REVIEW: #80 The Handy Law Answer Book


Reading time: 4 – 7 minutes

Title: The Handy Law Answer Book
Author: David L. Hudson Jr., JD
ISBN: 978-1-57859-217-3
Pages: 450
Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis: (As taken from back of book)

Everyday we encounter the rules of law — from the time we decide to get married, or perhaps divorced, to making purchases with our credit cards or dealing with bankruptcy. Who couldn’t use a legal primer that answers hundreds of questions related to the history and practice of law in the United States? Let the Handy Law Answer Book help you navigate the system.

You’ll learn how to find a lawyer; what happens when you file a lawsuit or are sued by someone; what your rights in the workplace are; and what you can expect when you have your day in court. Plus, you’ll get tips on how to read those legal citations, as well as discover some fascinating — and quirky — legal cases.

Combining practical legal tips with an exhaustive overview of the law in the United States, the Handy Law Answer Book provides a history of the U.S. legal system, including the personalities who shaped it. You’ll get an introduction to various laws, important cases, court opinions, and how they all might affect you.

You’ll find answers to more than 800 questions, including …

  • Where did the word “tort” come from?
  • How are the state court judges selectd?
  • Where did the first U.S. Supreme Court meet?
  • How does the law define “marriage”?
  • What should you do if facing too much debt?
  • What is a “wobbler”?

About the Author: (As taken from the press release)

David L. Hudson, Jr. is the author or co-author of 24 books including The Handy Supreme Court Answer Book, The Rehnquist Court: Understanding Its Impact and Legacy, and (as co-editor with John Vile and David Schultz) The Encyclopedia of the First Amendment. He works as First Amendment Scholar for the First Amendment Center and teaches classes at Vanderbilt Law School, Nashville School of Law, and Middle Tennessee State University. Hudson earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School. He resides in the Middle Tennessee area with his wife, Carla, and two dogs, Gloria and Gucci.


the-handy-coverThe law is everywhere. Especially now that the economy has been in such a decline — with so many bankruptcies and foreclosures. On our street alone, I have witnessed over 4 foreclosures in the past two years. Many times, the houses sitting vacant for many months. I can’t help but wonder — did my neighbors understand their rights? Did they hire a good attorney to help get them out of debt; to start over and/or to work to save their home?

The law and all it’s jargon can be confusing to anyone who doesn’t have a natural interest and/or experience with it. Sitting with a lawyer can have you twiddling your thumbs and going “la la la” as you struggle to understand a word they are saying. The Handy Law Answer Book makes that experience a little less stressful and may help you feel more in control of the situation as you begin to understand the process.

The Handy Law Answer book is organized into a very easy format, and written so its understood by even the most clueless of clients. The chapters are organized into the following topics:

  1. Constitutional Law
  2. The Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment
  3. The Court System
  4. Lawyers and Lawsuits
  5. Criminal Procedures
  6. Credit and Bankruptcy Law
  7. Employment Law
  8. Family Law
  9. Personal Injury Law

If you find yourself facing a particular situation, you can just skim ahead to the chapter(s) that correspond with your issue. Because so many people are facing bankruptcy, I’ll forward to that chapter to give you a little insight as to what you can find when you read that chapter.

In this chapter you’ll find quite a few questions answered (only a very select few being:)

  • What is APR?
  • What is a variable rate?
  • What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
  • What is the difference between a secured and unsecured creditor?
  • Can a consumer reporting agency send a credit report to prospective employers?
  • If a credit reporting agency unfairly refuses to correct a mistake, can you sue?
  • How long does negative information stay on my credit report?
  • What is credit insurance?
  • What are some ways to prevent identity theft?
  • What are home equity loans?

And the list goes on and on, and on. The chapter also goes into loans, debt collectors and the law, bankruptcy, Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7. It is very unlikely that you will read the chapter and not understand your situation and/or the legalease you may come across as you go through your hardship.

Overall I found The Handy Law Answer book informative and an easy read. I only wish, though, that it included chapters on:

  • Copyright & Trademark Law
  • Starting a Business
  • Commercial Law

As those are legal inquiries that I, personally, would find most useful in my life as of now.  But who knows? Maybe David L. Hudson Jr. is working on books to cover these very subjects. :)

1 Comment
  1. Laurie says

    One of more than a dozen books in the Visible Ink Press “Handy” series, The Handy Law Answer Book by David L. Hudson Jr. surveys legal history in the United States and summarizes six prominent practice areas of the law: constitutional, criminal, bankruptcy, employment, family, and personal injury.

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