Why Buying Old Casebook Editions is Stupid

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Old Casebook EditionsCALI’s Pre-Law Blog recently discouraged students from buying old casebooks. I agree—Old casebooks may save a few dollars, but if that leads to a lower grade on a final exam, it’s not worth it.

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.

Related posts:

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  2. How New Law School Students Can Benefit from WestLaw and Lexis
  3. Save Money & Time by Buying Law School Books Online
  4. Best Study Aids for New Law Students – Part 1: Case Summaries
  5. 1L Advice: Ways a 1L Can Prepare for Law School
  6. Law School Final Exam Tip 5: For Contracts, Review the Restatement
  7. How Law School Students Can Save Money

One Response to “Why Buying Old Casebook Editions is Stupid”

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