jacy85

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Re: Is using canned briefs + reading the case sufficient?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2005, 04:39:48 PM »
I think if you're still not coming up with briefs of your own that contain all the relevant/important points you find in the canned briefs, you should think about continuing to brief on your own.

Learning what to take out of a case takes practice.  When you work at a firm, you're not going to have canned briefs for all the cases you're looking at to write your memos.  If you can't pull out the important info, especially for finding the rule and whatever, you'd be doing yourself a disservice to stop now.

At least, that's my approach to 1L so far.  I'm slowly weaning myself out of actual briefing, but don't feel entirely comfortable cutting it out completely yet.  At this point, it's almost starting to be a security blanket for when I get called on, especially for very long cases.  I don't want to be flipping through my book looking for that one fact highlighted in green, when the facts are scatter across 3 pages.

So what I getting at, is that I think you should brief until YOU feel comfortable stopping.

squarre

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Re: Is using canned briefs + reading the case sufficient?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2005, 05:22:14 PM »
Briefing does end up taking a whole lot of time.  Last year as a 1L I probably briefed for about 2 or 3 weeks and then quit.  The main thing to remember is to make sure you get what you need out of the case.  Between the formal brief and doing nothing you could take some short notes on your reading or make notes in the margins.

As far as canned briefs I have to say I don't know.  I have personally have never used them but many people do.  The one problem I can see with canned briefs and why I have never used them is that it can short change your own analysis and learning to "think like a lawyer." 

_retired_

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Re: Is using canned briefs + reading the case sufficient?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2005, 08:48:56 PM »
Does anyone here have an LRW class?  Does anyone understand what that class is teaching you?


If the answer to both questions is yes, it is safe to stop briefing.  If no to the first, contact the ABA.  To the second, get your head checked.

irishsport08

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Re: Is using canned briefs + reading the case sufficient?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2005, 09:08:28 PM »
I would think any short cuts you take first-year would be a bad move. Like anything else... you probably gain more than you realize from briefing the cases yourself.

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Re: Is using canned briefs + reading the case sufficient?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2005, 09:14:01 PM »
Really, I think thats bad advice.  There are far more productive things one can do with their time, especially if its taking them substantial time, like the OP.

cascagrossa

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Re: Is using canned briefs + reading the case sufficient?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2005, 09:23:49 PM »
if you want to brief, forget the retarded long form that law schools teach you and go with a condensed statement of the facts, the holding, and the rationale/rule.  (and dont do those stupid holdings that go something like "no, the lower court did not err by ____ where _____."  just get right to the substantive legal issue in question.)

i think everything else is worthlesss bs and a waste of your time.

jacy85

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Re: Is using canned briefs + reading the case sufficient?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2005, 11:48:34 PM »
if you want to brief, forget the retarded long form that law schools teach you and go with a condensed statement of the facts, the holding, and the rationale/rule.  (and dont do those stupid holdings that go something like "no, the lower court did not err by ____ where _____."  just get right to the substantive legal issue in question.)

i think everything else is worthlesss bs and a waste of your time.

I agree with this.  The facts, the holding, and the rational/reasoning/rule are all that really matters.  The only thing I would add is maybe the procedural posture.  Some of my professors trip people up by asking various questions.  I find it's often easiest to pull these from canned briefs or else the LexisNexis briefs.

MR2Tyler

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Re: Is using canned briefs + reading the case sufficient?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2005, 04:05:58 AM »
I'm compromising.  One of my classes requires briefs for all cases as a part of the class participation grade, so I'm forced to brief for it.  In the other classes, I book-brief using a modified form of the system from Law School Confidential.  If a case is exceptionally lengthy or complex, like Pennoyer v. Neff, I might make up a brief for it.  The briefs themselves include the name, forum and date of the case; the legal status of the parties; the procede; a very brief recitation of the facts, and only the facts that are relevant to the holding; a section for the relative parties' theories that is often left blank; an issue field; the holding; analysis.  It takes maybe five minutes to write one once I've already book-briefed, so it's not a huge deal.

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Trancer

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Re: Is using canned briefs + reading the case sufficient?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2005, 09:52:40 AM »
I stopped briefing after the first week, now i highlight and write like 1-2 sentences in the margin.  I also have little arrows and the words FACTS or REASONING or HOLDING so if the professor calls on me and i dont remember exactly what i need to know i just flip to what i need.  This worked really well for me when i was called on to brief a 9 page (after editting) case with 6-7 issues in my contracts class (needless to say, and not tooting my own horn, i got a lot of accolades from my colleagues and professors on the handling of the case).  I guess it really depends on how you handle the situation but i agree with the others on the board that its important to be able to brief on your own, sometimes your professor will be looking for something not in the canned brief and if you arent prepared you wont be able to argue your point succinctly
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