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Author Topic: Outlines  (Read 959 times)

harlemsushi

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Outlines
« on: May 27, 2010, 12:05:25 PM »
I've heard a lot about the outlines for law school and several books have mentioned them but I have yet to see one or to understand how they differ from more traditional outlines.  Also, could someone explain and perhaps post a link to a sample outline for say Torts, Civ Pro, Contracts or Property?

bigs5068

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Re: Outlines
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2010, 02:22:52 PM »
The site ecasebriefs.com has a lot of good stuff. It really helped me a lot for first year, it is kind of a weird to navigate the first few times you use it. You figure it out after two or three times though. You have to click on the tab that says law once you get to the site or else it freaks out.

Once you figure it out, which should take about 5 minutes. It is awesome thought it has 100's of multiple choice questions, it outlines most law schools books perfectly and does a really in depth case brief for almost every case. I did not know about it until my second semester, but it is just awesome and I wish I would have known about it sooner.

Thane Messinger

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Re: Outlines
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2010, 04:18:28 AM »
I've heard a lot about the outlines for law school and several books have mentioned them but I have yet to see one or to understand how they differ from more traditional outlines.  Also, could someone explain and perhaps post a link to a sample outline for say Torts, Civ Pro, Contracts or Property?

A good question.  Outlines are essential, and while it's fine to look at other samples, it is important to do your own.  For each class.  Among other reasons, simply using an outline created by someone else (for a first-year course) won't give you the depth or facility with that subject's rules to be able to ace the exam. 

As to samples, the best (if overdone) samples are the commercial outlines.  These are far, far too much for your purposes in first year, but they're a good indicator of the structure of and thinking behind an outline.  They will also help in understanding why the law is structured in an outline format. 

In essence, you'll want to have created a 30-50 page master outline, plus a 1-2 page summary outline, by the middle of law school or so.  Also, despite what much of the advice is, now is a good time to begin preparing your oultines.  Nothing fancy, and nothing intense, but a top-level beginning to what will become your outlines for each of the major first-year subjects.

Thane.

chi2009

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Re: Outlines
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2010, 03:26:25 PM »
Commercial outlines are helpful as a guide, but the biggest benefit is the actual process of doing it yourself.  Start as early as you can because your time becomes increasingly limited as the semester goes on.  It may help to use your syllabus to start outlining the key concepts, and try not to go over 50 pages or it will become too cumbersome to actually use.  I agree about the 1 - 2 page summery - that's very helpful.  But in the end, do whatever works best for you.  There's no single magical formula that works for everyone.

Thane Messinger

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Re: Outlines
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2010, 05:43:22 PM »
Commercial outlines are helpful as a guide, but the biggest benefit is the actual process of doing it yourself.  Start as early as you can because your time becomes increasingly limited as the semester goes on.  It may help to use your syllabus to start outlining the key concepts, and try not to go over 50 pages or it will become too cumbersome to actually use.  I agree about the 1 - 2 page summery - that's very helpful.  But in the end, do whatever works best for you.  There's no single magical formula that works for everyone.

Quite right.  Also, I should have written "...by the middle of your first year of law school."  Your outlines should be substantially complete well before exam time.  With at least a month to go, your efforts should shift to practice exams.

I would also somewhat disagree with the notion to "do whatever works best for you" and that "there's no single magical formula."  [Sorry, chi . . . don't mean to be brusque but you speak to a common (mis)conception in law school.]  Actually, there is.  This isn't exactly one-size-fits-all, but there are common elements both to law practice and to stellar students. 

Thane.

chi2009

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Re: Outlines
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2010, 10:46:08 AM »
Well, as my study group constantly reminds me, my brain sometimes works in odd ways  :)  I have a certain style that works for me, and I am in the top 10% of my class.  That being said, I agree that there are common elements that are required to succeed.  Consistent, sustained hard work is the biggest one.  The most common mistake I’ve seen people make is thinking that they’ll succeed by their intelligence alone.  Just being smart is not enough; everyone in law school is smart.  You have to put in the work.  What you did in college won't cut it in law school.  I went to graduate school, and even there the standards don't come close to what they are in law school.   

Also, I know it’s become cliché, but law school really is a marathon.  Some of the people in my class who did well in their first semester thought they could relax in their second semester and still do well.  Many of them are very disappointed right now as grades are coming out.  Bottom line, there's no cutting corners.  And as you'll find out in your legal writing classes, sloppiness is death.  I find that it’s essential to stay on top of the reading - and actually think about the rules and how they work, start outlining at the beginning of the semester, and, at least in your first year, do as many practice exams as you can.  That's my two cents, anyway.

bigs5068

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Re: Outlines
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2010, 03:15:45 PM »
Yea I would simply say the secret as Chi pointed out is to do the work. That means doing the reading before class every single time, showing up to class and NEVER screwing around on the internet in class, which is just retarded and I can't understand how people do that. Then outline everything you learned and the end of the week and then a great tool to use is Cali Lessons, which has a whole lesson for each subject you review. I did that and it was really helpful and I was in the top 25%, which while not amazing is decent enough.

chi2009

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Re: Outlines
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2010, 10:20:52 PM »
That means doing the reading before class every single time, showing up to class and NEVER screwing around on the internet in class, which is just retarded and I can't understand how people do that.

So true about the internet.  After a while, you'll think you really can surf the net and pay attention at the same time.  Trust me, you can't.  I thought I could, only to realize later that I couldn't remember anything that was discussed.  Thank god the prof didn't call on me.  Don't even allow yourself to get tempted.

Another thing I love are the Sum & Substance podcasts.  I listen to them constantly  - during commutes, the gym, whatever.  Before you know it, you'll start having dreams about the law.  Fun stuff.

Thane Messinger

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Re: Outlines
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2010, 03:56:48 PM »
That means doing the reading before class every single time, showing up to class and NEVER screwing around on the internet in class, which is just retarded and I can't understand how people do that.

So true about the internet.  After a while, you'll think you really can surf the net and pay attention at the same time.  Trust me, you can't.  I thought I could, only to realize later that I couldn't remember anything that was discussed.  Thank god the prof didn't call on me.  Don't even allow yourself to get tempted.

Another thing I love are the Sum & Substance podcasts.  I listen to them constantly  - during commutes, the gym, whatever.  Before you know it, you'll start having dreams about the law.  Fun stuff.


Agreed with both points, and I can assure you that even if they don't say anything, profs hate computers in the classroom.   (If anyone cares to get feisty, as a fellow techie I will say they're right.  Computers, even if used for the nominally correct purpose, are a distraction to your purpose in class.)

One minor caveat to the "read everything" point.  (Not exactly what you wrote, big, but I wanted to make the following point.)   Law students trip themselves up with too much makework.  The key in law school is to understand what is being said in class from your professor's mouth.  To do this, you need to know the point of law being discussed that day.  This is not the same thing as "know the case."  This is why outlines are so important.  It is also why the ubiquitous "case briefs" are such a grand distraction.

To the related point, it IS essential to stay on top of class, every class.  Absolutely right.  Get even one class behind, and you might as well not go: you're not going to get what you need for exams (understanding, very, very well that single point of law) out of that class.

Thane.

larryp7639

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Re: Outlines
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2010, 05:38:42 AM »

Thanks you for the post.
Hi guys, Im a newbie. Nice to join this forum.

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