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Author Topic: case briefs  (Read 7124 times)

sunnykate

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Re: case briefs
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2009, 11:46:39 PM »
My favorite brief site is www.invispress.com/law.  Westlaw sucks in comparison to this, as does anything else.  The only problem is that it doesn't have every class.  But for the ones it does have, it's worth its weight in gold.  But that's just me.  Some people do learn by studying 15 page opinions in detail, I suppose.

WCS

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Re: case briefs
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2010, 11:47:44 AM »
One of the best places out to find law school case briefs is http://www.lawschoolcasebriefs.com/. For some of the subjects it has very accurate case briefs keyed to the most popular textbook. In addition, if you scroll down on the subject pages, it has long lists of cases and links to several other websites' so you don't have to search each individual webisite for a particular case brief. From what I heard in another forum is that it is constantly growing. Soon it will have an index of every case brief that is posted on the internet to make it easy for law students. They update it every couple days and they plan on adding outlines soon for each subject. 

Thane Messinger

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Re: case briefs
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2010, 02:22:53 PM »
You only need to brief cases for the first few weeks of law school or for however long it takes for you to be able to recognize how to read a case, dissect it into its components (procedural history, facts, issue, rule, reasoning), and take from it whatever it is you are looking for.  Once you are able to do that STOP BRIEFING!!! Get a case brief supplement or look up the cases on lexis or westlaw or whatever and call it a day.



Absolutely right.  Case briefing was designed in a simpler age for a simpler purpose:  to put all the law student ducklings in a row behind the mama prof duck.  (Who was then the papa prof duck, come to think of it, although I'm not sure papa ducks spend all that much time worrying about whether their ducklings are in a row, behind them or elsewhere.)  

In law school, cases exist for one purpose and one purpose only: to highlight a point of law.  It could be a rule.  An exception.  An exception to an exception.

So, focus first and primarily on that point of law.  USE the case, sure.  Know the case and know why it's there.  But don't spend more than five minutes scanning it.  Then and only then do you read it--and only the parts that are relevant to the point of law.  Absolutely don't spend more than five seconds on procedural history, etc., unless that is the point of law at issue.  (If, for example, it's in Civ Pro.)

Reverse the process:  know WHY you're reading the case before you do.  In law school it's easy to think of cases as the donut.  Nope.  They're a hole, or more specifically a black hole, into which an entire semester can be sucked--with absolutely no benefit.  Focus instead on what is important:  learning the rules of law (just one or two per class, usually) and on how to apply those rules to new facts.

If you get called on and don't know the procedural history, etc.--and I'm trying to think of any time this ever happened outside of The Paper Chase--just say you don't know.  Don't worry about it.  It WON'T affect your grade (as long as you're not obnoxious about it).  Don't worry about being embarrassed.  Really.  Who cares?  Focus on the rule of law, instead.

Julie Fern

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Re: case briefs
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2010, 04:19:53 PM »
cases offered in law school so can understand reasoning of case.  it inefficient way to learn black-letter law, as that actually not what being taught.

Thane Messinger

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Re: case briefs
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2010, 02:54:26 PM »
cases offered in law school so can understand reasoning of case.  it inefficient way to learn black-letter law, as that actually not what being taught.

Exactly right, and sorry if I glossed over that.  It's important not to get tripped up on all the window-dressing in a case--and most cases have lots and lots of dressing.  The crucial matter is the reasoning: the why.  Why did that fact make the difference?  What was the test (i.e., the rule of law)?  Is the reasoning flawed?  If so, why?  Do other jurisdictions have better reasoning?  From there, what would happen if a fact were different?  The jurisdiction?  And so on.

It's also important as the second points (inefficiency and exam bait-and-switch) are very much the things that trip up most law students.

Julie right.  Thane glad could respond Julie.

Julie Fern

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Re: case briefs
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2010, 06:35:07 PM »
you fine american.

Thane Messinger

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Re: case briefs
« Reply #26 on: June 10, 2010, 05:51:49 AM »
Don't you feel that buying briefs vs makeing your own defeats the point of it though? Its not cheating, and some teachers encourage to do it in addition to your own to see if you missed anything yourself, but writing your own is how you really get it. Isnt it?


As long as we're delving into case briefs again, I thought I would try to find this thread on 'em.  A few good points for anyone about to enter the exciting world of first year.

cvtheis

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Re: case briefs
« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2010, 08:26:47 AM »
There is some value to reading cases -- in part to cover your @$$ if drilled by the prof -- but should not waste too much time doing it.  I used good professional briefs and made sure I looked at both to resolve the facts, procedure, law, etc.

Thane Messinger

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Re: case briefs
« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2010, 03:55:17 PM »
There is some value to reading cases -- in part to cover your @$$ if drilled by the prof -- but should not waste too much time doing it.  I used good professional briefs and made sure I looked at both to resolve the facts, procedure, law, etc.

Generally true.  The slightly different emphasis I would offer is this:  Cases are NOT for classroom discussion.  Sure, that's a nice bonus.  But it doesn't pay to impress your classmates just as it doesn't hurt to bomb a discussion.  (And most of us feel we do bomb discussions.)  It really doesn't matter.  [Paradox: reading cases for class doesn't help in class as much as scanning cases for understanding the point of law does.]

The reasons we read cases is to get better at analysis.  This means that we don't necessarily read all the cases, or certainly not all the cases all the way through.  So, quite right as to the value (properly used) of commercial (canned) briefs.  Just keep the real object in mind: it is not class.

Hope this helps,

Thane.

cvtheis

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Re: case briefs
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2010, 10:54:44 AM »
True enough.  WRT actually reading the case, if even cursory, is so if asked by the prof "did you read the case?" (which happened frequently) one does not need to (1) lie - never a good idea, or (2) invoke the wrath of a prof by saying 'no, I didn't read the case, I just used this brief by...'  Also, even a cursory read gives one some details that can be helpful when studying the brief.

There is some value to reading cases -- in part to cover your @$$ if drilled by the prof -- but should not waste too much time doing it.  I used good professional briefs and made sure I looked at both to resolve the facts, procedure, law, etc.

Generally true.  The slightly different emphasis I would offer is this:  Cases are NOT for classroom discussion.  Sure, that's a nice bonus.  But it doesn't pay to impress your classmates just as it doesn't hurt to bomb a discussion.  (And most of us feel we do bomb discussions.)  It really doesn't matter.  [Paradox: reading cases for class doesn't help in class as much as scanning cases for understanding the point of law does.]

The reasons we read cases is to get better at analysis.  This means that we don't necessarily read all the cases, or certainly not all the cases all the way through.  So, quite right as to the value (properly used) of commercial (canned) briefs.  Just keep the real object in mind: it is not class.

Hope this helps,

Thane.