Open Book

The Inside Track to Law School Success

If you purchased the first edition, Open Book: Preparing to Succeed in Law School, please click here.

Open Book: The Inside Track to Law School Success, Second Edition is a book that every JD and LL.M. law student needs to read, either before classes start or as they get going in their 1L year.  Now in an expanded second edition, the book explains in a clear and easygoing, conversational manner what law professors expect from their students both in classes and exams. The authors, award-winning teachers with a wealth of classroom experience, give students an “inside” look at law school by explaining how, despite appearances to the contrary, classes connect to exams and exams connect to the practice of law.

Open Book introduces them to the basic structure of our legal system and to the distinctive features of legal reasoning. To prepare students for exams, the book explains in clear and careful detail what exams are designed to test.  It then devotes a single, clearly written chapter to each step of the process of answering exams.  It also contains a wealth of material, both in the book and digitally, on preparing for exams.

“A great balance of humor and professionalism. I felt like the professors were just having a chat with me. I laughed out loud more than once.”

— Saraa Basaria, Northeastern University School of Law, Class of 2012

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Open Book comes with a free suite of 18 actual law school exams in Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property and Torts, written and administered by law professors.  These exams include not only questions, but: (1) annotations from the professors explaining what they were looking for; (2) model answers written by the professors themselves; and (3) actual student answers, with professor comments that explain why certain answers were stronger of weaker.  As Open Book explains, there is no better way to prepare for exams than by practicing, and these unique materials will enable students to get the most out of their pre-exam practice.

“This is a book that will help law students ‘get’ law school, not just law school exams. It really captures what it means to ‘think like a lawyer.’”

— Amy Coney Barrett, Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School

How to Access Open Book Digital, Second Edition

There is a lot  more material to help you with law school and exams, but it made the book too long, and some of it works better if you view it in a web browser

In Open Book Digital, Second Edition you will find examples of student notes and outlines.  There are checklists to get ready for exams.  You’ll also find answers to the exam questions in the book. Most importantly you will find practice exams that have been annotated by professors.

In order to get all this good stuff, check out the card that was included with your purchase. This card will explain how to access Open Book Digital. When you purchase the book, we encourage you to access these materials before you start reading since we reference them throughout the text.

Open Book Contents Download

Open Book
Table of Contents

Open Book Preface Download

Open Book

Open Book Appendix Download

Open Book Appendix
w/Practice Exam




About the Authors


 friedmanphotoBarry Friedman
I'm the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. I've been teaching, litigating and writing about the law for almost thirty years now (despite my youthful appearance). I've taught at the University of Alabama School of Law, Georgetown (as an adjunct) and Vanderbilt Law School, in addition to NYU. I'm mostly a public law person; in the first year curriculum I've taught Civil Procedure, Contracts and primarily Constitutional Law. My scholarship (about which there is much more on the NYU website) involves Federal Jurisdiction, Constitutional Law and judicial behavior. Teaching and students have always been important to me. I was the Vice Dean at NYU from 2007-2010. Last year I won the Al Podell Distinguished Teacher Award. I started thinking about exam-taking when I tutored fellow students at Georgetown. Eventually that thinking became a talk I called "The Pinball Theory of Exam Taking." Now I've teamed up with my long-time friend and colleague John Goldberg on Open Book. Faculty Profile


Goldberg Photo

John Goldberg
I've been a professor at Harvard Law School since 2008. Before then, I taught for more than a decade at Vanderbilt Law School. Prior to joining the Vanderbilt faculty, I clerked for Supreme Court Justice Byron White and District Judge Jack Weinstein, then practiced law for a couple of years at a law firm. I love teaching, especially the first-year courses. I've taught Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, and Torts, and I hope to get to the rest of the 1L curriculum soon. In my teaching and my writing, I believe in explaining things as clearly as I can. For example, the simple idea behind my co-authored Torts casebook is to bring the 'ball' out of hiding, so that the real learning can start. Students seem to like this approach – the book gets great reviews and I've been fortunate enough to receive teaching awards in Torts, Contracts and Civ Pro. When Barry asked me to work with him on Open Book I was thrilled. The whole point of the book, and of this website, is to demystify exams so as to give you your very best shot at excelling on them. Faculty Profile