Law School Discussion

How important is case briefing?

leostrauss

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How important is case briefing?
« on: June 05, 2007, 01:18:41 PM »
Is it really necessary to brief out every case, or is this just some sort of a big waste of time. I heard a 2L the other day saying they never brief cases . . . they are in the top 10% of their class. I'm tempted to think this is a fluke (I'll start law school in August), but I really don't know. Please let me know your view. Thanks

Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2007, 01:39:05 PM »
Briefing is necessary in the beginning to understand the structure of case and pull out the key facts and rule from the case. It also helps you prepare for class so if you are cold called you have some idea of what the case said. After the first month...it all depends on how you learn. The classes I briefed ever cases in I got an A in fall semester. Second semester I just didn't have enough time. I think most students stop briefing cases after the 1st semester {most book brief instead..write in the margins}.

Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2007, 01:41:59 PM »
I never formally briefed my cases, but I did book brief.  I had some experience briefing cases in undergrad though so I might have been a little ahead of the curve.  I also didn't make a single outline and I finished Top 1% of my class.  Just stick to what works for you when studying and don't fall prey to all the things you "must" do as a 1L.  Some people need to brief every case and make their own outlines to do well, some don't.  It is all a matter of personal preference and ability.

leostrauss

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2007, 01:45:28 PM »
This is sort of what I expected. It seems one could make one's case briefs all perfect and wonderful - burning a lot of time, focus, and energy in the process, and stand to gain little from it. Thanks for feedback!

Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2007, 02:04:06 PM »
Well like I have said in other posts, it all depends on what you need to do to learn.  I personally never brief.  I briefed 3 cases in my law school career.  After the first day of class my first year, I decided it was a collosal waste of my time.  I can't even say I book brief, but I suppose I do put notes in the margins and highlight some points.  I don't think it is a fluke that the person you heard is in the Top 10%.  I am at my school, and I don't brief.  I know several others who are the same way.  But I do have to outline, and I take extensive notes in class.

Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2007, 02:32:08 PM »
Is it really necessary to brief out every case, or is this just some sort of a big waste of time. I heard a 2L the other day saying they never brief cases . . . they are in the top 10% of their class. I'm tempted to think this is a fluke (I'll start law school in August), but I really don't know. Please let me know your view. Thanks

.

leostrauss

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2007, 02:36:58 PM »
Thanks a lot for the advice!

I don't know how I learn. I think I learn best through reading and then discussing . . . uh oh.

4DClaw

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2007, 02:47:24 PM »
I briefed religiously for the first month. Then I moved to just jotting notes in the margins, and I did fine.

Always think about your final exam. Briefing is less helpful in black-letter/common-law classes like Contracts and Torts, because you don't usually need to cite cases on the exam. But it's more helpful in classes like Con Law and Property, where it's usually essential to cite Supreme Court precedents. If you do short briefs of the facts and holdings throughout the semester, you'll be very thankful when it comes time to study.

Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2007, 02:50:28 PM »
I found it very helpful in the first half of the first semester, when I was just getting the hang of pulling reasoning out of cases, but I slacked off toward the end of the first semester and didn't really brief at all second semester. I do read and make notes in my books on all cases and if it seems to be a big or important case, I will often write a quick paragraph in my notebook about it.

I take really detailed notes in class and I make my outlines from those, only occasionally supplementing with the book or my case notes.

Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2007, 03:20:58 PM »
I religiously briefed every single case all year long.  I found it to be very helpful, but I also recognize that the method may not be as effective for others.  I also did not find it to be especially time consuming - you should know the cases, and I found briefing simply to be a way of both anchoring my understanding and staving off a tendency to gloss over the entire case.  My results were good, a 4.0 first semester, and with one grade in thus far second semester, still a 4.0.  We'll see how Property, Contracts and Civ Pro affect that though.