A textbook used to instruct law
students in a particular area of law. The text consists of a collection
of edited court opinions, and notes by the author.
These are canned briefs such as
Legalines and Casenote Legal Briefs. We do not recommend that you use
canned briefs. They are not always accurate, and they prevent you from
practicing the important skills of extracting issues, rules and holdings
from the cases yourself.
The two main series are
by Gilberts and Emanuel. Commercial outlines are intended to summarize
an entire law school course. They often follow the organization of
specific casebooks. They provide a general overview of a topic and can
serve as a roadmap for preparing your own course outline. A commercial
outline should never be a substitute for preparing your own course
outline. Emanuel also publishes a Crunchtime series that contains a
shorter version of its outlines. (Do not buy this is you already have
the more comprehensive Emanuel's outline-it contains everything that is
in the Crunchtime series plus much more, for only a few dollars more).
Can be helpful in preparing for
closed book exams where rule memorization is important. The Law in
Flash cards for civil procedure has been very popular in the past. These
can contain mistakes, so check anything that doesn't seem correct to
you. Making your own flash cards is a great study strategy!
Hornbook or treatise:
A book providing a
comprehensive overview of one topic, such as contracts or property.
Treatises explain the law, setting out rules, policies and examples.
Treatises may be one volume or multiple volumes. A hornbook generally
refers to a one volume treatise. Hornbooks are generally useful as a
reference tool for difficult areas of a course, but do not lend
themselves to cover to cover reading. The law library has hornbooks for
all 1L courses. The ASP office has some as well. Hornbooks are expensive
to buy, so take advantage of the ones in the library or ASP office.
A scholarly periodical edited by
students at a law school. Articles in law reviews are written by law
professors, practicing lawyers and law students. The articles describe
the current state of the law, but also explore underlying policies and
critique current rules. The articles tend to deal with the finer points
of law, rather than providing an overview of a topic. Most law review
articles will not be helpful to first year law students. Occasionally a
professor will recommend an article because it provides an excellent
overview of a topic covered in class. In that case, you should read it!
Restatements attempt to unify
the existing common case law in certain areas. They are written in the
form of rules with explanations and examples. They are not binding as
Primer and other textual study aids:
are a group of books in between commercial outlines and hornbooks. They
cover one topic in text form, but are not as comprehensive as a
hornbook. They can provide an excellent overview of a subject. Some
examples are the Concepts and Insights series by Foundation Press, the
Understanding series by Lexis Publishing, and the Examples and
Explanations series by Aspen Publishing. West also publishes a Nutshell
series, which provides a shorter, less comprehensive analysis of a
subject, but may give a useful overview. For recommendations for
specific courses, see the academic support office.
Questions and Answers:
There are several
publications that contain sample questions that you can use to practice
for law school exams, and these contain answers as well so you can
verify that you are on track with you studying. The Siegel's series by
Aspen contains both essay and multiple choice questions. Lexis publishes
a Q & A series of multiple choice and short answer questions. There
is also an Exam Pro series published by West that has objective
questions and answers. Many commercial outlines and textual study aids
discussed above contain come practice essay and objective questions as