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Saint Louis University Libraries Research Guides
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First Year Law Students - Library sources for first year classes: 1L Lib Guides

Library study guides for first year law classes: Civil Procedure, Contracts, Torts, Constitutional Law, Property,

The Basics

This Library Guide is designed to introduce first year law students a few research resources/books to help with their first year classes.   Each of the Tabs above include links to research resources for a specific First Year class:  

Civil Procedure, Constitutional LawContracts, Torts, and Property Law  

Using any of these may help to clarify or explain some of the legal issues being discussed in your class.

  • Publications include:  Nutshells, Examples and Explanations, the Understanding Series, and Hornbooks.  Additional sources are legal treatises and the Restatements of the Law.   


  • These all offer analysis of specific areas of law and may help clarify or explain some of the legal issues being discussed in class.


  • Included are descriptions and links to specific online databases such as Westlaw, Lexis Advance, Bloomberg Law, and HeinOnline; subscription services may have access to some of the same material electronically.


  • Many of the books listed are on Course Reserve and be checked out for 2 hours usually, however your Professor may have requested a longer checkout period. Go to the Circulation Desk to get the materials.  Older editions of the same title may be available under the same call number in the library stacks. These books may be checked out for longer periods of time. Your Professors and the Reference Librarians may have additional suggestions for supplementary or explanatory reading.

Hornbooks, Treatises and Restatements

♦ A hornbook is a text that gives an overview of a particular area of law. A legal hornbook is a type of treatise, usually one volume, which could be a briefer version of a longer, multi-volume treatise. Students in American law schools often use hornbooks as supplements to casebooks.

♦♦Legal treatises are publications that present a highly organized, detailed explanation of a specific area of law (sample topics include contracts, torts, criminal law and property).  Treatises are published as single-volume or multi-volume sets.  Most treatises are updated by the use of supplements or pocket parts.   

♦♦♦Restatements organize and "codify" the common law of the United States. The Restatements are a  series of detailed statements of basic law in the United States covering  a variety of subjects written and updated by well-known legal scholars under the auspices of the American Law Institute (ALI)since the 1930s. While not having the force of statutes or of decided precedents, the Restatement (as lawyers generally call it) has the prestige of the scholars who have studied the legal questions. Topics covered include agency, contracts, property, torts and trusts.

Using any of these  may help to clarify or explain some of the basic legal issues being discussed in your class.

Your professors, the reference librarians, or your classmates may have additional suggestions for supplementary or explanatory reading.