Explaining the 'Big Picture': Why Students Should Know Why They Read Cases in Law School
Newsletter for the AALS Section on Teaching Methods, December 2008
3 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2008
Date Written: December 16, 2008
We ask our students to read cases in law school for a purpose other than simply learning the doctrine. We want them to learn how to analyze legal problems. By reading cases, they learn to see patterns in how courts resolve like problems and develop rules from those patterns that can be applied to future scenarios. Because many students do not read cases with this broad goal in mind, law faculty, particularly first-year professors, need to be explicit about the purpose of reading cases in law school. Students might then approach their reading in a more deliberate and efficient way.
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