One book to read before law classes begin

When you enter the frantic world of law school, you hit the ground running. And hard.

That’s why before your first day of freshman year begins, you try to find all the advantage that you can get to cushion the impact. Instinct will tell you to dive into the thick bestsellers that law students of near and distant past have drowned themselves with and I’d have to agree that it is still a good practice. However, you have to prepare for the other aspect of reading law which you find in jurisprudence, more commonly known as cases or Supreme Court decisions.

Textbooks are at the heart of studying law. Much like in our undergraduate studies, we read them, we make notes, we create a summary and we pound the ideas into our heads until they stick. We have all done that. Textbooks are familiar, to say the least.

Reading jurisprudence though is a whole different animal. Unlike textbooks that build on the preceding ideas, a single case can be a mix of different legal disciplines that will leave the unprepared, or unadvised, in a dark hole of confusion and self-reflection (also know as ‘bakit ko ba pinasok to?’).

Basically what I’m trying to say is, do not focus too much on your textbooks before classes even begin. It is great to read in advance, but read on topics that they don’t teach you outright: understanding and digesting cases. I only speak based on my own experience though, so if your law school does teach you how to do it before they require case digests, then good for you.

For the homo sapiens who share the unadvised and unprepared path to law school, and would somehow want to cushion the hard fall, I suggest that you get a copy of Justice Roberto Abad’s Fundamentals of Legal Writing. This is a well-written, simple to understand book that may help you avoid the highly probable verbal insults that your professor has in store for you. Kidding aside, this book will teach you how to pin-point the real issue of the case, distinguish relevant from irrelevant facts, how to write in the proper form and how not to waste your precious time.

As of this writing, it costs Php 832 at Rex Bookstore.

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