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Author Topic: How important is case briefing?  (Read 4888 times)

Dr. Balsenschaft

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2007, 11:35:20 PM »
Strong's routine sounds very familiar to mine. I also want to add how important class participation is in order to gain a better understanding of what the professor wants you to focus on. Commercial outlines are very helpful when you're confused about something but they can fvck you by giving you too much information. The Examples and Explanations on the other hand, give you a good overview but usually don't go in depth enough.

Class participation is the only way to know what will be on your final. By class participation, I mean preparing for class by doing all the reading and following along with the conversation. This is where briefing, book briefing, or however you take notes while reading really helps. The point of briefing is not to prepare you for being called on in class, it's to help you remember what the case is about so you can gain something from attending class. I didn't always talk in class but I would listen to what people said and try to decide whether or not I thought they were right. Feel free to talk in class as well, but: only talk once during any class, don't ask any "what if?" questions, and realize you probably don't know what you're talking about.
 

Blunderbuss

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #31 on: June 08, 2007, 12:01:12 AM »
Briefing is a giant waste of time, you should be able to understand and remember the cases that you've read w/o writing anything done. 
I also don't buy any study aid.  They are a waste time, plus a huge waste of money and worse, they distract you from what you need to learn.  Class note and assigned readings are the only things that matter.  If something is not in the reading, and the Prof. never talked about it in class, 99% of the time it won't be on the exam.  By this strategy, you probably won't be able to get the highest grade in a class, but will get A with a lot less work.   


challandler

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #32 on: June 08, 2007, 10:21:36 AM »
Strong's routine sounds very familiar to mine. I also want to add how important class participation is in order to gain a better understanding of what the professor wants you to focus on. Commercial outlines are very helpful when you're confused about something but they can fvck you by giving you too much information. The Examples and Explanations on the other hand, give you a good overview but usually don't go in depth enough.

Class participation is the only way to know what will be on your final. By class participation, I mean preparing for class by doing all the reading and following along with the conversation. This is where briefing, book briefing, or however you take notes while reading really helps. The point of briefing is not to prepare you for being called on in class, it's to help you remember what the case is about so you can gain something from attending class. I didn't always talk in class but I would listen to what people said and try to decide whether or not I thought they were right. Feel free to talk in class as well, but: only talk once during any class, don't ask any "what if?" questions, and realize you probably don't know what you're talking about.
 

Wow.  I never thought I would agree that strongly with someone called Dr. Balsenschaft, but this is genuinely good advice.

tulpen

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2007, 07:38:42 PM »
Strong's routine sounds very familiar to mine. I also want to add how important class participation is in order to gain a better understanding of what the professor wants you to focus on. Commercial outlines are very helpful when you're confused about something but they can fvck you by giving you too much information. The Examples and Explanations on the other hand, give you a good overview but usually don't go in depth enough.

Class participation is the only way to know what will be on your final. By class participation, I mean preparing for class by doing all the reading and following along with the conversation. This is where briefing, book briefing, or however you take notes while reading really helps. The point of briefing is not to prepare you for being called on in class, it's to help you remember what the case is about so you can gain something from attending class. I didn't always talk in class but I would listen to what people said and try to decide whether or not I thought they were right. Feel free to talk in class as well, but: only talk once during any class, don't ask any "what if?" questions, and realize you probably don't know what you're talking about.
 

Wow.  I never thought I would agree that strongly with someone called Dr. Balsenschaft, but this is genuinely good advice.

I also really agree with this advice, although I don't think class discussion always correlates with what the final will test. For ex, my civ pro professor led fairly broad class discussions yet to do well on her exam, one had to know the minutae of every case and note case read. And my con law professor recycled his final so it didn't track class discussions very well.

But in general, I wholly agree with the above advice. And I strongly recommend briefing as much as possible, at least for the first semester. I wouldn't focus on having "perfect" briefs but IMO, solely focusing on the black letter law doesn't really cut it for most courses (crim law being the exception that most readily comes to mind). On an exam with a convoluted fact pattern, it's invaluable to quickly recall the facts of cases studied and be able to easily analogize or distinguish them. And understanding how a court reached a particular holding can help rack up extra points on an exam because you can then intelligently discuss which of the various positions a court is likely to take. Most students only say "the court could decide to do X or Y" and either leave it at that, or randomly conclude what they think the court will do. If you truly understand the cases that establish or apply the black letter law, which briefing really helps with, your conclusions sound much more persuasive and well-reasoned.

I know there are many "I didn't brief at all and I did great" stories but unless you have a photographic memory, actively taking notes on the cases read and re-writing the court's holding and analysis in your own words is invaluable. You may think you understand a case perfectly when you first read it but by the time finals roll around, you'll have read hundreds of cases. And odds are, you'll have a hard time remembering many of them unless you briefed them. Again, this is totally my opinion and I understand that what worked for me doesn't work for everyone, but I wanted to recommend briefing because I personally benefitted from it. And lastly, class discussion is of course extremely important so definitely focus on what your professor thinks of the court's decision/reasoning and the hypotheticals discussed in class. 

vaplaugh

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2007, 11:11:27 PM »
major tag

tacojohn

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #35 on: June 10, 2007, 10:13:33 AM »
If you can take notes straight into an outline, you'll be ahead of the game.  Only do this if it comes naturally though.  It's hard to make yourself think like that if you don't, and it can hinder your ability to do well on the test.  But then your outlining at the end of the semester will be just putting in class notes and editing it, which will take much less time and leave more time for reviewing the outline and practice exams.

Chibundu

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #36 on: June 10, 2007, 11:21:02 AM »
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kasper11

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2007, 05:23:34 PM »
You really need to figure it out for yourself. I basically brief just enough so that
1) I can answer questions if called on and
2) I have the blackletter law for my outline.

This ends up being a quick fact summary and the holding, anywhere from 5-10 lines of text. This works for me, may not work for you.

I would suggest you brief more detailed for the first two weeks, until you get a feel for what you need to have for class discussion. Then get a copy of a past exam, and figure out exactly what you would need to answer the questions. This is what you should focus on, everything else is not needed.
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4yearPLAN

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #38 on: June 19, 2007, 09:24:16 PM »
I strongly suggest briefing every case.  I just finished my first year of law school and have gone out of my way to brief every single case.  I read a comment which said briefing cases doesn't help with writing exams or learning the black letter law.  This, I believe, is false. 

Briefing cases helps in several ways.  Learning how to pull the black letter law from the cases is an important research and writing school.  You will discover this as soon as your first memo is due.  Learning how to decipher the material facts of the case, then applying the these facts to the black letter law is an important exam writing skill.  Taking law school exams consists of applying facts to the black letter law you have memorized.  I scored the best on exams that I had insigtful fact application.  I credit this insigtfulness on regularly applying a case's facts to the black letter law of the case in my case briefs.   

aslaw505

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Re: How important is case briefing?
« Reply #39 on: June 20, 2007, 08:40:34 AM »
This will probably make me sound dumb, but can someone please define black letter law? It's a phrase that's thrown around a lot on LSD, and while I have a vague idea of what it means, I'd like to be sure that I'm interpreting all these responses as they're intended.