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Getting oriented to law school
Last Updated: Jan 8, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

The Law School Experience Print Page

Books on Law School Success

Cover Art
Law School Revealed - Ursu Furi-Perry
ISBN: 9781593576165
Publication Date: 2009-06-01

Cover Art
Demystifying the First Year - Binder
ISBN: 9780735584495
Publication Date: 2009-09-17

Cover Art
Acing Your First Year of Law School - Shana Connell Noyes; Henry S. Noyes
ISBN: 0837709121
Publication Date: 1999-01-01

Cover Art
Expert Learning for Law Students - Michael Hunter Schwartz
ISBN: 1594601135
Publication Date: 2005-06-01


Getting Oriented to Law School

This guide is intended to help new law students get oriented to law school and identify study materials for first year classes.

Some things to keep in mind:

1) Check out study materials at the Reserve Desk to see what works for you.  If you decide you like a resource and want your own copy, look for a used copy online.

2) Some recommended study aids:

  • Hornbooks - Hornbooks are one volume legal treatises written primarily for law students and covering typical law school classes.  They summarize and explain points of law, as opposed to casebooks, which provide edited cases.  Hornbooks can be used to supplement casebooks.
  • Nutshells (West's Law in a Nutshell Series) You can think of these books as a succinct statement of the black letter law.  "Don't let their small size fool you: West's Law in a Nutshell series represents succint yet comprehensive overview of the law in over a hundred different legal areas. Nutshells have a loyal following who swear by their easy-to-understand treatment of the law, and they are a great illustration that learning the law doesn't have to be dry and confusing."
  • Questions and Answers - This series uses multiple choice and short answer questions to test your knowledge.
  • Examples and Explanations - This series allows you to test your knowledge by applying legal concepts to hypotheticals.

The Basics


Academic Support

Resources from The Law School Academic Success Project

The following multimedia lessons can be viewed from your computer. They were created for The Law School Academic Success Project by expert legal educators to help law students and pre-law students like you succeed.

Legal Dictionaries





Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) is a a nonprofit consortium of nearly every US law school that welcomes membership from law schools, paralegal programs, law firms, individuals, or any organization that wishes to learn or teach the law.

CALI offers lessons on many law school topics, and many students find it to be a valuable study aid.

CALI offers free e-books, including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence.

CALI also awards the highest scoring student in each law school class at many law schools with a CALI Excellence for the Future Award®.

About half of CALI’s 200 member law schools distribute CALI Awards, and most of them post award recipients here.  You can view Massachusetts School of Law CALI Award winners here.

Ask at the Reserve Desk for a CALI Registration Code, or email a member of the library staff.  We also have a limited number of cds that contain the library of CALI lessons at the Reserve Desk, where you may request a copy.  Once you have the code, click on Register in the top right corner of the page at to register the code and create your own username and password.

Subject Guide

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Mary Kilpatrick

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