Gray, Gifford, Graber, Richman, Super, and Van Alstine's Get a Running Start: Your Comprehensive Guide to the First Year Curriculum

West Academic Publishing
Primary Subject
Academic Success
Academic and Career Success Series
Publication Date
eBook - Lifetime digital access to the eBook, with the ability to highlight and take notes.


The first of its kind, this book offers a global overview of the first-year curriculum in a single volume. In short, accessible lessons, Get a Running Start covers all the major concepts taught in each of the courses most commonly offered in the first year of law school: criminal law, torts, civil procedure, constitutional law, property, and contracts. (See also a companion volume, Stay Ahead of the Pack: Your Comprehensive Guide to the Upper Level Curriculum, which covers the most common 2L and 3L courses: administrative law, business associations, criminal procedure, evidence, personal income tax, and professional responsibility.)

Each of the courses comprising this book is written by a specialist in the field who is a decorated teacher with years of experience in the classroom. In this volume, they have distilled that experience and expertise to produce the tool they wish they had when they first were thinking about and then actually began law school: a clear, concise introduction to the entire first-year curriculum.

Get a Running Start is a valuable tool for first-year law students, giving them a running start on their law school careers and putting them in the best position to enter the profession. By reading through all the lessons for a course, first-year students will get a complete overview of each course early in the semester. As the semester goes forward, students can accelerate their learning and comprehension by reviewing individual lessons when preparing for class. As the semester comes to a close, the lessons in this book provide an invaluable framework for outlining and exam preparation.

Get a Running Start is also the ideal introduction for undergraduate students. For formal pre-law or Introduction to American Law courses, this book will provide students with a comprehensive overview broken into concise, digestible chunks that are ideal for further development in lecture or discussion sections. Outside the classroom, Get a Running Start offers a stimulating introduction to fundamental legal concepts that will engage those who might be thinking about going to law school and citizens who simply want to know more about the law as a central feature of public life.

Among the many features of this book readers will find useful and attractive are:
  • An introductory chapter offering advice on how to structure a successful preparation and study process starting with the summer before law school and running straight through exams.
  • Insiders’ advice from successful law students and recent graduates on class preparation, course selection, career development, and managing the stress of law school.
  • Short lessons that provide readers with an introduction to the major concepts for a day or week of law school classes in 10-15 minutes.
  • Complete course coverage that will allow readers to get a global overview of a first-year law course in the span of an afternoon.
  • Frequent use of examples and hypotheticals to illustrate major points in an available way.
  • Short “Takeaway” summaries at the end of each lesson that highlight the main points and provide a quick reference or refresher.
  • “Bonus” lessons offering quick primers on topics such as legal reasoning and statutory interpretation.