Case Briefing: The Four Step Process


    Well you've briefed your first case!  This format and method of categorizing, briefing, fleshing out, and recording will work for each of your classes all the way through law school.  Appendix E shows the filled in CBFS, and yours should now look the same.
    It may take you a while to make sense of the work we performed in this chapter.  You may need to go back over the material a time or two in order to develop a feel for reading and briefing the Farwell case.
    You can see that all of this can be incredibly time consuming.  Especially when considering that you will be briefing 6-12 or more cases per day, and reading 40-150 pages of casebook text.  Law school is an environment where you have more to do than there is time to do it.

    Book briefing and less!: After having seen the value of the Emanuels gouge and the Casenotes brief you may be asking Why bother with detailed, time consuming briefs?  Many a law student before you has asked that same question!  It usually doesn’t take law students long to start cutting corners on case briefing.  The first way in which that happens is known as book briefing.  Book briefing is highlighting the points of interest within the case and writing notes in the margin.  This method is used to give enough information to get by just in case you're called on.  Students who book brief rely mostly on support materials to prepare for the exams.
    For those who can't even muster the book briefing method, there is the option to either stop attending class (see “attendance” chapter) all together or to flat out "wing it" if called on.  
    But remember, even though the case briefing we just performed was very time consuming, you will quickly become more efficient at it.  Especially since I've taught you how to use a gouge and you know what Casenotes are!  Your ability to wing it in class, and how much trepidation you can handle will largely determine how much time you put into briefing cases.  Again, it's a personal choice and different students take different paths.