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Educate yourself! That's what law school's about, after all. There are dozens of books to read. 

On Everyone's list:

The Bramble Bush: The Classic Lectures on the Law and Law School
by Karl LLewellyn

Gideon's Trumpet
by Anthony Lewis

The Nature of the Judicial Process
by Benjamin Cardozo

An Introduction to Legal Reasoning
by Edward Levi


One L
by Scott Turow

Black's Law Dictionary

[This is one of the few books for which I recommend the most recent edition, as legal definitions can change with court decisions.]


On Most People's List:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Buffalo Creek Disaster by Gerald M. Stern
  • Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver
  • Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience: By Students, for Students
  • Acing Your First Year of Law School by Shana Connell Noyes
  • Law School Without Fear by Helene Shapo
  • Getting To Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams by Richard Michael Fischl
  • A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr
  • How to Study Law and Take Law Exams in a Nutshell, by Ann M. Burkhart, and Robert A. Stein
  • The Judicial Process by Henry Abraham

On my personal List:  

  The Common Law by Oliver Wendell Holmes -- a look at the earliest roots of Anglo-American law, as well as preparation for adjusting your ear to the 19th century writing style.  
  Running From the Law by Lisa Scottoline -- a surprisingly accurate (and funny) look at the realities of life at a law firm and in the court room.  Ms. Scottoline graduated from Penn Law School and is a Philly native.  Her other books are great reads, but not as rude a look at the legal system.
  Likely to Die by Linda Fairstein -- Ms. Fairstein was the head of the NYC sex crimes unit until after writing her 5th or 6th novel.  Again, all are great reads, but this one shows some of the difficulties of investigating and prosecuting a crime in the the metropolis. It's set in New York's Columbia-Presbyterian hospital, wheere a doctor is found murdred in her office.
  The Brethren by Woodward and Bernstein -- a realistic and sympathetic look at how the Supreme Court actually works.  
  Nature's Justice: Writings of William O. Douglas (Northwest Readers) -- a look at the reasoning of the last great liberal Justice on the Warren Court.  

The Complete Law School Companion by Jeff Deaver

I liked this book because it wasn't overproced, and it didn't pretend to be more than it is -- a basic, common-sense approach to law school without either trying to terrify you ot pretending to have great hacks and tips.


Attorney for the Damned -- edited by Arthur Weinberg.  Great closing arguments and trial summaries by the most famous defense lawyer in American history.

Apparently, "Attorney for the Damned" was so widely-used a nickname for Clarence Darrow that there are several books with this title. I prefer this one because it summarizes his most famous closing arguments rather than pretending to be a biography.

The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti by Felix Frankfurter -- an analysis of how prejudice and fear can distort justice -- a timely subject for ethnic minorities, written by one of the Supreme Court's most respected Justices.  
The Nine, Inside the Secret World of the SUPREME COURT by Jeffrey Toobin:  a more current version of The Brethren.   

When I teach my Intro to Law School Program, I require that my students read The Study and Practice of Law in a Nutshell , by Kenney F. Hegland.


Of course, those are my personal preferences. When I searched "law school" on just now (July 7, 2016) I got "188,102 results for Books : "law school"  

In the June12, 2012 edition of the National Jurist,
a magazine primarily for law and prelaw students, a cool list was published:

Fred Shapiro of Yale teamed with Michelle Pearse of Harvard to compile a list of the most-cited law review articles of all time. Harvard wins, of course, being the oldest Law Review; it was cited for a hundred years before UNLV had a law school. But all of ther top ten articles look interesting; in fact, I may make them my Christmas reading this year.

The Top Ten All-Time Rankings:
1. The Problem of Social Cost by Ronald Coase, 1960, Journal of Law and Economics
2. The Right to Privacy by Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis, 1890, Harvard Law Review
3. The Path of the Law by Oliver Wendall Holmes, 1897, Harvard Law Review
4. The Supreme Court, 1971 Term – Forward: In Search of Evolving Doctrine on a Changing Court: A Model for Newer Equal Protection by Gerald Gunther, 1972, Harvard Law Review
5. Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law by Herbert Wechsler, 1959, Harvard Law Review
6. Property Rules, Liability Rules, and Inalienability: One View of the Cathedral by Guido Calabresi and Douglas Melamed, 1972, Harvard Law Review
7. The New Property by Charles Reich, 1964, Yale Law Journal
8. The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism by Charles Lawrence, 1897, Stanford Law Review
9. State Constitutions and the Protection of Individual Rights by William Brennan, 1977, Harvard Law Review
10. Neutral Principles and Some First Amendment Problems by Robert Bork, 1971, Indiana Law Journal

If you run out of books, you might also want to look at our Wiki Cultural References and You Tube Links


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