If you’re the type of law student who likes concepts broken down into plain English and put into contexts that make sense (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t be), Elura Nanos and Michele Sileo’s Legalese to English: A Workbook for Civil Procedure would be a great addition to your law school library.
Yes, I know law school text books are already ridiculously expensive, so if you’re not interested in spending more on study aids, I can understand that — and to be honest, most study aids that are out there aren’t worth buying anyway. Typical hornbooks break down the law for you in handy outline form, sure, but they tend to use all the same words that are already in your textbook and/or those your professor uses in class. That’s not going to help you much if you aren’t grasping the ideas behind personal jurisdiction, forum non conveniens, venue, Erie, and more.
Legalese to English cuts through all the jargon and breaks down important ideas using a unique combination of case and concept studies, workbook exercises (including writing and outlining assignments), and “study recipes,” which provide daily, weekly, and monthly study guidance to help you prepare for both in-class lectures and exams. There are also flowcharts to help with the practicalities of writing exam answers as well as advice on what *not* to do, things to ignore, time management, and more.
I’m not a fan of creating more work for yourself in law school, so if you don’t think you need an extra boost in Civ Pro, I’d say it’s not worth getting the book; but if you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around any of the concepts, Legalese to English just may be the kind of down-to-earth, conversational explanation you need to get you over that hump — and push your exam grade from a B- to a solid A.
Civ Pro is taken either in the first or second year of law school, but it’s also a big bar exam topic, so even if you’re past your first go-around with the subject, you still might find Legalese to English useful. The price as of this writing is $44, which puts it pretty much in line with other study aids that go into this much depth, but if you don’t want to spend the money yourself, you can consider going in with your study group or other law school friends for a copy — then you can always sell it to a 1L or someone studying for the bar.
Overall, this a great resource that’s well-written and organized beautifully, so I’m giving it five stars. Keep your eye out for future editions of Legalese to English on other subjects as well.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher.