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Jumpstart Torts: Reading and Understanding Torts Cases

  • Ross Sandler
Series / Jumpstart Series
Teaching Materials
JumpStart is a new study aid series covering the first-year course areas. Each title is a short book, roughly 170 pages, that addresses a problem students experience as they navigate their first year courses. Often first year students are expected to learn substantive law by reading judicial opinions without a framework or process to help them comprehend what they are reading. The JumpStart series supplies the context and prepares students to apply the rules in a litigation context. Titles in the series can be used as a general introduction to law school or as an introduction to torts. The books are most useful early in the first semester as well as in orientation courses or as summer reading for students entering their first year of law school. The series will appeal to academic success/support coordinators as well as the course-area professors. Ross Sandler is the series editor. His JumpStart: Torts is the first title in the series.

JumpStart: Torts offers a detailed step-by-step approach to the stages of litigation, beginning with stating a theory of the case, moving through determining facts and making motions to receiving the holding of the case. Legal reasoning and the litigation process are taught via numerous judicial opinions with full analysis of each. Judicial opinions and analyses are made comprehensible without in-class explanation in a straightforward, clear, and informal writing style. Class-tested for success, JumpStart: Torts features pedagogical elements that support learning and facilitate use. As with each book in the series, the opening chapter provides a glossary of the terms, idioms, and procedures encountered in reading cases in tort law. Many judicial opinions are accompanied by an artist-drawn "cartoon" that illustrates the conflict or issue of the case. Short, easy-to-read opinions focus on ordinary situations with simple fact patterns that apply settled rules of law and principles. The book ends with a Practice Exam: a clear explanation of how to approach the typical torts essay exam question as well as insight into how professors grade exams. The chapter ends with a practice essay question. Two sample answers are included: a strong answer and a weaker answer. Each answer includes notes that point out where students did well and where they could improve their answers.


  • Detailed step-by-step approach to the stages of litigation
    • begins by stating a theory of the case
    • moves through determining fact and making motions to receiving the holding of the case
  • Illustrates legal reasoning and the litigation process
    • teaches through numerous judicial opinions with analysis
  • Judicial opinions and analyses comprehensible without in-class explanation
  • Straightforward, clear, informal style
  • Class-tested material
  • Pedagogical features
  • Opening chapter
    • glossary of the terms, idioms, and procedures encountered in reading cases
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Professor Materials
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About the authors
Ross Sandler

When Ross Sandler became the founding director of New York Law Schoolrsquo;s Center for New York City Law in 1993, Crainrsquo;s New York Business applauded the choice, calling him ldquo;a good-government crusader.rdquo; For Professor Sandler, it was the opportunity to bring together all his experiencemdash;as a legal practitioner, a New York City official, and an academicmdash;in an exciting new enterprise. ldquo;I felt that New York Law School had a unique opportunity to put its resources into a virtually ignored areamdash;state and city government. Here we were, right in the center of everything happening in New York. We could make a real contribution,rdquo; he recalls. Professor Sandler left Jones Day Reavis Pogue, where he was a partner, to join New York Law Schoolrsquo;s faculty and head the new center, which he suggested should specialize in city government. Professor Sandler is an appointed member of the New York Procurement Policy Board. He is the author of numerous publications on environmental law, transportation, and government issues. In 2003, Yale University Press released his new book, Democracy by Decree: What Happens When Courts Run Government, written with Professor David Schoenbrod.

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Tort Law
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