Friday, January 19, 2018

Best Supplements for the First Year of Law School

As the end of August and the start of the fall semester approaches, 0Ls across the country are preparing for their first year of law school. I previously posted a guide to free law school supplements that can be immensely helpful. However, sometimes there is no substitute for a clearly written commercial supplement–particularly during the first semester of law school when one has yet to nail down many of the basic concepts of the law.

The following list of supplements, based on my personal experiences and discussions with my peers during law school, hopefully will streamline the process for new law students looking to purchase supplements. This post, with one exception, includes recommendations for only supplements, not commercial outlines, and is limited in scope to the most common 1L courses: civil procedure, contracts, constitutional law, criminal law, property, and torts.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that Persuasive Authority receives a small commission on purchases made through these links. Your purchases support this site and enable us to provide useful and interesting content.

Civil Procedure

Examples & Explanations: Civil Procedure by Joseph W. Glannon (affiliate link)
This supplement is one of the best volumes in the Examples and Explanations (“E&E”) series. Professor Glannon does a superb job explaining the core concepts of civil procedure–often considered the most difficult first-year course–in a clear and concise way. The more effort you put into working through the questions before reading the explanations, the more the concepts will solidify in your mind. Even if you forgo purchasing supplements for a majority of your classes, this E&E should be the exception.


Concepts and Case Analysis in the Law of Contracts by Marvin A. Chirelstein (affiliate link)

Chirelstein’s supplement is a quick read that covers the key concepts and most of the key cases covered in a first-year contracts course. It can be read shortly before finals as a review or consulted throughout the semester as new concepts are encountered.


Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies by Erwin Chemerinsky (affiliate link)
Professor Chemerinsky’s treatise is very comprehensive and is an invaluable resource, not only for law school but also for judicial internships and clerkships. Its scope is much broader than a single constitutional law course–particularly a single semester course–so it is best read in conjunction with your assigned reading throughout the semester.


Criminal Law

Understanding Criminal Law by Joshua Dressler (affiliate link)
This treatise not only covers the substantive law but also the philosophical justifications undergirding the criminal justice system.  Professor Dressler is the author of a popular criminal law casebook and this supplement works well with that text.  The hypothetical examples given throughout are particularly helpful.



Gilbert Law Summaries on Property by James Krier (affiliate link)
Professor Krier is the current author of the most widely-used property case book (Jesse Dukeminier et al., Property (7th ed. 2010) (affiliate link)) and this commercial outline provides a clear blackletter law statement for most of the topics covered in a property course–particularly one for which his casebook is assigned. I personally used this commercial outline and after asking for property treatise recommendations, I quickly found that very few people would recommend anything else. This outline is a terrific resource and allows you to cut through some of the more arcane reading and see the forest through the trees.

Examples & Explanations: Property by Joseph Snow & Barlow Burke (affiliate link) is also worth a look if the E&E series suits your style of learning. The chapters on the rule against perpetuities and estates and future interests are especially helpful if your professor tests heavily on those topics.



The Law of Torts: Examples & Explanations by Joseph Glannon (affiliate link)
This E&E earns Professor Glannon a second spot on the list.  Working through this book will give you an understanding of the most commonly tested areas of tort law and help prepare you for your final exam as well as for individual classes. It is probably best used in conjunction with your assigned reading throughout the semester and to clear up those foggy areas before an exam.

Disclaimer: The statements and views expressed in this posting are my own and do not reflect those of my law firm. They are intended for general informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion.

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