By Andy A. Edited by Lemon Law School
1L supplements are a great resource for understanding the material in your 1L courses and can frequently save you time and energy that could be spent on other assignments. Here is a complete list of supplements that I personally used during 1L that helped me reach the top 10% of my class. Some people find supplements more useful than others. Let’s take a look into what supplements you can potentially use and how you can effectively use them.
But before you dive into the list, here are a few frequently asked questions about supplements.
Do I have to use 1L course supplements?
No. Depending on who your professor is and how well you understand your casebook and lecture notes, you may not need to refer to supplements. Frequently, course supplements will provide more information than your professor covers. Nevertheless, many students take advantage of supplements to clarify or add context to class materials. When you are confused about the materials, you need to use any resource you can get your hands on until you understand the concept. I personally found that supplements did the job, but they should never be a substitute for your professor’s materials.
Could I just use an old outline to study instead of supplements?
An old outline from someone who has taken the class with the same professor can help you organize and memorize the black letter law. However, outlines vary in quality and you want to be sure that the author did well in the class before relying on it. A supplement, on the other hand, is edited and validated by a legal publication so it frequently provides a more reliable explanation of black letter law. Supplements also have the benefit of providing you with real questions and example hypotheticals that can be similar to the ones that will show up on your exam. They also accommodate alternative learning styles that your professor may not.
Will I get an A in my law school class if I use supplements?
Your supplement will only get you so far. That’s why they’re called supplements. What gets you an A or A+ is actually understanding the law, understanding how to apply it, listening to what your professors teach, and throwing in their own quotes and views on the law into your exam answer (e.g., my torts professor used to repeatedly say “between two innocent parties, the one who occasioned the harm should bear the cost” when discussing policy arguments behind certain case law).
How do I use a supplement?
During 1L, time is money and frequently a supplement can save you considerable time. However, how much and when you use it will be up to you. You definitely want to figure out a way to most effectively utilize your time and there are multiple ways to use a supplement. Some students prefer reading the supplement before each lecture to get a general idea, some prefer using the supplement only when they get confused about a concept, and some use the hypotheticals in supplements before the exam for additional practice. I explain how to use each supplement in the list below.
How do I decide which supplement to use or whether they will be useful to me?
First, ask your professor for recommendations. Frequently he or she will have an opinion on the matter and will expressly suggest one or two supplements. If that does not work, you need to analyze how your professor thinks about the law and look into their past exams to figure out whether or not your professor really likes talking about the policy arguments behind certain case law or if he has a favorite area of the law that he loves talking about. From there, hone in on any supplements which provide information on those areas.. If your professor has a multiple choice section on their exam, use supplements that focus on multiple choice questions like Glannon’s Guide.
What if my professor authored the supplement?
If your professor wrote the supplement themselves, then you should read it because everyone else will be. For instance, if you are taking Constitutional Law with Dean Chemerinsky (a constitutional law legend), you should read his Constitutional Law supplement (listed below).
Best 1L Supplements for Each Law School Course
And finally, here is the list of supplements I used for each 1L course and how to use them.
- Examples & Explanations: The Law of Torts by Joseph Glannon
- This is a very comprehensive supplement that you can turn to if you are having issues understanding a particular concept.
- Siegel’s Torts by Brian Siegel
- This book provides practice essay questions and multiple-choice questions. Use this a few weeks before your final exam.
- CrunchTime: Torts by Steven Emmanuel
- This is a commercial outline. I only used this as a reference for formatting and categorizing the concepts in my torts online.
Note: Your professor may teach your state’s criminal code. If they do, supplements don’t cover this topic. You need to learn your state’s law using other resources if you are having issues here (e.g., going to office hours, studying the casebook, discussing with your classmates).
- Sum and Substances Audio on Criminal Law by Joshua Dressler
- This is truly an amazing supplement. It’s a set of audio CDs that you can listen to any time. I was often confused by certain concepts in criminal law, but these CDs usually answered any questions I had.
- Understanding Criminal Law by Joshua Dressler
- Joshua Dressler truly knows how to teach this material. If you don’t want to buy the Sum and Substance CDs, you can refer to this book. It’s concise, yet comprehensive.
- CrunchTime: Criminal Law by Steven Emmanuel
- Great to use as a reference for constructing your outline.
- Examples & Explanations: Criminal Law by Richard Singer
- This is decent for doing practice questions and otherwise testing your knowledge. I didn’t use this supplement as much because I found Joshua Dressler’s supplements to be enough, but I want to include this E&E on this list in case you would happen to find it helpful. Everyone has different learning styles. Maybe this supplement fits yours.
- Acing Contracts by Susanne Darrow-Kleinhaus
- I think this is the best contracts supplement out there. In addition to explaining the different contractual concepts effectively, the author provides practice questions. She also provides an attack outline at the end of the book – use this formulate your own attack outline.
- CrunchTime: Contracts by Steven Emmanuel
- Great to use as a reference for your outline.
- Siegel’s Contracts by Brian Siegel
- Includes practice essay questions and multiple choice questions. Great to use a few weeks before the final exam.
- Concepts and Case Analysis in the Law of Contracts by Chirelstein
- Great digestion of contract theory and a short read.
- Gilbert Law Summaries on Property by James Krier
- One of the best supplements written for property. Great for learning black letter law and case law.
- Examples & Explanations: Property by Joseph Snoe
- Excellent resource for practicing short essay questions.
- Constitutional Law: Principles and Policy by Erwin Chemerisnky (always get the latest edition)
- This is an absolute 10/10 supplement. The author is currently the Dean of Berkeley Law. He explains the case law in great detail, which is why the book is so large. If your professor is using Chemerinsky’s Constitutional Law casebook, this supplement is directly keyed to that casebook. Every student taking constitutional law should have this book in their arsenal.
- Siegel’s Constitutional Law by Brian Siegel
- Great for practice questions a few weeks before finals.
Note: Always get the latest edition because the Federal Rules change often.
- Examples & Explanations: Civil Procedure by Joseph Glannon
- Highly recommend this supplement – this book is written as a treatise and provides many examples and explanations.
- Glannon’s Guide to Civil Procedure by Joseph Glannon
- This is another fantastic supplement by Joseph Glannon. This supplement contains practice multiple choice questions at the end of each chapter.
- Acing Civil Procedure by Benjamin Spencer
- Excellent supplement – it provides an attack outline at the end of the book (which basically teaches you how to answer an exam question). Use this as a reference to formulate your own attack outline.
- CrunchTime: Civil Procedure by Steven Emmanuel
- Use this as a reference for formatting and organizing your outline.
- Siegel’s Civil Procedure by Brian Siegel
- Use this to practice exam questions a few weeks before your finals.