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New Student Orientation

Study Aids

The Law Library has purchased a number of study aids including Hornbooks, Nutshells, Sum & Substance Audio CDs and the Example & Explanation series. These study aids can be useful in supplementing the material you study in class. Each series is slightly different but all will explain the major points of law with analysis as well as listing primary resources in each area of law.

Hornbooks  A legal treatise setting forth the basic principles of law for a given subject area and considered the most in-depth type of material geared to the law student market.

Nutshells   A series of paperback volumes published by the West Publishing Company designed to give a clear and concise overview of the subject area written for law students.

Understanding Series  Provides clearly written and authoritative coverage of every major concept in a subject area. The titles of these books begin with "Understanding". So for legal topics you will have Understanding Civil Procedure, Understanding Contracts, etc.

Examples and Explanations  Available for a number of subject areas including criminal law, administrative law and constitutional law; these books not only summarize the law, but also analyze and explain rules and doctrines.

CALI  The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, is a collection of over hundreds of interactive, computer-based lessons covering a variety of legal education subject areas. Each lesson allows you to test your knowledge and receive feedback on your answers.  These can be used on CALI's website (see a reference librarian for the Widener authorization code). A CALI CD is also available at the reference desk. Useful CALI lessons for first year students include: 

There are numerous commercial study aids available which vary widely in their ability to help you prepare for class and exams. They range from succinct subject outlines to more in-depth works. Your legal education requires that you thoroughly prepare for class by briefing assigned cases, but you may find these supplemental study aids helpful in developing an understanding of a given subject area. Most of these can be found in the reserve collection and can be checked out for three days.

Along with print study aids, we do have digital study aids.  All Widener Law Commonwealth students, faculty and staff will have unlimited online access to the 500+ West Academic Study Aids subscription.  Study aid series in this online collection include:  Acing, Black Letter Outlines. Concepts and Insights, Concise Hornbook, Exam Pro, Gilbert Law Summaries, Nutshells, Sum and Substance audio, and more.

We also have unlimited and simultaneous online access to the 160+ LexisNexis Digital Library Study Aids subscription.  Study aid series in this online collection include:  Understanding, Questions and Answers, Skills and Values, Mastering, and more.  We also have unlimited and simultaneous use of Courtroom Cast for all students and faculty.


You will find the past exam archive online on the Law Library TWEN page.  It contains exams provided by faculty members for use as a study aid.  We can only post those exams that are given to us by faculty.

Several books with exam-taking tips are available:

Digital Study Aids

Widener University Commonwealth Law School has access to hundreds of study aids through West Academic, LexisNexis Digital Library, and Wolters Kluwer platforms.  User information will be provided during orientation and Legal Methods.