First Year Study Aids


The following is a selection of Restatements of the Law, Nutshells, hornbooks, and treatises that may help to clarify or explain some of the legal issues being discussed in your classes. This list is merely a starting point. Your professors, the reference librarians, or your classmates may have additional suggestions for supplementary or explanatory reading.

In addition to the material listed below, the Library also carries current Gilbert's and Emanuel's commercial outlines, as well as Black Letter Outlines and titles in the Examples and Explanations series. A list of available outlines can be found in LawCat by conducting a Call Number search for "Study Aids", or in a binder at the Circulation desk. For examples of exams given by Boalt professors in previous semesters, see the Library's exam database.

Another useful set of tools is Computer Assisted Legal Instruction ( CALI ) — interactive computer-based lessons. CALI is available in the computer labs. If you would like to use CALI from home you should go to and choose CALI (Computer Assisted Legal Instruction) .


All materials listed below, unless otherwise noted,
are located at the Patron Services desk.

Restatements of the Law

Restatements are attempts by the American Law Institute (ALI) to restate, synthesize, or explicate the common law. ALI is a prestigious body of scholars and practitioners, and so their interpretation of the law has persuasive authority in the U.S. legal system. However, the Restatements are not binding legal authority. You will see references to the Restatements in your casebooks.


Nutshells provide a concise narrative explanation of the major doctrines in each substantive area of law, and offer a good introduction to key concepts and legal terminology and jargon.

Understanding . . .

The LexisNexis Understanding series of titles, like West's Nutshells, concisely explain the basic contours of a particular area of law. The Understanding titles tend to be more extensive than the Nutshells, including references to more cases.


Hornbooks are explanatory texts that address the major questions in the areas of law that are taught in law school. As Bob Berring has said, most law school casebooks are "filled with questions and conundrums, not answers." One of the nice features of hornbooks is that they often provide answers and explanations to some of the conundrums presented by your casebooks. Hornbooks are not suitable for cover to cover reading. Use the table of contents, index, or table of cases to focus on your particular questions.

Legal Treatises

We have also included some of the major, frequently multiple volume treatises that cover your first year subjects. These vary in quality and authority, but all offer an extremely detailed examination of their respective areas of law. They can be useful both for explanation and for doing research. Use the index and table of cases to find specific topics.

Civil Procedure

Nutshells and Understanding . . .

Kane, Mary Kay.
Civil procedure in a nutshell, 6th ed.
KF8841 .K36 2007

Shreve, Gene R. & Peter Raven-Hansen.
Understanding civil procedure, 3d ed.
KF8840 .S484 2002
Location: Stacks

Sum & Substance CDs

Miller, Arthur.
Civil procedure, 6th ed.


Friedenthal, Jack H., Mary K. Kane & Arthur R. Miller.
Civil procedure, 4th ed.
KF8840 .F72 2005

Hazard, Geoffrey C. & Jan Vetter.
Perspectives on civil procedure.
KF8840 .A2 P47
A 1987 compilation of essays on civil procedure.

James, Jr., Fleming, Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr. & John Leubsdorf.
Civil procedure, 5th ed.
KF8840 .J3 2001

Teply, Larry L. & Ralph U. Whitten.
Civil procedure, 3d ed.
KF8840 .T46 2004

Wright, Charles Alan & Mary K. Kane.
Law of federal courts, 6th ed.
KF8840 .W75 2002



American Law Institute.
Restatement of the law, second — contracts, 2d.
KF801 .A946 1981
Includes 2006 supplement.

Nutshells and Understanding . . .

Ferriell, Jeffrey & Michael Navin.
Understanding contracts.
KF801.Z9 F46 2004

Rohwer, Claude D. & Anthony M. Skroki.
Contracts in a nutshell, 6th ed.
KF801 .Z9 R62 2006


Calamari, John D. & Joseph M. Perillo.
Calamari and Perillo on contracts, 5th ed.
KF801 .C26 2003

Farnsworth, E. Allan.
Contracts, 4th ed.
KF801 .F365 2004


Anderson, Ronald A.
Anderson on the Uniform commercial code, 3d ed.
KF879.514 .A2 1981
Updated with pocket parts and supplements. Includes separate finding aids volumes.

Corbin, Arthur L.
Corbin on contracts, rev. ed.
KF801 .C64 1993
Updated with pocket parts and supplements.

Farnsworth, E. Allan.
Farnsworth on contracts, 3rd ed.
KF801 .F367 2004
Updated through 2008.
Location: Stacks

Williston, Samuel.
A treatise on the law of contracts, 4th ed.
KF801 .W56 1990
Updated with pocket parts and supplements. Includes separate volumes of tables, indexes, and forms.

Criminal Law


American Law Institute.
Model penal code and commentaries.
KF9219 .A741
The Model Penal Code has been used by many states as the basis for drafting their own penal codes.

Nutshells and Understanding . . .

Dressler, Joshua.
Understanding criminal law, 4th ed.
KF9219 .D74 2006

Loewy, Arnold H.
Criminal law in a nutshell, 4th ed.
KF9219.3 .L63 2003

Sum & Substance CDs

Dressler, Joshua.
Criminal law, 3d ed.
CD-ROM 027


LaFave, Wayne R.
Criminal law, 4th student ed.
KF9219 .L3 2003
An abridgement of LaFave's Substantive criminal law.

LaFave, Wayne R.
Principles of criminal law.
KF9219.3 .L34 2003

Robinson, Paul H.
Criminal law.
KF9219 .R63 1997


LaFave, Wayne R.
Substantive criminal law, 2d ed.
KF9219 .L34 2003
Three volumes, updated with pocket parts.

Torcia, Charles E.
Wharton's criminal law, 15th ed.
KF9219 .W51 1993
Four volumes, updated with pocket parts.

Legal Research, Writing & Exams

Videos, CDs & DVDs

Berring, Robert C.
Berring on legal research: deep principles for researching and understanding the law.
DVD 116
"In-depth podcasts of some of the topics covered in these videos can be downloaded from"

Berring, Robert C.
Legal research (Sum & substance CD series)

Berring, Robert C.
Legal research for the 21st century.
Available at Patron Services in Course Reserves under “Berring.” These videotapes, written, and presented by Professor and former Library Director Bob Berring, cover the most important aspects of legal research. They are concise, entertaining, and informative. You can check them out for overnight viewing on your home VCR. (An “advanced research” set covers international law, foreign law, environmental law, and intellectual property law.)


Bahrych, Lynn & Marjorie Dick Rombauer.
Legal writing in a nutshell, 3d ed.
KF250 .B34 2003

Burkhart, Ann & Stein, Robert.
How to study law and take law exams in a nutshell.
KF283 .B87 1996

Cohen, Morris L & Kent C. Olson.
Legal research in a nutshell , 9th ed.
KF240 .C54 2007

Legal Writing Texts

Charrow, Veda R., Myra K. Erhardt & Robert P. Charrow.
Clear and effective legal writing, 4th ed.
KF250 .C45 2007

Garner, Bryan A.
The winning brief: 100 tips for persuasive briefing in trial and appellate courts, 2d ed.
KF251 .G37 2004

Pratt, Diana V.
Legal writing: a systematic approach, 4th ed.
KF250 .P73 2004

Re, Edward Domenic & Joseph R. Re.
Brief writing & oral argument, 9th ed.
KF251 .R4 2005

Shapo, Helene S., Marilyn R. Walter & Elizabeth Fajans.
Writing and analysis in the law, rev. 4th ed.
KF250 .S57 2003

Legal Research Texts

Berring, Robert C. & Elizabeth A. Edinger.
Finding the law, 12th ed.
KF240 .B45 2005

Berring, Robert C. & Elizabeth A. Edinger.
Legal research survival manual.
KF240 .B484 2002
"Written as a survival manual for first year law students." — p. iii.

Elias, Stephen & Susan Levinkind.
Legal research: how to find & understand the law, 14th ed.
KF240 .E35 2007

Fischl, Richard Michael & Jeremy Paul.
Getting to maybe: how to excel on law school exams.
KF283 .F57 1999

Mersky, Roy M. & Donald J. Dunn.
Legal research illustrated: an abridgement of Fundamentals of legal research, 8th ed.
KF240 .J322 2002

Olson, Kent C.
Legal information: how to find it, how to use it .
KF240 .O365 1999



American Law Institute.
Restatement of the law of property.
KF561 .A4
The Restatement of Property as it was conceived in the mid-20th century. Contents: v. 1. Introduction and freehold estates; v. 2-3. Future interests; v. 4. Social restrictions imposed on the creation of property interests; v. 5. Servitudes; v. 6. Appendix.

American Law Institute.
Restatement of the law second, property 2d, landlord and tenant.
KF590 .A72
Covers landlord and tenant law, not covered in the initial Restatement.

American Law Institute.
Restatement of the law second, property 2d: donative transfers.
KF613 .R47 1983
Covers donative transfers, not covered in the initial Restatement.

American Law Institute.
Restatement of the law third, property, servitudes.
KF657 .R47 2000

Nutshells and Understanding . . .

Bernhardt, Roger & Ann M. Burkhart.
Real property in a nutshell, 5th ed.
KF570.Z9 B47 2005

Burke, D. Barlowe.
Personal property in a nutshell, 3d ed.
KF705.Z9 B83 2003

Hill, David S.
Landlord and tenant law in a nutshell, 4th ed.
KF590.Z9 H45 2004

Sprankling, John G.
Understanding property law, 2d ed.
KF561 .S67 2007


Wendel, Peter T.
KF561 .W46 2000
Sample exams and answers from West's Exam pro series.


Bergin, Thomas F. & Paul G. Haskell.
Preface to estates in land and future interests, 2d ed.
KF577 .B47 1984
Questions about the Rule Against Perpetuities? See chapter 8.

Cribbet, John E. & Corwin W. Johnson.
Principles of the law of property, 3d ed.
KF570 .C75 1989

Hovenkamp, Herbert & Sheldon F. Kurtz.
Principles of property law, 6th ed.
KF570 .H68 2005

Stoebuck, William B. & Dale A. Whitman.
The law of property, 3d ed.
KF570 .S76 2000


Powell, Richard R.
The law of real property
KF568 .P69
Seventeen volumes, index, and tables of cases.

Thompson on real property, 2d Thomas ed.
KF570 .T47 1998
New volumes supersede/continue the previous edition (KF570 .T47 1994).



American Law Institute.
Restatement of the law, Second. Torts, 2d.
KF1250 .A823

American Law Institute.
Restatement of the law, torts — apportionment of liability rev. & enl. [3d] ed. KF1249.A4 R477 2000

American Law Institute.
Restatement of the law, torts — products liability, rev. & enl. [3d] ed.
KF1296 .R467 1998

Nutshells and Understanding . . .

Diamond, John L., Lawrence C. Levine & M. Stuart Madden.
Understanding torts, 3d ed.
KF1250 .D5 2007

Eggen, Jean Macchiaroli.
Toxic torts in a nutshell, 3rd ed.
KF1299.H39 E37 2005

Kionka, Edward J.
Torts in a nutshell, 4th ed.
KF1250.Z9 K56 2005

Phillips, Jerry J.
Products liability in a nutshell, 7th ed.
KF1296.Z9 P48 2005

Sum & Substance CDs

Finz, Steven.
Torts, 3d ed.


Dobbs, Dan B.
The law of torts.
KF1250 .D59 2001
Two volumes.

Morris, Clarence & C. Robert Morris, Jr.
Morris on torts, 2d ed.
KF1250 .M6 1980

Prosser, William Lloyd & W. Page Keeton.
Prosser and Keeton on the law of torts, 5th ed.
KF1250 .P76 1984
The classic hornbook on tort law, though now rather outdated on some topics. You will often see Prosser on torts cited in your casebook and by judges and law review authors.


American law of products liability, 3d ed.
KF1296 .H87 1987
Eleven volumes, index, tables. Updated w/ supplements.

Harper, Fowler V., Fleming James, Jr. & Oscar S. Gray.
The law of torts. 3d ed.
KF1250 .H35 1996
This new edition, presently only one loose-leaf volume, will gradually replace the 1986 2d ed. (KF1250 .H35 1986.

Schwartz, Victor E. & Evelyn F. Rowe.
Comparative negligence, 4th ed.
KF1286 .S3 2002

Smolla, Rodney A.
Law of defamation, 2d ed.
KF1266 .S56 1999

Last edited by Ellen Gilmore, 23 September 2011