Law Flowcharts (Hearsay Exceptions)

Hearsay Exceptions
Prints of this drawing available here for purchase!

I am playing with different ways to study for my Finals. I decided to try out flowcharts.

My hypothesis: the act of putting together a flowchart is itself one of the best ways to learn an area of law.

Especially with a rule-based doctrinal class like Evidence, I think this holds true.

I spent the weekend making about 16 different flowcharts.  Each one was a challenge — it takes lots of flipping through pages, tracing through notes, going the rule book, and checking whether what you remember or guess is in fact true. It also forces you to go step by step through the logic of a law in a situation.

I am surprised by the poverty of law flowcharts online. I spent many Google Searches trying to find good Evidence outlines to be inspiration, but there is very little (publicly) available out there.

If I teach a law class, I will make flowchart-making a part of the course.  It is fun to do — anything visual is a nice break from hardcore textbook finals studying — and easy with great software (I hacked into my free Xmind to customize it to the fonts and defaults I wanted..).

Granted, the flowchart above is not so much a flowchart as a beast (or octopus…) of all the possible Hearsay Exceptions.  I liked the colorfulness of this one.  Most of my other flowcharts were situational — I want to impeach a witness, what are my options? — that walk a practitioner through the ways to accomplish their outcome.

I am trying to think of other outcome-oriented ways to present law — so that it is not just a list of rules or decisions, but rather a strategic presentation of what you need to know in order to achieve your end goal.

More flowcharts to come…