First Semester 1L Study Guides

Dear 1Ls,

You have probably already started to hear about how different law exams are. In your Introduction to the Study of Law class, you have probably started to hear about IRAC and CREAC, but did you know that the library maintains a collection of study guides for our students?

            Not only do we have books on specific subjects, but we also have books on how to excel at law school exams. What follows is a list of selected books to help you with your first round of exams.

General Exam Guides

How to Write Law Exams, IRAC Perfected by S.I. Strong

            This book differs from other guides in that it not only goes into a detailed explanation of the IRAC method of writing exams, but it gives sample student responses with detailed critiques of where they excel or fall short. At just about 120 pages dedicated to the writing exams. This guide is a quick read that can help prepare you to take exams.

A Students Guide to Legal Analysis, Thinking Like a Lawyer by Patrick M. McFadden

            You have probably heard already you are in law school to “learn to think like a lawyer.”  What does that mean? By in large, that means learning to do legal analysis. This book explores the “A” in IRAC. By asking the questions that this guide lays out, you are on your way to writing in a more lawyerly style.

Getting to Maybe, How to Excel on Law School Exams by Richard Michael Fischl and Jeremy Paul

            Getting to Maybe takes a slightly different approach to law exams. The book encourages exam takers to identify what type of question is being asked. While plenty of law school exams are traditional “issue spotters” (and Getting to Maybe covers that as well), other types of questions such as questions that ask the exam taker to determine a policy. It encourages test takers to spend the most time with analysis where the answers are less clear and to embrace the gray of legal issues. The book also includes general advice on how to prepare for exams and where to spend your valuable time.

Specific Subject Guides

            The following list has titles for all the first semester 1L doctrinal classes, Civil Procedure, Torts, and, Contracts.

Examples & Explanations

            E&E provides a plain language of the subject organized into easy-to-understand stand-alone chapters. At the end of each chapter, there are questions for the reader to contemplate. Frequently the questions have a clear answer. However, the beauty in this guide is that the explanations of the questions focus on what specific facts changed slightly will change the outcome of the question.

Emanuel’s Law Outlines

            Before introducing this guide, understand, the best outline is the outline that you write yourself. Emanuel’s drawbacks are that they are very long, very detailed, and cover things that your professor may not cover.   That being said, if there are gaps in your outline that you are having trouble filling, this may be a helpful guide to fill in where you find your outline falling short.

Siegel’s Essay and Multiple Choice Questions and Answers.

            While it is undoubtedly true that it is not sufficient to know the law to do well on law exams, it is still a necessary condition to do well on exams. Siegel’s helps with both knowing the law and applying the law. This guide provides you with multiple-choice questions that will test your knowledge of black letter law, and it also provides essays with model answers to grade yourself against. This book is strictly for review. It does not offer a discussion, only questions.

All of these titles are available for check out at the circulation desk. If a title is unavailable please place a hold for the book and do not use interlibrary loan.