Support Materials: This is Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Products (Continued)

    Treatises: Treatises provide extraordinarily in-depth coverage of a topic.  Indeed, in Farwell (a case you will be briefing later) the court cited to Prosser (Prosser is a Hornbook, the same as a Treatise) in supporting their public policy position.  There are treatises available on Contracts, Evidence, procedural subjects, etc.  While the suggested reading lists for your respective courses may recommend purchase, treatises are very expensive and not worth the cost since you can check them out at the library.  Over the course of your entire 3-year law school education you will likely consult a treatise on very few occasions - the detailed analysis will be more than you will require.
    Nutshells: Nutshells are written by law professors or well-recognized legal experts on certain subjects and published by West Publishing.  These publications have names like: “Law in a Nutshell: Contracts”.  They attempt to be easy to read and understandable and are used by some students.  You will likely find them available for purchase at the university book store, but again, you may want to check the law library to see if they're available for check out.  If the format and explanation of the topic suits you, you can then purchase them at – remember, once at the site click on “complete legal topic list”, then select a topic area (such as “contracts”) then find the Nutshell publication.

     Amazon also carries all the first year Nutshell courses:  Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure, Torts, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law.

    Upper Class Outlines: Floating around every law school you will find course outlines from students who have taken the class prior.  I would be very careful with use of these materials.  The accuracy on points of law may not be what it should be.  Further, most law students use cryptic language and symbols for their personal materials that you may have a hard time deciphering.
    Some of the outlines are geared toward day to day class coverage of a certain Prof rather than an outline of the course itself.  These outlines can be handy and scary at the same time.  Handy in the sense that you will know where the Prof is heading, and what the day will likely bring in that class.  Scary in that the Prof's frequently use exactly the language that is front of you, same examples, same gestures described in the outline!  And the outline in front of you may be several years old.  I guess we're all creatures of habit!