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Author Topic: Highlighting vs. Harddrive  (Read 1238 times)

ajrobin

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Highlighting vs. Harddrive
« on: June 23, 2006, 07:44:21 PM »
I am reading LawSchool Confidential.  The book recommends the highlighting method for breifing cases right in the textbook.  I took an undergrad conlaw class and we did that sometimes (when we actually briefed)... But, it seems like with modern technology, it seems more sensible to type a brief beforehand so that notes can be simply added in from lecture.  Any opinions on this?

jippyjappa

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Re: Highlighting vs. Harddrive
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2006, 08:18:14 PM »
If typing works for you go for it. However, I personally cannot recommend it.

In the LSC version, you highlight, you take notes in the margin, then after class you type up the notes. You are right that it is easier to type up the notes (the briefs) before hand and then supplement them in class or after class. I tried your proposed approach this past semester and found it to be inadequate.

What I did this past semester was type up my notes, bring my laptop to class and then add lecture notes in as they happened. Three problems- A) I had two much extraneous information from the briefs I typed up beforehand that was barely mentioned in class- B) I had too much info from class that was not important (the margin rule is really good- if the note can't fit in the margin of your casebook, and is not mentioned anywhere in the case, it is not worth knowing)- C) without sitting down after class and combining the essence of my brief (highlighted) with my margin notes, I didn't learn the material as well (in other words, I felt that the class was over, my notes were already taken and I moved on to the next material).

Having to put it all together after class was like an extra study session in the LSC system. Of course, you may be just suggesting that you type up the briefs, not take notes on your laptop in class, but combine your class notes with the briefs later. That would be much better (beware the temptation of laptops in class) but  I still think if you wait to type up notes till after class, your notes will be more focused. I don't believe a good outline is a series of full briefs with some class notes.

Hope this helps.

OingoBoingo

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Re: Highlighting vs. Harddrive
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2006, 06:48:25 PM »
In essence are you saying that LSC has it right on as far as learning efficiency? I am tempted to do things this way right out of the gate.

Oingo
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jippyjappa

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Re: Highlighting vs. Harddrive
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2006, 03:25:35 PM »
correct.

jacy85

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Re: Highlighting vs. Harddrive
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2006, 03:41:20 PM »
I essentially followed the LSC method, but found that I needed to find a middle ground between typing everything up and book briefing.

I used the briefs available on Lexis, and copied and pasted them into my notes.  Then, I read the cases, highlighting and book briefing.  If something struck me as very relevant or important, or a specific rule of law was announced or changed in the case, then I also typed that in my notes, below the lexis brief.  I also added any key legal reasoning that wasn't included into the lexis brief.

This way, I was able to adequately brief the case if called on using both my notes on my laptop, and could also quickly find and reference something from the case itself using looking for specific highlight colors and reading my notes in the margins.  I already had key info from the cases in my laptop, so I ended up not taking a ton of notes in class, and would just supplement here and there, and focus on specific things the professor stressed or disagreed with.

I wouldn't recommend solely book briefing right out of the gate. I actually briefed cases for the first couple months, and had way too much info in my notes.  The benefit of doing that is you'll almost always get the info you need down.  It's easier to cut down and slowly hone your skills, and realize what you don't need then it is to get called on in class and have no idea what's going on because you didn't take the right notes the night before.  It does take time to learn to read the cases and figure out what's important and what's not.

Everyone goes into law school thinking they'll just know what the relevant facts are, and almost everyone gets a snide comment from a professor at some point because you're reciting ALL the facts, and not the relevant ones.

J D

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Re: Highlighting vs. Harddrive
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2006, 04:38:52 PM »
In terms of tracking the court's reasoning, I often find that any court-published syllabus that accompanies the case on Lexis or WL serves as a helpful starting point, especially if the case is confusing or complicated.  But not all courts do this (the US Supreme Court does, as do some state high courts, like the NY Court of Appeals), and even if they do, not for all cases (sometimes only the modern ones).
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slacker

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Re: Highlighting vs. Harddrive
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2006, 09:54:24 PM »
I hate highlighting, although I'll use it on rare occasions. I typically make notes in the margin when reading, and then take notes on laptop in class, doing extra notes in book or reference to the book as needed.

I see people who've done the book briefing w/5 types of highlighters or whatever -- that'd drive me crazy. My first year, esp. my first semester I did my own briefing. It was good to learn the skill, but not something I felt like I needed to carry into my second year.

R. Bennett

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Re: Highlighting vs. Harddrive
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2006, 12:24:57 PM »
Use whatever works for you.  Back when I was in lawshool (which nearly predated notebook computers)  ::) I would read the case, underlining as I go and writting PP (procedural posture), F (facts), Q (question), H (holding) etc. in the margin.  Then I handwrote a 1- to 2-page brief of the case on paper (forget what the ruling was called, legal ruled?  The paper had a 2.5"-3" left margin).  Then in class I wrote notes in the margin of the brief.  From the briefs and margin notes, I created an outline to study for the test.

It may take a bit to figure out what works for you, but once you find it, use it.  The key is to boil cases down to their essence.  I've seen people hightlight large chunks of text -- that's generally not going to be helpful.  But highlighting key elements is.

LostMyMonkeys

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Re: Highlighting vs. Harddrive
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2006, 02:57:45 PM »
I essentially followed the LSC method, but found that I needed to find a middle ground between typing everything up and book briefing.

I used the briefs available on Lexis, and copied and pasted them into my notes.  Then, I read the cases, highlighting and book briefing.  If something struck me as very relevant or important, or a specific rule of law was announced or changed in the case, then I also typed that in my notes, below the lexis brief.  I also added any key legal reasoning that wasn't included into the lexis brief.

This way, I was able to adequately brief the case if called on using both my notes on my laptop, and could also quickly find and reference something from the case itself using looking for specific highlight colors and reading my notes in the margins.  I already had key info from the cases in my laptop, so I ended up not taking a ton of notes in class, and would just supplement here and there, and focus on specific things the professor stressed or disagreed with.

I wouldn't recommend solely book briefing right out of the gate. I actually briefed cases for the first couple months, and had way too much info in my notes.  The benefit of doing that is you'll almost always get the info you need down.  It's easier to cut down and slowly hone your skills, and realize what you don't need then it is to get called on in class and have no idea what's going on because you didn't take the right notes the night before.  It does take time to learn to read the cases and figure out what's important and what's not.

Everyone goes into law school thinking they'll just know what the relevant facts are, and almost everyone gets a snide comment from a professor at some point because you're reciting ALL the facts, and not the relevant ones.

I agree. With all of it.

Dont start out book briefing. You can get to that point later once you get better at reading hte cases for the reason they are in your case book. That only comes with time, and practice of actually briefing your cases (as in typed up in your notes yourself).

The happy medium I think is great now, but only after finishing 2 semesters of school.
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