Law School Discussion

Unique studying strategy


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Re: Unique studying strategy
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2009, 07:00:13 AM »
I read this a while back, and I thought it sounded like good advice, but something was bugging me about it...Now, I'm a 0L, so take my advice with a few pounds of salt, but it seems to me that one of the biggest points in law school and one of the key skills that you are supposed to learn is how to read caselaw.  If you are skipping or skimming the actual caselaw, then you lose that skill...You may ace the final, but there's no hornbook or Examples and Explanations for the actual practice of law.  Therefore, while you may do your grades a service, you are probably doing your career a great disservice.  I agree that hornbooks and E&Es have their place as very useful study aids, but to stop reading the casebook is to toss the baby out with the bathwater.

Credited.  I think you can stop reading cases carefully once you've developed the skill, but not before.  Part of the skill of reading cases is parsing it for its complete disposition, statement of law, and application of law.  But another aspect of the skill is how to "get to the meat" of a case -- the part that you really need to know for your case, exam, etc.  There are only 24 hours in a day, and the most efficient uses of time should be preferred.

Re: Unique studying strategy
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2009, 09:23:10 AM »
True, but the question is, how long does it take to read caselaw, once you're good at it, versus reading a hornbook?  I've done some paralegal work in which I wrote some appeals based on caselaw, and I had no difficulty completely understanding the judges' opinions with reading less than 15 minutes...Of course, these aren't landmark cases, are short and are written in modern language, but regardless, I don't feel that reading cases takes THAT much time, if you can learn to be efficient.  For example, the procedural history and facts of the case can usually be read over just once, where the actual ruling itself may need more scrutiny...It's also probably advisable to focus more on opinions regarding the class topic at hand rather than to read every contention within a case - chances are, only one or two of those points will be important, and the others will be useless. 

Of course, I guess this should be taken with a grain of salt as well - I am a history major used to dealing with primary sources written in long-dead styles of writing, so the legalese doesn't phase me as much, nor do particularly obsolete words.