In San Francisco it's pretty much chilly and gray all year round, so we look for other clues as to the season. One sign of summer is when ZiefBrief starts getting calls from newly-admitted law students wanting to know what to read to get ready for law school. We continue to maintain that the best thing to do is to enjoy the summer and arrive at school refreshed and ready for the experience.
But maybe what you enjoy is reading about law. In which case, these summer reading lists include interesting books that will give you some big-picture insights into the law.
Tired of carrying heavy textbooks around? Now some law textbooks are available for rent through Amazon’s Kindle rental service. You don’t even have to own a Kindle to use the service. You can simply download a free Kindle reading app for any of the following: PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android Windows Phone 7, Blackberry or Kindle.
According to Amazon, you can save up to 80% off the list price of the printed version of the textbook. Further, you can typically rent a textbook for between 30 and 360 days. If you begin with the minimum you can always extend your rental for additional days if you’d like and you pay only for the time you need to rent the book. You also get to keep any highlights or notes you make even after the rental period expires.
To find a book, you just search in Amazon’s Textbooks Store and search for the book you want, either by title or by browsing the Law section. Then look in the Formats section to see if a Kindle edition is available for rent and specify your rental dates. Be careful, though, as some Kindle editions are only available for purchase. Make sure you don’t accidentally buy something. Also, before renting, be sure to compare the price of the Kindle rental to that of a new or used print version of the casebook just to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
So far many legal textbooks do not have an electronic version available. However, Amazon’s Kindle rental program is a good start. Hopefully, Amazon will offer more electronic versions of textbooks in the future. For more details about the Kindle rental service, visit Amazon.
The bar exam is looming for our recent graduates. I saw this reassuring post on MsJD and thought I'd pass it along. The blogger confesses that she flubbed an essay and a portion of one of the performance tests on the California bar exam (Quote:"when I got to the question, I was baffled. What was the question even getting at?"). And guess what, she still passed! I had a similar experience. On the first day, I felt like my answer on one of the essays and my entire performance test response were horrible. At the end of the first day, I seriously considered not going back for Day Two, convinced that I had ruined my chances of passing. But a calmer, more rational mind prevailed (my husband's), and I went back and sailed through Days Two and Three relatively serenely. And yes, I passed. You won't know everything on the bar exam. If you hit an incomprehensible patch, don't panic. Take several deep breaths, then do the best you can with the pesky parts. When you're finished, don't allow the memory of the rough patches to completely rattle you. Focus on the parts that you felt confident about (yes, there will be times when you feel triumphant and masterful during the bar exam, unless you spent all of June and July goofing off). When it's over, go do something fun and be very, very nice to the friends and family who were supportive of you while you were studying.
The John Marshall Law School library blog pointed out today that law students can access a significant portion of the Examples & Explanations exam prep series on Google Books. The entire full-text of the books in the series is usually not available, but you can view much more than the usual "snippet" that you usually see on Google Books. The USF law library carries most of the books in this popular series in print, and we have multiple copies, but during exam time, they are in high demand. If students are not able to find a copy on our shelves, accessing through Google Books is a good back-up strategy. Thanks to our colleagues in Illinois for the great tip!
If your professor assigns a West-published casebook for your class, you may have the option of renting the casebook and saving a bit of money. According to West, you can write and highlight in your rented casebook, and you won't be penalized for doing so. Renting the casebook also gives you access to an electronic version of the casebook for the duration of the semester. BUT you can only access the electronic version on a PC or Mac - no Kindle, iPad, or Nook access exists at this time. To find out more, visit the West FAQ page on the rental program.