The majority of professors in law school do NOT require you to cite cases from rote memory on an exam (unless it is open book). The cases should be detailed enough that you know what (1) the rule is, (2) how to apply it according to that set of facts and (3) any exceptions or circumstances in which the rule does not apply. However, outlining is just to give you an overview of the course and familiarize you with the information.
When studying, look at past exams from your professors (should be posted on your school's website) and practice answering them. Each exam's fact pattern MAY resemble a case you have read but often include facts that you have never encountered and you have to use your practical knowledge of what you studied and read, to apply it to the new scenario. Your outline should only be a guide - your practice and application are the most important part of an exam. Clear, concise, straight to the point answers that are logical in structure and content.
There are TONS of things we can tell you about creating a Civ Pro outline... but the most valuable tip is this:
For each major subject (personal jd, subject-matter jd, Erie etc), make "case charts". This means to make a two-sided chart. Above the chart, write a question that ties all the cases together. For ex: Personal Jurisdiction:Did the Plaintiff choose the correct state to sue this Defendant in?
One side of the chart is for "yes" cases and the other side is for "no" cases. Put each case on the correct side, and then write the case name, a few facts (to remind you what happened) and the reasons for why the forum state chosen was correct or was incorrect. Doing this will help you group cases together based on outcome. If you then have a closed-book exam, you can create a mnemonic device for each side of the chart. That way, you'll be able to write about all the cases that HAD minimum contacts and all the cases that did NOT have minimum contacts.
For more info, help making these charts and outlines, for outline review, phone and video help, a Civ Pro workbook, or outline templates, give us a ring!
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START OUTLINING EARLY. I cannot stress this enough. Outlining early allows you to be able to figure out any difficulties with the material and solve them, NOT the night before the exam. Once you finish your outlines, access your school's database of past exams from your professors and: CREATE a ATTACK outline. This is an outline in which you would approach the most common questions you find on an exam. Contact me and I will share some with you.
Brainstorm about the "Erie Doctrine" so that you can spot the Erie question on exams. The Erie question will come up only when parties are in Federal court based on diversity jurisdiction (if you're not sure why, take a minute and think about it). Your fact pattern will need to contain some kind of state statute. Often, there will be a federal statute that potentially conflicts with the given state statute but sneaky law professors don't tell you about the federal statute. Instead, they give you a state statute that is very similar to a FRCP and its up to you to realize that the FRCP is the Federal rule that is used in the Hanna analysis.
Proximate Cause freaks everyone out. Learn it in a way that actually works. Most people understand proximate cause best when they think about things that fail the proximate cause test because they are not foreseeable. When someone is careless, most of the time, the resulting damage will be considered foreseeable. In order to be considered unforeseeable because it's blamed on a superseding event, you'd need to see an act of God or Nature, A criminal act or intentional tort of a third party, or an act by the victim himself.
Res Ipsa Loquitor is not the name of a tort. Res Ipsa is simply a method of proving duty and breach. Professors will often tell you that Res Ipsa is a "shortcut" and that's true it IS a short cut at TRIAL. Res Ipsa is not a shortcut on an exam. In fact, Res Ipsa requires you to discuss an entire three-part test.