In the aggregate, these casebook reviews demonstrate the significance of the casebook, with its strengths and weaknesses, not just in shaping the temporary experience of students and teachers in the law school classroom but more profoundly for the longer-term development of the legal profession. Because casebooks still maintain the center of gravity in legal education, they serve as the vehicle through which each succeeding generation of lawyers is socialized into patterns of thinking about law and legal practice. Ironically, any single popular casebook probably has a more direct and profound influence on the legal culture than all of the other scholarly works on law reviewed in the Michigan Law Review's annual survey put together. A critical examination of casebooks has much to tell us about who we in the legal profession are, and who we might aspire to be. This collection of casebook reviews, then, represents the first installment in what we hope will be an important on-going discussion about the nature of law, its role in the contemporary world, and the resulting implications for legal education.
Janet Ainsworth, Preface: Law in (Case)books, Law (School) in Action: The Case for Casebook Reviews, 20 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 271 (1997).