This widely used book in many printings begins with answers to forty commonly asked questions of first-year law students. It specifies a six-step approach to briefing a case with specific guidelines for accomplishing each step. The process of briefing cases is then demonstrated with excellent and poor briefs of increasing complexity. Emphasis is placed initially on the techniques of briefing as an introduction to the learning of legal reasoning, the first priority of the first year of law school. In addition, the book also demonstrates the relevance of more advanced modes of legal reasoning, including positivist, pragmatic, policy oriented, natural-law and other perspectives applied in decoding and understanding cases. In its introduction of jurisprudential perspectives, Learning Legal Reasoning transcends the typical technical/positivist orientation of most first-year materials.
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I recommend that you first read Learning Legal Reasoning and study it well, then go on to How To Do Your Best on Law School Exams book. Avoid the too-frequent first-year blunder of waiting to prepare for exams until the final week or two of the semester. That's for college, not for law school. Begin right away, from the beginning of law school, by adding an exam "lens" to everything you do. The Exam book shows you, step-by-step, how to do this. Always keep in mind that the skills that got you to law school are not the skills you need to excel on law school exams. My third book, Learning Criminal Law as Advocacy Argument, incorporates common themes embodied in Learning Legal Reasoning and How to Do Your Best on Law School Exams. In each criminal law topic, it presents in building-block form the limited repertoire of core issues and related arguments so that you can concentrate your study on learning and practicing those that your professor has stressed in class, in her materials, and on her old exams.In addition, the Inside the Book section of this page includes the Detailed Table of Contents and parts of Chapter One of Learning Legal Reasoning.About the Author:
A law professor for thirty years, John Delaney taught criminal law, advanced criminal law, comparative criminal law, international criminal law, and other courses to law school students and students in masters and doctoral degree programs at the New York University School of Law. He then taught criminal law, advanced criminal law, the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, Jurisprudence and other courses at the City University of New York Law School. Learning Legal Reasoning, How To Do Your Best On Law School Exams and Learning Criminal Law as Advocacy Argument emerged from these decades of teaching and reflecting on what students most need to succeed and what is lacking in law school pedagogy.
Professor Delaney is also the author of law review articles and the general editor of nine other books, mostly about comparative law, in the American Series of Foreign Penal Codes. Prior to teaching, Professor Delaney conducted approximately one thousand trials and he wrote and argued more than one hundred and fifty appeals. Unlike many professors and others, John blends early intensive trial and appellate practice with thirty years of law school teaching, including writing hundreds of exams and grading thousands. His books are informed by this extensive practice, teaching and grading.
Now retired, John continues his teaching through his books and in continuing e-mail communication with law school students who ask him for advice, especially about exams. He is an aspiring organic gardener in the Catskill region of New York and artisnal bread baker.
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