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Author Topic: Stupid question on casebooks.  (Read 953 times)

contrarian

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Stupid question on casebooks.
« on: April 14, 2009, 12:44:05 AM »
Stupid question, I haven't actually looked into this but... are casebooks exactly as described? Books of case law?  If so, do they bring anything to the table, like the author's interpretation of those cases?  It'd seem you're better off just downloading the text of the cases from online and not waste your money lugging around 20lbs of paper that can be stored on the laptop.

unwdre

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Re: Stupid question on casebooks.
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2009, 08:59:14 AM »
They are not the full opinions.  Just excerpts to highlight the pertinent points relating to the specific rules of law that are being taught.  There are also notes after the cases that highlight some differences in other jurisdictions or just other courts ruling differently.

rhombot

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Re: Stupid question on casebooks.
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2009, 01:28:25 PM »
skipping the casebook is not recommended. like the previous poster said, they're excerpts, so you'll end up doing much more reading if you get the cases online. most professors don't dwell too much on the notes and casebook discussion, but the organization of the casebook is useful for helping you understand how the doctrine fits together.
case '09

Matthies

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Re: Stupid question on casebooks.
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2009, 02:43:01 PM »
The cases in case books are heavily edited. A thirty page case may end up being trimmed down to 5 pages in your book (and they may even cut entire sentences from the middle of a paragraph in the original case to focus your attention on one thing). 

Additionally, and very importantly, the excerpts in the book may only be a small part of a much bigger case, in other words the whole case may be mostly about a contracts issues, but your reading it a torts book just for a little part that explains the tort issue being covered in your book and all the contracts stuff is cut out. So often times reading the whole case would actually confuse you because they are only using a tiny bit of it to make a point, and that case may be about something completely different to what the case book  authors are trying to teach you.

In other words it could really hurt you to read an entire case over the excerpt because you might miss the point the authors are trying to focus on and think the case is about something completely different. Also case books will have excerpts from law review articles or books as well that talk about the subject you are covering.
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nealric

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Re: Stupid question on casebooks.
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2009, 02:53:23 PM »
Quote
If so, do they bring anything to the table, like the author's interpretation of those cases?   

Most case books will introduce the case to let you know what you are looking for. They also usually provide notes at the end to provide clarification and test your understanding. Some profs in some classes will ask to you to do problems from the casebook.

In short, suck it up and buy them. It's often possible to get 70+% off buying used online.
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BikePilot

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Re: Stupid question on casebooks.
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2009, 03:28:35 PM »
Yep, the cases can be very heavily edited, sometimes over a hundred pages shorter than the real thing. They will also sometimes have a few pages of the authors take on the subject and sometimes questions/hypos at the end of sections that professors will often reference. Some of the more motivated students do take the time to read the full cases, but they still usually buy the case books for the rest of the stuff and quick reference (often a sylb will only list page numbers, not case names).
HLS 2010

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Re: Stupid question on casebooks.
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2009, 03:35:15 PM »
Look at it this way: There's a reason everyone bites the bullet and pays for the case books.  You haven't discovered some secret that everyone else has ignored.  50+ page opinions are whittled down to 3.  The important parts of the case are excerpted.  You'll miss the notes.  You'll be spending hours more reading when you don't have to, which will absolutely NOT give you an edge.

,.,.,.;.,.,.

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Re: Stupid question on casebooks.
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2009, 03:43:37 PM »
Matthies and everyone else are right.  Most cases have literally dozens of holdings, including ones about such tangential issues as a transformative copyright use in a Torts case.

That's why you need the casebook, for its editing and clarity.  After 1L, however, I know that some profs at my school will direct you to full opinions.

Also, casebooks make you look sexy at coffee shops.  I haven't been able to pull this off, but I heard that it's a good conversation-starter for single people.

BikePilot

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Re: Stupid question on casebooks.
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2009, 03:49:19 PM »
I don't think I'd ever want to go out with someone who thought case books were sexy :o
lol
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Re: Stupid question on casebooks.
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2009, 03:50:51 PM »
I don't think I'd ever want to go out with someone who thought case books were sexy :o
lol


I don't know about Boston, but Chicago girls are all over Secured Transactions.  I have friends who have gotten good conversations out of bringing their heaviest books to random Lincoln Park coffee shops.