Cracking the Case Method: Legal Analysis for Law School Success
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Cracking the Case Method is a concise and down-to-earth guide to the intellectual content of law school instruction, particularly in the first year. Readers will discover why and how law school instructors use appellate court cases as vehicles for teaching legal analysis. This book explains that legal analysis is a process by which judges and lawyers use argument (or rhetoric) to connect stories to legal conclusions, and reveals how to read judges’ appellate court opinions as arguments rather than merely as sources of rules. To succeed in law school, students have to apply analytical skills to novel stories by crafting arguments of their own, both in class meetings and when answering final examination essay questions. This book promotes readers’ ability to apply analytical skills by: • Demonstrating how to “brief” cases in a way that captures both arguments and rules; • Explaining and illustrating common types of arguments; • Using actual law school classroom dialogues annotated by the authors to explain how instructors use classes to further law schools’ goal of teaching argument skills; • Setting forth effective final examination preparation strategies and techniques for crafting answers that demonstrate analytical skills; and • Illustrating final exam strategies and techniques by providing actual law school final examination questions followed by model answers annotated by the authors. The subjects that readers will study in law school (whether rules of contracts or processes such as jury trials) all emanate from the Common Law Tradition. To further enhance readers’ analytical understanding and skills, the book concludes with a chapter that provides a brief and colorful overview of this rich and fascinating tradition. The chapter includes comparisons to the common law tradition’s Civil Law counterparts, enhancing the book’s value to all readers.. If you want to achieve academic success in law school, this book provides you with the tools you need to Crack the Case Method. Reviews: “Law school study fundamentally differs from university study. Most first year law students therefore find the transition from college to law school difficult and bumpy. This book explains the differences and gives a thorough guide to what it takes to do well in law school, especially during that crucial first year. Students who want a significant edge over their classmates will read it before the first day of 1L. I wish I had.” Alex Kozinski Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit “The Authors provide an accessible and often humorous guide to the Case Method. In addition to demystifying legal studies for the new student, the book provides a sound foundation for the future practitioner; the object of the Case Method, in the main, is to allow the application of legal principles to help clients resolve their problems.” Hector G. Gallegos Partner and Head of Morrison & Foerster LLP’s Los Angeles Litigation Department “Legal education and the legal profession are in the midst of a profound restructuring brought on by a revolution in technology and dramatic changes in the economy. In the midst of such change, Cracking the Case Method is a critically important work that will help all law students develop a lawyer’s most important tool – using the venerable case method to carry out legal analysis and to hone their analytical skills – the essence of every lawyer’s work. Cracking the Case Method is not an abstract academic exercise, but a nuts and bolts, how to approach to analysis that will train better lawyers and promote just results in our judicial system. The case method may be over 100 years old but how to use it as an effective tool for good lawyering has never been done like it is in these pages.” Jeffrey S. Brand Dean and Professor of Law University of San Francisco School of Law