Chirelstein’s Concepts and Case Analysis in the Law of Contracts

There is no disagreement among law students about this: the best contract law supplement is Chirelstein’s Concepts and Case Analysis in the Law of Contracts (more often referred too as just “Chirelstein” or, “the book with the sailboat”). Whereas in other subjects the examples and explanations series of supplements is often the only way to go, for contracts Chirelstein’s concise book is considered essential.

Chirelstein can be read in one night and after you’ve finished, you will just “get” contracts law. It gives you a great overview of the full picture. Hundreds of professors recommend or even require it, probably because the exam answers they have to read get noticeably better after they do.

Yes, nearly everyone reads it so it might not give you a huge advantage. Not reading it may very well give you a disadvantage. It’s probably best to give the book a quick read right as contracts class starts and then read it once more just before the final. Though it mostly rehashes the basics, it shows you how it all hangs together. Remember you have to cover the basics on your contracts exam- this book will show you how to discuss fundamental concepts in contracts law intelligently and without missing key connections.

I’d love it if some students shared their experience with the Chirelstein book in the comments, so please give it a brief review if you’ve used it.

Contracts: Examples & Explanations, 7th Edition

Examples and Explanations, often called E&Es for short, are always going to be a helpful preparation tool for your exam. While I didn’t feel the contracts E&E was absolutely essential at my school, I know a lot of professors still recommend it elsewhere. It’s going to give you great practice mastering the concepts.

E&Es such as this one are going to be much different than the Chirelstein book recommended above. E&Es give you very in-depth summaries of the law followed by little quizzes to test and improve your understanding of the material. These quizzes consist of ‘examples’- situations where you have to decide how the law applies, followed ‘explanations’ that tell you how the law should apply to this situation. Because answering these quizzes is very similar to the task that most law school exams ask of you, these books are rightly viewed as great exam prep and practice.

An E&E is going to take you a lot longer than one night to work through, but if you budget the time for it, the contracts E&E can provide a major boost. Typically people recommend that you read the relevant section of the E&E after you have already outlined that material, reviewed class notes on it, and looked through the assigned case law on that subject. So say I am reviewing and outlining the parol evidence rule. Doing the Contracts E&E section on that would be the last step. Don’t worry, you’ll know what the parol evidence rule is soon enough.

Questions about how to use these or other supplements? Ask in the comments! We’ll be rolling out plenty more advice on exam preparation as your law school finals approach, so follow us on twitter @onlawschool or subscribe to our newsletter!

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