by Henry Alderfer, 1L
CALI: Computer Assisted Learning Instruction
The CALI exercises are a great way to study contracts that doesn’t require you to stare at text for hours at a time – or at least lets you change windows and go surf the web for a few minutes if you get bored. These electronic exercises are put on by the people who sponsor the award for the best grade in your course, so at least they have credibility.
I used the CALI exercises last semester to prep for civil procedure and they did help tremendously. However, I wouldn’t really expect much from them in terms of outlining. They’re more suitable for hypo practice. That said: your mileage may vary.
Randy E. Barnett
KF801 .B37 2010
Oxford Introductions to U.S. Law
If you have Professor Oman, this is particularly relevant to you. The author of this supplement is also the author of the casebook for Oman’s section, so this is actually quite helpful as it matches up perfectly to the casebook. It has the exact same table of contents as the casebook, with the only difference being it’s 250 words, rather than several thousand. This is definitely a good supplement to consult before class discussion as it is basically the “Cliffsnotes” for the casebook written by the author himself. It also provides a neat structure for constructing an outline geared to the casebook. I think combined with a more comprehensive outlining supplement and perhaps a few hypotheticals (which aren’t very prevalent in this supplement) you could adequately prepare for the exam.
KF801 .Z9 D2 2010
If you’re all about checklists, this is the perfect supplement for you. While it shoots par for the course (sorry about the golf metaphor, but I’m on a Tiger Woods kick right now) on most supplement highlights (explanations, hypotheticals, outlining), the one place this book truly excels is it’s checklist formation. Basically, if you like to approach your exam questions by going through a flowchart or checklist, then this book will essential give you everything you need. It has a checklist for literally every possible topic covered by your contracts class. I actually like the checklist method, so this is one that I’m definitely going to revisit closer to exam time.
Contracts Lectures on CD
KF801.Z9 E34 2005 AUDIO
Law School Legends Series
The Law School Legends series is basically the same thing as the BarBri lectures, except you get just the audio. If you’re unfamiliar with the BarBri system (full disclosure: I work for BarBri), it’s basically a professor (this one is from SMU) lecturing for five hours about summary rules on contract law. Granted, you aren’t going to get the full contracts experience by relying solely on a five-hour audio lecture when you are likely putting in hundreds of hours of studying your casebook over the course of a semester, but hey – it’s not that bad. It’s also a nice way to study without having to read. You could potentially put this on at night before you doze off into slumber-land and learn contracts through hypnosis, but I wouldn’t count on it.
A Short & Happy Guide to Contracts
David G. Epstein, Bruce A. Markell, and Lawrence Ponoroff
KF801 .Z9 E673 2012
You like big pictures? This is a big picture book in a small font, small page package. You like policy explanations and historical background? This book has loads of policy explanations and historical background. It even has a few flowcharts. If you have no idea what’s going on in your contracts class, this is probably a good place to start to get an idea of what’s going on. While it’s not quite as efficient as Gilbert’s outline supplement, it does give you a more holistic perspective on contract law. It even has a few jokes. I am not kidding when I say I smiled very slightly while reading about contractual obligations, which for me is a monumental achievement. I don’t think this is the most efficient book ever written for exam preparation or outlining, but if you need something to help you get the big picture, this is a decent option. You may even smile very slightly (once or twice, at most).
Starting Off Right in Contracts (2nd ed.)
Carolyn J. Nygren
KF801 .Z9 N8 1998
Starting Off Right Series
This is a solid supplement for prepping for exams. It basically covers all the bases in a concise, easy-to-read format. It helps in four ways: (1) it will give you sample outlines so that you don’t have to stress about starting your own, (2) you can learn techniques to analyze fact patterns efficiently for contract law, (3) it will suggest how to organize exam answers, and (4) provides hypotheticals so you can practice exam writing. The outlines aren’t the most comprehensive in the world, but they are sufficient for a power outline on exam day. I actually really liked this supplement because of its accessibility; it almost reads like a TA prepared it. It would have been nice to known about this since the beginning of the semester, but I suppose it would help at the midway point regardless. My only caveat is that this supplement is 15 years old, so it’s not the most current supplement out there.
Contracts (14th ed.)
Melvin A. Eisenberg
KF801 .Z9 R83 2002
Gilbert Law Summaries
Outlines, outlines, outlines! Step right up and get the world’s most exhaustive contracts outline in Gilbert’s contracts summary. This thing pretty much distills all of the long, convoluted cases you’ve read over the course of the semester into pure rules. Of course, rules aren’t neatly applicable to every hypothetical, but it does give you what you need to know out of each case. Furthermore, it’s keyed to a variety of contracts casebooks (not including the Barnett casebook, unfortunately) so you can easily track the rules to your reading. Just don’t expect too much explanation or rationale for the rules; you won’t find that here. There are some nice flowcharts and tables if you’re into that kind of thing. There are a few scattered examples though to help you learn how to apply all the rules to situations, usually cases we’ve read (such as that ruffian from Hamer v. Sidway).
The Glannon Guide to Contracts
Theodore Silver, Stephen Hochberg
KF801.Z9 S49 2013
The Glannon Guide to Contracts is a pretty straightforward supplement that gives you a comprehensive summary of the course. It uses simple illustrations to demonstrate complex contractual concepts (sorry for the alliteration) in a user-friendly way. They start off each topic with a hypothetical to demonstrate the legal problem, and then explain the contract rule to show how it solves the problem. They also address many misconceptions about contracts to lead you down the right path. There are plenty of multiple choice questions to help gear you up to identify problems on an exam. Overall, this is a very comprehensive supplement which should serve you well if you read it in conjunction with your class notes (because of course your mileage with your contracts professor may vary). This is also the newest edition (2013), so you can be assured you’re not missing out on any exciting new developments in contract law! Be aware, however, that some poor soul on Amazon gave this book only one out of five stars. However, I considering he was the only person in the entire world who took the time and effort to write a review of this supplement (besides me, of course), I don’t think his viewpoint accurately represents of the book’s quality.
Questions & Answers: Contracts
Keith A. Rowley
KF801 .Z9 R69 2006
Questions and Answers Series
If you’ve ever read a CrunchTime review, you know what to expect here – and that’s a good thing. Emanuel’s guides are unique for a few reasons. First, they begin with flowcharts that serve as a checklist for identifying key distinctions (i.e. does contract fall under Statute of Frauds). The majority of the book is a blend of outline, review, and hypothetical questions. The formula is extremely useful for learning the material quickly. It may be a little light in review, but you’ll cover 90% of the distance and you’ll do it much faster than with other guides. CrunchTime also includes a respectable bank of review questions with answers and explanations. Emanuel’s CrunchTime is one of the leaders in legal study supplements and with good reason. Page for page it’s about as efficient as you can get.