Supplements: To use
or not to use? That is
the question



You’ve arrived in a new country where you don’t speak the language.

First thing you need are tools to understand the signs, words and customs of the people you will meet. Believe it or not, you need strategy and tools to understand the norms and language of the law, too.

That’s where supplements come in. Supplements are great tools to translate the law and come in many different forms. Now, how you want to use supplements depends on you.

Case Briefs

Learning a new language.

The legal language is brand new to you and can be tricky. You will spend a large portion of your first year – and the early years of your practice – reading case law. Case briefs are a helpful way of translating this new language as you are learning it. In practice, they will also save you a ton of time. If you want to save some dough, you can always pull up a case on Westlaw and look at our Headnotes to know more now.

Professional Supplements

The jury is out.

Opinion varies. Some think they’re fantastic, others say, “Commercial outlines [professional supplements] might profile different cases than your casebook and that’s information you don’t need for your class.” But you’ll soon learn that lawyers are, by design, risk averse and casebook selections gravitate toward the mean. Your Civil Procedure class is not going to skip International Shoe, people. And commercial outlines — if not used as a crutch — synthesize the key information from the cases.

Explore the Guide

Looking for something else?
Why not explore these other topics in the Law School Survival Guide.