Teaching without a textbook

A benefit of being here at Stanford for a long time is to see how teaching evolves.  Back when I started it seemed like everyone taught from a textbook.  Today approximately 40% of the courses being offered at the law school do not require a text and I predict that percentage will only increase. 

My own course, Advanced Legal Research, does not require a textbook.  We (I co-teach with Erika Wayne) are very fond of several books, and we were going to assign Murray and DeSanctis’s Legal Research Methods (it’s very good – great explanation of Boolean, useful “Practice Pointers,” and more) but I just couldn’t bring myself to make our students buy a slim, paperback book with a “Suggested Retail Price” of $67.00.  If the book was $ 19.99 or less, we probably would have required it.  But $ 67?  That’s just too expensive in my mind.    So instead we search the Web for relevant readings and find great material in places like the Legal Scholarship Network and throughout the Free Web.

This entry was posted in casebooks, Free Resources, Law schools by Paul Lomio. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul Lomio

Paul is library director and lecturer at law at Stanford Law School. He has a J.D. from Gonzaga Law School, an LL.M. from the University of Washington, and a M.L.I.S. from the Catholic University of America. He is the author (with Henrik Spang-Hanssen) of Legal Research Methods in the U.S. and Europe. He also likes to ride his bicycle.

1 thought on “Teaching without a textbook

  1. It’s just as well you won’t be relying on the Legal Research Methods text. The chapter “Researching Federal Regulatory and Administrative Law” devotes a paragraph to the CIS Federal Register Index, asserting that it is still published. It ceased publication in 1998. The chapter also fails to mention the e-CFR or Regulations.gov. I haven’t read the book’s other chapters, but these problems make me think Legal Research Methods is not a good choice for an advanced legal research text.

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