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Author Topic: Approach to Studying  (Read 1718 times)

Jolie Was Here

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Re: Approach to Studying
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2007, 04:50:00 PM »
Actually, I also just realized that you may be confusing different types of study materials.  It absolutely makes sense to read a hornbook before class along with the casebook, although you shouldn't feel as though you have to.  Hornbooks are treatises on a specific area of law that give a big picture overview of the topic.  Most profs have favorites and will tell you which ones they recommend. 

The guides that are keyed to your textbooks give dumbed-down briefs of each case that you read for class.  I would resist the urge to use these at all until you have a firm grasp of how to pull the material together yourself. 

Commercial outlines are exactly what they sound like. 

I don't actually think that there's one right way to study, and by the time you make it to law school you have a sense of what works best for you.  But I think there are ways NOT to do it, and focusing your study on canned briefs falls firmly in that category. 
I was referring to your intellectual penis. Which is quite robust.

Jolie is creeping up on me. 

mgoblue85

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Re: Approach to Studying
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2007, 05:16:56 PM »
Actually, I also just realized that you may be confusing different types of study materials.  It absolutely makes sense to read a hornbook before class along with the casebook, although you shouldn't feel as though you have to.  Hornbooks are treatises on a specific area of law that give a big picture overview of the topic.  Most profs have favorites and will tell you which ones they recommend. 

The guides that are keyed to your textbooks give dumbed-down briefs of each case that you read for class.  I would resist the urge to use these at all until you have a firm grasp of how to pull the material together yourself. 

Commercial outlines are exactly what they sound like. 

I don't actually think that there's one right way to study, and by the time you make it to law school you have a sense of what works best for you.  But I think there are ways NOT to do it, and focusing your study on canned briefs falls firmly in that category. 

Sorry for the confusion.  I was never referring to canned briefs.  I took one look at those and decided I would never use them.  Pretty useless if you'd ask me.  I guess, as an amateur, I was confusing hornbooks and commercial outlines.  The plan I had in mind starts with commercial outlines.  Hornbooks look like good summer reading (we'll see where that goes). 

If you could tell me why it's undesireable to start with a commerical outlines before diving into the casebook, please let me know. 

Tulane1L

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Re: Approach to Studying
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2007, 05:40:18 PM »
I think you are confusing what you learn from a commercial outline and what you learn from a casebook.

Commercial outlines give you the "law" - the elements whatever issue you are looking at.

For example - negligence is the breach of the duty of reasonable care that causes damages.
1.  Duty is...
2.  Breach is...

A casebook usually gives you a brief rundown of the elements in the intro material, but then the cases give you the reasoning behind why an element is or is not present.

It is important to know the black letter law - what you get from the commercial outlines.  Basically everyone goes into a test knowing this.
It is more important to know the reasoning behind the law - what you get from casebooks.  This is what seperates the A's from the C's.

Different people learn from different methods, and there is no one right way to study, but what you definatly don't want to do it go into law school with a set method - you need to try different things to see what works for you.

Personally, I read the cases, make a few notes in the margins, and then read that section of an E&E - I don't really use commerical outlines at all (gilbers, etc.) - I just learn better from explanations and problems than from elements laid out - some people are the opposite.  It is different for everyone.  And different methods will work better for some classes than others.

Just don't try to go into lawschool thinking that you know what will work - try different things to find what is best for you in each of your classes.  This year it has been very amusing to watch the people that had it "all figured out" before law school started - first semester, they thought they were guaranteed LR.  After grades came out, in second semester, there was a lot less bragging... :-\

Tulane1L

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Re: Approach to Studying
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2007, 05:45:27 PM »
Also, don't put too much stock into books like law school confidential and planet law school.

I read LSC (or at least part of it) before starting school, and my experience, at least, was nothing at all like the author described.

They sell books by scaring people who are already nervous about law school.  It really isn't as bad as they say.  Don't freak out before you even start.

SugarJ

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Re: Approach to Studying
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2007, 06:45:47 PM »
This is my experience from my college Con Law class... nothing like law school, but here goes.

I read each case by highlighting in the book and making an outline brief on my computer. Sometimes I google the case beforehand just to read what the issue and the holding is, so I have a better grasp of what it is I'm reading. This may be a good idea in law school, as mgoblue points out, as you'll save time and know what you're looking for. However, it might be a bad idea, as others have discussed, because your mission in law school is to be able to extract the information from a difficult and complex case.

I know I'll want to read the issue/holding before the cases, but I also know that law school isn't conducive to taking the easy way out. I may learn best if I read the outlines after I think I've discovered the facts, holding, reasoning, etc. for myself. There's a reason that not everyone reads outlines before the cases.
Cornell Class of 2011 (deferring for a year!)

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slacker

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Re: Approach to Studying
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2007, 07:01:41 PM »
Learning to read a case is a skill, just as any other skill you'll learn in law school. For the most part, the casebooks make it easy for you by editing the cases to focus on whatever they want the focus to be on. (Note: Often this makes things easier, sometimes editing removes important facts and just makes things really, really, really confusing.) Don't think you can side-step learning this skill, as it's something you'll need to do not just in school, but also as a lawyer.

I've actually found commercial outlines keyed to the casebook helpful in some circumstances; depends on the class, now often you get called on per semester prior to having your morning coffee, etc., etc.

Even so, I'd skip getting ay study aids until you know you need the study aids. Don't worry about getting most hornbooks or treatises (except maybe Chemerinsky's Con Law); just use the ones at the library.

laur0212

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Re: Approach to Studying
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2007, 07:30:24 PM »
Just to add to what was said by slacker, at least in your first semester it is a good idea to brief all the cases you read.  This helps you to learn to read the cases and pick out what is really important and you can always modify them if you find out you weren't totally right.  It also helps when you get called on in class.  I remember the first time I got called on in torts, it was really helpful that I had the brief in front of me. 

UGAfootballfanatic

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Re: Approach to Studying
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2007, 07:40:39 PM »
No. The best strategy is doing the assigned reading, paying attention in class, making your own outline, and THEN supplementing with commercial aids. If you plan on only using supps, you are almost guaranteed no grad better than the median.

Actually, this is the worst way to approach studying.  The whole point of a commercial outline is to give you the broad, sweeping details.  If you read the casebook first, and you can't even identify the most important issues, then it will be a complete waste.  You would only then acquire info from the commercial outline, while essentially wasting your time on the casebook.  Therefore, you would be better off reading the casebook again to acquire the basic info, as opposed to reading the casebook and commerical outline once and getting all confused.  If you can identify the big issues after reading the casebook, then you wouldn't need the commercial outline.  Reading the commercial outline in this case would be a complete waste of time. 

I've looked through the casebooks (I recommend that you do, maybe even just one), and the cases are very complex.  Do not assume you're so bada$$ and can handle them without making big time mistakes in interpretation. 

Also, you misinterpret my original point.  Casebooks would still be relevant.  You would still need to use it to find the unresolved issues.

You 0L moron. You could take advice from someone with straight A's, or you can learn for yourself. The cases are not hard to understand, and unless you can't read, you'll get the gist of the cases (and actually LEARN to read cases) and supplement that to your prof's slant, which that commercial outline won't give you. But do it your own way. Mine served me well, and yours just might actually work for you (though my guess is it definitely won't). Some people don't learn or take advice, so why bother asking for it? Every prof will tell you not to use outlines to get the "big picture"- you MAKE outlines to get hte big picture. Sorry I sound harsh, but either you want advice or you don't want it. Don't tell me what PLS II told you to do.

mgoblue85

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Re: Approach to Studying
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2007, 07:55:46 PM »
No. The best strategy is doing the assigned reading, paying attention in class, making your own outline, and THEN supplementing with commercial aids. If you plan on only using supps, you are almost guaranteed no grad better than the median.

Actually, this is the worst way to approach studying.  The whole point of a commercial outline is to give you the broad, sweeping details.  If you read the casebook first, and you can't even identify the most important issues, then it will be a complete waste.  You would only then acquire info from the commercial outline, while essentially wasting your time on the casebook.  Therefore, you would be better off reading the casebook again to acquire the basic info, as opposed to reading the casebook and commerical outline once and getting all confused.  If you can identify the big issues after reading the casebook, then you wouldn't need the commercial outline.  Reading the commercial outline in this case would be a complete waste of time. 

I've looked through the casebooks (I recommend that you do, maybe even just one), and the cases are very complex.  Do not assume you're so bada$$ and can handle them without making big time mistakes in interpretation. 

Also, you misinterpret my original point.  Casebooks would still be relevant.  You would still need to use it to find the unresolved issues.

You 0L moron. You could take advice from someone with straight A's, or you can learn for yourself. The cases are not hard to understand, and unless you can't read, you'll get the gist of the cases and supplement that to your prof's slant, which that commercial outline won't give you. But have fun struggling for the bottom 1/3 while you try to MEMORIZE the BLL. Saves more room at the top for the rest of us. Some people don't learn or take advice, so why bother asking for it? Every prof will tell you not to use outlines to get the "big picture"- you MAKE outlines to get hte big picture.

First of all, you can read my previous posts about PLS II.  They speak for themselves (the author has psychological problems). 

I'm not proposing what Atticus Falcon says!  You still don't understand my proposed NUANCED approach.  Go back and read through my posts.  I propose only using commerical outlines AS A STARTING POINT, not as the "only" thing.  I also think your own outlines/brief are essential.  I never implied those were not essential.  You seem to assume it's impossible for you to make your own outline if you consult a commercial outline.  And you didn't address my point about the uselessness of using commerical outlines after you're done with the casebook.  If you understand the casebook, then there's no need to use an outline.  I have consulted friends at ivy league law schools, who are at the top of their class.  Might be a huge wake up call for you when you hit the real world and deal with these people.  Since when were you the best law student?  Do you attend a t14 school?  Even if you did, have you practiced law for a long time?  Yeah, didn't think so.

Just because professors hate commercial outlines doesn't mean it's wrong to use them.  In fact, most professors hate these outlines because they feel too many students use them as SUBSTITUTES.  That's the vibe you get after reading Getting to Maybe, where the professors do make some concessions about commercial outlines.  But there's a difference between replacing casebooks with outlines (totally wrong), and using the commerical outlines as a starting point.     

mgoblue85

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Re: Approach to Studying
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2007, 08:03:23 PM »
This is my experience from my college Con Law class... nothing like law school, but here goes.

I read each case by highlighting in the book and making an outline brief on my computer. Sometimes I google the case beforehand just to read what the issue and the holding is, so I have a better grasp of what it is I'm reading. This may be a good idea in law school, as mgoblue points out, as you'll save time and know what you're looking for. However, it might be a bad idea, as others have discussed, because your mission in law school is to be able to extract the information from a difficult and complex case.

I know I'll want to read the issue/holding before the cases, but I also know that law school isn't conducive to taking the easy way out. I may learn best if I read the outlines after I think I've discovered the facts, holding, reasoning, etc. for myself. There's a reason that not everyone reads outlines before the cases.

Yeah, I had a similar class (Law and Philosophy).  I remember the temptation of googling cases before I had to read them.  I think it can help, BUT ONLY IF YOU'RE DISCIPLINED.  I guess it's human to want to skip through something if you've read a summary of the case.  But my experience was that I could handle it, because by that point (after my 5 page comment sheet came back for my first essay, which amazingly was given an A-), the class was going to be the hardest class I took as an undergrad (it was). 

I think I'll start law school trying to be a purist.  It seems like, reading through my friend's stuff, that torts and property are pretty easy.  I'm having a harder time with contracts.  I guess I'll have to see how long the assignments take me.  I'm not going to kill myself and study 6+ hours a day (that always backfires).  So if I have to use a commercial outline to get the ball rolling, then so be it.