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How to Use Study Aids

Welcome to the wonderful land of Study Aids!
[Average time to read: 5 minutes]

If you're new to law school or law-related study aids, you are in the right place! If you're not new, you're still in the right place, especially if you never received instruction on study aids. The time it takes to read this short introduction to study aids will more than pay off later, maybe even later today, because it will give you a much stronger understanding of study aids and how/when/why to use them.  

Should you use a study aid? It depends! Do you want to improve and deepen your understanding of a subject? Did you read your casebook or textbook and fail to clearly grasp a concept or judicial opinion? Are you looking for essay, short answer, or multiple-choice questions to test your newly acquired knowledge? Based on your learning style, does it help you to learn about the same concept or subject from multiple sources? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then study aids are for you! Even if you didn't answer yes, they're still probably for you, you just don't know it yet!

What is a study aid? Broadly, a study aid is anything—beyond your brain and the assigned text—that helps you with studying and understanding your assignments. For some people, that might be comfy socks. Or Wikipedia. Or exercise. Or pen and paper. Or listening to dubstep. And while those can be important, what we're focusing on here are informational study aids. That means textual or multimedia materials specifically designed for law students (or lawyers) to use to supplement their academic studies.

Where do I get a study aid? There are a LOT of choices out there! Most academic or large bookstores will have them available for purchase, as will publishers, if you would like to have a personal copy. Older editions can often be found at bargain rates, but you run the risk of those resources containing outdated legal principles. Further, if you want to get one or two study aids for each class you are in, that cost is going to add up quickly. Luckily, both the UBalt Law Library and the UBalt Law Office of Academic Success have resources available to help mitigate those costs.

Digital: The first two resources we offer our law students are digital study aids accessible through our databases, West Academic Study Aids and Aspen Learning Library, links to which can be found below. Both of these databases contain free-to-you digital versions of the latest editions of popular—and proven—study aids. Some materials in those collections are also offered in audio or video format, and/or have digital quizzes.

Print: Prefer items in print? The Law Library's Reference/Reserve collection, located on the 7th Floor (the Reading Room left of Circulation), consists of course reserves, reference materials, and other heavily-used items, including study aids! You are welcome to use the materials in the Reading Room or to check them out on an hourly basis. The Academic Success Resource Library—located on the 5th floor near Room 544—is available to current law students who are welcome to check out any book for a period of a few days, relying on the honor system. Regardless of where you borrow a print study aid from, and particularly for materials that have study questions/quizzes, please think of the other students and do not write in the book! 

Which study aid should I use? There are often many study aids to choose among for each subject, especially for common law school courses. Not all study aids are equally useful, nor are they one size fits all. The study aids that you choose should be ones that you are willing to use and that you find the most helpful for learning the relative material. Some prefer the humor and brevity that is common with Short & Happy materials; others might prefer the systematic approach of Examples & Explanations, also known as E&Es, and the related multiple-choice questions they provide that tests your newly acquired knowledge. Still others might prefer the extreme level of depth and detail offered by a hornbook or treatise—a hornbook or treatise is a material that focuses on one topic, or subtopic, and does so very thoroughly. A treatise might be exactly what a 2L or 3L—or practicing lawyer or law professor—needs, but it could potentially confuse a 1L. If you need help in selecting a study aid that is both relevant to your subject and accessible for your knowledge level and you do not find this guide to be helpful—analysis paralysis is real!—don't hesitate to ask a Law Librarian or the Office of Academic Success to help you select the right material for your task.


Law Library Physical Study Aids
7th Floor, Reading Room

Office of Academic Success
Academic Success Resource Library

Law Library Reference Desk: | 410.837.4559
Current-edition print study aids are located in the 7th Floor Reading Room, located immediately to the left of the Circulation Desk.

Director of Academic Success:
Prof. Marta Baffy  | |  410.837.6370
Resource Library is located on the 5th Floor, near Room 544.


Library-Provided Digital Study Aids

UBalt Law Library's provides access to digital study aids that can be used by current law students, faculty, and staff. That means that once a student graduates, they will no longer be able to access any of these materials, including the bar prep materials.
Using the links below will allow you to access these resources through our proxy URLs.

What is a proxy/proxy URL? A proxy URL is just a technical way of saying that a URL (a web link) has been configured to check whether a computer has permission to access the website/database located at that URL. Proxy URLs are used for any databases that are limited to specific users, such as those with UBalt or UBalt Law credentials. If you are on a campus internet connection you will barely notice the proxy. If you are not using a campus internet connection you may be prompted by the proxy server to enter your UBalt netID; that's a technical way of saying the computer is acting like a bouncer trying to verify your age before letting you into a bar or club (the database)—instead of giving a bouncer an ID card, you need to provide the proxy server with your UBalt netID. Once you do, you should have no issues! Note, some databases do require you to login using on-campus internet for the first time.

Popular Study Aids

Quick Reference to Popular Study Aid Titles

Series Titles General Description When to use during the semester? Located in which database?
Casenote Legal Briefs Expert case studies and analyses and quicknote definitions of legal terms help you prepare for class discussion.  Early Aspen
Emanuel® Law Outlines Comprehensive coverage of the topics, cases, and black letter law with Quiz Yourself, Essay Q&A, and Exam Tips to help you craft your outline Early


Examples & Explanations (E&Es) A favorite classroom prep tool that offers hypothetical questions complemented by detailed explanations that allow you to test your knowledge of the topics in your courses and compare your own analysis. Early Aspen
High Court Case Summaries®

Written to present the essential facts, issue, decision and rationale for each case in a clear, concise manner. While prepared briefs can never substitute for the insight gained by actually reading a case, these briefs will help readers to identify, understand, and absorb the core “take away” knowledge from each case. Briefs are followed by a useful legal analysis, which provides extra tips and contextual background about each case, connecting the case to the broader concepts being developed throughout the casebook. Also supplies case vocabulary, which defines new or unusual legal words found throughout the cases. Finally, to enhance the reader’s recall, there is a corresponding memory graphic for each brief that portrays an entertaining visual representation of the relevant facts or law of the case.

Early West Academic

Legalines gives reliable, detailed briefs of every major case in the keyed casebook. Provides a clear explanation of facts, the issues, the court's holding and reasoning, and any significant concurrences or dissents. Also has an explanation of the significance of each case, and how it relates to other cases in your casebook. Each has a detailed table of cases, to help you quickly find any case or concept you're looking for. Also has summaries of the black letter law as well.

Early West Academic
Concepts and Insights Series®

Narrative-style overview of the law. Explains doctrine, but does not offer questions/answers.

Early West Academic
Concise Hornbook Series™ Narrative-style overview of the law. Explains doctrine, but does not offer questions/answers. Early West Academic
Hornbook Series® Narrative-style overview of the law. Explains doctrine, but does not offer questions/answers. Less concise.  Early West Academic
Jumpstart Series Study aid series covering first-year course areas. Each title is a short book, ~170 pages, that addresses a problem students experience as they navigate their first year courses. Early-Mid Aspen
The Glannon Guides Straightforward explanations of complex legal topics, with hypotheticals interspersed to illustrate application. Mid


Inside Series Readable and concise study guides that offer clear explanations of course material while providing additional insight to reinforce student understanding of key concepts and rules. Mid Aspen
In Other Words Audio & Video Series Video and audio lectures written and presented by a law professor or legal practitioner to provide additional explanation of specific legal topics. Mid Aspen
Black Letter Series® Outlines summarizing the black-letter rules. Helps students understand how course materials fit together. Good for preparing for classes and as a review aid for studying for exams. Each has a glossary and sample examination questions and answers. Late/Exam Period West Academic
Gilbert Law Summaries®

Primarily an outline resource; includes short essay and Y/N questions.

Late/Exam Period West Academic
Quick Reviews

(By Sum & Substance). Primarily a “quick review” resource; subjects include practice questions with answers.

Late/Exam Period West Academic
Nutshell Series®

Narrative-style overviews for nearly all law school subjects. No prep questions.

Late/Exam Period West Academic
Short & Happy Guides®

Narrative-style overviews of the law. Very accessible and readable. Often humorous. No prep questions.

Late/Exam Period West Academic
Law Stories Series® Provides true back stories to select landmark cases, highlighting the legal importance of the specific cases, while expounding upon the concepts illustrated and contextualizing them within the greater body of law. Late/Exam Period West Academic
Acing Series®  Primarily a checklist resource; short questions & answers are included. Late/Exam Period West Academic
Exam Pro® Series Some titles provide multiple choice questions and answers, and others essay questions and answers. Late/Exam Period West Academic
Law School Legends Audio Series

With Law School Legends, students get a law school professor explaining an entire subject in a simple audio lecture format. Helps students understand the big picture and how all the concepts fit together. Format varies slightly by title/professor.

Late/Exam Period West Academic
Sum and Substance Audio Series

Narrative-style overviews in an audio lecture format. No prep questions.

Late/Exam Period West Academic
Friedman’s Practice Each title is keyed to exam preparation with real law school essay exams, model answers, multiple-choice questions, and academic analysis, and offers students insights into writing essay exams in core courses. Late/Exam Period Aspen
Emanuel® CrunchTime Study more efficiently with flowcharts and capsule summaries of major points of law, exam tips for identifying common traps, and sample exams and essay questions with model answers to prepare yourself for exams. Late/Exam Period