A Law Student's Toolkit

Published: Nov 4, 2015



Whether you are an advanced law student looking to review the basics, or an aspiring law student looking for head start, this course will help you build the foundation you will need to succeed in law school and beyond. This course will introduce you to terminology, concepts, and tools lawyers and legal academics use to make their arguments. It will help you follow these arguments—and make arguments of your own. This course consists of a series of short lectures and assignments. A reading list complements each lesson, providing you with a roadmap to help you explore the subject matter more deeply on your own. Although the lessons may cross-reference each other, they are modular in nature: you should feel free to approach them in whatever order fits your schedule, interests, and needs.

Course Takeaways

  • This course will introduce you to terminology, concepts, and tools lawyers and legal academics use to make their arguments.
Available Now


Available on Coursera and  YouTube

3 weeks (16 hrs)
Coursera Certificate
No Credential

Meet the Instructors

faculty profile image Ian Ayres is a lawyer and an economist. They are Deputy Dean and the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Professor at Yale Law School and a Professor at Yale’s School of Management. Professor Ayres has been a columnist for Forbes magazine, a commentator on public radio’s Marketplace, and a contributor to the New York Times’ Freakonomics Blog. Their research has been featured on PrimeTime Live, Oprah and Good Morning America and in Time and Vogue magazines. Ian is a co-founder of, a web site that helps you stick to your goals. In an Illinois post-conviction proceeding, Ayres helped convince a court to vacate their client’s death sentence. In 2020, Harvard University Press published Ian’s twelfth book, Weapon of Choice: Fighting Gun Violence While Respecting Gun Rights (with Fredrick Vars). Ian has also published over 100 articles on a wide range of topics including several empirical studies. In 2006, they were elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Ayres's book with Greg Klass, Insincere Promises: The Law of Misrepresented Intent, won the 2006 Scribes book award “for the best work of legal scholarship published during the previous year.” Professor Ayres has been ranked as one of the most prolific and most-cited law professors of their generation. (See James Lindgren & Daniel Seltzer, The Most Prolific Law Professors and Faculties, 71 CHI.-KENT L. REV. 781 (1996); Fred R. Shapiro, The Most-Cited Legal Scholars, 29 J. LEGAL STUD. 409 (2000).) The Chronicle of Higher Education referred to Ayres as “a law-and-economics guru.” Ayres was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, received their B.A. (majoring in Russian studies and economics) and J.D. from Yale and their Ph.D in economics from M.I.T. Professor Ayres clerked for the Honorable James K. Logan of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. They have previously taught at Harvard, Illinois, Northwestern, Stanford and Virginia law schools and has been a research fellow of the American Bar Foundation and Columbia. From 2002 to 2009, Ayres was the editor of the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization. Their two most cited law review articles are Fair Driving: Gender and Race Discrimination in Retail Car Negotiations, 104 Harvard Law Review 817 (1991) and Filling Gaps in Incomplete Contracts: An Economic Theory of Default Rules, 99 Yale Law Journal 87 (1989) (with Robert Gertner). Excerpts of their publications as well as audio and video clips can be found on the internet at: Publications, audio and video clips