Posts Tagged ‘study aids’

Study Aids in the Limelight

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Was one of your new years resolutions to get started on your outlines earlier this semester? Or maybe it was to spend more time studying the subjects you had the most difficulty with. The PCL is here to help you accomplish your goals and not let another new years resolution fall by the way-side.

Did you know the PCL has a full collection of study aids for all levels of students?  Professor Kate Irwin-Smiler has created a ResearchGuide that helps you explore our study aids by subject or by course (e.g., First Year Courses, Upper Level Required Courses, & Upper Level Elective Courses).  If you’re a 1L, we have a ResearchGuide developed just for you!  The Help for First Year Classes specifically outlines all the library materials that we think you would benefit from knowing they are available.  This ResearchGuide is broken down by subject (e.g., Torts, Contract, Property, etc). If either of these ResearchGuides are helpful, take a look at our full ResearchGuide collection.

Study aids are materials published that explain the law in an easy-to-use fashion.  They are not like casebooks, where the reader is required to pull the applicable rule from the selected and edited cases.  These materials are much more similar to traditional textbooks and explain what the law is and how it can be applied.  Even though you can’t fully supplement these materials for your course readings, they are extremely valuable in filling in the gaps in your outlines or helping you to understand the nuts and bolts of a particular topic.  There are a variety of publishers that produce these materials, as well as multiple types of formats (e.g., CD, Sample Questions, Outlines, & Scholarly treatises).  Here is a break down of the publishers of the study aids the PCL has in our collection:

  • Sum and Substance  – A series of audio recordings published by West. In the Professional Center Library these are usually kept in the A/V room or on Permanent Reserve (at the Circulation Desk). You might want to check one of the CDs out to take on your next road trip or if you have a long commute to school.  It may not compare with the new Jay-Z jam, but it will probably help you stay in law school mode as you travel up and down the interstate.
  • Examples and Explanations – This series from Aspen provides an explanatory outline of a legal subject area with multiple explanations of the legal points discussed. Titles in this series are written by law professors who give a narrative overview of the key concepts and rules for a particular subject, followed by “examples” (hypothetical questions) and “explanations” of the answers.
  • Nutshells  – From West; brief explanations in a compact format. Usually pocket-sized books, these materials contain a comprehensive outline of a specific subject, usually written by a noted authority. Nutshells provide a big-picture look at the law and avoid in-depth analysis. They contain fewer footnotes and references than hornbooks, but generally give greater coverage of a subject than commercial study outlines.
  • Understanding Series  – The Understanding series contain an overview of an area of law, with footnotes to primary sources for further reading. This series can help you tremendously as you are developing your outlines, because it provides comprehensive information in a clean, concise format.
  • Law in a Flash  – These flash cards provide a hypothetical situation, legal question and detailed answers; from Aspen (previously Emanuel). These sets are kept on Permanent Reserve. You may want to think about using these flash cards with a study group.  Ask the question. Debate the right and wrong answers.  Discuss why the right answer is right and why the wrong answers are wrong.  You can do the same exercise with the Examples and Explanation series.  Try it out with your study group this spring and let us know how it goes!

Additionally, library materials are kept in several named locations in the library.  By knowing its location, you will save time because you’ll know where to get started. For further reference, check out the floor plans on the library website.

  • Permanent Reserve – these items are kept behind the Circulation Desk, on the Second Floor.
  • Reserve – these items are kept behind the Circulation Desk, organized by Professor name for the use of a class.
  • Reference – these items are on the North and West walls on the Second Floor, flanking the staircase.
  • Stacks – these items are kept on the Ground and First Floors. First floor: call numbers A-KE; Ground: call numbers KF-Z.
  • Periodicals – these items are kept on the First Floor, starting near the staircase/elevator at the North wall.

If you like the question-answer approach to  studying, don’t forget about CALI lessons – the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction offers online tutorials on more than 800 legal topics. You can pick up a CALI CD or request a registration code for the online versions at the PCL Reference desk. Beginning this semester, students are able to save their progress in online lessons in order to resume them later. See the CALI FAQ for details, or ask a librarian at the Reference Desk to recommend study aids for your topic. If you thought a CALI lesson was particularly helpful, leave us a comment and share the news with others!

Nutshells are here!

January 25, 2011 Leave a comment

By popular demand, the PCL has purchased titles from West’s Nutshell series for your studying convenience.  As the titles state, each Nutshell is a concise overview of an area of law.  They are thorough on discussion, but without all the footnotes common to a hornbook.  When you need to understand a legal topic quickly, turn to a Nutshell.  We have purchased Nutshells on the following topics and they are on permanent reserve at the Circulation Desk:

  • Legal malpractice
  • Torts
  • Real property
  • Contracts
  • Criminal law
  • Constitutional law
  • International Legal Research
  • Evidence
  • Legal Ethics
  • Legislative law and process
  • Civil procedure
  • Criminal procedure: Constitutional limitations
  • Administrative law and process
  • Advanced criminal procedure
  • Personal property
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