Although there are exceptions, old casebooks generally will
- be missing cases provided in the new casebook
- include old cases removed from the new casebook
- be missing comments in the new casebook about recent changes in the law
- quote old versions of a Restatement, statute, or code that may be obsolete
Sure, students can photocopy or download the cases in a new casebook. But that requires borrowing a copy of the new casebook, time figuring out what cases to replace, determining what page numbers each case is on (so you can read the right cases for class), and you will still probably overlook updates to editor’s comments after each case.
Although law students may be able to manage this without missing a major point in the law, the additional work and stress probably isn’t worth the money saved.
Also, old casebooks are especially problematic in open-book or take-home exams because
- precision is generally more important in open-book or take-home exams
- relying on an old version of a Restatement, statute, or code could be fatal
- relying on an old case will make you look foolish
- page numbers you cite in the exam may be wrong
In the end, saving money on textbooks won’t be worth a lower grade, especially when grades are so important in the job hunt. So although I love to save money, such as by buying used textbooks, using old textbooks becomes too costly once all factors are considered.
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