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Hi,

I'm an incoming student for the Fall 2021 intake. I'm hoping to identify some of the essential reading material for the current 1L classes such as for Torts, Contracts, etc. 

I'm aware of the list put up by the Assistant Dead  as resource materials for first year courses. But that list seems to be one to broaden your horizon rather than the essential and the core reading materials. I'd appreciate it very much if current students or others who might know about this could share some titles as well as other resources you think can be useful. 

Thanks very much. 

Edited by ShadyLaze
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There really is no need to try and get ahead or anything when it comes to the readings. Don't worry about it until you get the official book list from the school, and don't bother reading until you know what your specific professors are assigning out of each book (the profs can take widely different approaches across sections). You are better off relaxing, working, doing things you enjoy etc., because the opportunity to do these things diminishes significantly once you start law school (and reading a bunch of cases ahead of time and out of context likely won't change that).

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Please don't try to teach yourself the law when in literally a few months time you will be paying highly qualified instructors at a reputable educational institution a significant sum of money to teach law to you in a structured way. At best, you will read the wrong/irrelevant cases, at worst, you will actively confuse yourself. 

Edited by LabouriousCorvid
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You'll look back at this post in late October and laugh at yourself for ever having thought this. Enjoy the free time you have right now. 

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I appreciate all the advice. I do hope that I'll receive some answers to my questions nonetheless. 

This isn't the anxiety of a soon-to-graduate college student who wants to get ahead of his peers. I know that my best learning does not happen in the classroom or through tailored and secondary notes. More importantly, my reading speed is quite slow, being a non-native English speaker and my past education having been in engineering. So this is an opportunity for me to practice reading.

I will, however, remember the sentiments expressed by everyone here regarding taking advantage of this calm before the storm  :)

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You should take the advice of everyone who has already posted above.

Attacking the casebooks without instruction and guidance of a professor will, at best, confuse you. Even more likely, your presumptions about the law will likely carry over into class and will hold you back from truly understanding what, exactly, is going on. 

To provide context, this is coming from a 1L who reads the cases WITH instruction and guidance from professors and STILL doesn't understand what is going on. lol. 

Have fun with your remaining time before you start law school. Worry about law school when you are actually in law school. 

Edited by LetMeIn2020
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I'm not sure why people are trying to tell the OP what to do, or why current law students feel that they have to be gatekeepers. There is no reason why a person cannot or should not teach themselves, or read ahead of law school, core subjects or not, if they want to. I'm not at UBC, so I can't tell you what texts they use. For Torts, I found Philip Osborne's Introduction to Tort Law to be a good overview, and easy to read. My 1L Torts prof followed the same path as Osborne when he took us through the caselaw, in a class that did not have an associated textbook. It was a traditional intro to Torts course. Good luck! 

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I am currently reading Peter Hogg's Constitutional Law Student Reader, 2020 edition. I find it overall accessible and interesting. I am not "confusing myself" by reading about law before starting law school. I like the law, I find reading about it at a relaxed pace enjoyable, and I am quite certain that learning general principles will help me better understand more specific information when I enter law school in the fall. 

I find the aversion in this forum to reading ahead is strange, but then I am a mature student, and I am mostly going back to school for the love of learning and intellectual challenge. So, reading supplementary texts makes perfect sense to me. 

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19 minutes ago, LegalAcrobat said:

 

I find the aversion in this forum to reading ahead is strange, but then I am a mature student, and I am mostly going back to school for the love of learning and intellectual challenge. So, reading supplementary texts makes perfect sense to me. 

It will make sense once you're actually in law school. I don't think anyone is saying don't read about law for fun if you want, it's just pointless to read ahead expecting it will help you do better. Most people end up having to redo a lot of their September/October notes because it takes a while to figure out what you're actually looking for in a case.

And pretty much everyone who's gone to law school enjoys the intellectual challenge of law, otherwise they wouldn't be doing 6+ years of post-secondary school. 

Edited by Starling
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Fully agree with Legal Acrobat and philosophymajor.

Starling, I think what you're saying is also true.

I think it can be useful to read more textbooks and pay attention to what the authors tell you about the case, look for that in the case, don't worry about it getting you ahead, but if you can learn some of the concepts, I don't think it could possibly do you wrong.

I don't see how reading Hogg could do you wrong, I just don't.

If you do decide to read cases, read some trial court cases and ONCA cases. I think that can help your understanding more than SCC cases that first year law seems very focused on.

What I find is often the case is that we read the original cases and I get very little out of them if I don't know what I'm reading for. When I read the cases that take up another case, the decisions often tell me what the courts have taken from that case, and that is often more useful to me in my understanding than the original case.

Listen to some podcasts or read good commentary and engagement with cases, from lawyers, not mainstream media. The Slaw blog is a good source for that, some big firms have great blogs. Some of the commentary posted on Canlii is good. The Docket is a good podcast for criminal law and often consitutional issues. 

Many of the organizations running events right now aimed at law students are sort of open to everyone, or legitimately open to everyone. Find some that interest you, don't crash them, but if they're legitimately open to all, attend.

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19 hours ago, ShadyLaze said:

I appreciate all the advice. I do hope that I'll receive some answers to my questions nonetheless. 

This isn't the anxiety of a soon-to-graduate college student who wants to get ahead of his peers. I know that my best learning does not happen in the classroom or through tailored and secondary notes. More importantly, my reading speed is quite slow, being a non-native English speaker and my past education having been in engineering. So this is an opportunity for me to practice reading.

I will, however, remember the sentiments expressed by everyone here regarding taking advantage of this calm before the storm  :)

UBC has 4 different small groups, with different profs for each one. You will be assigned to a small group - people sometimes get switched into different groups pretty much up until right before orientation. I covered completely different material in 1L from my friends in other sections. Different textbooks, different cases, even completely different areas of Torts/Constitutional etc. 

Do you even know who your profs are? I don't remember finding out until right about the time we started. Did that change? If you don't have a booklist or syllabus yet, I don't think you could even know you what you will need to read. 

Edited by Starling
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6 hours ago, JimmyMcGill said:

Fully agree with Legal Acrobat and philosophymajor.

Starling, I think what you're saying is also true.

I think it can be useful to read more textbooks and pay attention to what the authors tell you about the case, look for that in the case, don't worry about it getting you ahead, but if you can learn some of the concepts, I don't think it could possibly do you wrong.

I don't see how reading Hogg could do you wrong, I just don't.
 

Thanks JimmyMcGill, I appreciate the support (and resources!)

 

8 hours ago, Starling said:

And pretty much everyone who's gone to law school enjoys the intellectual challenge of law, otherwise they wouldn't be doing 6+ years of post-secondary school. 

Thanks Starling for your insight. To clarify, I wasn't trying to be sanctimonious or imply that other students don't enjoy intellectual challenges. I've heard from law students that the volume of reading during law school demands efficiency while learning - the "studying for the exam" effect - and can suppress intellectual curiosity and the ability to explore supplementary texts once school starts. Unless the OP is coming from a place of unmanaged anxiety or an assumed ability to get ahead of peers, which they clearly stated is not the case, I still don't see the professed harm in reading before first semester while there are fewer pressures. That's my main point.

But what you're saying makes sense. Trying to locate specific assigned readings from past years is probably futile, given the variability between small groups and professors. 

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As Starling said, each prof assigns their own readings and preferred case books. You are free to read for enjoyment or out of curiosity but there is no guarantee that pre-reading will be much help. 

I never looked into this before 1L, but Hogg seems to still be a leading authority for constitutional law and Bruce MacDougall has a pretty good casebook on contracts. Torts (intentional) and property are taught very differently across all sections so I don’t know where I’d point to for pre-reading on these subjects. However, Donoghue v Stevenson is a seminal case on the law of negligence so check that case out to get a feel for term 2 of torts.

Edited by Psychometronic
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1 hour ago, LegalAcrobat said:

Thanks JimmyMcGill, I appreciate the support (and resources!)

 

Thanks Starling for your insight. To clarify, I wasn't trying to be sanctimonious or imply that other students don't enjoy intellectual challenges. I've heard from law students that the volume of reading during law school demands efficiency while learning - the "studying for the exam" effect - and can suppress intellectual curiosity and the ability to explore supplementary texts once school starts. Unless the OP is coming from a place of unmanaged anxiety or an assumed ability to get ahead of peers, which they clearly stated is not the case, I still don't see the professed harm in reading before first semester while there are fewer pressures. That's my main point.

But what you're saying makes sense. Trying to locate specific assigned readings from past years is probably futile, given the variability between small groups and professors. 

You didn't come across as sanctimonious to me. Also, the idea that pretty much everyone who has gone through law school enjoys the intellectual challenge of the law is laughable and completely not true. Law school is not an intellectual space, for the most part. People are busy and stressed out and the most common style of inquiry is based on speed, efficiency, what other people are doing, and what upper years advise as foolproof for beating the curve. Intellectuals in law school are the exception, not the rule. 

Edited by philosophymajor
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Thank you philisophymajor, LegalAcrobat, JiimmyMcGill and Psychometronic for your recommendations. I will take notes of the resources introduced and hope to receive some more recommendations before this threat is buried. 

Also thanks to Starling and others for pointing out that different profs could use entirely different resources for classes at UBC. I was not aware of this and so will not focus on finding specific titles now.

As it was mentioned by others, too, I'm a few years out of school and so my perspective about education has shifted away from worrying about grades and curves and standing to appreciating the opportunity to learn full-time about something that interests me. Reading about law  in advance is out of enjoyment and not competition or anxiety. Thanks all for your input. Please feel free to make further recommendations about helpful resources to familiarize oneself with law. Very much appreciated.

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