Pub. Date:
Wolters Kluwer
What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know: An Introduction to the Study of Law / Edition 2

What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know: An Introduction to the Study of Law / Edition 2

by Tracey E. George, Suzanna SherryTracey E. George
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This brief book is designed to prepare students for their first year of law school, thereby decreasing their anxiety and increasing their chances of achieving academic success. Also appropriate for non-J.D. students, including LLM students from foreign countries and graduate students outside law school.


  • Gives student basic grounding in discrete non-legal topics that are important to the contemporary study of law
  • Includes and#8220;Test Your Understandingand#8221; boxes to allow students to use what they are learning
  • Friendly writing style
  • Images and graphics help students remember material

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781454841524
Publisher: Wolters Kluwer
Publication date: 05/06/2016
Series: Academic Success Series
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 557,881
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction xv

Chapter 1 What to Expect in Law School 1

The First Year of Law School: An Overview 3

Courses Taught in the First Year 3

Reading Assignments 5

Teaching Methods 8

Succeeding in Law School from the First Day 12

Preparing for Class 12

In Class 14

Outside of Class 16

Law School Exams 18

Begin Your Legal Education with This Book 20

After You Finish This Book 22

Chapter 2 The Language of the Law 25

Reading Like a Lawyer 26

Step One: Examine the Context 27

Step Two: Extract the Legal Principles 31

Step Three: Evaluate the Reasoning 44

Analytical Reasoning 45

Analogical Reasoning 49

Reading and Writing Like a Lawyer: Preparing for Class 52

Reading and Writing Like a Lawyer: In Class 54

Communicating Like a Lawyer 56

Be organized 57

Be precise 58

Be concise 59

Chapter 3 The Structure of Government and the Structure of Law 61

The Structure of American Government: A System Divided 62

Vertical Division 62

Horizontal Division 64

The Structure of American Law: A Networked System 67

Sources and Types of Law: Vertical and Horizontal Hierarchies 68

What are the sources of American law? 68

What are the types of law? 68

Interpretation 73

Who interprets law? 74

How do judges interpret laws? 76

Chapter 4 The Structure of the American Legal System 81

Legal Systems 81

Adversarial versus Inquisitorial 82

Common Law and Civil Law 82

Private Law and Public Law 85

Courts 86

The Dual Court Systems in the United States 87

The United States Supreme Court 92

Navigating the Courts 93

Litigation: Myth and Reality 95

The Vanishing Jury Trial and the Focus on the Pretrial Phase 95

Remedies 97

Financing Litigation 99

Chapter 5 Fundamental Legal Concepts 103

Dichotomies 104

Rules versus Standards 104

Categorization versus Balancing 108

Objective versus Subjective 110

Cross-Cutting Legal Doctrines 112

States of Mind 113

Precedent and Stare Decisis 114

Burdens of Proof 116

Standards of Review 118

Interdisciplinary Concepts in Law 122

Law and Economics 122

Economic incentives 122

Collective action problems 123

Economic efficiency 123

Cost-benefit, analysis 124

Expected value 124

Transaction costs 125

The Coase Theorem 125

Ex ante/ex post 127

Principal-agent relationships 127

Behavioral Law and Economics 128

Anchoring 129

Endowment effect 129

Framing effect 129

Hindsight bias 130

Self-serving or egocentric bias 130

Other Useful Concepts 131

Baselines 131

Default rules 132

Slippery slopes 132

Normative/positive 133

What If a Concept Isn't Listed Here? 134

Chapter 6 How to Look and be Smarter in the Classroom and Beyond 137

An American History Refresher 138

The Early Republic (1776-1820) 138

International Neutrality and Domestic Conflict (1821-1860) 141

The Civil War (1861-1865) 141

Reconstruction (1865-1877) 142

The Gilded Age (1878-1901) 144

The Progressive Era and the Great War (1901-1919) 145

The Roaring Twenties (1920-1929) 146

The Depression and the New Deal (1929-1941) 146

World War II (1941-1945) 148

The Cold War (1945-1990) 150

The Civil Rights Movement (1954-present) 151

The Great Society and the Age of Protest (1960-1976) 153

Theoretical Frameworks of American Law 155

The Nature of Law 156

Adjudication Theories 157

The Goals of Law 158

Critical Theories 160

Chapter 7 Looking Beyond the First Year 163

Becoming a Lawyer 163

Being a Lawyer 168

What Lawyers Do 168

Counseling 169

Negotiating 169

Drafting 169

Navigating 170

Career Choices 170

Conclusion 175

Acknowledgments 177

Test Your Understanding: Answers and Analysis 179

Index 191

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