I promise, my desk isn’t as messy as the one pictured above. Hehe. We aren’t here to talk about desk aesthetics though, we’re here to talk about the reading materials you’ll need in your law school journey. This is going to be a long and bumpy ride but hang in there.
So, first things first. Let’s start with books. See that little Bible-like book on top of the stack? That’s the codal, aka every law student’s Bible (sorry, Lord, didn’t mean any disrespect). A senior friend recommended that the codal should be read first before the annotated textbook, as it is important to get a grasp of the law. After reading (and memorising) the codal provisions, read the annotated textbook. If you are going to highlight anything, please HIGHLIGHT RESPONSIBLY. Before, I used to highlight mindlessly, and I tend to forget why I did highlight that portion of my readings (d’oh). Eventually, I devised a system where I highlight selected information provided, and colour-coded said system. I briefly mentioned it in my #gradschoollifeupdatelol post in this blog. If you have time (which I hope you do), you can make your own notes. Then read (and memorise) your codal provisions again. I don’t necessarily recommend anyone to read the reviewers, especially if you’re a freshman reading it for the first time. Yes, I am speaking from experience. I made the colossal mistake of settling for a reviewer–I was having a particularly bad day, and couldn’t seem to focus on my readings, so I just settled for easy reading.
Easy reading it was not. I only got more confused, like the gif below.
So, hm, where next? We’re going to tackle jurisprudence (case law in other countries, unless I am very much mistaken). We find jurisprudence in two different kinds of publications: the Philippine Reports and the Supreme Court Reports Annotated. If you’re looking for cases for the time period ranging from 1900 to the mid-1960s, you’ll find them in the cream coloured books (also light brown, aha) also known as the Philippine Reports.
If you’re looking for cases that have been decided from mid-1960s to the present, the Supreme Court Reports Annotated (aka the SCRA) are your best friend.
I can’t tell you enough that reading the cases is a must. And for the love of God, and all that’s holy, never, if you can help it, read a case digest unless it is your own. Because cases, or jurisprudence, are covered by different subject areas, and case digests prepared by other people might not cover the same subject matter or area you are studying the case for. I promise I will teach you how to look research for cases in the library. But that’s another blog update for another day.
OTHER IMPORTANT READING MATERIALS:
UP Law Center Answers to Bar Questions: I first encountered this publication when I was in my freshman year–unfortunately after my first major exams, haha. This ISN’T required reading, but if you want to have an idea what kind of answers professors want to see, especially it’s your first time to answer your midterms for law school, this publication is a huge help.
I was also introduced to the Questions Asked More Than Once, compiled by the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law’s Bar Operations team. A friend recommended this to me, and it was also a huge help as I learned a different way of answering my exams.
So, there you have it! I’ve given the main important reading materials in law school. Please note, however, that the last two aren’t required reading, although it would help you how to present your exam answers! 🙂
This will be all for now, but I will soon help you how to look for cases on SCRA or online! 🙂