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Study Aids

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Commercial Study Aids

If asked, law professors often discourage use of commercial study aids (“…the work of the devil…” cautioned Daniel J. Wilson, as Assistant Director Academic Achievement Program at University of Denver College of Law)—nevertheless, you will find your law school bookstore contains hundreds of volumes of course summaries, sets of flashcards, shelves filled with “canned” briefs of cases, and dozens of hardbound hornbooks written by distinguished legal scholars.

To buy or not to buy? The first thing you need to remember is that study aids can’t provide you with a shortcut to the most important lessons of law school. These resources are designed to do one thing—to aid law students in their rigorous study, usually to explain the law and how it is used.

But you are not in law school simply to learn laws—you are in law school to develop the skills associated with using those laws to resolve complicated problems. The only way you will master the skills at your personal best level is by practicing the skills. Study aids that assist you in comprehending some of the difficult twists and turns of the law can be helpful; those that provide hundreds of hypothetical questions can be very helpful.

One of the best resources on “the market” is not on the market at all—it’s free! Using a password provided by your law school (or a discount provided by your Academic Support office at school), find this gold mine of instruction, quizzes, multiple choice tests, and simulated essay examinations: CALI: Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction.

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