Creating Good Outlines - Fredric G. Levin College of Law

Creating Good Outlines - Fredric G. Levin College of Law

Creating Good Outlines Professor Michael Seigel University of Florida Levin College of Law Overview Process End Product Use

Example Process Read for class Brief/Highlight cases and materials Attend class and take MEANINGFUL notes Review and annotate notes at end of day before reading for next class

Weekly: work on OUTLINE Why Outline? Although we all learn differently, most of us benefit from collecting and organizing material into written form The process of outlining is as important as the actual end result, if not more so FOR THIS REASON, DO NOT RELY SIMPLY ON

READING COMMERCIAL, LAW REVIEW, OR OTHER THIRD PARTY OUTLINES The outline becomes roadmap through the material, either to help memorize for closedbook exam or for use during open-book exam Do I Have To? I dont know of any successful law student who does not outline course material, though some might exist.

First semester is probably NOT the time to see if youre special. There is no shortcut to the hard work in law school. Getting Started Organization Might of Outline

be obvious from notes Could use books table of contents for guide Could look to third party outline as a guide Content Essentially, BLACK LETTER LAW that you will use to spot and analyze

issues on the exam You must know BLL cold before walking into classroom Make sure you conform to professors way of conceptualizing the law Level of Detail Outline should be precise, and written to

the level of detail matching course Unless Professor tells you otherwise, case names and facts are not important; it is the HOLDINGS you are weaving into a series of RULES and EXCEPTIONS Include reminders about tricky issues that might pop up Specify places where law is not clear (opportunities to argue both sides) How Long?

Not too long it must be SUMMARY and SYNTHESIS of material Not too short it must be COMPREHENSIVE of BLL that could appear on the exam Perhaps 20-40 pages?? How do I know if its Good? Study

group: are discussion issues covered by your outline? Practice tests was outline helpful? Outline of Outline Next step: CONDENSE your outline into a mini-outline or even a checklist of important issues

This becomes your reference for spotting issues on the exam Suggestion: FOR CLOSED BOOK exam, memorize checklist and write it down BEFORE READING QUESTIONS Example from Torts Negligent Distress

Infliction of Emotional Plaintiff must first show that acted negligently, then must prove either: Pain and suffering accompanying physical injury. Physical impact. Zone of danger (near miss).

may have a duty to those where it is highly foreseeable that the is emotionally vulnerable. Rationales for Restrictive Rule (still alive though majority have been more liberal) 1.

Uncertain causation (low foreseeability) 2. Consensus of lawyers 3. Public Policy concerns (fraud/opening the floodgates to unlimited liability) 4. Notice to defendants (prevent state claims) QUESTIONS?

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