Before I get into my embarrassing/frustrating story of buying my law school textbooks, getting my class schedule and book list was super exciting! For those that don’t know, you don’t have a choice in what classes you take in your oneL year or what times they will be at. I for one was anxiously hoping that I wouldn’t end up getting stuck with a bad professor, or a class that goes until 7 PM on a Friday (which I just discovered is a thing that exists at my school for OneLs). Fortunately, I’m pretty happy with my schedule so far!
This semester I’ll be taking four classes: Contracts, Torts, Civil Procedure, and Legal Writing. While it should be fairly obvious what Contracts and Legal Writing will be about (one is about contracts and the other about legally writing), the others may not be so clear to people unfamiliar with the law. I certainly didn’t know what Torts was before this summer. In Wikipedia’s words:
Tort: A wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability.
Civil Procedure: Body of law that sets out the rules and standards that courts follow when adjudicating civil lawsuits (as opposed to procedures in criminal law matters)
I don’t know if torts or civil procedure excites you, but I’M STOKED. None of my classes are too early or too late in the day and the Internet seems to like my professors – so far so good!
Now, on to my book buying fiasco. To begin, law school books are expensive, although this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. On average, new casebooks cost close to $300 each. In total, I had to buy three casebooks, and various other supplemental readings, citation guides, and legal writing guidebooks. Thankfully, used books exist. Although your first instinct may be to order everything you can off of Amazon, I recommend going to the bookstore first (and as soon as you get your list). Being one of the first people getting their books, I had access to used casebooks with no writing or highlighting in them. I regret ordering a few of my books online first because the perfectly nice used copies and rental options at the store were even cheaper! Moral of the story is – get yourself to that bookstore early.
Although I was lucky to get most of my books at a cheaper price, my book-buying process did not go smoothly. The book requirements for one of my classes is SO CONFUSING. To this day, I’m still not sure if I know all the required texts for this class. As a result, I ended up ordering two books on Amazon which I thought were different books from the ones I bought in the bookstore. When I opened the shipment, I realized that I had just spent close to $400 on books I ALREADY HAD.
Not only did I feel like an idiot for ordering duplicates of my textbooks, but I mixed up my Amazon books with the store-bought ones. Before I could return the Amazon books, I had to return to the bookstore to figure out which ones were which. Considering that book-buying is one of the simpler tasks in law school, it is not looking so great for me so far. Emily: 0 Law School: 1
While I’m brushing off the failure of my previous task, it is on the next one! I may have bought most of my required books (one more to go!), but in law school that is simply not enough. Based on the advice I’ve gotten so far, commercial outlines (like Sparknotes but for law school casebooks) are important supplemental study aids. Now I just have to do my research and figure out which ones are the best for my courses!
Thanks for reading once again! 14 days and counting ’till the first day.