Guide to Free Law School Outlines, Supplements, and Study Aids
There is certainly no shortage of study aids and supplements for law school courses on the market, but finding high quality free study aids can be difficult. The following seven resources can provide valuable reinforcement of the concepts and material covered in your law school courses, particularly the required 1L curriculum.
Persuasive Authority is not affiliated with any of the organizations or products discussed below.
The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (“CALI”) provides free lessons, e-books, and podcasts on a huge variety of legal topics. Some of the lessons are as good as, if not better than any commercially available study aid. Membership is required, but the account is free to students at most U.S. law schools. See here for more information or check with your law library to obtain a password.
Themis Bar Review Law School Essentials™
While Themis is decidedly not a non-profit corporation like CALI above, they do offer free video lectures and outlines to law students. The outlines are available online and are actually very good. Their video lectures also very good but are somewhat lacking in aesthetic appeal. The videos are broken up into roughly fifteen minute blocks followed by several multiple-choice questions. You must create a free account with Themis to access the materials.
OutlineDepot.com operates a free outline exchange system. You upload your outline and receive one credit that you can use to download another outline in their database. Credits are also available for purchase at a price of $12.99. Free registration is required. Although a little legwork is required up front (formatting and uploading your previous outlines), it can pay off—particularly for classes for which keyed commercial outlines are unavailable. The selection of outlines is good and getting better. The turnaround time for granting credits for uploaded outlines can be up to three weeks in my experience so plan ahead if you want the outlines in time for finals.
LexisNexis Area of Law Outlines
Most law students at accredited U.S. law schools probable have access to LexisNexis. These outlines are good, mostly to the point, and provide citations to the relevant cases, statutes, rules, or restatements. They are available for constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, property, torts, and trusts and estates. The outlines are also available in Word format, which allows you to make changes and customize as desired.
Black Letter Law Outlines from West
These are commercial outlines from the Black Letter Law series made available for free by Westlaw. The six major 1L courses are free and they are definitely worth a look.
This one should really be no surprise to anyone. Your law school s library likely has an extensive collection of commercial outlines, study aids, and treatises on reserve. You may also want to search the catalog for audio lectures from the Sum Substance or Law School Legends series. Even if you can t check these materials out for extended periods of time you will be able to look up points of law that are unclear or at least be able to preview the supplements before purchasing your own copy.
Life of a Law Student
Life of a Law Student is a great collection of free podcasts created by law students in order [t]o make as much legal knowledge and information freely available, to as many people, in as many ways, as is possible! They cover the basic first year classes and a few others as well. The format of the podcasts ranges from almost stream-of-consciousness recaps of classes to more organized lecture style reviews. You can listen to the podcasts on their website or subscribe to them through iTunes.
4LAWSCHOOL has a large collection of case briefs and outlines available for free. The case briefs can be particularly helpful in the cold call heavy first year courses.