Reading the material, attending class and taking notes is critical to success in law school. The class lecture should further your understanding of the material, not leave you walking out of the class with no real idea as to its importance or how that class fits into the overall framework of the course. To get the most from each lecture, try a three-step approach to your activities; consider what you do
If you study the material with a different approach at each step, you increase your chances of seeing the "big picture" at the end of the course.
Before each class, read the assigned case briefs twice, in order to get a thorough understanding of them. During the first reading, resist the urge to highlight or takes notes; instead, read the case as if it were a short story. This will allow you to get a general sense of the case, and help to create a more focused second reading. During the second reading, feel free to highlight or take notes, as these will be much more focused now that you have a general sense of the case.
Following your readings of the case, actively review each case brief before class by asking:
Compare the rule in each brief with the rule in the case appearing before it under the same section of the casebook by asking:
Not only will reviewing each case brief before class help you to better understand the lecture, but it will allow you to feel more comfortable when called on and allow you to be prepared with any questions you may have for the professor.
Actively work each brief along with the professor's lecture.
Read the professor. Notice:
Review and supplement your notes and case briefs while your recollection is fresh. Note the holes and try to fill them in.
If you were confused during the lecture, write out your questions and ask your professor during office hours.
If there is a conflict between what you thought was important/unimportant and what your professor thought was important/unimportant, figure out where your analysis is incorrect.
Develop a consistent system of abbreviations, symbols, and other shorthand. This will allow you take notes much quicker during class, especially when discussions move rapidly and cover many interconnected topics.
Make sure your notes are complete. Students often leave out class hypotheticals, which are important for critical analysis and may show up on an exam.
Review and supplement lecture notes within 48 hours of the class, while the information is still fresh in memory. It may also be beneficial to type up class notes, as this aides the memorization process and will save you time when outlining.
Periodically evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of your lecture notes for each class. Good note-taking is a skill, and you may need to adjust your style in order to get the most out of your lecture notes.
Your lecture notes should:
case name: Garrett v Dailey
note case: p.46, n. 1
articles: Gilmore article, p. 44
policy: 1964 case-notion of free enterprise. Crt did not want to imply a promise.
Example: Ricketts v. Scothorn
Q. What promise enforce?
A. Promise to give $2,000.
Q. Any consideration for promise?
Q. Is an act alone enough for consideration? What was the act?
A. Quit her job.
Q. What was missing? Bargained for and given in exchange for the promise?
A. Act not required by grandfather.
Q. But the court enforced the promise. Why? What kind of estoppel?
1. Identify the promise.
2. Ask if there is any consideration for the promise by looking if the action was "bargained for and given in exchange" for the promise.
3. If no consideration, then look to the issue of estoppel.
Example: As it appears in lecture notes:
Pitts, p. 175:
F: P = sales rep for D. Not on K w/def. period. Co b term at will. 67 yrs old. D term P but gave 1% commission of all sale in territory. After 5 yrs- stop pay.
Translation of lecture notes:
Pitts v. McGraw-Edison Co., p. 175:
Facts: Plaintiff was a sales representative for defendant. Plaintiff did not have a contract with defendant for a definite period. He could be terminated at will. He was 67 years old. Defendant terminated plaintiff but gave him a 1% commission of all soles made in his territory. After 5 years, defendant stopped paying plaintiff.
Key: Did the plaintiff rely and what acts were there?
Difference between promissory and equitable estoppel?