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Preparing for Class

  1. Use a "road map" for your reading assignments.
    1. Before you read the assignment, look at the chapter headings and table of contents in the case book to get a sense of where this topic fits in the overall course.
    2. Skim study aids covering the topic prior to reading your assignment.
  2. READ assigned cases.
    1. Read carefully and critically. Read your assignment twice: once without taking notes or briefing; then brief or take notes during the second reading.
    2. Don't skim.
    3. Don't read while tired or distracted.
  3. Use a law dictionary as you read through your assignment.
    1. Stop when you come to words you don't understand and look them up – write definition in margin of book if it's helpful.
  4. Brief cases.
    1. Briefly state essential facts.
    2. State judgment or decision in trial court.
    3. State issue(s) raised on appeal.
    4. State the disposition on appeal and the rule of the case.
    5. Rationale – why did the court arrive at that holding.

Don't book Brief during your first year of law school!