NEW or USED books?

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LoriBelle
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby LoriBelle » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:19 pm

disco_barred wrote:Reading a case is what happens when you put your eyes on each word (more or less) one at a time and attempt to understand what they mean.

For some reason I am laughing hysterically at this (really generally accurate) definition of "reading a case." :mrgreen:

READING the cases is important. BRIEFING them is busywork. I'm a rising 2L, and I still don't intend to skip cases.

A few students in my 1L class who tried to skip them and rely on Legalines were pwned by the professor, who had a strange knack for asking certain students certain questions whose answers were nowhere to be found in a canned brief. I think (hope) the professors are more relaxed after the first year, but I really think reading cases is a good idea in general. If the primary skill law school teaches is legal analysis, what better way is there to build that skill than to read how others have done it through the years?

I bought all my books for this semester new from Amazon and spent about $650.

sibley
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby sibley » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:10 pm

LoriBelle wrote:
disco_barred wrote:Reading a case is what happens when you put your eyes on each word (more or less) one at a time and attempt to understand what they mean.

For some reason I am laughing hysterically at this (really generally accurate) definition of "reading a case." :mrgreen:

READING the cases is important. BRIEFING them is busywork. I'm a rising 2L, and I still don't intend to skip cases.

A few students in my 1L class who tried to skip them and rely on Legalines were pwned by the professor, who had a strange knack for asking certain students certain questions whose answers were nowhere to be found in a canned brief. I think (hope) the professors are more relaxed after the first year, but I really think reading cases is a good idea in general. If the primary skill law school teaches is legal analysis, what better way is there to build that skill than to read how others have done it through the years?

I bought all my books for this semester new from Amazon and spent about $650.


I appreciate the answer to both. You made me realize something I hadn't thought of with reading the cases... in addition to the skills gained by reading the cases and not just relying on briefs, if your professor does this trick and you clearly actually read the cases aren't you that much more likely to get a higher grade in the course? And therefore do better in life AND in class? Despite the extra time it takes it seems like there's a good chance on it paying off even in class (at least if your prof is like this...)

Anyone ever tried analyzing poetry? It seems very similar to me. If I do ok first semester I am going to write my 12th grade American Lit teacher a letter and thank him for sticking it to the school and teaching us brit lit (poetry) instead.

Also, the point that people are making about being wary of using other people's notes in used books as a crutch is something I'm definitely going to keep in mind.

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nealric
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby nealric » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:51 am

Anyone ever tried analyzing poetry? It seems very similar to me. If I do ok first semester I am going to write my 12th grade American Lit teacher a letter and thank him for sticking it to the school and teaching us brit lit (poetry) instead.


If a judge's writing needs to be analyzed like poetry, the judge (or his/her clerk) is a terrible writer. It's important to get used to how cases are written, but don't get too hung up on the minutiae of cases. I never had a case in law school where what I needed to get out of a case couldn't be summed up in a sentence or two.

To answer about cost:
I did the 1L thing first semester and blew $400 in new textbooks.
Second semester spent about $200 in used texbooks
Third semester spent about $150 in used textbooks
Fourth semester spent about $200 in used texbooks
5th semester spent nothing (tax classes where reading was code/regs + a few cases from lexis)
6th semester spent noting (ditto)

Add to all of that about $30 a semester in supplements (used others from the library).

So WUSTL's yearly book budget was more than double my total law school textbook expenditures.

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RUQRU
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby RUQRU » Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:35 am

sibley wrote:...if your professor does this trick and you clearly actually read the cases aren't you that much more likely to get a higher grade in the course? And therefore do better in life AND in class? Despite the extra time it takes it seems like there's a good chance on it paying off even in class (at least if your prof is like this...)


1. The final exam is essentially 100% of your grade.
2. Law school grading is anonymous. The grader does not know the name of the student when grading - just a number.
3. Looking good in class does not help you on the exam or your grade.
4. Some profs may give a point or two "bump" for class participation, not likely to affect your grade.

See: http://www.top-law-schools.com/loyola-study-advice.html
Case Reading

Did I read the cases? Yes. I read just about every case assigned. However, I did not read it with a meticulous level of detail. I “fast read” every case, and skimmed cases that were unnecessarily long. Remember, the cases are nearly NEVER tested on the exam. Only one professor wanted me to cite cases. In the other 5 substantive classes, I never cited a single case (other than landmark cases, or cases which have rules named after them) and received A's.

Because cases are generally not specifically tested, do not waste too much time reading the casebook. I only used the casebook for the relevant black letter law it sometimes held. Generally, the reason a particular case is assigned is simply to show the origins of a one sentence rule of law. I almost always skipped reading the notes that came after it (unless they discussed black letter law).

I usually would read the assigned reading 1-2 weeks in advance during the weekends and occasionally during the week if I could not finish. It would usually take me about 1-2 hours to read each assigned reading per class and do the mini-briefs.

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SeymourShowz
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby SeymourShowz » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:24 am

Can someone fill me in on the value of Westlaw points? Is there anything I can get with them of actual value?

I've decided to get new books for first semester, just to be safe... So the question becomes, do I get them online directly from West (with 500 Westlaw points, whatever that is) or just buy them directly from the bookstore for essentially the same price??

270910
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby 270910 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:26 am

SeymourShowz wrote:Can someone fill me in on the value of Westlaw points? Is there anything I can get with them of actual value?

I've decided to get new books for first semester, just to be safe... So the question becomes, do I get them online directly from West (with 500 Westlaw points, whatever that is) or just buy them directly from the bookstore for essentially the same price??


Westlaw points can be redeemed for fabulous cash prizes. But they're like credit card rewards programs, and even if west sells books, the 500 points or w/e you get for signing up for westlaw would buy you like 3 pages out of one.

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SeymourShowz
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby SeymourShowz » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:51 am

disco_barred wrote:
SeymourShowz wrote:Can someone fill me in on the value of Westlaw points? Is there anything I can get with them of actual value?

I've decided to get new books for first semester, just to be safe... So the question becomes, do I get them online directly from West (with 500 Westlaw points, whatever that is) or just buy them directly from the bookstore for essentially the same price??


Westlaw points can be redeemed for fabulous cash prizes. But they're like credit card rewards programs, and even if west sells books, the 500 points or w/e you get for signing up for westlaw would buy you like 3 pages out of one.


So they are basically worthless?

270910
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby 270910 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:55 am

SeymourShowz wrote:
disco_barred wrote:
SeymourShowz wrote:Can someone fill me in on the value of Westlaw points? Is there anything I can get with them of actual value?

I've decided to get new books for first semester, just to be safe... So the question becomes, do I get them online directly from West (with 500 Westlaw points, whatever that is) or just buy them directly from the bookstore for essentially the same price??


Westlaw points can be redeemed for fabulous cash prizes. But they're like credit card rewards programs, and even if west sells books, the 500 points or w/e you get for signing up for westlaw would buy you like 3 pages out of one.


So they are basically worthless?


500 isn't a meaningfully large amount, but they're hardly worthless. I think lexis points have a redemption rate of something like 500 per $5 on a giftcard, or you can get certain objects they sell with a partnership via amazon. And it's possible to get thousands per semester if you're diligent about they're training crap.

if you are really good about it, you could earn something like ~$200 in gift cards or electronics or whatever via lexis and westla over the course of a school year.

LoriBelle
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby LoriBelle » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:10 am

RUQRU wrote:
sibley wrote:...if your professor does this trick and you clearly actually read the cases aren't you that much more likely to get a higher grade in the course? And therefore do better in life AND in class? Despite the extra time it takes it seems like there's a good chance on it paying off even in class (at least if your prof is like this...)


1. The final exam is essentially 100% of your grade.
2. Law school grading is anonymous. The grader does not know the name of the student when grading - just a number.
3. Looking good in class does not help you on the exam or your grade.
4. Some profs may give a point or two "bump" for class participation, not likely to affect your grade.

Yeah, not likely to affect your grade at ALL. Sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. The class I was talking about didn't have any kind of participation bump either...it was 100% exam. There's something to be said for not looking like an idiot in front of your classmates, but honestly, it doesn't affect your grades really. Law school is not like undergrad. You don't get points for memorizing; you get points for understanding, analyzing, and applying the law.

To the extent the case method teaches this, reading cases is a good idea, but I wouldn't go over them with a fine-tooth comb in fear that the professor is going to ask you what color shirt the guy was wearing. It is more of a process of skimming and then concentrating on what's important when you get to it (usually the rule and applying the rule to the facts). In my first semester, I didn't really know how to spot the important stuff, but now I do. The reading goes painfully slowly at first (at least it did for me) because you're trying to figure out what you're supposed to be paying attention to, but your reading speed will improve as you pick up this skill (or at least it did for me).

270910
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby 270910 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:12 am

LoriBelle wrote:To the extent the case method teaches this, reading cases is a good idea, but I wouldn't go over them with a fine-tooth comb in fear that the professor is going to ask you what color shirt the guy was wearing. It is more of a process of skimming and then concentrating on what's important when you get to it (usually the rule and applying the rule to the facts). In my first semester, I didn't really know how to spot the important stuff, but now I do. The reading goes painfully slowly at first (at least it did for me) because you're trying to figure out what you're supposed to be paying attention to, but your reading speed will improve as you pick up this skill (or at least it did for me).


+1

Advanced Case Reading can be done pretty quickly, but it takes a lot of practice. You basically skim to get a vague sense for what century the case is in / what topic it covers and then read very slowly when the law is applied. You pick up tricks - for example, there is usually a long exposition of the facts up front, but any RELEVANT facts have to be repeated in the analysis section, meaning you can (with practice) really plow through the first parts of cases.

It also requires being willing to look like a moron. If your first cold call question is "what state was the car accident in" and you power-read to pick up on the analysis and rule of law, you'll go "uh, guam?" and everyone will chuckle. But knowing where the VW self destructed is not worth points on the exam, so it's better to focus on how the rule developed than on which side of the car the children who burned alive were sitting in.

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skoobily doobily
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby skoobily doobily » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:27 am

LoriBelle wrote:
RUQRU wrote:
sibley wrote:...if your professor does this trick and you clearly actually read the cases aren't you that much more likely to get a higher grade in the course? And therefore do better in life AND in class? Despite the extra time it takes it seems like there's a good chance on it paying off even in class (at least if your prof is like this...)


1. The final exam is essentially 100% of your grade.
2. Law school grading is anonymous. The grader does not know the name of the student when grading - just a number.
3. Looking good in class does not help you on the exam or your grade.
4. Some profs may give a point or two "bump" for class participation, not likely to affect your grade.

Yeah, not likely to affect your grade at ALL. Sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. The class I was talking about didn't have any kind of participation bump either...it was 100% exam. There's something to be said for not looking like an idiot in front of your classmates, but honestly, it doesn't affect your grades really. Law school is not like undergrad. You don't get points for memorizing; you get points for understanding, analyzing, and applying the law.

To the extent the case method teaches this, reading cases is a good idea, but I wouldn't go over them with a fine-tooth comb in fear that the professor is going to ask you what color shirt the guy was wearing. It is more of a process of skimming and then concentrating on what's important when you get to it (usually the rule and applying the rule to the facts). In my first semester, I didn't really know how to spot the important stuff, but now I do. The reading goes painfully slowly at first (at least it did for me) because you're trying to figure out what you're supposed to be paying attention to, but your reading speed will improve as you pick up this skill (or at least it did for me).


Which made me think of another question, and I realize this is a matter of personal opinion to you guys: did you find it more helpful to read the supplements first so you already know what you're looking for in your cases. Or did you read the cases first typically and then supplement them afterwords with E&E's and the like?

(I'm ok with asking stupid questions now, because I don't care about looking like an ignoramus on the internet if it means having a good sense of what i'm doing IRL)

270910
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby 270910 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:34 am

skoobily doobily wrote:(I'm ok with asking stupid questions now, because I don't care about looking like an ignoramus on the internet if it means having a good sense of what i'm doing IRL)


I toyed with that a lot myself. Sometimes it's nice to "prime" a thorny area, such as personal jurisdiction. But it can also be nice to read afterward to review and be sure you pulled out the most relevant parts.

My personal choice (after I'd experimented a little, and with some exceptions) was to read the cases, take notes in class, then create outlines. That was a lot of work and required me to really struggle with the material. Only then did I consult other student outlines and hornbooks. That meant that I had sort of a "check" after my personal learning process that really supplemented (haw haw) my understanding of the material and locked it down in my mind.

Your mileage may vary. I even know of people who did great basically doing nothing but taking an old outline to class and taking notes on it.

LoyolaLaw2012
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby LoyolaLaw2012 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:46 am

Another useful tip is to email your professor as soon as you know you're taking his class. Ask him about required books, so that you can buy them on amazon while they are cheap. I have bought casebooks for as long as 15 dollars during the time they aren't selling. Also, I sold the same books for 3-4 times the amount during peak buying times.

First semester: 900 for books
Second semester: 200-250
Third semester: 250

I sold two of my second semester books for a total of 120 on half.com. You can almost break even if you keep the book in good condition.

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webbylu87
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby webbylu87 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:46 pm

I just got my book list and am wondering if anyone else has seen a huge discrepency in prices of various used casebooks. My contracts casebook is really cheap at $5.00 while the cheapest used casebook for my torts class is around $100. The former was published in 2001 and the latter in 2008. Does that explain the huge price discrepency? Is that normal or am I just not looking in the right places?

270910
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby 270910 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:52 pm

webbylu87 wrote:I just got my book list and am wondering if anyone else has seen a huge discrepency in prices of various used casebooks. My contracts casebook is really cheap at $5.00 while the cheapest used casebook for my torts class is around $100. The former was published in 2001 and the latter in 2008. Does that explain the huge price discrepency? Is that normal or am I just not looking in the right places?


Yes. An old casebook has been in circulation for a long time so the used mark will be bountiful. Supply and demand. Anything within the past few years will be much more scarce. And if you wait a few weeks, prices will jump everywhere.

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webbylu87
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby webbylu87 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:57 pm

disco_barred wrote:
webbylu87 wrote:I just got my book list and am wondering if anyone else has seen a huge discrepency in prices of various used casebooks. My contracts casebook is really cheap at $5.00 while the cheapest used casebook for my torts class is around $100. The former was published in 2001 and the latter in 2008. Does that explain the huge price discrepency? Is that normal or am I just not looking in the right places?


Yes. An old casebook has been in circulation for a long time so the used mark will be bountiful. Supply and demand. Anything within the past few years will be much more scarce. And if you wait a few weeks, prices will jump everywhere.


Thanks. I often lack common sense and upon rereading my question, realize its stupidity. Also, jump in a bad way in a few weeks? Meaning I should buy now?

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annapavlova
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Re: NEW or USED books?

Postby annapavlova » Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:31 pm

Saving money on used books rules.

Also, my Con Law book was heavily annotated and highlighted. This turned out to be awesome because once I figured out his color-coding system, he almost always had the right rule, issue, etc. It made cold-calling way easier.




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