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Author Topic: Substituting actually doing the reading with reading case briefs  (Read 692 times)

lovelyjj

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What do you think about reading cases v. reading case briefs?
After all, isn't doing well on exam all about knowing why a certain case is there and what rule applies to certain facts? I think this could be done just as well by simply reading briefs. I don't necessarily find cases confusing, but I just think it's an awful way of studying and preparing for exams because it has too many extraneous facts that interfere with my attempt to focus on important issue triggering facts. Any thoughts?

Thane Messinger

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Re: Substituting actually doing the reading with reading case briefs
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2010, 05:07:36 AM »
What do you think about reading cases v. reading case briefs?
After all, isn't doing well on exam all about knowing why a certain case is there and what rule applies to certain facts? I think this could be done just as well by simply reading briefs. I don't necessarily find cases confusing, but I just think it's an awful way of studying and preparing for exams because it has too many extraneous facts that interfere with my attempt to focus on important issue triggering facts. Any thoughts?

Cases are the 800-lb gorilla in law school.  They're just about everywhere, or they seem so, but no one's quite sure why they're there, or what to do with them.

The key to cases is in knowing how to approach them, and you're quite right, reading every word in a case is usually a poor use of time, at best.  At face, it is often confusing and demoralizing. 

I'll address this in more detail in your other question, but here, the use of briefs (which I assume you use as "canned briefs," or commercially prepared briefs), can be fine, so long as the point you mention--understanding why the case is there--is front and center.  Also, it's useful to read the entire case for at least a few cases, the ones you actually find interesting, for reasons I'll also go into in your other thread.

I hope this helps,

Thane.

EarlCat

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Re: Substituting actually doing the reading with reading case briefs
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2010, 12:11:22 AM »
Take your cues from the professor.  Which cases does he/she seem to dwell on?  Look at past exams periodically.  Do they present hypos that are factually similar to specific cases you've read?  Talk to students who have had the prof before.  Ask them how important the nitty gritty stuff is for that class.

cvtheis

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Re: Substituting actually doing the reading with reading case briefs
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2010, 10:58:00 AM »
As I have posted elsewhere - I think using good canned briefs is all you need, but recommend giving the case a read - if only cursory - so you can honestly say that you read the case and frame the brief materials in context of the case.  In short, read/skim the case and study the brief.

cooleylawstudent

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Re: Substituting actually doing the reading with reading case briefs
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2010, 01:29:03 PM »
That sounds good, but I've seen profs rip guys and new A-hole when they dont actually know the details of the case. Why? It shows laziness and they tend to get pissedoff about it.

cvtheis

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Re: Substituting actually doing the reading with reading case briefs
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2010, 02:24:29 PM »
Right - which is why the case should be read.  I never saw a prof drill down on the meaningless details, but they do drill into areas not covered in the canned brief.  If you read the case you can either recall those facts or honestly say that you did and simply did not get that level of detail in the case, then discuss salient points.

Put the canned brief in a binder, highlight some things, even add notes - but for God sakes, dont just hold it up and read it where the prof will see what you are doing.

That sounds good, but I've seen profs rip guys and new A-hole when they dont actually know the details of the case. Why? It shows laziness and they tend to get pissedoff about it.

Cicero

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Re: Substituting actually doing the reading with reading case briefs
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2010, 11:55:08 AM »
Maybe it's overkill, but I read and briefed all of the cases, but how much of a brief depended on the prof and how much detail they were looking for. Some of my profs wanted little details before going into the important parts. I had one class where it seemed like we focused on the irrelevant facts and minute details of the case a lot of the time, like was person wearing a green scarf or what color was the car, more than the facts pertinent to the law at hand and the analysis. However, that prof didn't seem to notice when people got things wrong a lot of the time--like one time where someone presented the completely wrong case and the prof never noticed. However, sometimes if the student didn't know those little details, the prof could get very upset.

I did use the canned briefs sometimes to review or if I was confused, but for me they were a supplement and not a replacement for the real thing.

lovelyjj

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Re: Substituting actually doing the reading with reading case briefs
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2010, 12:37:07 PM »
Thanks everyone for responding. What do you think is the best way to study after getting the rules and reasonings written down in your outline? I usually try to summarize the already summarized canned briefs so that I could write 4~5 sentences per case (issue-triggering facts, and issue statement and rule application). After doing this, I usually just read and re-read these summaries so that I can remember some of these and try to issue-spot on the past exams. If you could, could you give some advice on how to study efficiently?

cvtheis

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Re: Substituting actually doing the reading with reading case briefs
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2010, 02:38:41 PM »
never touched the briefs after class and the rule of law was extracted. Know the rules of law and review/practice past exams. - the skill comes in applying the rules.  Only time brief/case important is perhaps con law or crim law where you need to reference a significant case, e.g Miranda.