Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
So it begins. Another school year starts, another cadre of new law students sit down to learn about the law -- only to quickly realize they have no idea what they're doing. If you're a new 1L, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the new things you're just supposed to know how to do.
You've probably heard everyone talk about briefing (or outlining) cases. Good outlining and note taking are definitely skills that take some time to perfect, but they're ones that are indispensable. A strong case brief will help you survive the worst cold call grilling. Solid notes can carry you through your exams.
Getting Started: A Guide to Briefing
You're a new law student. You've got a case (or five) to get through before tomorrow. Where do you start? By briefing the case. The goal with a case brief is to outline as much of the essential info about the case down in as little space as you can. Generally a brief includes most of the following:
During Class: Note Taking
Case briefs are to get you ready for class. When you're actually in a lecture, you'll be taking notes to fill in anything you might have missed. Here are two simple tips to help you get strong notes. (Westlaw, FindLaw's sister company, has a great infographic on what to do in class if you want something more in depth.)
First, don't clutter your case brief. You don't need to write down every detail that was brought up in class. You especially don't need to transcribe your professor's words. Second, focus on hypotheticals. These show you how the case can be applied to other circumstances, which is exactly what you'll be expected to know come exam time.
Now get to work.