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Outlines and Exams by Subject: 1L

The first year of law school is likely to be the most challenging year in your academic life. Expectations are high and competition is fierce as you and your peers scramble to excel at your courses and set yourselves up for opportunities in school and beyond. To maximize your chances of success you'll want to access lots of information about how best to deal with outlines and exams for your 1L subjects. The following article provides some guidance regarding 1L subjects and where to find the outlines and practice exams that can help you stand out from the crowd.

The first stop for each of these topics should be your law school's own resources. Outlines and other study materials are often available, particularly for 1L subjects. Your school wants you to succeed, and the materials they provide will be designed to help you do so. Often, student organizations are another valuable source of outlines, practice exams, and other course materials. However, these materials will be used by every student looking to succeed (so, quite nearly all of them) and the following materials might give you the edge you need to stand out from the crowd.

Civil Procedure

Civil procedure is a complicated topic that includes fundamental concepts such as jurisdiction and venue, motion practice, appeals, and other highly technical aspects of litigation. A good Civ Pro outline will help you distinguish the forest from the many, many trees.

Emanuel Law Outlines -- Emanuel law outlines were developed by a Harvard student and focus on helping organize complicated materials. Emanuel texts are available for all subjects, but the outlines and guide are particularly helpful for complex areas of law like civil procedure.

Constitutional Law

Constitutional law impacts nearly every other area of legal practice in some way. You'll need to learn landmark cases and core concepts such as subject-matter jurisdiction. This is one course you will need to know case names as much as case concepts -- a detailed outline will help you do just that.

Chemerinsky -- Erwin Chemerinsky has an excellent reputation as a constitutional scholar. Now the Dean of UC Irvine Law School, he has produced respected texts in many areas of law, but is particularly well known for his clear and concise interpretations of constitutional legal issues and case decisions. His text on constitutional law is very straightforward and helpful.


You've likely entered into hundreds or even thousands of contracts in your life. Despite their familiarity, contract law is a complicated subject that merits a significant amount of study.

The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) -- CALI provides materials intended to help students who are studying law online. Although you may be attending a brick-and-mortar school, their materials will still be helpful. Their materials relating to contracts law are available for free online, alongside materials for other subjects.


Some areas of law draw upon very old principles. Property law, for example, stretches back nearly as far as human history. As such, it is a complicated topic and often feels more like math than law. A good outline can help you understand the logic behind the typical property law problem.

Examples & Explanations: Property -- The Examples & Explanations series can help simplify complex topics and help you test yourself on your understanding. As such, their property text is particularly helpful in supplementing your study in this area of law.


Torts, commonly called personal injury, involve the relationships and duties that exist between parties, proximate cause, intent, and other complicated questions.

Legalines -- The Legalines series of supplement texts are keyed to particular texts. This means that you can choose a supplement that is designed for use alongside whichever torts textbook your professor has chosen, refining your study to exactly the material used in class.

Get Additional Law School Guidance

Your law school journey is just beginning and there will be many situations that arise where you'll benefit from some advice. Whether you are considering whether to participate in bar review or moot court, or you are searching for internship opportunities, there are important considerations you might not be aware of. Check in with FindLaw's Law Students section for articles and links to helpful material that will empower you to make the best choices.

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