January 31, 2012
Of New Preps and Casebooks
For the first several (roughly 5) years I was a law professor, I taught the same course package. In a prior life I was a litigator and so I taught a litigation package. We have two semesters of Torts here and I taught Torts I and Torts II. I also taught Evidence and Professional Responsibility. I enjoy all of these courses. There is definitely an advantage to retaining the same courses; you learn the material thoroughly and you can focus more resources on scholarship.
This year, 3 of my 4 courses are new preps. In the last year and a half, I have taught 4 new courses. I have added Insurance, Products Liability, Contracts I and Contracts II. I have enjoyed the new material, and I feel like it has given me a better understanding of tort law. For Insurance and Products Liability, that makes a lot of sense given how related they are. It also applies to Contracts. Teaching Contracts helps map the boundary between the two topics.
In teaching the new courses, I have been delighted with my casebook selection. In Insurance, I use Ken Abraham's "Insurance Law and Regulation (5th ed. 2010)." The book is well-organized and I like the inclusion of actual insurance policies. In Products Liability, I am using David Owen, John Montgomery, and Mary Davis's "Products Liability and Safety (6th ed. 2010)." I'm still making my way through it, but the first chapter provides a number of perspectives on products and the subsequent organization is good. The notes are thorough and engaging. Moreover, the authors of these 2 books are very helpful. In Products, both David and Mary have offered guidance on syllabi, paper topics, and guest speakers. In Insurance, Ken Abraham once responded to an e-mail question in 15 minutes...from Paris.
For my Torts casebook, I use Marc Franklin, Robert Rabin, & Mike Green's "Tort Law and Alternatives (9th ed. 2011)" and have used that book from the beginning. I like it a lot. It is thorough and the case selection is engaging. In the future, I may try another casebook simply for the sake of variety. Two casebooks that have caught my eye: Tom Galligan, Phoebe Haddon, Frank Maraist, Frank McClellan, Mike Rustad, Nicholas Terry, and Stephanie Wildman's "Tort Law: Cases, Perspectives, and Problems (4th ed. 2007)" and John Goldberg, Tony Sebok, & Ben Zipursky's "Tort Law: Responsibilities and Redress (2nd ed. 2008)."
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