Find A Little Help From My Friends (Reading First-Year Cases)

As law school heads into the first few weeks of class, it is probable that 1Ls will run across the most famous cases in the first-year subjects.

The Findlaw Blog has a series of helpful posts for the classic law school cases.


  • Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co. (1928)
  • Summers v. Tice (1948)
  • MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co. (1916)
  • Garratt v. Dailey (1955)
  • United States v. Carroll Towing Co. (1947)

Criminal Law:

  • R. v. Dudley and Stephens (Queen's Bench, 1884)
  • M'Naghten's Case (House of Lords 1843)
  • R. v. Cunningham (Queen's Bench, 1957)
  • People v. Ceballos (Calif. Supreme Court, 1973)
  • Lawrence v. Texas (U.S. Supreme Court, 2003)


  • Pierson v. Post (New York, 1805)
  • Ghen v. Rich (Massachusetts, 1881)
  • Duke of Norfolk's Case (House of Lords, 1682)
  • United States v. Causby (U.S. Supreme Court, 1946)
  • Johnson & Graham's Lessee v. M'Intosh (U.S. Supreme Court, 1823)

Civil Procedure:

  • Pennoyer v. Neff (SCOTUS 1878)
  • International Shoe v. Washington (SCOTUS 1945)
  • Gray v. American Radiator (Illinois Supreme Court 1961)
  • World Wide Volkswagen v. Woodson (SCOTUS 1980)
  • Asahi Metal Industry v. Superior Court (SCOTUS 1986)


  • Hawkins v. McGee (New Hampshire 1929)
  • Hadley v. Baxendale (English Exchequer Court 1854)
  • Frigaliment Importing Co. v. BNS International Sales Corp. (New York 1960)
  • Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. (Queen's Bench 1893)
  • Hamer v. Sidway
These posts offer an overview of the foundational doctrines in these areas of law as laid out by these cases. They are a good refresher for the more seasoned law student and a good overview of the doctrines that a 1L should pull from the cases. 


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