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Legal Study Guides: Home

This guide discusses some of the most popular legal study guides for law students to supplement their course studies or prepare for exams.

Introduction

Several legal publishers publish study guides. These guides are treatises that provide a foundational understanding of one of the fundamental areas of legal studies, for instance, tort law or insurance law. There are a few common uses for study guides:

  • Use them for background research as you would other secondary sources.
  • Follow up on substantive law areas that were unclear during class lectures or assigned readings.
  • Prepare for examinations in substantive law classes

The Law Library provides current editions at the reserve desk.  Older editions are shelved in the main stacks.

 

Online Resources

Various titles published by West, such as hornbooks, nutshells, Black Letter series, and the Acing series are available in Westlaw with a student password.
 

Course Supplement and Background Information

These resources supplement class readings or provide foundational understanding of a legal topic.

hornbook sample

Hornbooks    

Hornbooks are comprehensive volumes covering broad topics of law.  They are frequently written by the same authors that wrote your casebook and usually cover the same leading cases and rules of law.  You will see references to these books in decisions.  

Examples: 

  • Prosser, Prosser and Keeton on the Law of Torts, Reserve KF 1250 .P73
  • Perillo, Calamari and Perillo on Contracts, Reserve KF 801 .C26
  • Stoebuck and Whitman, The Law of Property, Reserve KF 570 .C86
  • LaFave, Criminal Law, Reserve KF 9219 .L38 
     

 

 nutshell sample

Nutshells


Nutshells are a series of paperback books that cover a single legal subject in an easily readable format with less discussion of cases and more general explanation of the rules of law. 

Examples: 

  • Contracts, Reserve KF 801 .Z9 .R62
  • Criminal Law, Reserve KF 9219.85 .L63
  • Real Property,  Reserve KF 570 .Z9 .B47
  • Torts, Reserve KF 1250 .Z9 .K53

 

Quick Review (Sum and Substance Quick Review series)

 

This resource focuses on outline preparation, with a “big picture” overview and comprehensive narrative treatment.  There are some brief questions and answers, case illustrations, and some exam tips but no summaries or flow charts. 

 

Examples:

  • Property, Reserve KF 561 .J84 
  • Evidence, Reserve KF 8935.Z9 G663  
     

 Sum & substance CD

 

 Sum and Substance Audio

The Sum & Substance CDs are introductory lectures by renown professors on specific legal topics. They serve as a great tool to clarify complex issues discussed in class, and the format is excellent for commuters and those students who are auditory learners. These resources are in very high demand throughout the semester.

 

  Lexis understanding

Understanding Series

 

This series explains the basic principles of an area of law and discusses policy concerns and historical events that shape the law.  It supplements casebooks.  The goal is a deeper understanding of the legal topic.  It is not designed as an exam preparation.

Examples:

  • Understanding Administrative Law, Reserve KF 5402 .F68
  • Understanding Criminal Law, Reserve KF 9219 .D74
  • Understanding Securities Law, Reserve KF 1440 .S74
  • Understanding Torts, Reserve KF 1250 .D53  

 

 

Sources for Exam Preparation

Acing law school

Acing Law School Series

This series organizes rules to analyze and answer problems in substantive areas.  Each chapter begins with a review of the rules, followed by a checklist of important points.  Next it outlines the order in which to consider and apply the rules.  There are short-answer problems with sample answers, and each section concludes with points to remember. It is less comprehensive but focuses on analysis.  Easy to use and clear explanations.

Examples:

 

Examples and Explanations (E&E)

This series discusses fundamental definitions, rules, and concepts covered in substantive law courses.  It begins with an overview, including a series of examples to test students’ understanding and ability to apply the law to specific problems.  This is followed by explanations with solutions to the problems that discuss rules and insights.  Examples are short questions that build on small variances in the facts.  Explanations are short paragraphs in response to each part of the example.  This series has broader coverage of topic than the Acing series.

Examples:

  • Contracts: Examples & Explanations,  Reserve KF 801 .B58 2011
  • Evidence: Examples & Explanations,  Reserve KF 8935.Z9 B48 2012  
  • Professional Responsibility: Examples & Explanations,  Reserve KF 306 .W46 2011
  • Wills, Trusts, and Estates: Examples & Explanations, Reserve KF 755.Z9 B49 2012  

Crunchtime

Emanuel CrunchTime

Less comprehensive than E&E, these books contains flow charts, capsule summaries, exam tips, short answer question and answers, multiple choice questions and answers, and essay questions and answers.  These are abridgements of Emanuel Law Outline series.  The coverage is content most likely to appear on exams and is not intended to be comprehensive.   

Examples:

  • Constitutional Law, Reserve KF 4550.Z9 E523 2010
  • Criminal Law, Reserve KF 9219.3 .E44 2010
  • Property, Reserve KF 570.Z9 E43 2010
  • Torts, Reserve KF 1250.Z9 E468 2011  

Emanuel outlines

Emanuel Law Outlines

Similar to CrunchTime in format, the Outlines are more comprehensive in coverage.  These do not include the flow charts from CrunchTime, but they have an expanded summary for each topic, essay exam questions and answers, and multistate-style exam questions and answers. The content correlates to the standard case books in the field.

Examples:

  • Constitutional Law, Reserve KF 4550.Z9 E523 2010
  • Criminal Law, Reserve KF 9219.3 .E44 2010
  • Professional Responsibility, Reserve KF 306 .M65 2010
  • Torts, Reserve KF 1250.Z9 E468 2011  

Q&A


Questions & Answers (Q&A) 

This set uses multiple choice and short answer format and supplements the casebook.  Coverage is not comprehensive, with no summary of rules, but questions are selected based on most popular casebook and also course syllabi from around the country.  The goal is to test students’ understanding of the area of law. 

Examples:

  • Questions & Answers: Constitutional Law, Reserve KF 4550 .Z9 .M44
  • Questions & Answers: Criminal Law, Reserve KF9219.85 .L48 2012
  • Questions & Answers: Family Law, Reserve KF505.Z9 S77 2011
  • Questions & Answers: Wills, Trusts & Estates, Reserve KF 755 .F36 2008  


Law in Motion

This is an interactive guide with online resources:  animation videos, flash cards, multiple choice questions, essay questions, timed practice exams, and case examples.  It is designed for audio-visual learners.  Library users will probably not have access to online resources.  This is a better tool for a personal purchase.