A casenote is essentially an in-depth analysis of a recent appellate decision. I have 240 hours (minus my two hours of nothing this morning) to write 8 pages about how my assigned case was decided, why was it decided as such, and how that decision will affect the world going forward. Let’s say I’m given a case which holds monkeys are not allowed to wear hats of any kind. The first few pages would discuss this case in general, involving a monkey with a pith-hat-related injury, and how the moron judges came to that holding. Then I’d talk about cases leading up to it. How did the landmark 1974 decision in Bobo BananaPants v. American Millinery, Inc. affect the outcome of my case? Have any scholarly publications discussed the ramifications of this decision? Perhaps in the Monkey Headwear Journal of America?
The last few pages would be about “going forward”. How will this law affect future generations of cold-headed primates? Will I be forced to change my fez-wearing blog icon once again? That kind of stuff.
So now that that’s all laid out, I should say I’ve done more to outline my strategy in blog form than I have for my actual competition. I can’t talk about the case I really got, because that would be cheating and lawyers are nothing if not ethical rule-observers. I will tell you the best way to start your morning if you’re following the Mike Garvey School of Casenotes Writing:
- pick up casenotes packet.
- find best seat in library. Keep in mind: proximity to printer; proximity to loud undergrads; proximity to bathroom.
- move to other seat because you forgot to consider proximity to electrical outlet.
- turn on computer. Jump to cover speakers when “start up sound” volume has somehow been turned up to “jet engine” level decibels.
- check hotmail email account.
- check school email account.
- check aol email account.
- check myspace.
- check facebook.
- repeat steps 5-9 ad infinitum, since someone could have written in the time it took you to make a complete circuit.
- put on computer headphones. Turn on itunes.
- sign onto instant messenger. Check everyone’s away messages. Sign off again, because you really need to get to work.
- read blogs.
- fast forward itunes. Why the hell do you have Bad, Bad Leroy Brown on your computer?
- go to bathroom.
- come back, move to yet another seat because you also forgot to consider comfort of seat. Not too comfy or you’ll fall asleep. Not too stiff or you’ll have a sore butt after a full day of diligent work. Speaking of which, time to get to work.
- continue reading blogs.
- repeat steps 5-10.
- print out your case. Ah-hah! Now you’re getting somewhere!
- blog about it.
- go back to Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, since you have it going through your mind now anyway.
- check voicemail. Wonder if it’s too early to call Esther and bitch about how hard the casenotes competition is.
- baddest man in the whole damn town...
- admire new monkey icon, chuckle to self about the name “Bobo BananaPants”, remember how that relates to example of present case, decide to start reading present case, instead look through bag for gum.
- repeat steps 5-10.
- wonder if Leroy ever filed suit against his attacker for battery. He did, after all, look like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple pieces gone after a jealous husband learned him a lesson.