alexonfyre wrote:As a 0L, really appreciate the advice. On the subject of E&E, I never knew they had a reputation until I came on here, but one of them was recommended for a constitutional law class I took (about national powers) in UG (granted, UG means <0) and it was shithouse. Seriously, I used it to study for a pre-exam in the beginning of the semester and bombed.
I picked up Chemerinsky for the rest of the semester and it was much better, ended up acing after that (though I also started outlining, but that helped my class grade more than my exams, I think.) So honestly I would have avoided E&E by default if you guys didn't tell me that they can actually be helpful.
Also, FWIW, I found the West Nutshell Series pretty helpful as well.
Can you tell us more?
About E&E, the class was the first law class I had ever taken and so I got all the recommendeds and started going through them. Well, I skipped the chapters, because our prof told us to, and went straight on to the hypos (the ones up to the point we had learned anyway) in order to prepare for the test. It was basically a 2 hypo 5 question quiz to acclimate everyone to what a law test looked like. Anyway, the hypos on the test were about twice as complex as the E&Es. The book didn't have any interactions between different areas of law (contracts and labor mainly), which was the main issue that caught me off-guard on the test. Also, a lot of times the questions were kind of dumb, like "If the president declared a state of emergency, is it within his emergency powers to roll a tank through Betty's store as a matter of national security?"
The explanation being equally stupid "Unless congress explicitly acquiesces to the president's need to destroy betty's livelihood, this action would not be legal"
I found that the Aspen book (wasn't the Chemerinsky, though I also have that one and is also published by Aspen), tackled a lot more of the history and "spirit" of the law, I guess you could say, which I felt like gave me more of an understanding of the law instead of just a rote memorization of what it is.
The West Nutshell books I used in an IP law class, which was pretty heavily policy based, and it was quick and easy to read, and gave me a good understanding of the legal terms that are thrown around a lot in that field (novelty, distinctiveness, nonobviousness) which allowed me to focus more of my energy in class and when studying focusing on asking questions about the effect on matters of policy rather than "How is the chair novel from the prior art stool?" like some others. It absolutely helped me on my test when I compared my notes to a friend with a lower grade and mine said things like "More detail" or "What about X case?" (lazy studying >.<)
whereas theirs all had "Bad Policy" or "What about X rights?"
I would recommend them for any course where the terminology is sufficiently dense and/or vague as to hinder your learning of the actual concepts therein (I'm looking at you Torts) particularly if your professor is slack on explaining his terms, i.e. if you get any "Feel free to stop me, if you need me to explain my terms." followed by a solid hour and a half of lecture and cold calling. Also the binding on the nutshell series is very nice for a small soft-back.
However, I would take my anecdotes with a huge grain of salt, because these were UG classes, and though I did finish in all of them at or near the top, they don't translate to law school and I imagine that a lot of that may not apply.
My basic point was that the E&E I used was simplistic even for my class, and that I didn't know that they had a reputation, as some have implied. I was suggesting the nutshell series because it helped me, and I figured others may be able to chime in with their thoughts on it.
EDIT: While we are on the subject, I don't know why Mauet's Trial Ad book is so damn popular. It sucks large and "Winning at Trial" by Shane Read is much better. Though I suppose if your professor gives you Mauet you had better damn well use Mauet...