Friday, August 22, 2008

First Class Assignments

I am already displeased with the workload. While all the other groups had a maximum of 20-30 pages for any given class, if even that, I was assigned 53 pages of reading for today's civil procedure class. In that reading, there were nine cases to brief.

Case brief: documents created by students when studying case law.

The cases we deal with are all found in the Appellate Courts (Court of Appeals, for the less-than-law-savvy readers). We are given the cases in the form of a judge's discourse. He or she will lay out the case with all the details and necessary references, then describe the decision.

Our job is to pull out the procedural history (what stages the case has gone through, including where it was filed first, who appealed and to which court, what decisions were made, etc.). It is basically the timeline of the case. We need to pull out all the key facts. This is harder than it sounds, because each case can be interpreted in different ways, and depending on your interpretation, different facts could be key. Then, we find the issue. That is, the question being asked of the court. Next is the holding, which is the answer to that question. Finally, the judgment--whether the appeal was affirmed, reversed, dismissed, etc.--and the reasoning--obviously, the reason for the judgment.

Finally, we are supposed to give our own ideas when applicable. So a full case brief usually ends up being about a page of extrapolated information from these cases, which are often only a page or two long themselves.

Couple case briefing with the rest of the information in the text book that needs to be absorbed, noted, applied, etc., and 53 pages can take hours. And by can, I mean it did. I will get the hang of this soon, and it will be like second nature, but for the first go round, this was painfully tedious.

I already found it getting easier as I went along, and so the future looks bright, indeed.

On a side note, the library is the worst place to study. I was more distracted there then anywhere else. All of the other 1Ls are giddy with social excitement and won't leave anyone alone. I sat in the library for about five hours yesterday and had so many people coming by and chatting that I only covered 10 pages of text. It's frustrating and pathetic. But once everyone settles in (I don't know how many times I say this), things should get much easier.


Jon said...

Yeah, that's what they say about law school - It's pretty easy.

leah said...

the library sounds like the math empo