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1L Survival Guide - Library Resources: Study Guides

Get all the info about library resources that will help you have a successful first year of law school.

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To locate more study guides, enter keywords for your subject area in the search box below and click "Search."  You can limit results to law materials only by choosing "Law Library."
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What Are Study Guides?

Study guides are books and other materials that can assist you with studying for an exam or can help you understand a topic.  There are many different types of legal study guides available (see box below).  In the LRC, current study guides are behind the circulation desk on reserve and can be checked out in the library for 2 hours.

Study guides are secondary authority and, in general, should not be cited in memoranda, briefs, etc.  You can use them to clarify, explain or outline a particular legal topic, but you should always check with a reputable primary source to ensure accuracy, currency, completeness, etc.

This guide provides lists of study guides for first year classes, including Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, and Torts.  Hover over the Study Guides tab and choose the subject you are interested in learning more about.

Types of Study Guides

There are many different types of study guides out there.  Here are some that we have in the LRC:

Example & Explanations

This series provides a question and answer type format to help you study, review and test your understanding in numerous subjects.  The hypothetical questions are followed by detailed explanations and analysis.  Limited primary source citations.


These books provide a concise summary of the legal topic in narrative form.  These materials are a great quick reference guide when you need an overview of a particular topic.  Limited case references.


Hornbooks are usually a single volume text covering one specific legal topic.  The coverage is detailed and includes commentary and analysis, as well as references to primary sources.

Black Letter Outlines

Provides outlines of the basic principles and issues of a legal subject.  These are good to review when preparing for class or when studying for an examination.  No citations to primary sources.

Understanding Series

This series provides concise, yet comprehensive and detailed analysis of particular areas of the law.  Citations to primary sources are included.