Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
n. the method of studying law generally used in American law schools, in which the students read, outline (brief) the cases, discuss and hear lectures about the cases. Each case presented stands for a particular rule of law in the subject matter covered and is contained in "casebooks" on particular topics (contracts, torts, criminal law, constitutional law, agency, etc.). The system is useful since it relates the law to real and factual situations which assists students in memorization and encourages deductive reasoning. The case system is reinforced by textbooks and outlines on the subject matter, which were formerly the principal sources of learning. The method was introduced first at Harvard in 1869 by professor Christopher C. Langdell and soon became standard.