Now that we’re a few weeks into the semester, you’ve likely accumulated a solid amount of information from your courses and, with midterm exams nearing, now may be a good time to look back and make sure you’re confident with that knowledge. Is there an area of Torts you need to review? Did a certain rule in Evidence not stick? Or, are you ready to test your issue-spotting skills in Constitutional Law? Fortunately, the Zief Law Library is stocked with a wide variety of study aids in book, eBook, and audio/video formats to meet your learning styles and help you review. Here, we’ll dive into what study aids are, how you can use them, and where you can find them.
What are study aids?
Study aids are commonly books, audio recordings, videos, and even flashcards, produced by major publishers that can help reiterate, reorganize, and reinforce what you’re learning in your law classes. As opposed to your casebooks, which teach you the law and lawyering skills using the case method, study aids can supplement your learning by putting the black-letter law, analysis, and examples into straightforward, plain language.
How can I use a study aid?
Study aids will vary in the depth and presentation, so they may provide different degrees of help at different points in the semester. Or, they may resonate with certain learning styles more than others. Below are descriptions of some of the leading study aid series we collect at Zief. But, for more detailed help in selecting the right study aid for you, talk to the research librarians!
Nutshell series: “Nutshells” are short, concise pocket books that can be great class starters or primers into new areas of law because they will not go into great detail or overwhelm with footnotes. Though lightweight by design, their titles cover an extensive array of legal courses and subtopics.
Examples and Explanations series: “E&E’s” are well-known and are great companion guides to use throughout the semester. They offer clear explanations of concepts followed by hypothetical questions and explanations to reinforce your learning as you go.
Glannon Guide series: “Glannon Guides” are also great to use throughout the semester, as they offer short textual summaries followed immediately by multiple choice questions with thorough answer explanations and exam tips.
Understanding series: Unlike E&E’s or Glannon Guides, the Understanding series is not intended to help with exam preparation and does not offer example questions. However, it does offer more in-depth reiterations of the black-letter law and deeper explanations about, and citations to, leading cases.
Mastering series: Like the Understanding series, the Mastering series reiterates legal concepts in plain language and does not offer practice questions. However, its text is less-detailed and it does not have footnotes. Each section provides a roadmap, checkpoints, and a master checklist to help identify areas that need further review.
Emanuel Outlines series: The Emanuel and Emanuel “Crunchtime” outline series are commercial outlines that prioritize the black letter law, followed by examples drawn from popular cases, brief quiz questions, and exam tips. While commercial outlines are largely frowned upon for use in studying and should not replace making your own course outlines, these volumes may be helpful to use throughout the semester if you have never seen a law school outline or need help re-conceptualizing what you’re learning in-class.
Questions & Answers series:Each volume of “Q&A’s” offer over 150 multiple-choice and short answer questions as well as a practice final exam with detailed model answers. These may be most helpful just as you’re testing your knowledge or finishing a class unit.
Steve Emanuel’s First Year Questions and Answers: Looking for practice questions? This one’s for you. Packed with over 1,100 short-answer questions to test your knowledge of the black-letter law and essay questions with sample answers to test your issue-spotting and exam-taking skills, this volume covers topics in Civ Pro, Contracts, Crim Law, Crim Pro, Property, and Torts. While the questions span all topics, each subject includes a table of contents so that you can select questions on only the topics you’ve covered in-class. It may be most helpful to use in the weeks leading up to big exams.
How can I find study aids?
At Zief Law Library, we have study aids in print, eBook, audio/video, and electronic flashcards for you to use. So, whether you’re in the library, reviewing during your commute, or studying off-site, our study aids are easily available. As always, feel free to ask any of the library staff for help finding your favorites!
- Lexis Digital Library (Understanding series, Questions & Answers series, and Mastering series)
- Aspen Learning Library (Emanuel Outlines series, Examples & Explanations series, Glannon Guide series, and Steve Emanuel’s First-Year Questions and Answers)
- Emanuel Law in a Flash (NEW!) (Contact your law librarians for instructions to sign up!)
- CALI (Contact your law librarians for instructions to sign up!)
- Zief Circulation Desk Reserves (Emanuel Outlines series, Glannon Guide series, Questions and Answers series, etc.)
- Zief Open Reserves and the Ignacio Catalog (Mastering, Nutshells, Concise Hornbooks, Short & Happy Guides, etc.)