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Law Student's Guide to the Law Library

This guide will help you navigate the resources and services available through the Law Library.

Study Aids

Study Aids

Feeling a little confused and in need of some clarification about your coursework? The Law Library has study aid materials that can help! The most recent copies of the materials are in the Reserves collection and are available for a three-hour loan period. 

Some examples of study aids are Treatises, Hornbooks, and Nutshells

  • Treatises 
    Treatises are legal texts that provide a detailed survey of a particular field of law. See, for example, Corbin on Contracts (Law Reserve KF 801.C65). Although treatises are a secondary source and lack legal authority, they are written by respected legal scholars and may have considerable persuasive value depending on how highly the author and the treatise are regarded by the court. 
  • Hornbooks 
    Hornbooks are single-volume texts that cover a particular area of law, often one that is also the subject of a law school course. They are usually written by law professors who are experts in a particular field of law. Hornbooks are primarily a study tool that, unlike casebooks, explain a particular area of law in a straightforward and narrative fashion.
  • Nutshells 
    Nutshells are a series of paperback volumes published by West Group that cover various areas of law. Like treatises and hornbooks, Nutshells are usually written by legal scholars. Nutshells, however, are more concise and provide an overview of the law rather than the more detailed discussion and analysis found in treatises and hornbooks. Nutshells are meant to be used primarily as a study tool and are rarely, if ever, cited by courts. Nutshells are often a good starting point for anyone wishing to become familiar with a particular area of law.

The Law Library also carries the following study aid series:

  • Hornbooks (West; also available online)
  • Nutshells (West; also available online)
  • Examples & Explanations (Aspen)
  • Understanding (Carolina Academic Press; also available online)
  • Concepts & Insights (Foundation Press)
  • Law Stories (Foundation Press)
  • Model Problems and Outstanding Answers (Oxford)
  • Inside (Wolters, Kluwer, Law & Business)
  • Mastering (Carolina Academic Press; also available online)
  • Sum & Substance Audio (West)

For a complete list of study aid materials by course subject area, please use this link:



The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) is an organization best known for its online interactive tutorials. These educational tutorials on legal topics, known as CALI Lessons, are authored by law faculty and peer-reviewed by the CALI editorial board. There are over 950 CALI Lessons on 35 legal subjects. Most of the lessons have quizzes to help you understand the material as you go through the lesson. 

CALI Lessons help you gain a better understanding of a particular law school subject or legal concept. 

Examples of CALI Lessons:

  • How to Brief a Case
  • Legal Research by State
  • Anatomy of a Case
  • Citation Form for Briefs and Memoranda 
  • Civil and Criminal Statutes
  • General Concepts of Damages in Torts
  • and many, many more! 

CALI also has a section that suggests lessons that correlate to casebooks:

If you do not already have your CALI authorization code, stop by the Reference Desk to pick one up!  


Sources for International Students

University of Minnesota Law Library
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