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Author Topic: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?  (Read 7846 times)

MiamiLaw

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Re: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?
« Reply #30 on: August 22, 2007, 10:21:01 PM »
No problem!

Day 3, and I still don't hate life! Maybe tomorrow?

Don't feel so special ... everyone I know (including myself) feels pretty good right now.  As in, we think it's interesting and enjoyable and not quite as bad (so far) as we've heard.

But it would take a dummy not to realize that everything is going to pile up and we're going to have many cases and concepts from five classes to know and deal with come the end of the semester.

what if you work like 10-12 hours straight for a few days in a row to do assignments ahead of time? I am working on assignments due next monday/tuesday now.

Then you'll be ahead ... but you'll still have to go back and outline/study at the end of the semester :)

ha, well what I was going to attempt to do is clear out 1 weekday to just go out and have fun, and then clear out one weekEND day for reviewing the previous weeks concepts and going over my E&E books. This way I wouldn't have to go on a crazy study frenzy as much like 6 weeks out from finals as I would be "studying" weekly along with reading cases and briefing. Im waiting to see if some 2L's or above can chime in and let me know if this working ahead thing is an ok plan. Im not rushing through the work or anything, just doing like 12 hour work days. YES it sucks a lot but it may be worth it to have 2 days a week to completely relax and not have mounds of work to do.

jacy85

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Re: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?
« Reply #31 on: August 22, 2007, 11:19:57 PM »
I know I've been pretty flippant on this thread, but my point is that there are lots of ways to do well in law school.


You're assuming that what you're doing will help you do well...come talk to us in January.

Peaches

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Re: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?
« Reply #32 on: August 22, 2007, 11:38:03 PM »
If there's only one way to do well in law school, then please enlighten me... but it seems to me earlier in the thread you say that briefing is one of the "whatever works best for you things"?

TheNewGuy

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Re: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?
« Reply #33 on: August 22, 2007, 11:57:40 PM »
is it possible a substantial # of people never learn how to properly brief a case?

I noticed a few errors by whoever had my textbook previously... just stuff like writing "issue" in the column when the opinion stated "our issue is..." when it wasn't really the "issue" the case turned on, or writing "history" next to the explanation of the previous common law etc...

I hope briefing (in these early-on days) will help me to know I'm getting the point, and hitting it on the head.

Where I see it wasting time is regarding the specifics of the fact pattern... that's probably good for the class and for the general sake of diligence but little else.

starter

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Re: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?
« Reply #34 on: August 23, 2007, 12:01:33 AM »
No problem!

Day 3, and I still don't hate life! Maybe tomorrow?

Don't feel so special ... everyone I know (including myself) feels pretty good right now.  As in, we think it's interesting and enjoyable and not quite as bad (so far) as we've heard.

But it would take a dummy not to realize that everything is going to pile up and we're going to have many cases and concepts from five classes to know and deal with come the end of the semester.

what if you work like 10-12 hours straight for a few days in a row to do assignments ahead of time? I am working on assignments due next monday/tuesday now.

Then you'll be ahead ... but you'll still have to go back and outline/study at the end of the semester :)

ha, well what I was going to attempt to do is clear out 1 weekday to just go out and have fun, and then clear out one weekEND day for reviewing the previous weeks concepts and going over my E&E books. This way I wouldn't have to go on a crazy study frenzy as much like 6 weeks out from finals as I would be "studying" weekly along with reading cases and briefing. Im waiting to see if some 2L's or above can chime in and let me know if this working ahead thing is an ok plan. Im not rushing through the work or anything, just doing like 12 hour work days. YES it sucks a lot but it may be worth it to have 2 days a week to completely relax and not have mounds of work to do.


You are totally overanalyzing this thing.  You will burn out on 12 hour work days pretty quickly so I don't think that's the way to go really.  Working ahead is ok, but you will still have to go back and review the material before class.  I know you're excited to be in law school and all but you aren't going to find the golden key in the first 3 days.  I sense a lot of insecurity in your posts, and that is one thing you certainly don't want to have if you are going to be a successful lawyer and law student.  

You've likely been a student for at least 15 years.  You know how you learn and you know what works best for you.  Law school is still school.  Some things are different but it's still a learning process just like any other school you've ever attended.  Whatever worked for you before needs to be incorporated into your study plan now.  The things that didn't work or you think might not work need to be discarded immediately because you are wasting valuable time by trying them.  Know yourself and your strengths, that is the only way to succeed in a new and challenging environment.  

Haeldaur

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Re: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?
« Reply #35 on: August 23, 2007, 03:17:40 AM »
I've been doing briefs for each case so far to cover the issue, holding, analysis, etc.  It doesn't take all that long, and it's nice to have.  Just having to stop and think about how you're going to word the issue helps learn it i think.

I was kinda confident about what I was doing until I came to this board tonight!  My plan was to read all the cases, brief them immediately, and take full notes in my classes.  Then I hoped to assemble some sort of Meta outline of the major rules and points with my study group, and use all that to study for finals.  Now I get the impression from around here that I am doing far too little, and that I have hours and hours of outlining I should be doing.  Can someone tell me whats up?

jacy85

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Re: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?
« Reply #36 on: August 23, 2007, 08:04:35 AM »


ha, well what I was going to attempt to do is clear out 1 weekday to just go out and have fun, and then clear out one weekEND day for reviewing the previous weeks concepts and going over my E&E books. This way I wouldn't have to go on a crazy study frenzy as much like 6 weeks out from finals as I would be "studying" weekly along with reading cases and briefing. Im waiting to see if some 2L's or above can chime in and let me know if this working ahead thing is an ok plan. Im not rushing through the work or anything, just doing like 12 hour work days. YES it sucks a lot but it may be worth it to have 2 days a week to completely relax and not have mounds of work to do.

I don't know how well your "study ahead" plan will work in terms of knowing material, but I can guarantee that working 12 hour days with only 1 day off is going to mean your grades will tank due to burn out and exhaustion.  There's NO REASON to be working that much unless you're looking at a legal writing deadline (and even then, if you've been working steadily all along, its not so bad) or if you're in finals mode.

Just think about it a minute - people work crazy 12+ hour days for the few weeks before finals, and everyone gets stressed out and burned out pretty quick.  You're working 12 hour days for most of the week all semester.  How great do you think you're going to feel?  And the worse you feel, the more tired you are, the crappier your grades are likely to be.

p0six

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Re: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?
« Reply #37 on: August 23, 2007, 09:09:47 AM »
I see two possible outcomes to 12/hrs a day study:

1.  You keep it up and your hair falls out.  You might or might not do better than others in your class.
2.  You realize about 2 weeks in it's not sustainable and tone down to a more reasonable level.

#2 is the more likely scenario.  I recommend you set a more sustainable pace from the get-go.  Especially for the first month or so of class when, truth be told, it's not really all that much work. 

Jhuen_the_bird

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Re: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?
« Reply #38 on: August 23, 2007, 12:33:06 PM »
I've been doing briefs for each case so far to cover the issue, holding, analysis, etc.  It doesn't take all that long, and it's nice to have.  Just having to stop and think about how you're going to word the issue helps learn it i think.

I was kinda confident about what I was doing until I came to this board tonight!  My plan was to read all the cases, brief them immediately, and take full notes in my classes.  Then I hoped to assemble some sort of Meta outline of the major rules and points with my study group, and use all that to study for finals.  Now I get the impression from around here that I am doing far too little, and that I have hours and hours of outlining I should be doing.  Can someone tell me whats up?

Everyone makes outlines that they use to study for finals (or use if the final is open note) in order to put major concepts together, etc.  My school is telling us not to worry about it yet (to wait at least a few weeks to start doing outlines), since it's too early to see the big picture.

We are gonna have meetings w/ our section leaders on how to do it, though ... and, of course, we can get previous outlines from 2L's and 3L's (I already have some), but it's still good to make your own and just kind of use other people's as a reference.

That's all I know :)

mtfbwy

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Re: Does briefing cases as a 1L = waste of time?
« Reply #39 on: August 23, 2007, 02:11:36 PM »
1. All law schools tell their new students to brief cases.  It's the best way to learn how to spot issues, see how a court states a legal rule, applies the rule to the facts, and draws a conclusion.  This is how most exam answers are written, and how basic legal arguments are developed. 

2. You should have learned the above skills within a month or so.  By the end of your first semester, you should be "book-briefing," i.e. just highlighting, underlining and making notes in your casebooks.  You'll learn to use Lexis or Westlaw to pull up the case, read a quick summary (which can often be misleading, or off-topic for given course), and see the rules espoused in the opinion.  I typically copied/pasted from Lexis onto a Word document to create my "briefs" (at least when I was still preparing briefs).  Many schools will admonish students not to book-brief, but that's just to ensure that students prepare fully for each class (and to further enhance the skills described above). 

3. You should obtain a good outline from a (successful) 2L or 3L in electronic form, which you can keep open during class to modify as needed.   

4. The most important thing in your casebook is typically the notes (and sometimes the problems) and the end of each chapter/section.  I would also keep another Word document open throughout the semester to note any hypos the professor spits out. 

5. Notice how the theme of points 1-3 above were about minimizing how much time and effort is spent on the cases, and how point 4 is about applying the rule(s) learned in each case to a problem?  That's because all of your courses will come down to one thing: the exam. 

6. You should be creating your outline (or touching up an old outline) on a weekly basis.  This is more important than having read all of the cases for class.  Of course, it is embarrassing to seem unprepared if called on, but this almost never affects your grade, and it almost never helps your grade to nail a case when called on.  At the end of the semester, you should already know the outliines well and, instead of spending countless hours preparing an outline, you can spend more time doing...

7. Yes, this one gets its own number...writing out practice answers! 

8. Wait, yes, that one is so important, it bears stressing: get your professors' old exams (if available), look at some E & E's, whatever, and write answers.  You're success will depend on your ability to quickly read a fact pattern, spot issues, then set about writing out rules of law and applying them to the facts (allowing time to draw lawerly conclusions or add any "policy" stuff you know your professor cares about). 

9. To put it another way, you can know the cases inside and out, you can know every rule by heart for the exam, but if you cannot write out rules and conclusions FAST, you won't do as well on the exams as you should. 

Good luck.