Legal Texts that Incorporate Practical Problem-Solving and Professional Skills Development

This list identifies texts that incorporate practical problem-solving and professional skills into the teaching of doctrinal areas that traditionally have been taught through lecture and appellate case analysis.  It does not include texts focused on clinical education, legal writing, legal methods, trial practice, or dispute resolution, because most of the texts in those areas incorporate practical problem-solving and practical skills.  Some of the descriptions below are copied from the publisher’s websites.  If you would like to recommend additional books for this list, please forward the information to Deborah T. Eisenberg.

 

TEXTBOOK SERIES

Several publishers have series that incorporate exercises designed to build practical problem-solving and professional skills.  These include:

Carolina Academic Press

Context and Practice Series

Series designed to make it easy for professors to incorporate multiple methods of instruction, problem-solving and simulation exercises, and context-based instruction into their teaching.  Subject areas include legal research, torts, business, civil procedure, constitutional law, criminal law, juvenile justice, disability rights, energy law, federal taxation, intellectual property, international law, products liability, property, remedies, wills, trusts and estates, and workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis

Skills & Values Series

Texts cover a variety of subject areas, including administrative law, alternative dispute resolution, civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, evidence, discovery practice, evidence, federal income taxation, intellectual property, negotiation, and trusts and estates.

West Academic

Developing Professional Skills Series

Supplemental books with exercises designed to build professional skills.  Subject areas include business associations, property, civil procedure, and contracts.

Bridge to Practice Series

Books that include simulation exercises to teach how doctrine and rules work in realistic settings.  Subject areas include evidence, property, civil procedure, and criminal procedure.

The Learning Series

Case books that encourage active student involvement in the learning process.  Subject areas include evidence and civil procedure, with more to come.

Experiencing Law Series

These primary coursebooks cover the doctrine traditionally covered in the classroom while simultaneously offering experiential exercises to illustrate the concepts of the subject being taught. The books feature the key cases and cover the doctrine in much the same fashion as other standard casebooks. The books in this series will help support a course that balances traditional case analysis with statutory and rule analysis and experiential education.  Titles include civil procedure, family law, business organizations, and criminal law.

Wolters Kluwer/Aspen

New Law Professor Guides

Titles that include teaching strategies and techniques for teaching a variety of subject matters, including law school teaching generally, civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, legal analysis and writing, property, and torts.

The Law Simulation Series

A web platform that “provides students with an interactive law office environment to develop and refine their competencies in the legal workplace.”  Subjects now include introduction to law, civil litigation,  torts, legal research and writing and the publisher plans to release materials for bankruptcy, business organizations, contracts, criminal law, ethics, family law, law office management, real estate, and wills, trusts, and estates.

INDIVIDUAL TEXTBOOKS

Some publishers have individual case books and texts that incorporate practical-problem-solving, simulation exercises, and skills development.

Accounting

Matthew J. Barrett & David Richard Herwitz, Accounting for Lawyers (Foundation Press) (uses actual financial statements from big companies to illustrate concepts and uses comprehensive problems to teach the accounting topics and issues most likely to confront lawyers)

Bankruptcy

Stephen L. Sepinuck, Linda J. Rusch & Gregory M. Duhl, Problems and Materials on Bankruptcy Law and Practice (West) (designed to give students experience with bankruptcy practice, providing more than 125 problems designed to facilitate learning, focus class discussion, and test understanding)

Elizabeth Warren & Jay Lawrence Westbrook, The Law of Debtors and Creditors: Text, Cases, and Problems (Aspen) (includes more than fifty problem sets that feature questions a lawyer considers in confronting the statutory provisions for a bankruptcy case)

Civil Procedure

Michael P. Allen & Michael Finch, An Illustrated Guide to Civil Procedure (Aspen) (explores the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “through a realistic but hypothetical age discrimination case” in which students work on case from client intake through trial, “making strategic and tactical litigation decisions” and working with pleadings, motions, and discovery papers)

John T. Cross, Leslie W. Abramson & Ellen E. Deason, Civil Procedure: Cases, Problems and Exercises (West) (uses “an extensive set of problems and exercises, which helps students become accustomed to reading and using the rule itself, rather than relying on a court's paraphrasing of that rule. The book uses cases decided in the last decade, underscoring that civil procedure is a subject in constant flux, and incorporates the 2007 complete revision of the Federal Rules.”)

Commercial Law

Ronald J. Mann, Payment Systems (Aspen) (uses a systems approach, with text and problems that focus on rules that are applied in practice)

Raymond T. Nimmer, Commercial Transactions: Secured Financing: Cases, Materials, Problems (LexisNexis) (uses problem-solving approach to develop the chief skills of a transactional attorney, particularly risk identification and avoidance)

Lynn M LoPucki & Elizabeth Warren, Secured Credit: A Systems Approach (Wolters Kluwer) (uses a problem-based pedagogy and teaches the code in the context of actual transactions)

Community Development Law

Susan D. Bennett, Brenda Bratton Blom, Louise A. Howells & Deborah Kenn, Community Economic Development Law: A Text for Engaged Learning (Carolina Academic Press) (“provides a flexible set of materials that faculty can customize to meet the goals of the stand-alone community development class, or the pedagogical needs of community development law clinics.”)

Contracts

Brian Blum & Amy Bushaw, Contracts: Cases, Discussion, and Problems (Aspen) (includes opportunities for students to engage in practical problem-solving, including transactional problems, drafting problems, and questions and problems that raise professionalism and other issues)

Charles Calleros & Stephen Gerst, Contracts, An Electronic Text: Cases, Text, and Problems (Carolina Academic Press) (an electronic text that is designed to expose students to the law and legal problems they would face in practice using a combination of cases, primary material, and problems to develop students’ skills of factual analysis and argument)

Christina Kunz & Carol Chomsky, Contracts: A Contemporary Approach (Thomson Reuters) (“This casebook helps students learn more effectively by providing questions to induce critical reading and thinking.”)

David Nadvorney & Deborah Zalesne,  Teaching to Every Student: Explicitly Integrating Skills and Theory into the Contracts Class (Carolina Academic Press) (“This book highlights ways that various academic skills, (case briefing, close case reading, note taking, outlining, and exam preparation), legal reasoning skills (fact identification and analysis, issue spotting, and working with rules), and theoretical perspectives (socioeconomics, legal realism, and critical legal theory) can be incorporated directly into the syllabi of first-year courses in general, and contracts courses in particular.”)

David Zarfes & Michael Bloom, Contracts and Commercial Transactions (Wolters Kluwer) (“text that immerses the reader in real agreements made between sophisticated parties—so the reader can develop the ability to read, understand, and draft contracts effectively.”)

Corporations/Business

Daniel D. Bradlow & Jay Gary Finkelstein, Negotiating Business Transactions: An Extended Simulation Course (Aspen) (“contains facts and contextual materials, negotiating instructions for each side, and background readings on all aspects of the transaction”)

Lee A. Harris, Cases and Materials on Corporations and Other Business Entities:  A Practical Approach (Aspen) (uses skills-driven exercises from actual disputes and questions to simulate what lawyers do)

Therese Maynard & Dana Warren, Business Planning:  Financing the Start-Up Business and Venture Capital Financing (Aspen) (uses a “simulated deal format” to give students a “real-world appreciation of the ‘life cycle of a deal’”)

William K. Sjostrom, Business Organizations (Aspen) (includes “actual provisions from various documents corporate lawyers draft and review” and numerous exercises)

D. Gordon Smith & Cynthia A. Williams, Business Organizations:  Cases, Problems, and Case Studies (Aspen) (“brings the real world into the classroom by featuring short problems and longer, business-school-style case studies based on actual situations faced by identified companies”)

Environmental Law

Jerry L. Anderson & Dennis D. Hirsch, Environmental Law Practice: Problems and Exercises for Skills Development, (Carolina Academic Press) (teaches environmental law through problems and exercises the place the student in key roles played by environmental lawyers)

Evidence

Arthur Best, Evidence:  Practice, Problems and Rules – Simulation (Aspen) (includes modern cases and “essay-style problems” with the option of an online interactive, simulation companion)

Family Law

Douglas Abrams, Naomi R. Cahn, Catherine J. Ross & David D. Meyer, Contemporary Family Law (West) (supplements family law with chapters on lawyering, private ordering, and alternative dispute resolution and “emphasized the importance of legal practice issues by placing the lawyering chapter at the beginning of the book, and by using problems that enable students to apply doctrine”)

Harry D. Krause, Linda Diane Henry Elrod & J. Thomas Oldham, Family Law:  Cases, Comments and Questions (West) (emphasizes “practical skills and comparative material”)

Robert Oliphant & Nancy Ver Steegh, Work of the Family Lawyer (Aspen) (includes chapters on the changing role of the family lawyer, which includes mediation, arbitration and collaborative law, and a section on preparation for practice that includes exercises and outside activities to apply doctrine to real life situations)

International Business Transactions

Ralph Folsom, et al., International Business Transactions: A Problem-Oriented Coursebook (Thomson Reuters) (“problem-oriented coursebook” that introduces the conduct of business in the world community by exploring “how issues and problems are addressed by lawyers serving as problem solvers”)

Professional Responsibility

Lisa G. Lerman & Philip G. Schrag, Ethical Problems in the Practice of Law (Aspen) (places student in the role of lawyer in analyzing problems that are based on real cases and real-life situations that lawyers are likely to experience during their first few years of practice)

Roy D. Simon, Jr., Carol A. Needham & Burnele V. Powell, Lawyers and the Legal Profession:  Cases and Materials (LexisNexis) (“thrusts students into the middle of the debate over current ethical issues and the ethical realities of everyday practice” and includes many problems)

Richard Zitrin, Carol M. Langford & Nina Tarr, Legal Ethics in the Practice of Law (LexisNexis) (a problem-driven book that “covers the academic subject area by simulating the reality of law practice through the use of real-live examples of ethical dilemmas as they occur in the practice of law.”)

Property

R. Wilson Freyermuth, Jerome M. Organ & Alice M. Noble-Allgire, Property and Lawyering (West) (combines “the theory and analysis of a traditional casebook with reality-based lawyering exercises that reinforce doctrinal knowledge, develop lawyering skills and introduce professional values”)

Jeffrey Kwall, Edward Rabin, Roberta Rosenthal Kwall & Craig Arnold, Fundamentals of Modern Property Law (Foundation Press) (follows a “problem-based structure” and “tracks contemporary trends in property law”)

Sales

Daniel Keating, Sales: A Systems Approach (Aspen) (“problem-based pedagogy and a thematic structure that explores the different systems governing sales transactions”)

Linda J. Rusch & Stephen L. Sepinuck, Sales and Leases:  A Problem-Solving Approach (West) (keeps “students focused on understanding and applying the relevant provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code and other related statutes” by using primarily text and problems, with few cases)

Tax

Samuel A. Donaldson, Federal Income Taxation of Individuals:  Cases, Problems and Materials (West) (uses a “building-block” format and “over 90 detailed problems” that require readers “to research the Code and Regulations and apply complex rules to basic fact patterns”)

Stephen Utz, Federal Tax Law (Aspen) (includes “practice-ready features and robust online content”)

Torts

Thomas C. Galligan, Jr., et al, Tort Law:  Cases, Perspectives, and Problems (LexisNexis) (“presents the important cases, empirical data, and competing tort theories in a problems-oriented format that is designed to help students acquire a sophisticated understanding of tort law through active learning”)

Trusts and Estates

Susan N. Gary, Jerome Borison, Naomi R. Cahn & Paula A. Monopoli, Contemporary Approaches to Trusts and Estates (Aspen) (uses cases and statutory materials along with exercises and problems to integrate legal analysis and practice skills)

CUSTOM TEXTBOOKS

Wolters Kluwer allows professors to create their own customized textbooks, incorporating multiple topics and portions of different books into one notebook format.