FREE CALI Access For Most Law Students

When academic law librarians do library instruction for law students, we all mention the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI). It is a wonderful product that tests comprehension and has been around for nearly 40 years. And it is FREE for most law students to use!

CALI produces online interactive tutorials written by law professors. It gives students a hypothetical and a flowchart that walks through various choices. The students are tested with multiple choice questions, and if they get the answer wrong, they are told why they got it wrong.

CALI currently has 207 member law schools, and law schools that belong to CALI pay $7,500 a year for membership. In exchange, students get unlimited FREE access to the center's library.

Previously, professors wrote CALI material on a volunteer basis or received grants. CALI now pays $1,250 per lesson, and its library has about 950 lessons in more than 35 law school subjects. So nearly every topic is covered.

CALI is not resting on its laurels, as it continues to innovate. Five years from now, says John Mayer (the executive director of CALI), law students won't need to buy textbooks. CALI is currently promoting free, open access textbooks written by law professors for use in law school classes. If these CALI textbooks are done well, it sure would make the cost of legal education go down for the students because legal textbooks can cost upwards of $700 per term.

ABA Journal -- Can John Mayer make law textbooks a thing of the past? ‘It’s fun pushing the envelope,’ he says

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