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Law 101: Everything You Need to Know About American Law (Law 101: Everything You Need to Know about the American Legal System) 3rd Edition

47 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195395136
ISBN-10: 0195395131
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An engaging introduction to just about every aspect of law."--The American Lawyer"All the benefits of that first year of law school without the tedium, the terror, and the sleep deprivation...These legal lessons are presented in a style nearly always engaging and very often humorous."--Jurist"An entertaining and informative introduction to the law...For journalists, those interested in the law, and fans of television law dramas, this book should be required reading."--Library Journal"A layperson's introduction to the legal subjects that assault every first-year law student. From constitutional law to contracts to Dickensian procedures that guide civil suites, the book gives an approachable overview of the cases and concepts that combine to form our legal system."--NewarkStar-Ledger"Though a book is aimed at laypersons, it offers a good refresher course to update legal practitioners and paraprofessionals in areas where they do not specialize. A good read overall for those interested in the law."--Booklist"Law 101 attempts to teach you how to think like a lawyer--without requiring that you dedicate three years and tens of thousands of dollars to the task. The result? A practical book that is also a pleasure to read."--The Trenton Times"This basic text offers nonlawyers a concise, accessible overview of topics typically introduced in the first year of law school. Feinman, a law professor at Rutgers, cites seminal cases to highlight key concepts in the fields of constitutional law, civil procedure, torts, contracts, property, criminal law and criminal procedure. He does not minimize the actual complexity of these subjects, conceding variously that contract law has "tormented the most students," property law "most irritates students," conflicts of law "tortures students" and civil procedure is "the most alien." Nevertheless, he distinguishes his book from the various how-to-be-your-own-lawyer manuals on the market: 'This one is fun to read.' ...But many readers, particularly those contemplating law school, will find this a painless introduction to American legal theory and practice."--Publishers Weekly (Praise for the Second Edition)"Many readers, particularly those contemplating law school, will find this a painless introduction to American legal theory and practice."--Publishers Weekly"Feinman's style makes for easy reading, and Law101 is chock full of analyses, anecdotes, examples, questions, and legal reasoning set out in lay terms. Overall, the book provides an excellent explanation of what American law is, and it frequently suggests ways in which it might be improved."--TheFederal Lawyer

About the Author


Jay M. Feinman serves as Distinguished Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law, Camden. He is the author of five previous books, including 1001 Legal Words and Un-Making Law: The Conservative Campaign to Roll Back the Common Law.
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Product Details

  • Series: Law 101: Everything You Need to Know about the American Legal System
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3 edition (June 12, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195395131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195395136
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.9 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Collins on October 22, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In Law 101, the author attempts to explain major concepts found in American law and the legal system without going into the finer detail. He succeeds.

Major concepts covered in this book include constitutional law, basic rights, tort law, contract law, property law, and criminal law. Also covered are the litigation process in civil suits and criminal trials.

Each of these subjects covers a lot of things, but the author has managed to succinctly summarize each one into the major things that need to be known in order to understand each topic. He also brings in famous and important court cases that really show how the law is applied to different situations. From important cases such as Marbury v. Madison or Roe v. Wade to more infamous cases such as when a woman scalded herself after spilling hot coffee and was able to successfully sue McDonald's.

Even with the amount covered in this book, it still is only the tip of the iceberg. It really opened my eyes to just how complicated the law can be especially when it comes to dispensing justice fairly.

I would recommend this book to those with an interest in learning about law and the American legal system. Although it will not turn you into a lawyer overnight, it will give a greater understanding of the major concepts of law and court cases often heard about in the news.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. Gaudet on December 17, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Outstandingly well written! It covers the first year law school courses. Well organized and very informative. Not written in "leagalease". Essential reading for the non-lawyer needing a general knowledge of the law. I'm not a lawyer and have read several books on the general subjet of law. This book is far above the others in writing style, comprehensive, and the amount of info covered. I bought it as a "necessary" read, but was surprised at how well it is organized. A pleasant and informative read! I strongly recommend it
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Matt Hunyadi on April 24, 2012
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This was the perfect read to get a quick overview of law the summer before attending law school. It covers the main issues and points without digressing into minutiae. Highly recommended general guide and comprehensive intro. Also recommend a law specialties guide and Merriam Webster's Law Dictionary, which has important cases and appendixes in addition to legal terms.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Emily M. Maher on August 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is well organized and does a good job of explaining most of the concepts. The section on constitutional law is complicated by sentences that are long and twisting, double negation, and a lack of explanation for certain concepts. I found that I often needed to re-read paragraphs in order to understand what the author was saying and that if I wasn't giving the book my 100% attention, I could not follow the author's train of thought. Other than that section, however, I found this book to be an easy read and a good overview of the legal system and how it functions.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Arthur on January 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Before I started law school, I surveyed the crowded field of books that purport to offer an overview of basic legal information--I even bought a few, including this one. After I finished my first year, I couldn't believe how much of the content that I had paid (dearly) for was covered in this book. It identifies important doctrinal concepts, and illustrates them using the most famous (and infamous) cases providing controlling case law. Some of it is dry--but the material it summarizes can be inherently dry anyway, and I think the author would be doing the reader a disservice by characterizing any other way.

Reading this book alone will not get you A's as a 1L. But if you can comprehend and absorb the fundamentals laid out by the author, much of what you encounter in your first year will be familiar. Knowing the principal concepts generally, you can focus on the more nuanced parts of your classes. That usually gets you A's.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JAK on June 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoy this book. There are so many books / TV shows / movies about legal situations but not a single one that I have ever seen discusses how the law REALLY works on a day to day basis. This book does that and at the same time is entertaining. The author is a law school professor at Rutgers Camden (where my dad went to Law school 40 years ago). I am not a lawyer but I really enjoyed this book. It is both educational and entertaining.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Frederick Kerzic on January 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This publication was well organized and explains law in a way that kept me coming back for more. Additionally, there were many insights that inspired me to do further research. Finally, if you think you want to be involved in the law or simply want to educate yourself on the finer points regarding public policy and current affairs and how law ties into these disciplines, this is the book you want to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Greg on April 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is from the perspective of a 0L. The book is nice because it covers the six main 1L classes: Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, Property, and Criminal Law. It also goes into criminal procedure (the last chapter), but I didn't read about that because Criminal Procedure is an elective. The book gave a basic foundation on the subjects, but I don't think I will use it as a supplement in law school. The reason for that is the book doesn't go into a whole lot of detail given that it's written for the educated lay person. However, I did learn a ton and I think I now have a good foundation of knowledge to build upon. My main goal when reading this book was to build a general idea of what I'd learn about as a 1L and this book did a great job in meeting that end. I plan on reading Examples & Explanations books in the coming weeks and months to expand on what I learned from this book.

If another 0L asked me if it's worth reading this book, I would probably tell her only if she had the time. I'm glad I read this but I don't think it's going to make too big of a difference in my law school grades. It's a nice introduction to legal thinking with all of the "what ifs" and the discussion about social policy issues vs fact issues, but there are other books which solely focus on legal thinking.
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