Poll: Professors and Commercial Outlines

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)

Why do professors say commercial outlines restate the law incorrectly?

They are telling the truth/the outlines are full of bad law
No votes
They are trying to scare you so that you don't take the short cut to learning the law
Their own interpretation of the law is wrong, so they actually think the outlines are wrong
No votes
Other (please specify below)
Total votes: 8


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Poll: Professors and Commercial Outlines

Postby r973 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:39 pm

I am starting to suspect that professor try to scare students away from using commercial outlines to study the law because that would be too easy. They typically have said something like "I warn you not to use commercial outlines because they get the law wrong." Whenever I have used them, I do not notice any glaring errors, besides some types rarely. What do you all think? Truth or scare tactics?

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Re: Poll: Professors and Commercial Outlines

Postby traehekat » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:45 pm

I believe LEEWS says many professors suggest staying away from commercial outlines because they feel you will devote less time to the casebook. This makes sense, as outlines are generally neat, concise, and easy to read, while casebooks are generally dense, long, and ambiguous about the law.

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Re: Poll: Professors and Commercial Outlines

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:46 pm

One of my 1L classes was taught by a professor who wrote a commercial outline. He sure didn't discourage us from buying it. In fact, when I asked him for advice understanding something, his response was basically, "Buy my outline and read it, and if you still don't understand, then come talk to me."

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Re: Poll: Professors and Commercial Outlines

Postby 20160810 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:07 am

I've never used commercial outlines or seen their point. E&Es, full-length treatises if necessary, and case brief books are all the supplementation I could handle. That said, I think profs are telling the truth when they say that what they teach you and what's in the reading they assign is what'll be on the test. Some classes supplements are helpful (in Ks, for example, I used the Farnsworth treatise and did really well), but in some classes (torts, crim come to mind), they're just a waste of time IMHO.


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Re: Poll: Professors and Commercial Outlines

Postby mrgth51453 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:14 am

I didn't use supplements much, but did not see any glaring errors. What can be an issue, though, is when the supplements don't line up with professors. My conlaw teacher used different terminology and a different approach than Chemerinsky and warned us to stay away from it. The exam key specifically mentioned downgrading people due to misused terminology etc. picked up from that. The majority of my other professors just said they were unnecessary, not that they'd be detrimental.


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Re: Poll: Professors and Commercial Outlines

Postby 270910 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:54 pm

They do get some things wrong. The law is also quite subjective. Hell, apellate courts routinely disagree on the law, SCOTUS will then "settle" the law with like 12 different opinions written for one case by the 9 justices, and then every district court will apply it slightly differently. The concern on the part of the professors is less "oh shit, the supplement accidentally said that Hadley stands for the proposition that consequential damages are always allowed" and more that there are legitimately many different takes on things. I don't think they're trying to 'scare' you at all; they probably honestly believe what they say, and they're certainly right that at times portions of supplements can be flat wrong.

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