Outlines are one of the most essential tools in a law student's arsenal. An outlines is a condensed version of a given legal subject; and is the most efficient way to organize the massive amount of laws and court holdings that comprise that subject.
During each semester of law school, each and every course will require a student to read thousands of pages of dense court cases, take hundreds of pages of notes, and possibly read as many pages of dense statutory code, such as in the Uniform Commercial Code. This amount of text, in it's raw form, is far too immense to memorize during the limited time prior to final exams or the bar exam. By distilling that text into it's most basic form, though, you can create an efficient and organized reference source for studying; this reference source is the the outline.
Obtaining Law School Outlines
When it comes to outlines, you have two basic choices. You can either build your own outline from the ground up (which we suggest; emphatically) or you can obtain one from an external source such as a commercial service or even from friends.
Build Your Own Outline
By building your own outline you will benefit in many ways. The process of building an outline for each of your courses might seem overwhelming, but is in fact a lot easier and more beneficial than you might think.
The steps required in creating an outline (organizing, minimizing, and refining the legal rules of a particular field of law) are powerful tools for becoming fully versed in that particular field of law; which is an extremely helpful advantage when taking final exams or the bar exam itself. For more detailed information, see our guide for building law school outlines.
Obtain Outlines From Others
The only time we would ever recommend obtaining an outline from others is when building your own becomes problematic, such as if an illness forced you to miss a lot of class or if your professor did not present the subject in an understandable way.
Even when obtaining outlines from others, you still need to merge them with your own notes an research. This is required because any external outline may contain errors; may be out of date; or might not be tailored to the course, assignments, and exams created by your own professor.