Law School Discussion

Incoming 1L - which supplementary books?

Incoming 1L - which supplementary books?
« on: August 06, 2008, 03:03:17 PM »
Hi,

I'm an incoming 1L and I just got my section assignment. I'm trying to figure out which books I can supplement my studying with, as I was told that I should buy hornbooks and briefing books in addition to my casebooks. I just ordered my E&E books, which I'll try to read prior to orientation.

Here are the casebooks I'm buying for my class: Basic Contract Law (8th Ed) by Fuller, American Criminal Law (8th Ed) by Dubber and Tort Law: Responsibilities & Redress by Goldberg. The other books are for Legal Research & Writing, which doesn't have a textbook.

Any suggestions for supplementary material to the aforementioned casebooks would be appreciated! Thanks in advance.

kolya

Re: Incoming 1L - which supplementary books?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2008, 03:32:12 PM »
Hi,

I'm an incoming 1L and I just got my section assignment. I'm trying to figure out which books I can supplement my studying with, as I was told that I should buy hornbooks and briefing books in addition to my casebooks. I just ordered my E&E books, which I'll try to read prior to orientation.

Here are the casebooks I'm buying for my class: Basic Contract Law (8th Ed) by Fuller, American Criminal Law (8th Ed) by Dubber and Tort Law: Responsibilities & Redress by Goldberg. The other books are for Legal Research & Writing, which doesn't have a textbook.

Any suggestions for supplementary material to the aforementioned casebooks would be appreciated! Thanks in advance.

Please, good god, do not do this.  Buying the supplements is ok, they'll probably be helpful.  E&E should be fine, you got them for all of your classes?  You shouldn't need anything else unless you really don't understand it and E&E doesn't help.  And then you can always go to your prof's office hours.

But I'd recommend that you not read ahead.  A lot of law school is seeing the material from the professor's perspective, and if you come into it already having gone through the material, you'll have a harder time picking up that perspective.  Plus, what do you mean by "briefing books"?  If you're talking about canned briefs, I'd avoid them unless (again) there's something you don't understand.  If you start briefing yourself, you'll get much better at picking apart the cases and seeing what's important. Eventually you probably won't have to brief at all if you don't want to(probably by the end of the first semester), but going through the initial learning curve is pretty crucial.

If you're really trying to do well, I don't think there's a better way than keeping up with class and making sure you understand everything that happened in class and in the book (note cases included).  The overwhelming majority of your peers won't do this, no matter where you are.  But reading a couple commercial outlines over the summer won't do you much good.

My advice: do your reading before class, try to brief on your own, then go back over what you don't have down after class and use your outlines to fill in the blanks.

kolya

Re: Incoming 1L - which supplementary books?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2008, 03:34:46 PM »
Oh, and for research & writing, Ray & Ramsfield's Legal Writing: Getting It Right and Getting It Written has been a godsend.  It gives you all of the little details of legal writing (proper punctuation, use of legal expressions) that you won't necessarily learn in LRW but you can still get points taken off for.  A handy reference.

Re: Incoming 1L - which supplementary books?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2008, 03:55:37 PM »
Please, good god, do not do this.  Buying the supplements is ok, they'll probably be helpful.  E&E should be fine, you got them for all of your classes?  You shouldn't need anything else unless you really don't understand it and E&E doesn't help.  And then you can always go to your prof's office hours.

But I'd recommend that you not read ahead.  A lot of law school is seeing the material from the professor's perspective, and if you come into it already having gone through the material, you'll have a harder time picking up that perspective.  Plus, what do you mean by "briefing books"?  If you're talking about canned briefs, I'd avoid them unless (again) there's something you don't understand.  If you start briefing yourself, you'll get much better at picking apart the cases and seeing what's important. Eventually you probably won't have to brief at all if you don't want to(probably by the end of the first semester), but going through the initial learning curve is pretty crucial.

If you're really trying to do well, I don't think there's a better way than keeping up with class and making sure you understand everything that happened in class and in the book (note cases included).  The overwhelming majority of your peers won't do this, no matter where you are.  But reading a couple commercial outlines over the summer won't do you much good.

My advice: do your reading before class, try to brief on your own, then go back over what you don't have down after class and use your outlines to fill in the blanks.

Thanks for the info. Yeah, I got E&E for my classes, and I'm gonna pick up the Legal Research book you mentioned. You don't think canned briefs and hornbooks are going to be necessary? I'm no expert on these myself, though I did find that sort of stuff helpful in my undergrad law classes (my undergrad school had a law prof teaching 2 semesters of Con Law). I guess I'll pass on them for now and see if I have a need for them in the semester then!

I start school in 2 weeks so I just wanted to glance over the E&Es to get an idea of what my classes are going to be like, nothing seriously in depth. What about outlines -- should I get commercial outlines to complement the casebooks or nah?

Re: Incoming 1L - which supplementary books?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2008, 04:50:23 PM »
I agree -- keeping up with your readings, going to class everyday, and understanding what happened is the best way to go.  The supplements were most helpful to me for doing practice problems.  Honestly, the key to doing well on your exams will most likely be writing what the professor wants to hear and the best way to do that is to go to your professor's office hours.  Ultimately, they are the ones grading your exams, so it's in your best interest to find out what they like to hear.  It may be good to use E&E as practice and then take it to your professor if you don't understand something and really listen to how they explain and answer the problem.

With that said, if your professor has written a commercial outline/supplement, you should get it.  Also, check your booklists to see if the professor may have already suggested a commercial supplement.  If not, it's probably not in your best interest financially to go crazy buying all the hornbooks/supplements now.  Some of my professors were nice enough to recommend good supplements for their classes.  And one of my professors heavily relied on a commercial outline when structuring the class.  (Some professors are really against commercial supplements, but the worse thing they can do is not recommend something, so you don't lose anything by asking them.)  And take a look at the other thread in this same category -- a couple people already listed their top commercial picks for the core 1L classes.

As for briefs, you're probably better off doing them on your own unless you are really having trouble understanding a certain class.  In that case, you should try to find a commercial brief keyed to your casebook, if one exists.  And finally, for outlines, it is generally best to do your own outline.  The next best thing is to find a 2L/3L who had your same professor (that's really important), did well in his/her class, and is willing to share their outline with you.  And if that doesn't work, you can try Gilbert's and Emanuels.  I didn't find that either stood out above the other.  You may want to ask around to see what other students at your school recommend -- that's probably your best bet.

kolya

Re: Incoming 1L - which supplementary books?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2008, 07:44:06 PM »
Yeah, Juliette's spot-on.  Wait until you get there to buy anything else and get what the prof recommends, and if you feel like you need more, whatever upper-class students who took the same prof/course combo found useful.

Re: Incoming 1L - which supplementary books?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2008, 08:26:12 PM »
Great, thanks for the advice to you both! I'll just stick to the E&Es for now until I get to my classes, and try to find people who had the same professors before.