Skip to main content

First-Year Student Research & Study Guide: Study Guides & Hornbooks

A guide to help UC Hastings law students successfully manage their first year courses and legal research assignments.

Study Guides

Study Guides are student-friendly one-volume books that cover the basics of each of your first-year courses.

Study guides are written to supplement your casebooks, and are intended to help you understand the basic concepts from each case. Some students love them, while others never use them.

Hastings students have FREE ACCESS to West Online Study Aids.  Hastings students can view these guides online without an account, or by creating an account allowing users to customize the guides with highlighting and saved notes.  These include the Acing Series, Black Letter Outlines, Career Guides, Concise Hornbooks, the Exam Pro Series, Flash Cards, Gilbert Law Summaries, High Court Case Summaries, Hornbooks, Law Stories, Legalines, Nutshells, the Short & Happy Guides, the Sum & Substance Series, and the Turning Point series.  

Study guides in print are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased from many bookstores or online.  In addition, some of the most popular study guides can be borrowed from the library. The library has compiled a list of study guides & hornbooks available in the library organized by subject.


CALI Exercises

CALI Exercises

The Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) produces multiple-choice lessons in almost every subject area with answers and explanations. The lessons are all available online.

Hastings students can obtain an authorization code here or from a reference librarian , which will allow online registration for online access to all of the CALI exercises.


A hornbook is a one-volume statement of the law on a particular subject. Hornbooks can be a great place to find a clear explanation of a point of law.

Hastings students have FREE online access to West Hornbooks.  Hastings students can view West Hornbooks online without an account, or by creating an account allowing users to customize the guides with highlighting and saved notes. 

The library has hornbooks on most subjects at the Circulation Desk on the 4th Floor. West Publishing company publishes the popular (albeit somewhat dated) "Hornbook Series" covering the basic areas of law. Today any one-volume legal treatise is commonly referred to as a hornbook.

[NOTE: Most professors have preferences for specific hornbooks. Check with your professor for recommended authors.]


Audio Lectures

The Library's West Study Aids subscription includes audio lectures by distinguished professors from the "Law School Legends" series produced by Gilbert Law Summaries.  Lectures can be streamed or downloaded for offline listening.  Topics include:

  • Torts by Professor Richard J. Conviser [Chicago-Kent]
  • Constitutional Law by John C. Jeffries, Jr. [University of Virginia Law School]
  • Real Property by Paula A. Franzese [Seton Hall Law School]
  • Criminal Law by Charles H. Whitebread [USC]
  • Contracts by David Epstein [SMU]
  • Civil Procedure by Richard D. Freer [Emory Law School]