Law School Discussion

Dworkin torts outline?

Dworkin torts outline?
« on: June 29, 2006, 02:11:24 PM »
Hi Indiana!

I'm taking torts from Dworkin this summer in Seattle, and I'd really appreciate any notes/outlines anyone is willing to share.  We have an outline bank here at SU, but of course there are no outlines for visiting professors.
He's brilliant and awesome, and I'm learning a lot, but I'm not sure it's torts that I'm learning!

Anyway - any help would be appreciated.

Re: Dworkin torts outline?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2006, 02:18:49 PM »
There is a Dworkin "lecture-map" which has been circulating around IU for the past few years, and it lists, almost verbatem, every point in every lecture he makes. I will not post it for you. Dworkin's class runs off of a set script and is at first glance, more than anything else, an experience in entertainment and not learning. But this really isn't true. For Dworkin's class, here's what you should do:

Prepare reasonably well for class if you don't want to get embarassed.

All of those little rants he'll go on, memorize where he goes and what he says. For example, for informed consent, the exchange will be like: How do you determine what knowlege is valuable when you're giving informed consent? Student: well, everything which might negatively affect the probability of success on a surgery, so things like a child's death or 0 sleep would obviously need to be disclosed. Dworkin: But where do you draw the line? Student: it would be difficult because, with a large enough sample-size collected, I'm sure you could figure out that quesdillas decreased prob. of success whereas eggs for breakfast increasd them, and although it might be possible for a consulting firm to collect all of this data, it just doesn't seem feasible.

It's just *&^% like that. He'll go off wherever there might be a 'slippery slope' or wherever there's some doctrine which might present lawyers or courts without clear direction. So, you need to know the doctrine INSIDE and out in terms of all of the different med *&^%, the elements of RIL, etc, and you should know where they apply. Also, he hates RIL btw, but for something like the hypo he  gives where a truck's tire falls off the truck because the chain apparently has a defect, but then the chain gets lost, you might want to say something about how it's a situation where P can take advantage of res ipsa even though it isn't res ipsa.

I think that for the finals he rewards exams which argue very well and pay very close attention to the fact-patterns. You need to know the doctrine in order to fit the facts and argue things well. But, you also need to go over each o the doctrinal points. SO if it's a medical question, go over each of the medical things and, whenever he has a position on something (like for informed consent) and something related to that shows up in the fact pattern (like he might throw in a loss chance statistic), then, just to make sure you're doing things correclty, you'll want to throw in that little blurb about informed consent which will be a recappitulation, if you took good notes, of his little tangential rant on informed consent. You'd just be like: well...while we might use inforemd consent, so and so could argue etc etc.

Also, you're going to want to go ahead and rent that book by Leon green he recommends at the end of the class. Don't use ANY outlines bec/ he tests STRICTLY on negligence.

Remember to go through these steps on the exam:

FIND THE CONDUCT AND DEFINE IT. Talk about DIFFERENT CONDUCTS (so like, break it up into: if this is the conduct, then blah blah blah, if this is the conduct, then blah blah blah) becuase which conduct you choose matters a LOT. You define negligence FROM THE CONDUCT, so picking a conduct is really really f-ing important. Remember that DUTY is essenitally a policy question -- how responsible should that person performing that conduct be? Causation is usually a no brainer; remember to use the Justice Traynor Stair example (dark stairs, lady dead at bottom of the stairs, so if something which would have naturally caused the fall is there and the fell happened, a reasonable inference to draw is that she fell down the stairs). Remember DONT USE PROX CUASE on the exam unless he specifically asks for it or you know waht youre talking about. You shoudl only be using prox cause to buttress a borderline duty argument. In other words, if it's kind of dicey to say that someone had a duty to the plaintiff, say, well, it's forseeable and amakeup some bull policy reasons, and thsu prox cause.

He says that policy isn't bull. He's somewhat right. Remember to always look at how costs are spread and who was in a better position to prevent something.

On your practice exams (AND TAKE MANY), practice finishing your exams in 50 minutes (assuming he will be alotting 60 min. per on the actual test). Also, practice mapping out your argument. So if you have two potential conducts, just put conduct1; conduct2 at the top of your scratch sheet, draw lines down saying: negligence: (doctrine point 1, doctrine point 2), cause (doctrine point 1; doctrine point2), etc, and that way your *&^% will be structured.

Re: Dworkin torts outline?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2006, 09:29:22 AM »
thanks for the feedback, after four weeks of class everything you've written rings true.  He's giving an extra lecture tonight to talk about the exam.  I like the class and am learning a lot, but I just don't see yet how it is going to translate into an outline or an exam.  Maybe I'll have a better idea after tonight's class. 

Unfortunately we don't have access to any of his exams to practice on; that's the only part about visiting professors that is a drag - no previous students/outlines/exams/support etc.  So this correspondence is really helpful for me!

I'm not familiar with the Leon Green book; is it a hornbook?

So when you say to not use outlines because he test strictly on negligence, I'm not sure I follow you.  Are you saying the commercial outlines don't explain the black letter law the way he wants you to know it?

Thanks !

Re: Dworkin torts outline?
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2006, 11:40:02 AM »
Your class might be different from ours. In our class, he only taught negligence. He didn't teach us much about intentional torts because (and I think he's right about this) int'l torts just require rote memorization to master.

If this is the case, there is a book by this guy named Leon Green which I would recommend checking out from the library. I think the book might be called Rationale of proximate cause, but you might want to ask him. In terms of outlining, you need to realize that outlining is not a means to an end. Outlining is just a very efficient for you to consolidate your notes. Once you have all of your notes consolidated into an outline, which will offer you SOME structure for the exam, you then create your study materials from this outline. For Dworkin's class, his tests are usually three questions, each three hours long. The tests are also closed book. The exam questions will offer a fact-intensive negligence scenario and then ask you to write a judicial opinion, a memorandum to supervising attorney, or jury instructions based on the fact-pattern. Each of the styles, obviouly, rqeuires something unique from the students in terms of tone, organization, and procedural nuance.

If his exams are the same for your summer class, an example fact-pattern will be like:

Torino was riding in an ambulance which picked him up when he was injured from a ski accident at the local ski chalet and the ambulance, which picked him up 30 minutes late resulting in a 10% decreased life-span, then crashed into Maria who as manically driving back home in a rush to attend a wedding. You are a trial judge and the defendan thas moved for summary judgment. Write your opinion below.

So you wil have ot start off with (and emphasize) the procedural posture: As this case comes to us on a motion for summary judgment, we must decide whether it is more likely or not that a reasonable jury could find that the plaintif blah blah blah. (I don't remember hte exact language, but have it memorized.)

Then you will go through and be like: there are different conducts that the ski chalet could have had, there are different conducts that the ambulanc ecould have had, here's how each would have been classifeid as unreasonable conduct, here's how there's causation, here's why there's a duty, and maybe add in prox cause.

In terms of organizing your study materials, you will want to look at how he expands or contracts the different doctrines of law. In other words, each of those little 'lawyer technques' he teaches you will be instrumental in forming a quality answer in your exam. Examples of this are things like, for duty, stating things in very broad, general terms vs. stating things narrowly and specifically. If you say come on what are the chances that you unleash a boat from the dock and it travels two miles after banking off the shore before crashing into a bridge which just so happened to be closed, that's a very narrow description and the answer is probably: unlikely. But if instead you say: what are the chances that a frazzled rope attachd to a ship on a raging river might break and cause damage to the public, that's a general, broad description, and the answer is: likely.

So you need to internalize all of these techniques and use them in your exam when shaping your answers. He also probably taught you a set of doctrine attached to each individual element (negligence, causation, duty) and he probably glossed over Prox Cause and advised against using it bec/ it's the pink elephant. Know how to use these sets of doctrine and recall with precision what he said about negligence, causation, and duty. Know all of the other things as well, like which statutes count (safety statutes w/ qualificatinos X Y and Z), know how informed consent works and hat it's good for, know about res ipsa and that you should mention but not use it, and all of the other little points he makes.

In all, his lectures really just bring up about 10 hours of substantive torts doctrine, split into 10-12 different issues relating to negligence. ALl of the other lecture hours are to get ingrained into your mind that there are certain lawyerly techniques which he wants you to use. Good luck.

Re: Dworkin torts outline?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2006, 04:11:59 PM »
Yep, that all makes sense, he did discuss that fact that he is more concerned with teaching us how to be lawyers, and torts is just a vehicle....

And I think I need to brush up on my CivPro standards of review.

Thank you very much for the insight!

If anyone else is willing to share the Dworkin "lecture-map", which I guess is floating around amongst UI students, (mentioned by the above poster) I would be much obliged.  Everything helps when it comes to law school...