Though 2Ls and 3Ls are accustomed to the rigmarole, 1Ls may be surprised to see that peppered in with their fellow classmates' armful of casebooks are a number of equally sizeable paperbacks with distinct names. Seeing "Gilbert's", "Emanuel's", "High Court Summaries" -- can make you wonder...did you miss the memo?
Worry not. First off, the books are popular law school study aids and supplements (i.e. hornbooks) that students use in addition to, and in conjunction with, their casebooks to grasp cases and key concepts better. Let's face it, the excerpts printed in casebooks are often randomly abbreviated versions of cases aimed to highlight particular rules of law or complexities in interpreting the law. It is often pretty challenging to know exactly what you are supposed to glean from the text. (On a side note, wouldn't it be nice if every bright-line rule was marked with, well, a bright line.)
In any case or casebook, the game is all about keeping law school students at the edge of their seats. And to make for a more comfortable ride, are the law school study aids.
We did an informal poll among alumni to find out which study aids helped them survive the 1, 2, and 3Ls of law school. Here are the top 7 picks, in countdown format, for added effect:
7. Emanuel Law Outlines -- a popular choice among law students, the Emanuel series has been around for some time. Some subjects are more helpful than others, so before you fill your cart with an Emanuel Outline for every class you're planning to take in law school, take some time and see which fit best with your professor's teaching style and the casebook..
6. Chemerinksy Supplement for Constitutional Law -- this supplement written by the author himself, delves into issues introduced in the casebook. Reading this in conjunction with the casebook should give you a pretty good clue of what's shaking in the world of Con Law.
5. Legalines for Torts -- Legalines are among the few supplements that are actually keyed to your course casebook. So when ordering, be sure to get the right version. The Torts one does a good job of breaking down the different torts and covering concepts like proximate cause in Palsgraf with ease.
4. Gilbert Law Summaries on Civil Procedure -- Though the Gilbert supplement is notably bulky it does do a good job of explaining complex issues in Civ Pro. Never heard of International Shoe? Don't worry, it's coming, and between your casebook and Gilbert's the other shoe won't even have a chance to drop..
3. High Court Summaries for Constitutional Law -- One page summaries with concise overview of facts, holding, and law provide enough to memorize the hundreds of cases that form the backbone of Con Law. And when you're trying to figure out how not to confuse the Bollinger cases, the pictures may be just the thing to help you keep them straight.
2. Old Law School Exams -- Tried and tested, this came up high in the poll. Ultimately no supplement or study guide can give you a better clue on what the professor has tested than the prof's tests themselves. So use the casebook and supplements to learn the material and use the past exams to learn the professor.
1. Examples & Explanations for Property -- Depending on your learning style, you may like E&E for a lot of subjects. The conversational Q&A format allows you to find the question you have and see an answer along with an application of law. It is almost like having a professor follow you around and answer every question you have, whenever it comes up. Only, not odd and without worrying about being called on.
Hope you enjoyed the picks. Take what you like, ignore the rest, and find out what works best for you. And a big thank you to all the poll participants.
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