In response to student inquiries regarding the availability for group study of rooms G80, G81, 273, 387, 389 and the Library’s Casual Reading Room (these rooms are referred to herein collectively the “Study Rooms”), the Law School has implemented the following policy, effective immediately:

While classes are in session, SAME-DAY reservations for Study Room use in the afternoon and/or evening shall be made via a sign-out sheet available at the Circulation Desk in the Library.  Reservations shall be made in person at Noon or thereafter – not earlier.  Only same-day reservations will be accepted – no advance reservations permitted.

Under this new policy, room availability will no longer cease at library closing times, providing evening reservations are made prior to the last sign-up time for the day. In cases in which a room reservation extends beyond 7:30pm Sunday through Thursday, or beyond 4:30pm on Friday or Saturday, the student making the reservation will be responsible for securing the room in question (closing windows and locking doors) at the end of use.  Evening reservations that begin after 7:30pm (Sun-Th) or 4:30pm (Fr & Sat) must be reserved as of those times to insure the room remains open for their use.  Students making such reservation will be responsible for the room starting at 7:30 or 4:30, respectively.

During study periods, Study Rooms will be available on a first-come, first-served basis 24 hours a day.  There will be no reservation procedure.

CALI logoYou may have noticed the DVDs on the table near the reference desk.  These DVDs from CALI, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, have tutorials designed by law professors and librarians across the country on many legal topics, such as torts, contracts, and even legal research.  CALI is another tool to help you study smarter, not harder, in law school.

Feel free to grab a DVD from the table, but the best way to access CALI is cali.org, which is a little more up-to-date than the DVDs.  To set up an account on the CALI Web site, grab a CALI card from the table in front of the reference desk (right next to the DVDs).  This card has a code you can use to set up your account. Please email me if you have any questions.

Dear 1L student,

No doubt friends, family, and complete strangers have given you advice about how to handle the law school experience.  The research attorneys at the law library have some advice for you too: using the study aids found in the library's reserve collection will improve your study experience.

The books discussed below are available for two-hour checkout from the circulation desk, or overnight if you check them out within two hours of closing.  The library circulation desk closes at 8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5 p.m on Friday-Saturday.  You can renew the book when it is due if you are still using it.

Overview of law school.  What are my classes about?  How should I study and take notes?  How do I prepare for exams?  Cornell Law School Orientation does a great job answering these questions, but take a look at these resources for more info:

  • Law School Success: A Guide to Studying Law and Taking Law School Exams.  Call number KF 283 .B871x 2008  Easy to read and conversational in tone.  I recommend Chapter 10, Learning After Class, and Chapter 12 on Exams.  The last part of the book provides sample exams and answers.
  • Understanding Law School.  Call number KF 283 .U53 2004.  Provides a detailed overview of 1L classes.  I recommend Appendix B, American Legal Systems: A Resource and Reference Guide by Toni M. Fine.
  • Preview the available sample exams from your professor on the registrar's Web site (login required; availability varies).

See the Big Picture: Nutshells.  The Nutshell series of books provide an overview of legal topics.  These books are helpful introductions to the topic before and after you study to help you get the perspective you need to put all the pieces together and make sure your outlines make sense.  They are brief, quick reads.  This semester you should look at:

Refine the Outline: Hornbooks.  Hornbooks are more detailed than Nutshells.  Basically, hornbooks are textbooks for studying law.  In contrast with the case books used in class, hornbooks provide detailed explanations.  Use hornbooks to help you review the finer points you may have misunderstood in class.  One caveat: your professor may emphasize points not found in the Hornbook and skip over others.  Pay attention to what is covered in class so you focus your efforts on the right topics.  Here are some hornbooks to use this semester:

Deepen Your Understanding With Examples & Explanations.  The Examples & Explanations series from Aspen Publishers provides hypothetical examples with explanations showing how legal principles apply to those examples.  These books are great for preparing for exams and helpful for those of us who learn better using concrete examples.  This semester you should look at:

Questions about study aids?  Ask a research attorney at the reference desk or email your Lawyering research instructor.

You knew it was bound to happen and now it has.  For those of you getting ready to watch bar review videos and sit in the library for hours with those heavy books---well, now you have options.  You can study for the bar while on the go using a new app for the iPhone/iPod Touch developed by BarMax, a company started by a former law student.  The company launched an app for the California bar exam last year and a New York version in April 2010, with plans to add more states.  The BarMax app doesn’t come cheap---it costs $1,000, reputedly the most expensive app out there---but it has an entire review course of audio tapes, lectures, outlines, checklists, and questions from prior bar exams.  And BarMax offers its MPRE edition to everyone for free.  If you don't have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can rent one from BarMax.  Purchase of the app gets you lifetime access---all of this, and you can study while jogging.  The ABA Journal's review of the app is available here.  A review by a purported former law student who used BarMax to prep for the bar is available here.

Already there is competition.  If you aren't ready to trust a new company with your bar prep, BARBRI introduced an app last fall which is free for students enrolled in its classes (which cost considerably more than $1,000) and offers mobile access to lectures and other materials.  Emanuel Bar Review also has developed a series of apps to prepare you for the multistate exam that let you review and test yourself on evidence, property law, contracts, torts, criminal law, and constitutional law.  These apps only cost $12.99 each and also make good study tools for 1L law school classes.  Or you can study for the multistate exam on your home or laptop computer using MyBarPrep, which costs $249.99.

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