Custom Law Books

You send us your course syllabus, we'll make a book for your class.

A Closer Look at Case Illustrations
Our illustrations pack a lot of information into a nifty package. Here, you see Garcia and San Antonio Metro Transit Authority, which is the case name. You also see someone asking for a raise. Can you guess what the lawsuit was about?

After you read the case, all it takes is a quick glance at the illustrations to remember what you read.

 
 

We simplify law so you can learn it efficiently. Read smarter, not harder.

You shouldn't buy huge expensive casebooks with hundreds of legal cases your class will never read. And it's a waste of time and money to flip through generic legal case brief and case summary books.

Instead, send us your course syllabus (up to 70 different case opinions) and we'll make a custom Illustated Law book just for you that only contains the cases you need. No junk. No filler. 

The best part? It's only $14.99 per book. 

 

What's in Each Book

The books include: 

  • Verbatim text with excessive dicta removed so almost every case can be read start to finish in fewer than 10 minutes without missing anything of significance.

  • To increase efficiency, each case is clearly broken down into its facts, the issue being decided, the Court's reasoning, the Court's holding, and the key takeaway.

  • Each case has illustrations so the facts of the case stay stuck in your head and you can see who wrote the majority opinion

  • Questions with answers and explanations so readers can check their understanding of the topic

  • A breakdown of how the Justices voted for Supreme Court cases

  • A very brief description next to each citation so you can see at a glance what each case is about

  • Context blurbs so you have an idea of why the decision was important

  • NOTE: Books are made on a first-come-first-serve basis

 
 

Learning Law Doesn't Have to be Difficult

On one extreme are traditional law textbooks, which are essentially bricks of dense text with no images and a slew of rhetorical questions.

On the other extreme are commercial outlines and case briefs, which rely on the authors' subjective interpretations of judicial opinions to provide paraphrased information too short on details to be useful. They overcharge and underdeliver.

Illustrated Law materials, like our case briefs, make learning law simple and effective. Our unique content applies the latest findings of cognitive science to maximize learning. Each book and case brief narrowly focuses on the key elements of each legal case while retaining the sentences from judicial opinions verbatim, so no facts or reasoning are paraphrased. IL is the intelligent alternative to textbooks and commercial case briefs.

Illustrated Law content also contains dozens of drawings to illustrate the facts of each case, so the information is easier to envision and retain in the reader's memory. Finally, unlike the rhetorical questions of traditional textbooks, Illustrated Law content contains questions and answers throughout so the reader can apply what they learn and test what they remember.

 

Scissors Beats Paper, and Paper Beats Digital

Relying solely on digital reading may be less beneficial than physical books in several ways:

  • Students who read texts in print scored significantly better on the reading comprehension test than students who read the texts digitally.

  • Compared to digital texts, paper learning was more efficient and self-assessments of knowledge were better calibrated under most conditions

  • Digital sources make it harder to fall asleep

  • Distractions on digital reading platforms lead to less focus.

 

Long, Dense Textbooks Aren't Only Boring. They're a Waste of Time. 

Research into memory retention has shown repeatedly than in the general educational domain as well as in medical education, approximately two-thirds to three-fourths of knowledge will be retained after one year, with a further decrease to slightly below fifty percent in the next year. Illustrated Law focuses on what readers should know so you don't waste precious hours of your life reading superfluous details you'll never recall nor need to recall.

 

 

Criminal Procedure Example in Book Format

Katz v. United States 389 U.S. 347 (1967) (The REP Case)

Context:

Police suspected that Charles Katz was using a public phone booth to discuss gambling wagers across state lines. The FBI attached an electronic listening device on the outside of the booth after gathering a substantial amount of evidence against Katz. The recordings from the eavesdropping device were used to convict Katz in his trial. Katz appealed, claiming that using the eavesdropping device violated the Fourth Amendment. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the FBI, as the device was placed on the outside of the public phone booth, where anyone standing nearby could have heard the conversation. If the device had been place in the phone booth, the Court of Appeals would have ruled that the device unreasonably intruded on Katz, which violates the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court rejected the Court of Appeals’ decision and ruled on Katz’s behalf. Justice Stewart wrote the majority opinion, saying that an individual’s conversations are constitutionally protected if they are made with the reasonable expectation of privacy. Katz entered the phone booth and shut the door behind him expecting that the audience would remain limited to the person on the other end of the line. Katz had argued that the recordings violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable intrusion. The court, however, looked to a different clause in the amendment because the protection against unreasonable intrusion applies to people, not locations. Justice Stewart classified wiretapping as a “search”, thus requiring a warrant. The court ruled that the eavesdropping device’s recordings were illegally obtained, as no search warrant was secured.


Facts:

The petitioner was convicted in the District Court for the Southern District of California under an eight-count indictment charging him with transmitting wagering information by telephone from Los Angeles to Miami and Boston, in violation of a federal statute.

 

Katz Transmitting Wagering Information

 

At trial the Government was permitted, over the petitioner's objection, to introduce evidence of the petitioner's end of telephone conversations, overheard by FBI agents who had attached an electronic listening and recording device to the outside of the public telephone booth from which he had placed his calls.

 

Officers Recording Katz

 

Issue:

Whether the search and seizure conducted in this case complied with constitutional standards.        

Reasoning:

The Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection.

The Government stresses the fact that the telephone booth from which the petitioner made his calls was constructed partly of glass, so that he was as visible after he entered it as he would have been if he had remained outside. But what he sought to exclude when he entered the booth was not the intruding eye -- it was the uninvited ear. He did not shed his right to do so simply because he made his calls from a place where he might be seen. One who occupies it, shuts the door behind him, and pays the toll that permits him to place a call is surely entitled to assume that the words he utters into the mouthpiece will not be broadcast to the world. To read the Constitution more narrowly is to ignore the vital role that the public telephone has come to play in private communication.

The Fourth Amendment governs not only the seizure of tangible items, but extends as well to the recording of oral statements, overheard without any "technical trespass under . . . local property law." Once this much is acknowledged, and once it is recognized that the Fourth Amendment protects people -- and not simply "areas" -- against unreasonable searches and seizures, it becomes clear that the reach of that Amendment cannot turn upon the presence or absence of a physical intrusion into any given enclosure.

Accepting this account of the Government's actions as accurate, it is clear that this surveillance was so narrowly circumscribed that a duly authorized magistrate, properly notified of the need for such investigation, specifically informed of the basis on which it was to proceed, and clearly apprised of the precise intrusion it would entail, could constitutionally have authorized, with appropriate safeguards, the very limited search and seizure that the Government asserts in fact took place.

It is apparent that the agents in this case acted with restraint. Yet the inescapable fact is that this restraint was imposed by the agents themselves, not by a judicial officer. They were not required, before commencing the search, to present their estimate of probable cause for detached scrutiny by a neutral magistrate. They were not compelled, during the conduct of the search itself, to observe precise limits established in advance by a specific court order. Nor were they directed, after the search had been completed, to notify the authorizing magistrate in detail of all that had been seized. In the absence of such safeguards, this Court has never sustained a search upon the sole ground that officers reasonably expected to find evidence of a particular crime and voluntarily confined their activities to the least intrusive means consistent with that end. Searches conducted without warrants have been held unlawful "notwithstanding facts unquestionably showing probable cause," for the Constitution requires "that the deliberate, impartial judgment of a judicial officer . . . be interposed between the citizen and the police . . .." The mandate of the [Fourth] Amendment requires adherence to judicial processes,"and that searches conducted outside the judicial process, without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment -- subject only to a few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions.

It is difficult to imagine how any of those exceptions could ever apply to the sort of search and seizure involved in this case. Even electronic surveillance substantially contemporaneous with an individual's arrest could hardly be deemed an "incident" of that arrest. Nor could the use of electronic surveillance without prior authorization be justified on grounds of "hot pursuit." And, of course, the very nature of electronic surveillance precludes its use pursuant to the suspect's consent.

Wherever a man may be, he is entitled to know that he will remain free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The government agents here ignored "the procedure of antecedent justification . . . that is central to the Fourth Amendment," a procedure that we hold to be a constitutional precondition of the kind of electronic surveillance involved in this case. "   

Holding:

The Government's activities in electronically listening to and recording the petitioner's words violated the privacy upon which he justifiably relied while using the telephone booth and thus constituted a "search and seizure" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The fact that the electronic device employed to achieve that end did not happen to penetrate the wall of the booth can have no constitutional significance.

 

Justice Stewart Issued the Majority Opinion

 

Key Concurrence:

Harlan Concurrence: My understanding of the rule that has emerged from prior decisions is that there is a twofold requirement, first that a person have exhibited an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy and, second, that the expectation be one that society is prepared to recognize as "reasonable."  


Key Takeaway:

In Katz, the Supreme Court concurrence established that a search occurs if and only if a reasonable expectation of privacy (REP) is violated. REP requires that 1) Defendant expected privacy and it's exhibited, and 2) Society is prepared to recognize the expectation of privacy as reasonable.

Court Syllabus

Petitioner was convicted under an indictment charging him with transmitting wagering information by telephone across state lines in violation of 18 U. S. C. § 1084. Evidence of petitioner's end of the conversations, overheard by FBI agents who had attached an electronic listening and recording device to the outside of the telephone booth from which the calls were made, was introduced at the trial. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, finding that there was no Fourth Amendment violation since there was "no physical entrance into the area occupied by" petitioner. 

Held:

1. The Government's eavesdropping activities violated the privacy upon which petitioner justifiably relied while using the telephone booth and thus constituted a "search and seizure" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

(a) The Fourth Amendment governs not only the seizure of tangible items but extends as well to the recording of oral statements.

(b) Because the Fourth Amendment protects people rather than places, its reach cannot turn on the presence or absence of a physical intrusion into any given enclosure. The "trespass" doctrine of Olmstead v. United States and Goldman v. United States is no longer controlling.

2. Although the surveillance in this case may have been so narrowly circumscribed that it could constitutionally have been authorized in advance, it was not in fact conducted pursuant to the warrant procedure which is a constitutional precondition of such electronic surveillance. 

How the Justices Voted

Majority: Stewart, joined by Warren, Douglas, Harlan, Brennan, White, Fortas

Concurrence: Douglas, joined by Brennan

Concurrence: Harlan

Concurrence: White

Dissent: Black