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Creating Good Outlines

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Levin College of Law ... DO NOT RELY SIMPLY ON READING COMMERCIAL, LAW REVIEW, OR OTHER THIRD PARTY OUTLINES The outline becomes roadmap through the material, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Creating Good Outlines


1
Creating Good Outlines
  • Professor Michael Seigel
  • University of Florida
  • Levin College of Law

2
Overview
  • Process
  • End Product
  • Use
  • Example

3
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

4
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 closed-book exam or
    for use during open-book exam

5
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.

6
Getting Started
  • Organization of Outline
  • Might be obvious from notes
  • Could use books table of contents for guide
  • Could look to third party outline as a guide

7
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

8
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)

9
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??

10
How do I know if its Good?
  • Study group are discussion issues covered by
    your outline?
  • Practice tests was outline helpful?

11
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

12
Example from Torts
  • Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
  • 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.

13
  • 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)

14
QUESTIONS?
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