Success in every law school course, regardless of doctrine, requires that students acquire and become expert at applying a set of skills that can be taught explicitly throughout the course. This book highlights ways that various academic skills (such as case briefing, close case reading, note taking, outlining, and exam preparation), legal reasoning skills (such as fact identification and analysis, issue spotting, and working with rules), and theoretical perspectives (such as socioeconomics, legal realism, and critical legal theory) can be incorporated directly into the syllabi of first-year courses in general, and contracts courses in particular.
The book identifies particular cases and readings throughout the contracts syllabus that lend themselves to explicit teaching of one or more of the academic or legal reasoning skills or theoretical perspectives. Each chapter includes exercises showing how the highlighted cases can be used to teach the named skill, with teaching notes for each exercise. The appendix includes a sample syllabus with annotations that describe specific teaching methods and lesson plans.
The book provides a practical addition to typical contracts pedagogy that will enhance that course and improve students' overall first-year law school learning. It seeks to integrate learning theory-based principles and methods into a contracts class without undue intrusion into the scope or depth of the content the professor chooses to cover. The book will assist faculty in effectively teaching to a more diverse group of students, thereby increasing retention and access to both legal education and the profession.