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Author Topic: Please critique/engage with the following advice...  (Read 1463 times)

just Trev

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Please critique/engage with the following advice...
« on: August 06, 2009, 06:33:25 PM »
Hornbooks are typically 800 to 1200 pages. They are your real textbook for the course. A casebook is a maze in which the reader is somehow expected to be able parse through in order to obtain both rules and the big picture. It does not work. While other students read a 1000-page casebook, I only quickly read the casebook and instead focus my time on reading a 1000-page hornbook. We both invest the same amount of time, but the hornbook is about answers or a set of debatable answers and not about questions. By reading the hornbook, you will get a summary of the entire area of law and not just a set of sampled points that your professor chooses. If the professor were only to test on material directly covered in class, there would be no problem skipping these hornbook sections. The reality is, however, that a professor will quickly touch on a lot of things and expect you to have made connections and leaps from his comments. Sometimes, this would be nearly impossible to do so given the materials discussed in class. However, the hornbook likely covered the material in more depth. Also, sometimes professors will model a test question on a somewhat famous case that has been academically debated that is not in your casebook. He is testing how you extend the tools he taught in class to a new situation, although you, as a reader of a hornbook that covered that case, have seen the courtís actual reasoning.

just Trev

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Re: Please critique/engage with the following advice...
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2009, 09:47:52 PM »
come on, i'm serious...

what does everyone think about this heavy of a reliance on hornbooks? 

anything...?

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Re: Please critique/engage with the following advice...
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 09:55:25 PM »
I read the same article on TLS... seems like good advice overall, but it also seems a little over the top.  Based on advice I have gotten from others, my plan is to read the cases (but not obsess over them), add to my studies with supplements (specifically, E&Es and any other teacher-recommended supplements), and focus from the beginning on real law exams. 
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just Trev

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Re: Please critique/engage with the following advice...
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2009, 11:17:51 PM »
i completely agree with you TC.  i'm planning on doing this as well, but the issue for me here is his emphasis on hornbooks specifically.  how important are they really? 

any advice from 2 or 3Ls...?

thorc954

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Re: Please critique/engage with the following advice...
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2009, 05:38:31 PM »
recent grad here (top 20 school, top 6%).  Read the assigned reading and just the assigned reading.  It is assigned for a reason.  Professors only test on what they teach you, there is no point to absorb more.  dont waste time taking notes from the book, just listen in class, take notes in class, and outline from that.  Dont waste any time with outside material.  It is a waste of time and a waste of money.

RobWreck

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Re: Please critique/engage with the following advice...
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2009, 05:44:03 PM »
recent grad here (top 20 school, top 6%).  Read the assigned reading and just the assigned reading.  It is assigned for a reason.  Professors only test on what they teach you, there is no point to absorb more.  dont waste time taking notes from the book, just listen in class, take notes in class, and outline from that.  Dont waste any time with outside material.  It is a waste of time and a waste of money.

TITCR +1.

If there's a particular subject that's confusing, then certainly supplements can be used to help explain the problematic issue, but that's only for discrete, specific matters. Generally I've found the Aspen and Foundation Press casebooks to be pretty well organized with sufficient explanation and narrative between the case excerpts to make the relevant points clear.
Of course, I have found the "Understanding" series by Lexis to be pretty helpful for both Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure...
St. John's University School of Law '11
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Matthies

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Re: Please critique/engage with the following advice...
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2009, 07:22:05 PM »
recent grad here (top 20 school, top 6%).  Read the assigned reading and just the assigned reading.  It is assigned for a reason.  Professors only test on what they teach you, there is no point to absorb more.  dont waste time taking notes from the book, just listen in class, take notes in class, and outline from that.  Dont waste any time with outside material.  It is a waste of time and a waste of money.

I agree with the point, but disagree with the methoed. Read the casebook, take notes as your read, completely ignore everything in class, donít take any notes, donít pay attention. Class time is your facebook other internet website time. All the notes I ever took in  law school would fit on 5 pages single sided double spaced. I never listened to a word said in class Worked for me. I was number 13th in my class at a school that was not grade inflated to a b+ curve. :)

Point is, find whatever works for you. Not what worked for me, or Thorc or the crazy TLS person who told you to read hornbooks instead of casebooks. The hardest part about law school is actually figuring out what it takes to make you personally get it. Try stuff you read on here, try stuff you read in books, but only stick with the stuff that works for YOU. Donít do anything because someone else says you gotta do A and B to get good grades, cause well, youíre not them and they are not taking your test for you.

A lot of the first semester will be just spinning your wheels trying to figure out what does work. So jettison as fast as you can anything that is not working for you.
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

ryanjm

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Re: Please critique/engage with the following advice...
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2009, 09:14:21 PM »
I think that approach is a bit too tedious. First, you have to read the cases in the casebook because that's what you're going to discuss in class, and you must be prepared to answer questions on the cases. Second, reading a hornbook + your casebook is a LOT of reading. From what I remember of classes, a lot of time is spent expounding on every little detail of a particular piece of law. What would be helpful is something that condenses the law, not expands and discusses every little detail. You will do enough magnifying of each tiny piece of law in class.

Of course, everyone says "Do what works for you," but I think that there are certain methods which are much better than others, and if someone did well using another method, perhaps they just got lucky, or were much smarter than their classmates, or spent a huge amount of time studying every day. Whatever the case, I still think that BARBRI outlines + BARBRI class notes = win. With those two resources, you could cover an entire subject in a day, have examples to look back on (with the notes), and clear definitions of every important bit of law. While I'm sure the hornbook will explain the law magnificently, when it comes exam time, that's just too much information to go through and distill into something you can remember.