Sunday, May 31, 2015
It is the time of year to order textbooks for fall classes. I would like to recommend that law professors order texts with problem-solving and skills exercises. Such books make it easy to incorporate new learning techniques into classes without a lot of work.
I think that the best series containing problem-solving and skills exercises is the Context and Practice series from Carolina Academic Press. The books in this series are casebooks combined with many practical exercises.
"The books in this series:
- Provide resources, such as multiple-choice question banks and essays with answers, designed to make it easier for professors to provide students opportunities for practice and feedback;
- Focus on problem-solving in simulated law practice contexts across a wide range of practices, including both advocacy and transactional practices;
- Include teachers’ manuals that make it easy to use multiple methods of instruction and to emphasize active learning;
- Guide students’ development of self-directed learning strategies;
- Incorporate learning objectives and doctrinal overviews and situate topics in the law practice contexts in which they arise;
- Include questions that prompt readers to question, reflect, and analyze as they read;
- Provide exercises that require students to reflect on the roles of lawyers and their own professional development;
- Integrate self-regulated learning skills and exercises; and
- Help students to discover links between what they are learning and real life."
Also useful is the Skills & Values Series from Lexis/Nexis. The books in this series are supplements to traditional casebooks that contain numerous extended exercises.
"The Skills & Values Series is comprised of subject-specific practice-oriented books (the print component) supported by LexisNexis Web Courses (the online component). The Web Courses are powered by Blackboard, so is a familiar environment to many law professors, and easy to learn for those not familiar. The S&V Series is designed to provide a tool for teaching practice skills so that graduates of our law schools are competent to serve their clients skillfully and in an ethical manner."
Another excellent text that combines cases with skills is Contracts, an Electronic Text: Cases, Text, and Problems by Charles Calleros & Stephen Gerst, which is an open source casebook. Because it is an ebook, it only costs students $20.
Finally, I have written an introduction to legal reasoning book with numerous exercises, Think Like a Lawyer: Legal Reasoning for Law Students and Business Professionals (ABA Pub. 2013).