Every student should build an outline from scratch for every course they take. Building outlines from the ground up may sound like extra work, but this task will actually save a great deal of time and increase preparedness for final exams, as well as the bar exam.
By personally outlining and organizing the various aspects of each legal field, law students can better grasp the fundamentals of those fields. This is accomplished by organizing and outlining the legal elements, relevant cases, and class notes for each field into a highly condensed reference tool.
By doing so, students will become intimately familiar with each field of law. This intimacy, a true understanding of the law, will increase scores on final exams and the bar exam as well as make you better lawyer.
The Purpose of Outlines
Each and every course offered by law schools will contain more information than any one person could ever recall; and a typical law student will be taking three to four of these monstrous courses per semester. The key to retaining this large amount of information is to learn the fundamentals of each field of law, cut out any unnecessary details, and condense the details that are necessary.
By following these steps and building the outline yourself, you will not only have a well condensed resource for studying purposes, but you will have also improve your understanding of that field of law.
Building Your Own Outlines Can Save Time
When building an outline, you are creating a single document that will replace multiple documents that you would be using anyway; making your studies much more efficient. Rather than utilizing class notes, case briefs, and third party outlines, which you will need to merge at some point anyway, it is much more efficient to begin a rough outline at the beginning of the semester into which you can type your notes and briefs directly.
By continuously working on this rough draft of an outline during class and while you study, you will create a high quality resource that can be readily condensed into an "attack outline" while you study for the final exam. In fact, this condensing process is an extremely useful studying technique by itself; breaking the rules and cases down into manageable size will force you to understand these components, rather than just remember them.
Building The Outline
The process of building outlines is fairly straightforward but is quite detailed nonetheless; a process deserving it's own article which you can fin here: How To Build law School Outlines.