A wide selection of study aids are available for all classes typically taken by first-year students. Select the links below to see choices by subject. Note that the majority of current study aids are on reserve in the library. You can see a member of the Circulation Staff to acces these materials.
Generally, these material are secondary legal resources that cover specific areas of the law. Unlike the casebooks used in most first year law classes, these three sources provide explanations, analyses, criticisms and overviews of legal topics in narrative form. Students can use treatises, hornbooks, and nutshells to obtain a solid overview of legal topics and to review concepts learned in Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Research, Property and Torts.
Treatises are works written by legal scholar(s) that cover a specific area of law in great detail. Treatises provide the highest level of analysis and detail and provide extensive references to related sources in footnotes and appendices. Treatises can be single or multi-volume works. Treatises are primarily geared towards legal scholars and practitioners, but can be helpful to law students.
A hornbook is a book that serves as primer for study. The term "hornbook" originated in England. In United States law, a hornbook is a text that gives an overview of a particular area of law. A law hornbook is a type of treatise, usually one volume, which could be a briefer version of a longer, multi-volume treatise. Students in American law schools often use hornbooks as supplements to casebooks.
Nutshells are short, paperback volumes that present simple, no-frills overviews of areas of law. Nutshells provide few, if any, references to other sources and are considered the most basic secondary source on a legal topic. They are quite helpful for non-lawyers and law students. All nutshells published by West include the word "nutshell" in the title. Never cite a nutshell in a legal document.