Resources for Students

Maintained by James Grimmelmann
Current through July 2019

This page collects some of the most common resources I recommend for students who want to learn more about intellectual property, technology, and Internet law.

The Legal System

If you are taking a law-school class or reading primary legal materials for the first time, I highly recommend Orin Kerr’s How to Read a Legal Opinion, 11 Green Bag 2d 51 (2007).

If you need a more in-depth introduction to how the United States legal system works, E. Allan Farnsworth, An Introduction to the Legal System of the United States (4th ed. 2010) is a good primer. It is useful if you have studied law in another country, and if you have never studied law before.

In an earlier era, I would have recommended buying a legal dictionary. For law students, it’s still a good idea. Under Bryan Garner’s editing, Black’s Law Dictionary (now in the 11th edition, but used copies of previous editions are often much cheaper) has become the gold standard. But I’ll be honest: for 90% of your queries, a Google search is good enough.

Law and Technology News

Media outlets with good dedicated coverage of technology law include:

Newsletters

The Bloomberg BNA Law Reports, particularly the Electronic Commerce Law Report and the Privacy & Security Law Report, provide detailed coverage of recent cases. BNA unofficially stands for “Boring, Nevertheless Accurate.” The Cornell Law librarians can help you subscribe and browse back issues.

Casey Newton’s The Interface is a daily update on what’s happening in social media, democracy, and Internet regulation. Each issue features a mini-essay unpacking an important development, and a link roundup of other news, expertly distilled to the essentials.

Tim Carmody’s Amazon Chronicles is a weekly report on all things Amazon. Carmody is a Renaissance blogger, with insights ranging from economics to aesthetics; he works hard to knit stories together and provide overarching insights.

Ali Griswold’s Oversharing covers the sharing economy. Griswold’s takes are typically critical and well-supported. She is good at picking up and highlighting longer-term trends in what can sometimes feel like an incomprehensible churn of news.

Matt Levine’s Money Stuff (subscribe here) is a daily column on finance. About a third of the stories feature strong tech angles, such as Levine’s copyrighted patented trademark recurring feature, “Blockchain Blockchain Blockchain.” Levine is a hilarious writer; I guarantee at least one lol per issue.

Blogs

There are a lot of legal blogs. These are a few of my favorites:

Podcasts

A few podcasts consistently feature excellent cover of law and technology:

Law School Exams

As for what makes a good answer, I highly recommend John Langbein’s essay Writing Law Examinations and Orin Kerr’s blog post Bad Answers, Good Answers, and Terrific Answers.