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.