Question about Old Editions of Casebooks

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Question about Old Editions of Casebooks

Postby london89 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:42 pm

For my Constitutional Law class the 3rd edition of Chemerinsky's casebook is the required reading. I, however, received the 2nd edition for free from a friend. Should I suck it up and just buy a used 3rd edition copy of the book? Or would it be better to keep the 2nd edition and just buy a "brief book" for those cases I don't have?


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Re: Question about Old Editions of Casebooks

Postby target » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:46 pm

how much does the old 3 ed. cost?

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Re: Question about Old Editions of Casebooks

Postby cinephile » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:23 pm

I always buy the old editions and check with the copy of the new one in the library to make sure I'm not missing anything. If I am, I'll read that one case in the library and then read the rest in my book when I feel like it.

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I.P. Daly
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Re: Question about Old Editions of Casebooks

Postby I.P. Daly » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:55 pm

I used the second ed instead of the third. There are quite few new cases in the 3rd edition, and cases are heavily edited down, so I had to borrow my friends book to make copies. I saved a lot of money and it was not too much hassle.

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Re: Question about Old Editions of Casebooks

Postby JohnnyLaw » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:54 pm

Considering the new editions run around $200 and you can get the old editions for less than their shipping price off Amazon, it's a HUGE money saver. This semester I got around $700 worth of books for $150.

You basically have to weigh this against the hassle of finding the new cases its missing, though you can usually do this by going to class. Last semester I had one old edition that was only missing 2 of the cases we covered, another one had significantly more missing, but it didn't end up being that big of a deal on the exam (you can look up case briefs anywhere).

The real problem with the old editions is cold calling. You might get called on for a case your book doesn't cover. This shouldn't effect your grade, but still it can be nerve-wracking. Also depending on the syllabus it can be more difficult. If a teacher assigns readings like Chap 1, Chap 2, Chap 3... it isn't really an issue, because you'll have the majority of cases. However, many teachers go in depth assigning readings by page number 1-13, 478-502, 220-255. In these cases, if they don't say what specific cases your reading its basically a crapshoot if you're reading the right material or not (because the page numbers are different). Again, this is solvable by going to class, and shouldn't effect exam performance, but it will make class preparation much more tedious. Basically you're weighing a couple hundred bucks versus the added stress. Like I said, sometimes this only means westlawing three or four cases, in other classes it can be nearly impossible to match up.

TL;DR: You save a shit load. It'll make prep more stressful but it shouldn't effect your ability to do well on the exam. Weigh these against each other and that's your answer.

Last note, like I said, you can get old editions for less than their shipping price. It may be worth it to just buy the old edition for like 5 bucks and use it for a couple weeks to see if you can manage. If it seems like too much just shell out for the current ed., I did this with one class and felt like it was worth spending the extra dough.

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Re: Question about Old Editions of Casebooks

Postby charlie5 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:52 pm

You don't have to go into this blind. Most publisher's put the table of contents online. The one for Chem's 3rd is here: ... hemTOC.pdf

Look at the differences in your free book along with your prof's syllabus and decide if you are comfortable with the slight changes between the editions. Old editions have never been a huge hurdle to me, I personally print out the table of contents and reference back and forth, it takes 15 extra seconds.

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