Are previous editions of casebooks pretty much identical?

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Are previous editions of casebooks pretty much identical?

Postby nitr0x99 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:54 am

Well its time to purchase casebooks and I'm trying to save money wherever I can. In undergrad I used to buy the previous version of a textbook whenever I could to save money. The only problem is that sometimes the numbering of practice questions (ie math textbooks) would be different which would make homework difficult

I imagine that there are no practice problems in casebooks and that the previous editions would be nearly identical since its just a list of cases?

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Re: Are previous editions of casebooks pretty much identical?

Postby ram jam » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:02 am

I just purchased most of my books. I believe that an older edition of the casebook will have all of the same cases with exactly the same wording, as the cases do not change in wording over time and the cases that one will study in law school are landmark cases decided years ago. However, if you were to use the older version of a casebook you may be often confused by the reading assignments in terms of page numbers. Yet, if you are willing to deal with it and really, really need to save money, then go with the older version. But when the prof says, "open your text to page 81", you will have to go to your classmate, ask for the case name, then go to your index to find the correct page, etc.

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Re: Are previous editions of casebooks pretty much identical?

Postby atkinsa » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:09 am

Previous post is false. Sometimes case books will go under major revisions. It will likely have a lot of the same cases, but new cases are added and materials are changed. They may also change how a case is edited.


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Re: Are previous editions of casebooks pretty much identical?

Postby savetheturtles » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:22 am

Shouldn't be a problem for most classes. Most of your 1L classes, especially torts and contracts, haven't changed much over the years. Two classes where you might want the newest editions are Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law, because those classes have some recent major cases that might not be found in the older editions. However, you can still get away with older editions, as long as you're willing to read some full cases on Westlaw or just get summaries.

I ended up doing this for most of my classes, and there was no differences in grades between the classes. You can always check with someone's current edition to match up the cases to your book. I ended up spending the money I would have spent on textbooks on supplements, so it worked out well for me.

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Re: Are previous editions of casebooks pretty much identical?

Postby jennylynn » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:19 pm

It's a gamble I would not be willing to take.

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Re: Are previous editions of casebooks pretty much identical?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:25 pm

Law textbooks can undergo drastic changes in just a few years. I think it'd be a huge mistake to use a previous edition of a casebook. You might find that a case has been entirely removed and replaced with a different case in the new edition, or that the new addition has an extra case added that your edition is missing.

I had an (elective) course this past spring in which one area of the law had changed so substantially in the last 3-4 years that the textbook required a supplement almost as thick as the textbook itself. My professor kept complaining that she was looking forward to the new edition of the textbook so they'd merge everything and get rid of all the old stuff in the textbook that was no longer relevant.

The law doesn't always move that quickly, but you're basically gambling with your grades, because if you miss something due to having an older textbook your grades can suffer. Don't do that.

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