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Law Schools to Consider e-Books

By September 22, 2008

Amazon Kindle by Tsgreer at en.wikipedia

If you're already in law school, you know just how heavy and expensive law books are; if you're on your way, according to one estimate you'll probably be lugging around 28 pounds and spending $1,000 per semester. Well, soon your back, arms, and wallet just may get some relief.

On September 27, representatives from various law schools and the National Conference of Bar Examiners will meet with software companies, book publishers, LexisNexis Law School Publishing, and e-book reader manufacturers Amazon.com and Sony Electronics Inc. to discuss the potential for electronic law books.

David Skover, Seattle University law professor and co-organizer of the workshop said "[t]here's a growing movement now in legal education to include serious skills training at a more intensive level than what the academy has done for a century now." The traditional print law book, said Skover, is a barrier to that movement.

Proponents of law school e-books say that the new medium could promote changes in teaching methods, going beyond simply analyzing cases and developing doctrines; one idea floating around is to allow professors to design their own e-books, specifically including only those materials that will be used.

Of course traditional professors and publishers probably won't embrace the new technology so enthusiastically, but what would you think of having three years of law books on one single e-book reader?

Read more: Books a weighty issue for law schools from Seattle Post-Intelligencer


October 13, 2008 at 12:22 pm
(1) City Girl says:

I was just talking about this with a fellow law school alum. We both agreed that what matters with a change like this is how people learn. Don’t get me wrong — I *hated* carrying law books, my shoulders always hurt, my arm always hurt (wheelie bags dont help much). In fact I spent more time studying at the law school than I would have liked just so I could carry fewer books home. BUT I also retained by reading and highlighting and underlining and writing in the margins. Therefore, I can’t imagine an e-book working for me *BUT* I have noticed more and more people can retain by reading on a screen and never actually writing on what they are reading. I just turned 30, and people who are 21 now are much more likely to retain by learning that way than my peers were.

October 14, 2008 at 4:07 am
(2) lawschool says:

I hear you City Girl. I obviously use the computer a lot, but I learned a lot by marking up my books…not to mention saved time briefing cases in the margins ;)

Excellent point, though, that for students now, they may have just grown up learning a different way, so for them it might be just fine.

Thanks so much for your comment!

October 14, 2008 at 9:39 am
(3) City Girl says:

Ah yes — briefing cases in the margin was absolutely the way to go in my opinion.

October 14, 2008 at 10:26 am
(4) lawschool says:

It’s so important, in fact, that I’ll have to include it in some tips here!

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