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Author Topic: Recommended Commercial Outlines?  (Read 3962 times)

FalconJimmy

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Recommended Commercial Outlines?
« on: June 10, 2011, 12:04:04 PM »
As I make final preparations for 1L to start (just two more months), I am curious which commercial outlines people recommend?  Where do you get them?  Amazon? 

Any feedback would be appreciated.

IrrX

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Re: Recommended Commercial Outlines?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2011, 01:11:12 PM »
Have you gotten your book list already? If you're planning on using a commercial outline, it should be keyed to the book you use for the course. Emanuel usually goes with the most commonly used textbooks, so chances are you'll be using them. But you should at least have the authors and titles before you start shopping for them, to make sure you get the right one.
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jack24

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Re: Recommended Commercial Outlines?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2011, 04:29:15 PM »
As I make final preparations for 1L to start (just two more months), I am curious which commercial outlines people recommend?  Where do you get them?  Amazon? 

Any feedback would be appreciated.

What Irrx said is true, but there are some other materials that you might be interested in. (I pointed some of them out below)

Here are some general tips:

1: Take notes in class and read the cases for at least the first couple months. 
2: Don't rely too heavily on commercial case briefs.  They are good in a pinch, but they don't help you study for the final very well.
3: Make friends with someone (or join a club or something) that has access to some outlines from prior years.  These are huge.  The best way to use them is to have one with you in class and actually take notes on the outline.
4: Pay specific attention to which topics the professor spends time on.  Commercial outlines are really good (sometimes better than a professor) but you won't get any points if you go off on tangents that weren't covered in your class.
5: If you are sure you will be using BarBri to study for the bar after law school, you can save on the book deposit by signing up during your first year.  They have some awesome commercial outlines for all of your first year subjects, and they give them to you when you make your deposit..  I discovered this too late.  A barbri rep will be hounding you when you start school, and they can answer your questions.
6: If your library has access to the CALI stuff (Computer assisted legal instruction) you should give them a try.  They run you through the material, ask multiple choice questions, and explain the rules and the answers.  I thought they were very helpful.
7: Use bookfinder4u.com to help you find the best price.  It usually searches all the major bookstores and gives you links. (I use half and amazon most of the time)

Here are a few things I used during the first year:

The Civil Procedure examples and explanations by Joseph Glannon was awesome.  It's close to a must-have.
http://www.amazon.com/Examples-Explanations-Civil-Procedure-Sixth/dp/0735570337/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307737486&sr=1-1

I just used an outline from a former student for Property and for contracts.

For Contracts II (Sales and the Uniform Commercial Code) I used the ABC's of the UCC.
http://www.amazon.com/ABCs-UCC-Revised-Sales-No/dp/1590313054/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307737415&sr=1-1

I used the "law in a flash" cards for torts and criminal procedure because it really helped me memorize the elements. Some people don't like these, but at least borrow some and work through 30-40 to see if they will help you.
http://www.amazon.com/Law-Flash-Criminal-Procedure-Print/dp/1454802588/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307737525&sr=1-2

For criminal law I used the Glannon guide to criminal law (multiple choice questions).  I loved this.   Criminal law is a very different animal from criminal procedure.  Some teachers don't even use cases to teach criminal law.
http://www.amazon.com/Glannon-Guide-Criminal-Law-Multiple-Choice/dp/0735551014/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307737681&sr=1-1

I used Chemerinsky's nutshell book for constitutional law.  It was really long, but pretty helpful.
http://www.amazon.com/Constitutional-Law-Principles-Policies-Introduction/dp/073555787X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307737572&sr=1-1


Hope that helps.  Good luck.

FalconJimmy

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Re: Recommended Commercial Outlines?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2011, 10:26:08 AM »
thanks for all the guidance, Jack.

Thane Messinger

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Re: Recommended Commercial Outlines?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2011, 03:47:32 AM »
If I might offer a partially concurring and partially dissenting opinion:

As I make final preparations for 1L to start (just two more months), I am curious which commercial outlines people recommend?  Where do you get them?  Amazon? 

Any feedback would be appreciated.

1: Take notes in class and read the cases for at least the first couple months. 
 


Either do not take notes, or take notes SPARINGLY. 

Notes are an almost complete waste of time when studying for a law exam.  They’re also quite distracting in class when you’re supposed to be doing something else . . . something else rather more important.  (Hint: it’s not learning law.)

Okay . . .

For those thinking I must be insane (which is not ordinarily a bad guess), the parenthetical should shock you.  And it should shock you further because it's true.  Here's the punchline:  The law school classroom is not to learn the law.  Rather, it is to learn how to apply law you have already taught yourself.  This is why the techniques so commonly used (notes, color-coding, sharing outlines) are also so ineffective or even counterproductive. 


2: Don't rely too heavily on commercial case briefs.  They are good in a pinch, but they don't help you study for the final very well.
 


Indeed so.


3: Make friends with someone (or join a club or something) that has access to some outlines from prior years.  These are huge.  The best way to use them is to have one with you in class and actually take notes on the outline.
 


Do your own outlines.  In fact, you should do two.

IF you use someone else’s outlines, those are useful when used instead of notes.

But nothing substitutes for getting the law into your head, and the law IS in outline format.


4: Pay specific attention to which topics the professor spends time on.  Commercial outlines are really good (sometimes better than a professor) but you won't get any points if you go off on tangents that weren't covered in your class.
 


Quite right.


5: If you are sure you will be using BarBri to study for the bar after law school, you can save on the book deposit by signing up during your first year.  They have some awesome commercial outlines for all of your first year subjects, and they give them to you when you make your deposit..  I discovered this too late.  A barbri rep will be hounding you when you start school, and they can answer your questions.
 


Yes, and despite the many things that might be written about these prep services, they’re extremely useful, and are worth it.  They can also be good for first-year review.

If you do exceptionally well, you can even get someone else to pay for it.  = :  )


6: If your library has access to the CALI stuff (Computer assisted legal instruction) you should give them a try.  They run you through the material, ask multiple choice questions, and explain the rules and the answers.  I thought they were very helpful.
 


Excellent, excellent advice.


7: Use bookfinder4u.com to help you find the best price.  It usually searches all the major bookstores and gives you links. (I use half and amazon most of the time)
 


While clearly it’s good to use sources tied to specific casebooks, the truth is that it really doesn’t matter.  You could even use a secondary source from 1972 and get 92.5% of the value out of it.  And, yes, this applies even in, say, Con Law, where quite a number of rules have changed.  Why?  The answer to that question is the answer to why so many first-year students have such a frustrating time:  once you know where the law has come from and where it is now, you’ll have a deep sense of how lawyers think.  THAT is what is needed (and rewarded) come exam time.

Best of luck, and enjoy first year!  (Seriously.)

Thane.

morris

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Re: Recommended Commercial Outlines?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2011, 10:35:58 AM »
I agree that commercial outlines and to some extent commercial case briefs are a waste of money.
You will have access to West and Lexis. Your time right now could be best spent
taking the tutorials on how to use those sites.  There are links to them at

http://www.law-school-books.com/legal-writing.html

Then get Delaney's book Learning Legal Reasoning.

If you are going to buy any study aids, get Examples and Explanations first and then go from there.

lawschoolsurvival

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Re: Recommended Commercial Outlines?
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2011, 02:34:20 PM »
I am a little radical/old-school on this subject, but I highly suggest that anyone considering commercial outlines drop the idea.

During my three years of law school, I created every class outline and case brief myself and I had great success with this method. The whole point of law school is to teach students how to digest complicated issues that are buried in dense text. By reading everything that is assigned, and outlining it yourself, you will become much more competent in this skill, and will also have a deeper understanding of the issues that the materials are presenting.

By using commercial outlines, you are cheating yourself out of a valuable learning experience, and in my opinion, will be less prepared for the bar exam and your future career. Additionally, commercial products are not always keyed to your book or your professor's style, they may even hurt you if this is the case. The only situation that a commercial exam is helpful is in studying for the Bar Exam.
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