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UC Berkeley School of Law Library UC Berkeley School of Law Library BerkeleyLaw Library

Study Aids: Introduction

Electronic Study Aids

The Law Library subscribes to most study aids series both in print and online.  Almost every major legal publisher puts out one or more series of study aids, and with a few exceptions, they are available electronically.

LexisNexis Digital Library study aids:  access the Understanding Series and Questions and Answers Series through the LexisNexis Digital Library by selecting it from the Database list on the Law Library's home page.  Login with your Calnet ID and Passphrase, and select the Study Aids collection. 

West Academic Study Aids Online and on Streaming Audio:  You have online access to all of the West study aids through West Academic Study Aids. Over 500 of West's titles including Hornbooks, Nutshells, Gilbert's and Black Letter outlines series, Law Stories Series, Acing Series, and Career Guides are available in full text. You can also listen to lectures from West's two audio study aids series, Sum and Substance and Law School Legends by streaming them from the West Academic site. A short video on the site will get you started. Create your own account to highlight, take notes, download, and print. Study Aids in this guide available on the West Academic Study Aids site are indicated with a "WEST STUDY AID" link.
Note: Browsers configured to use the proxy will give an error message such as Proxy Server Refused Connection when you try to access a resource URL that starts with https (e.g, West Academic Study Aids). If you encounter this error, access a different resource whose URL does NOT begin with https (such as HeinOnline). You will be prompted to log into the proxy. After you've logged in, access the West Academic Study Aids again. Subsequent access to https resources within the same browser session should not trigger this error.

Aspen Learning Library: This  study aid package includes the popular Examples & Explanations series. Aspen Learning Library can be accessed through the Databases section of the Law Library website, or directly here. Set up a user account with your Berkeley student email address to access a host of helpful exam resources. 

Quimbee:  This Study Aids site provides access to over 10,000 searchable case briefs written by experts.  Quimbee also has outlines, an outlining tool, on-demand videos, practice questions with answer explanations, practice exams, and model answers among other tools. Information on accessing Quimbee and settiing up your own account is available at this link:


Bloomberg Law:  The Law School Course Resources section of the Bloomberg database includes resources for First Year Courses, Advanced Courses, Legal Writing and Research Courses as well as advice on "How to Outline", "How to Use Study Guides" and a selection of short video tutorials and training webinars.  Registration is required to access Bloomberg Law.

CALI:  Computer Assisted Legal Instruction:  CALI produces a series of online lessons covering over 30 legal topics including sections on 1L through upper level 2L and 3L courses.  Registration is required.


Study Aids!  We have them - what are they and why use them?


What are Study Aids?

Study aids are introductory texts that explain various topics of law in a straightforward, narrative manner.  They include the Nutshells, Examples & Explanations and Understanding Series as well as Outlines with practice questions.  As mentioned above, almost every major legal publisher puts out at least one series of study aids.  Hornbooks and treatises provide more through, detailed examinations of the law.

Why Use Study Aids?

Study aids help you prepare for class and exams.  They review and reinforce class instruction, they compliment your own reading, class preparation and outlining.  You may want to ask you professors for specific recommendations.  Your classmates and the reference librarians may also have additional suggestions for supplementary reading.

What Study Aids are Available at the Law Library?

This guide focuses on the study aids covering Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Contracts, Property, Torts and Legal Research & Writing.  However there are many additional study aids for most subjects taught in law school.  They are available online, accessible through the Law Library's database list and in the Library's Reserves Collection  in print. You can find them by searching Lawcat, our online catalog, by subject, series, or call number. 

You also have access to Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) — an interactive computer-based lessons. CALI is available online.  If you would like to use CALI, logon with your CalNet ID and follow the registration instructions.

For examples of exams given by Berkeley Law professors in previous semesters, see the Library's exam database.

Does the Library have Study Aids in print as well as online?

Current editions of all print study aids are in the Reserve Collection and can be checked out for 4 hour library use.  Older editions of Nutshell Series are in the stacks and can be checked out.  This guide indicates "Location:Stacks" for those few treatises listed that are not in the Reserve Collection. 


Using LawCat to Find Study Aids

You may browse the Law Library's collection of Study Aids by coming to the Reserve Collection, or to view a list of many of the commonly used study aids, search LawCat for the call number "study aids":

study aids

Study Aids by Series


Nutshells (West)

West Publishing's Nutshells provide concise narrative explanations of the major doctrines in each substantive area of law. They offer a good introduction to key concepts and legal terminology and jargon.

Understanding Series (LexisNexis)

The Understanding Series is available on the LexisNexis Digital Library.  They also provide concise explanations of the basic contours of particular areas of law, they tend to be more extensive than the Nutshells and include more references to cases.

Examples & Explanations (Aspen Learning Library)

A popular series, the E&E texts are one of several study aid series included in the Aspen Learning Library.  They describe doctrine and add hypotheticals and questions to check your understanding.                                                                                                                                              

Commericial Outlines

Emanuel Law Outlines (Aspen Learning Library), Gilbert Law Summaries (West) and Black Letter Outlines (West) are topic-specific outlines suitable for use when preparing for exams. They can also aid you in your own outlining for class.  Most outlines are "keyed" to particular casebooks and provide an introductory table which cross references casebook pages to the respective outline sections.

Exam Prep

Siegel’s .  Available only in print at the Reserve Desk.  Questions and answers – essay and multiple choice.

Hornbooks (West)

Hornbooks are explanatory texts that address the major questions in the areas of law that are taught in law school.  They often provide answers and explanations to some of the questions presented by your casebooks.

Legal Treatises

This guide includes some of the major treatises that cover first-year subjects. These vary in quality and authority, but all offer a detailed examination of their respective areas of law. They can be useful both for explanation and for further research.

Audio Study Aids - Lectures and Courses

Link to two audio lecture series by experts covering a range of legal topics on the West Academic Study Aids site. Find the Sum and Substance and Law School Legends series under the "Series" pull down menu.  Aspen Learning Library provides access to the In Other Words Audio Series

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