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Study Aids: Getting Started

Resource Symbol Key

University of Iowa access UI Access Only
College of Law access Law Access Only
Password required Password Required
CD-ROM resource CD-ROM
Public Access Public Access
Available in Print Available in Print
Available on Microform Available on Microform
Westlaw WestlawNext - Required Password
Lexis Advance Lexis Advance - Password Required
Bloomberg Law 


If you pay attention in class and take diligent notes but still find it difficult to understand key concepts within a specific area of law, a study aid may be the resource for you! Study aids are guides that break down areas of law, highlighting key concepts and terminology, into more manageable and easier-to-understand pieces. They are written by recognized experts and are often recommended by law professors to supplement class lectures and reading. 


The Law Library offers numerous legal study aids, covering first year and advanced law school course subjects. Please navigate among the tabs in this Research Guide for a listing of study aids by course topic. Many of these study aids are available both in print and online through either the West Academic Study Aids database or the LexisNexis Digital Library.

There are numerous popular study aid series published by the large legal publishers, with each series offering unique features.

General Study Aids

Hornbooks and Concise Hornbook series (available in print and online via West Academic Study Aids) are one of the most thorough type of study aid, providing an in-depth discussion of a legal area, similar to a traditional text book or treatise. There are Hornbooks available on a wide range of legal course topics, such as Dobbs’ Hornbook on Torts (which replaces the older Prosser and Keaton on the Law of Torts).

Aspen’s Student Treatise series (available in print only) also offers a thorough explanation of a legal topic, similar to a Hornbook. Popular titles include Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies by Erwin Chemerinsky.

Lexis’ Understanding series (available in print and online via LexisNexis Digital Library) is another study aid series, similar to West’s Hornbook and Aspen’s Student Treatise series in its general coverage of a law school course topic. Titles include Understanding Contracts and Understanding Torts.

Nutshells (available in print and online via West Academic Study Aids) are similar to Hornbooks in their general coverage of a legal area, but tend to be shorter in length. There are a wide range of Nutshell titles, including Agricultural Law in a Nutshell.

Hypotheticals and Questions and Answers Study Aids

The Examples and Explanations series (available in print only) offers an overview of legal principles followed by hypothetical questions, answers and explanations. There are Examples and Explanations for most first-year courses, including Contracts: Examples & Explanations by Brian Blum.

Lexis’ Questions and Answers series (available in print and via LexisNexis Digital Library) focuses on hypothetical questions and answers, offering a combination of multiple choice and short-answer questions. There are Questions and Answers for many first-year courses, such as Property and Torts, and also a few titles covering advanced courses.


Sum and Substance and Law School Legends (available via LexisNexis Digital Library) provides audio course lectures in a downloadable mp3 format. Titles cover a broad range of law school course topics.

In addition to these law school study aid resources, Blackletter and other law school course outlining titles may be available on the West Academic Study Aids database and LexisNexis Digital Library. Additional past exams may be available for some courses; please see

PRINT STUDY AIDS can be borrowed from the Reserve Collection at the Law Library’s Circulation Desk or found in the regular Law Library stacks. Some ONLINE STUDY AIDS, including audio lectures, may also be accessed through West Academic Study Aids or LexisNexis Digital Library. LexisNexis Digital Library is keyed to your HawkID. Additionally, West Academic Study Aids are general access, so be sure to create your own account so that you can personalize your research.

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