What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know: An Introduction to the Study of Law

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With the aim of decreasing students’ anxiety and increasing their chances of achieving academic success, What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know: An Introduction to the Study of Law prepares students to get through their first year of law school. As a valuable reference over an entire law school career, it will continue to contribute to students’ academic success.

With a friendly and informal writing style, this orientation to law school features:

  • insight into how and why law school works the way it does
  • tools, techniques, and information for understanding first-year substantive law as fully as possible
  • an overview of the American legal system and court structure
  • a concise review of basic civics, including the structure of American government and sources of law
  • introductions to analytic tools and methods of reasoning
  • clear descriptions of basic legal concepts, such as standards of review and burdens of proof
  • a look ahead at the goals of a legal education—and the life, duties, and responsibilities of being a lawyer
  • exercises that allow students to independently test their understanding of the material in a particular section
  • visual aids that help students grasp and remember the material
  • a short primer on American history and legal philosophy as each is relevant to the study of law provides a self-study resource that students may use as they need

What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know: An Introduction to the Study of Law offers a companion website that includes PowerPoint slides, problems, quizzes, and additional in-class exercises—as well as teaching notes that explain how to use this complete teaching package to greatest advantage.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780735582361
  • Publisher: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business
  • Publication date: 3/27/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 214
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 What to Expect in Law School 5

The First Year of Law School 6

Reading Assignments 6

Teaching Methods 9

Courses Taught in the First Year 12

Becoming a Lawyer 14

Preparing for Law School 18

Chapter 2 Government and Law 23

The Structure of American Government 23

The Law: Sources, Types, and Meanings 26

Sources 26

Types 30

Meanings 34

Choosing an Enforcement Regime 40

Chapter 3 The Structure of the American Legal System 43

Legal Systems 43

Adversarial and Inquisitorial Regimes 43

Common Law and Civil Law 44

Private Law and Public Law 47

Courts 48

The Dual Court Systems in the United States 49

The United States Supreme Court 53

Navigating the Courts 54

Litigation: Myth and Reality 55

The Vanishing Jury Trial and the Focus on the Pretrial Phase 56

Remedies 58

Financing Litigation 59

Chapter 4 The Legal Toolbox: Basic Techniques 63

Introduction: The Function of Legal Techniques 64

Reading Carefully 65

Reading Legal Sources 65

Reading Cases 73

Reasoning Styles 80

Analytical Reasoning 80

Analogical Reasoning 85

Chapter 5 The Legal Toolbox: Concepts 91

Dichotomies 91

Rules versus Standards 92

Categorization versus Balancing 96

Objective versus Subjective 97

Cross-Cutting Legal Doctrines 98

Precedent and Stare Decisis 98

States of Mind 101

Burdens of Proof 102

Standards of Review 104

Other Common Concepts 107

Law and Economics (or Economic Analysis of Law) 108

Cognitive Psychology and the Law (or Behavioral Law and Economics) 116

Other Useful Concepts 118

What If a Tool Isn't Listed Here? 121

Chapter 6 The Legal Toolbox: Strategies 123

ClassPreparation 123

In Class 141

Outside of Class 143

Exams 145

Conclusion 149

Resources 151

Law School References: How to Look and Be Smarter in the Classroom and Beyond 151

An American History Refresher 151

Theoretical Frameworks of American Law 166

Looking Ahead: After Law School 174

What Lawyers Do 174

Career Choices 176

Acknowledgments 181

Test Your Understanding: Answers and Analysis 183

Table of Figures and Test Your Understanding Exercises 201

Index 203

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