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Haven't been accepted yet, but I'm finding I have a lot more free time as of late. I have some old law textbooks on my shelf: constitutional, administrative, property, and tort law. I have been reading each, about 25-40 pages a night. I didn't grab the books off the shelf with the intention of reading ahead, but now that I think about it: would there be any particular advantage in reading ahead for these books? I want to get a basic foundation of how facts are presented, how judges reason, how statutes are interpreted etc. before developing the specific kind of reasoning and analytical skills that will serve me in law school. After doing a first read through of these texts, I plan on going back and refining the reading I did in hopes of yielding a more critical/analytical view of the cases I read. I am starting to see glimpses of that kind of mindset, but I want to get through some of the foundational aspects of legal language and legal history first before I do. Would this be considered a worthwhile venture to make or am I wasting my time? That being said, above all else, I am very interested in what I'm reading; if I get nothing else out of it, I can confirm I am at the very least enjoying what I'm reading.

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This is not just a waste of time but a bad idea.  There's a ton of threads explaining why.  It is a really bad idea when you are talking about old constitutional and administrative books.

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3 minutes ago, ProfReader said:

This is not just a waste of time but a bad idea.  There's a ton of threads explaining why.  It is a really bad idea when you are talking about old constitutional and administrative books.

I didn't mean to say they are antiquated. The editions are only a few years old. Is this still not advisable? 

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1 minute ago, capitalttruth said:

I didn't mean to say they are antiquated. The editions are only a few years old. Is this still not advisable? 

It is not advisable that you read at all, even if they were the newest texts.  But yes, constitutional and admin law in particular have changed over the past few years.  

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9 minutes ago, ProfReader said:

It is not advisable that you read at all, even if they were the newest texts.  But yes, constitutional and admin law in particular have changed over the past few years.  

That's too bad - I happened to really enjoy what I was reading. I will search for some of the old threads that detail why it's not a good idea.

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6 hours ago, capitalttruth said:

That's too bad - I happened to really enjoy what I was reading. I will search for some of the old threads that detail why it's not a good idea.

If you really want to read something, read case law. 

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1 hour ago, OWH said:

If you really want to read something, read case law. 

That's really not a great idea either. Just hold your horses. OP hasn't even been accepted to law school yet. If they are, they will have more readings than they know what to do with in a few months and trying to pre-read anything now is not going to make any difference to how they assimilate that information and convey it on their exams.

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8 hours ago, capitalttruth said:

I didn't mean to say they are antiquated. The editions are only a few years old. Is this still not advisable? 

Even a couple of years is too old.

In any case, the  world of admin law will likely be completely re-written (again) in the next few months, so even the newest textbook will be out of date shortly.

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5 minutes ago, BabyRhinoRainbow said:

I read HLA Hart's The Concept of Law the summer before law school started. It was exactly as exciting as it sounds.

I have a copy of Ronald Dworkin's "Taking Rights Seriously" on my shelf. It sounds a little bit more exciting than Hart lol

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46 minutes ago, capitalttruth said:

I have a copy of Ronald Dworkin's "Taking Rights Seriously" on my shelf. It sounds a little bit more exciting than Hart lol

One is a response to the other.  Both are boring.  You should just relax and have fun.  You have your whole life to read law books.

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Read as much of everything that you ever wanted to read before coming to law school... you may not get another chance!

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I’m going to raise the unpopular opinion. I really do think reading ahead is helpful. There are many readings in 1L that I did not get a chance to do that I wish I had.

Just read for information or even the format of judgement is I think helpful especially while you have all the time in the world right now. Don’t memorize anything obviously or take notes since the law may have changed.

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20 hours ago, easttowest said:

Read as much of everything that you ever wanted to read before coming to law school... you may not get another chance!

Preach. I miss reading non-legal books so much. 

If you really want to read something that will prep you in some way, read popular non-fiction that touch upon legal topics, or One L by Scott Turow. 

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I was never into reading fiction very much. I come from a philosophy background, and during undergrad and grad school, I read as much philosophy as I could because I wanted to get a systematic view of the entire tradition. The challenge of such a task is what fueled the joy I received from reading what I read.

I guess the same motivation has led me to use the same approach with law. But, as some of you are saying, I have my whole life to do that. I guess I'll just keep reading philosophy for now!

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Read whatever you want. Reading case law at this point isn’t going to do you much good other than understanding the structure of how judgements are written. You likely won’t retain anything substantive. But if you want to read cases and textbooks read cases and textbooks.

If you enjoy reading them then read them despite what others are telling you. If you’re enjoying your time reading, as much or more than if you read fiction, then go for it. However, as mentioned, just alter your expectations because although it won’t do much good it certainly won’t harm you either. 

Edited by FingersCr0ssed
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I don't think reading ahead is a bad idea at all. It's certainly not necessary, but there's no reason someone who's not in law school or already a lawyer can't or shouldn't read cases or current texts on the law. Just make sure that you go in with a mind open to being told your previous reading or interpretation of whatever you've gone through is flawed or even outright incorrect. Law school is supposed to provide you with the context and guidance to better understand what you're reading, but let's not pretend that reading Constitutional Law in Canada as an unguided "civilian" is somehow harmful to their future ability to contextualize or better understood what they've already started to chip away at in terms of learning.

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As someone who worked for a law firm before law school, knowing how to read the important parts of cases is really handy and you don't really know how to do that until you have read lots of cases. A good way to learn how that works is to look at case law on Canlii and to read a case where they summarize a rule from another case.

Here's an example from an Ontario Court of Appeal case:

https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onca/doc/2019/2019onca112/2019onca112.html

That link will take you to the case, and in paragraph 7-10, they cite Borowski v. Canada (Attorney General), 1989 CanLII 123 (SCC), Then they go on to discuss the legal test. So if you read borowski, it's quite a bit longer than what they take from the case.

If you really, really wanted to practice reading cases in advance of law school, my exclusive advice would be to read cases, then find citations where they mention a "legal test." Then stop reading and go to the cited case and see if you can figure out what the legal test is, then go back to the case and see if you came to the same conclusion as the judge/justices. If you can do that reliably, then you have mastered a skill that people struggle with throughout law school and it will save you a lot of time in reading.

 

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2 hours ago, ericontario said:

I don't think reading ahead is a bad idea at all. It's certainly not necessary, but there's no reason someone who's not in law school or already a lawyer can't or shouldn't read cases or current texts on the law. Just make sure that you go in with a mind open to being told your previous reading or interpretation of whatever you've gone through is flawed or even outright incorrect. Law school is supposed to provide you with the context and guidance to better understand what you're reading, but let's not pretend that reading Constitutional Law in Canada as an unguided "civilian" is somehow harmful to their future ability to contextualize or better understood what they've already started to chip away at in terms of learning.

I don't know if it's "harmful", but it is pretty useless and won't make any difference to their outcomes in law school. When I was in law school, most people who read ahead realized pretty early on it had been a waste of their time. It was "harmful" to the few who didn't realize this and continued to act and think as if they had a leg up on the rest of us, thus failing to realize what they didn't know until after exams. 

Sure, if someone actually thinks reading old law textbooks or case law is enjoyable and more beneficial to them than reading other things for pleasure and expanding their horizons, or otherwise engaging in their personal development, and they won't burn out later from doing this, more power to them.

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