0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

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WayBryson
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0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby WayBryson » Mon May 23, 2011 12:41 am

I've read through a few of the threads offering advice for incoming law students, and I particularly like the idea of familiarizing myself with some of the course work before arriving at school this fall. I have already purchased "Getting to Maybe" to help gain some perspective on law school exams. I would additionally like read an overview of black letter law to get acquainted both with the course material and with legal diction. To that end, I would greatly appreciate some reading recommendations from any current or former law students who read such material before beginning school. Specifically, I am looking for a good general survey work. I have no intentions of attempting to master the material before I get there. I just want to get my bearings.

Also, I am aware that many regard such reading as a waste of time and money, but I would appreciate it if we could try and keep this thread on topic and avoid a debate over the utility (or futility) of reading about the law before beginning school. I have already made up my mind to do a little prep over the coming months and would simply like some guidance from those who are/were likeminded. Thanks in advance.

BlueDiamond
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby BlueDiamond » Mon May 23, 2011 12:44 am

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=152439

if you want more than this than use the search function

09042014
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby 09042014 » Mon May 23, 2011 12:46 am

I know at least 4 people who did top ten percent at my school. They all read the various Restatements of Contracts, Torts, and property. They also memorized Model Penal Code, and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The last two can be found on google.

Good luck.

shoeshine
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby shoeshine » Mon May 23, 2011 12:46 am

BlueDiamond wrote: use the search function

WayBryson
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby WayBryson » Mon May 23, 2011 12:52 am

BlueDiamond wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=152439

if you want more than this than use the search function


Desert Fox wrote:I know at least 4 people who did top ten percent at my school. They all read the various Restatements of Contracts, Torts, and property. They also memorized Model Penal Code, and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The last two can be found on google.

Good luck.


Cheers.

Edit: Forgot to paste BlueDiamond's quote.
Last edited by WayBryson on Mon May 23, 2011 1:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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bgdddymtty
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby bgdddymtty » Mon May 23, 2011 12:59 am

First things first: you don't know what the term "black letter law" means. Black letter law consists of actual statutes. You won't be studying any of that, especially if you are headed to an elite law school. If you're headed to one that places the majority of its students in a single state, your professors might tell you that, in State X, the law is Y. In any event, you won't spend significant time reading actual laws in law school. That's what bar review is for.

What you will spend a lot of time reading are cases. Most people here will tell you not trying to "study ahead," and they're right. So much of the first year of law school depends on which cases/principles/angles your professors idiosyncratically choose to focus on that trying to learn anything substantive now is a fool's errand.

That said, since you seem to be more concerned with being in a position to comprehend the reading once you get going, I'd suggest the following: buy an outdated casebook on Amazon, Half, or wherever. It doesn't matter which subject, but choose one that's fairly common. (If your school does it where all 1L's have the same casebook for a given class, you might consider pre-buying one of those, but otherwise you should waste as little money as possible on this.) Once you get it, read a couple of cases, taking notes as you go about what you think are the high points. Then google those cases and find other people's case briefs. Compare. See what you caught and what you didn't. Lather, rinse, repeat.

WayBryson
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby WayBryson » Mon May 23, 2011 1:18 am

bgdddymtty wrote:First things first: you don't know what the term "black letter law" means. Black letter law consists of actual statutes. You won't be studying any of that, especially if you are headed to an elite law school. If you're headed to one that places the majority of its students in a single state, your professors might tell you that, in State X, the law is Y. In any event, you won't spend significant time reading actual laws in law school. That's what bar review is for.

What you will spend a lot of time reading are cases. Most people here will tell you not trying to "study ahead," and they're right. So much of the first year of law school depends on which cases/principles/angles your professors idiosyncratically choose to focus on that trying to learn anything substantive now is a fool's errand.

That said, since you seem to be more concerned with being in a position to comprehend the reading once you get going, I'd suggest the following: buy an outdated casebook on Amazon, Half, or wherever. It doesn't matter which subject, but choose one that's fairly common. (If your school does it where all 1L's have the same casebook for a given class, you might consider pre-buying one of those, but otherwise you should waste as little money as possible on this.) Once you get it, read a couple of cases, taking notes as you go about what you think are the high points. Then google those cases and find other people's case briefs. Compare. See what you caught and what you didn't. Lather, rinse, repeat.



Thanks. You're right. I am not really interested in "studying ahead" but rather looking to get grounded so that I am better prepared to engage with the material. I studied philosophy as an undergraduate, and I always found the hardest part to be having enough of a context to follow the text. Things were usually pretty straight forward (and much more interesting) once I got over that hump. My suspicion is that the first year or law school might be the same ;-) This is also why I am interested in any recommendations that people might have for a good survey text.

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Magnolia
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby Magnolia » Mon May 23, 2011 1:57 am

This is slightly related to what OP was asking, so I'm posting it here. My mom suggested that I familiarize myself with the structure of federal and state courts, basic lawsuit procedure, and the role of administrative agencies and the rule-making process this summer. I don't intend to memorize or teach myself anything, but she's been really insistent that at least a vague understanding of the context and terminology will be helpful for next year. Can any current students weigh in on whether this is good advice? I don't think 1L has changed that much since she was in school, but I obviously have no idea if that's true.

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Grizz
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby Grizz » Mon May 23, 2011 2:02 am

Magnolia wrote:This is slightly related to what OP was asking, so I'm posting it here. My mom suggested that I familiarize myself with the structure of federal and state courts, basic lawsuit procedure, and the role of administrative agencies and the rule-making process this summer. I don't intend to memorize or teach myself anything, but she's been really insistent that at least a vague understanding of the context and terminology will be helpful for next year. Can any current students weigh in on whether this is good advice? I don't think 1L has changed that much since she was in school, but I obviously have no idea if that's true.


You're going to Vanderbilt? They'll teach you all that crap in "Life of the Law" or whatever that is, and you'll learn about that agency stuff in Reg. State.

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quakeroats
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby quakeroats » Mon May 23, 2011 2:04 am

Desert Fox wrote:I know at least 4 people who did top ten percent at my school. They all read the various Restatements of Contracts, Torts, and property. They also memorized Model Penal Code, and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The last two can be found on google.

Good luck.


Ha. Seriously though, an overview of the topics you'll likely face isn't possible. Take property as an example. The topic is wide enough that you probably couldn't cover everything your professor will in a reasonable amount of time. The corollary here is that even if you could, it would be a waste of time, because any given property class only covers a small fraction of property law. My property class emphasized a largely theoretical take on property. We covered some of the usual topics (estates in land, real covenants, landlord tenant, takings) but we spent a lot of time on IP and other subjects that often aren't part of a first-year property course. Performing well on the exam was largely an exercise in how well a given student could relate the theories of property we discussed in class to questions like "what does it mean to say you have a property right to personal information?" Very few points were given for mastery of estates in land or the rule against perpetuities. Other professors test no theory and very little but estates in land and the RAP. One of my other professors related how his property class consisted entirely of the professor assigning every takings case the Supreme Court had ever decided. The sole exam question was, "discuss the Supreme Court's general approach to takings."

My point in telling you this is that mastering doctrine isn't going to be fruitful. If you must, then pick a subject like Torts that tends to be taught the same way by most professors. What's most important is that you start applying law to facts. This should get you started: http://volokh.com/posts/1168382003.shtml

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Magnolia
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby Magnolia » Mon May 23, 2011 2:11 am

rad law wrote:
Magnolia wrote:This is slightly related to what OP was asking, so I'm posting it here. My mom suggested that I familiarize myself with the structure of federal and state courts, basic lawsuit procedure, and the role of administrative agencies and the rule-making process this summer. I don't intend to memorize or teach myself anything, but she's been really insistent that at least a vague understanding of the context and terminology will be helpful for next year. Can any current students weigh in on whether this is good advice? I don't think 1L has changed that much since she was in school, but I obviously have no idea if that's true.


You're going to Vanderbilt? They'll teach you all that crap in "Life of the Law" or whatever that is, and you'll learn about that agency stuff in Reg. State.

Awesome. Drinking it is, then.

WayBryson
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby WayBryson » Mon May 23, 2011 2:26 am

Magnolia wrote:
rad law wrote:
Magnolia wrote:This is slightly related to what OP was asking, so I'm posting it here. My mom suggested that I familiarize myself with the structure of federal and state courts, basic lawsuit procedure, and the role of administrative agencies and the rule-making process this summer. I don't intend to memorize or teach myself anything, but she's been really insistent that at least a vague understanding of the context and terminology will be helpful for next year. Can any current students weigh in on whether this is good advice? I don't think 1L has changed that much since she was in school, but I obviously have no idea if that's true.


You're going to Vanderbilt? They'll teach you all that crap in "Life of the Law" or whatever that is, and you'll learn about that agency stuff in Reg. State.

Awesome. Drinking it is, then.


I am headed to Vanderbilt, too:-)

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Grizz
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby Grizz » Mon May 23, 2011 2:31 am

WayBryson wrote:I am headed to Vanderbilt, too:-)


Then don't waste your time with prep. They will hold your hand for a couple weeks.

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JusticeHarlan
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby JusticeHarlan » Mon May 23, 2011 4:55 pm

Magnolia wrote:Awesome. Drinking it is, then.

Finally, an 0L doing the right kind of prep.

seaguy2010
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Re: 0L Black Letter Law summer reading list

Postby seaguy2010 » Mon May 23, 2011 8:59 pm

I'm finding "Law 101" to be a great general overview. Also, the book "Introduction to Legal Reasoning" is quite helpful.




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