Law School Discussion

case sucks

case sucks
« on: August 15, 2006, 12:25:31 PM »
So this one goes out to you upperclassmen...

It seems like there is no one way to brief cases - just google "brief case" and you'll see that each author has a different method for briefing cases.  It seems as though there is no "standardized correct" way to brief a case nor are there general rules set in stone (well, other than maybe to keep the brief as short as possible).

From my nascent experience thus far [during orientation], it seems as though you do what works for you - ok, I got that.

My question is (sorry it took a while to get here) the following:  How do I know that what I've got is a solid synopsis of the case?  How do I know that I'm not confusing the reasoning with the holding and the holding with the rule?

On a somewhat different tangent, some of the early cases I've briefed have not taken me much time...which actually worries me, yet at the same time I feel confident that my brief will take me to the promised land.  Your thoughts?

Thanks - and best of luck to you! :)

Re: case sucks
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2006, 12:35:12 PM »
go to class - give it 2 or 3 weeks. you'll quickly get an idea of what it is that you're supposed to briefing / finding in the cases as you read through and brief them...


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Re: case sucks
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2006, 01:53:23 PM »
I agree.  You learn what goes into a brief by doing it, and going to class.  It takes a while, and it clicks faster with some than others.  It all depends on your learning curve.

Re: case sucks
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2006, 02:31:51 PM »
I agree. At first it is horribly cumbersome and mind numbingly long to flog through. It doesnt take long before it 'clicks' and you start figuring it out.

Re: case sucks
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2006, 02:33:57 PM »
First of all, no brief will take you to the promised land, if by promised land you mean doing well on law school exams.

Second, like others have said, you will eventually learn when your brief, notes in the book, or whatever are on target.  It may take you the entire semester to figure out exactly what you're doing by reading the cases.  Eventually you'll see the case method for what it is and your "briefs" and case reading will become far more efficient. 

I like to think of it as a coloring book.  The laws are the black lines and the rest of the case ( specific facts, holding, reasoning) are all the colors that give context and appearance to the black lines.  You have to have both in order to make a picture. 

Re: case sucks
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2006, 03:32:43 PM »
Dude in my study group who is #1 in the class stopped briefing entirely second semester. He felt it was a waste of time, and since he did so well, that turned out to be true. I cut my briefs down in half and managed to do pretty well. I wouldn't suggest doing that starting off, but once you've got it down and know what to look for, it's not so bad.

Re: case sucks
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2006, 04:12:19 PM »
I briefed every case religiously first semester IL year and got a 2.78  (by religiously I mean full one to two page briefs)

Second Semester I did bare-bones briefing (i.e. no more that a couple of sentences for the black letter and reasoning) and got a 3.4.  In my property book I bought the Understanding Property book by Lexis and hardly looked at the casebook but still got an A-.  The best part was that second semester my wife actually saw me because I cut my studying time down nearly in half.

The Lesson learned: Case briefing is a good thing and for the first month its probably a good idea to do full case briefs to get the hang of it.  After that, make your briefs concise statements on the law (afterall, that all you'll have time to do on your exams)  I swear half of the ILs who get bad grades do so b/c they spend all their time briefing and NO time on hypos, practice exams and other outside resources (CALI etc.)

Re: case sucks
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2006, 05:03:24 PM »
I briefed cases until I got the hang of what I would have to know for class. I still book brief to some extent when I have problems remembering the facts of a case, just so that I don't look like a jackass in class. As far as exams, the briefs have never helped me.

Re: case sucks
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2006, 07:19:19 PM »
What is the CALI you mentioned that can be used outside of class?

Re: case sucks
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2006, 07:28:00 PM »
Center for Computer-Aided Legal Instruction:

Briefing is good to start with. If you're having trouble picking out the rules and such, then doing the briefing is good practice. Later, when you have an easier time recognizing the imporant parts of the cases, writing briefs is less important.

For now, I'd keep briefing if I were you, especially since you feel like you don't 'get it' yet. Second semester or second year, then look at other things like book briefing, if you want.

For myself, I tend to make notes in the margin of the case book, noting facts, rules, procedural posture, etc. Helps me find what I need w/out all the highlighting of book briefing.