Legal Education Blogs

Posts from Law Students, Professors, and Attorneys

Becoming a Lawyer

Over the course of my first two years of law school, my beginning of the semester preparation changed drastically. As a 0L about to begin my 1L year, I had no idea what to expect and where to begin. I started by buying study aids and I tried to read about the various subjects I would soon be learning. But, this was a very short-lived experiment. I had no basis whatsoever to start learning about the law, nor did I have the patience at that point in time. Next, I attempted the “tried and true” case briefing method, as emphasized by professors, to fully develop my class preparation skills. However, I likewise failed to sustain this practice for longer than a week. Eventually, I simply began underlining and making notes in the margins of the book that summarized each section.

Beyond preparing for class, the beginning of the semester marks an important time to begin organizing your notes for what will eventually become your final exam outline. In this respect, I failed—horribly. I was told to start “outlining” early on during orientation; however, I did not know what an outline was, let alone what to put in it. To make matters worse, I did not use a computer for any of my class preparation or in-class note taking.

At this point, you are probably wondering, why does any of this matter? Well, these relatively minor preparation methods snowballed by the end of the semester. First, a week before exams, I had done nothing to prepare my outline. My first attempt at creating one came during the few days before the exam period began. Second, my semester long practice of taking handwritten notes and not using a computer meant that I still had to transfer everything to my computer to create a concise, readable outline. Consequently, I spent any free study days before exams churning through pages of notes in lieu of quizzing myself or taking practice exams. Ultimately, everything worked out, but I did not learn from my mistakes until a year later when I finally began using my computer in conjunction with handwritten note taking.

My second semester of 1L year was more efficient. By then, I knew what exams were like, and I had enough variety of teaching styles to quickly adjust my methods within the first few weeks of class. Nonetheless, I continued to save my outlining until the very end of the semester. However, I got quicker at doing it. The transition from 1L to 2L is not greatly significant in terms of preparation, but it is critical to plan ahead considering the added extracurricular responsibilities: e.g. journals, club leadership, and moot court. As I mentioned, my most drastic change came in the second semester of 2L year where I began bringing my computer to class and transferring my handwritten notes on an almost daily basis. I can’t say if this substantially affected my exam performance, but it certainly improved my sanity and stress-levels leading up to exams.

Overall, the beginning of each semester is a clean slate. How you tackle it can greatly determine your semester’s ease or difficulty. I made things more difficult than they had to be my first year, but I made improvements over time to my methods of preparing for class and exams. The moral of the story is that your preparatory habits will change as you figure out what works. The biggest changes will likely occur between your first and second semesters. But, if you already know how you best operate, do not change; instead, adapt, and remember the semester is a marathon and you need to keep your eye on the finish line, not just the mile markers.

Legal Education @ WK

I am very pleased to announce an expansion of the ways that law students will be able to purchase access to our popular CasebookConnect website, which we launched last summer under the aegis of the Connected Casebook program. Until now, CasebookConnect access has been available only in conjunction with a rental book. Starting in fall 2015, all formats of titles in the program – rental and other formats – will include access to for no additional cost. 

Before I outline the new purchase options, I’d like to give an overview about CasebookConnect and share some of the market reaction to the website, gathered from surveys and customer interviews we have conducted over the past year.


CasebookConnect has three main components:

  • A richly functional ebook version of the casebook, allowing students to take notes in the margin, highlight text in up to six colors, search the full text of the textbook, and more
  • A powerful study center, containing hundreds of explanations, videos, exercises, and assessment questions drawn from WK’s library of study aids (including Examples & Explanations, Glannon Guides, and Emanuel products), collectively helping students develop a strong understanding of complex topics from the casebook
  • An efficient outlining tool, allowing students to build on their ebook notes and highlights to rapidly construct their own semester-long outlines

In aggregate, the tools we have designed in CasebookConnect are intended to help every law student—regardless of their incoming level of preparedness—succeed in even the most challenging law school classes.


You can read more about the features and goals of the website at

During our survey process this past year, we asked students how useful they found each individual feature in the website, as well as the website as a whole. Here is what students had to say about CasebookConnect:


“This was one of the best experiences I've had with a casebook. . . . The ebook was really easy to use and made my finals so much easier with the notes and highlighting being transferred to a running outline.”

—Jason K., Law Student


“It allows me to always have my book with me, and not to have to lug a huge book to school all the time. It's also easy to copy and paste text into my notes, and that makes briefing case and keeping up with outlining much easier. I hope to use it for other textbooks.”

—Kaitlin W., Law Student


“Well organized. Loved all the different angles and opportunities to reinforce what I learned during reading and through the study center.”

—Cindy C., Law Student


“It was really handy to have the book online and a physical copy. I go to school in NYC and commuting with a heap of books is the last thing I want to do, but being able to read the textbook at home and leave my books at school was great.”

—Andrew N., Law Student


Overall, law students who used the product this past academic year have consistently found CasebookConnect to be an extremely useful and effective tool. In fact, the major critiques we have consistently heard from students are:

  • Why can’t I have a website like this for all of my books?
  • Why can’t I buy this website along with a non-rental book?

Today I am pleased to announce that we are responding to both of these needs. In today’s post, I will focus on the second.  (I will address the first in a subsequent post.)

Beginning in July, students will now be able to purchase CasebookConnect in three ways:

  1. In combination with a standard purchased casebook,
  2. In combination with a rental casebook, or
  3. In combination with a looseleaf version of the casebook.  

Despite the great value that students have found in the CasebookConnect website, the casebook-plus-CasebookConnect option will be sold at exactly the same price as the casebook was previously sold for on its own. The rental-plus-CasebookConnect and looseleaf-plus-CasebookConnect options will be sold at discounted levels, reflecting the lower manufacturing cost of those options.

Here’s an example showing the new purchase options for Property, Eighth Edition by Dukeminier, Krier, Alexander, Schill, and Strahilevitz.

Original textbook purchase (without CasebookConnect access)

New textbook purchase plus CasebookConnect access

Looseleaf plus CasebookConnect access

Rental plus CasebookConnect access






The pricing model has been designed to ensure that those students who continue to prefer a traditional purchased textbook can have the benefit of a rich digital learning companion at no additional cost, while students who are searching for discounted options have high quality choices as well.

The new traditional and looseleaf purchase options will be available to students through bookstores and online retailers. The rental plus CasebookConnect option will continue to be available primarily at

With this new set of purchase options, we look forward to helping an even broader set of law students have access to a range of tools that empower them to find academic and professional success.