Books to read before you start law school

You can expect to read between 300-600 pages per week during your first year in law school. This may seem like a cruel and unusual punishment, but it is possible to spend your last summer in law school reading books.

It’s important to remember that law school reading will not be a mix of legal opinions and complex statutes. Enjuris has put together a list 10 engaging books that will help you prepare for law school.

1. The Paper Chase by John Jay Osborn

John Osborn, a Harvard Law School graduate, published this iconic novel about law school in 1971. The Paper Chase is a story about a fictional student at Harvard Law School who must contend with Charles Kingsfield, a demanding but irresistible professor, and his daughter.

James Bridges directed the movie adaptation of the book. Be aware that the movie includes scenes featuring Professor Kingsfield using the Socratic method. This might cause you to question whether or not you want to go to law school.

2. QB VII by Leon Uris

QB VII was published in 1982. It is loosely based on a libel case brought against Leon Uris, by a Polish physician who had worked at Auschwitz.

This courtroom drama focuses on the fictional libel case brought against Abraham Cady by Sir Adam Kelno after Abraham published a book in which he accused Adam of performing thousands upon concentration camp prisoners.

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You will be left wishing that fellow first-year students in law read the novel, as it takes an unexpected and disturbing twist that will make you want to discuss it with them.

3. Robert Traver’s Anatomy of a Murder

The novel is about a former Michigan district attorney who defends a client accused of murder. It’s filled with real-life legal details. It’s not surprising, considering that the book was written in part by John D. Voelker (a former Justice of the Michigan Supreme). Robert Traver was an unofficial pen name.

4. Robert H. Miller, Law School Confidential

Law School Confidential may be the best book on law school. The book addresses readers who are considering applying to law school, and then ends with discussion about the bar exam.

Law School Confidential is a comprehensive guide to the law school experience. It will be a book that you will return to over and over as you progress through the next three years.

5. America’s Constitution: A Biography By Akhil Reed Amar

No matter what law school you go to, you will take constitutional law your first year.

The power of America’s Constitution is its ability to teach you, not just what it says but also why it does what it does.

6. Making Your Case: How to Persuade Judges by Bryan Garner and Antonin Scalia

You’ll be spending a lot of time discussing and reading the passionate opinions of Antonin Scalia during your law school career. As you work to become a better legal writer, you will spend a lot of time after graduation reading and referencing Bryan Garner’s books.

This book will help you understand both figures and give you the skills to communicate and write persuasively.

7. Scott Turrow: One L

Scott Turrow is most well-known as the fictional writer of legal dramas. However, Turrow graduated from Harvard Law School on August 12, 1978. The book focuses on his first year at law school and features the same sharp observations and suspense that you will find in his most popular novels.

8. The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, Jeffrey Toobin

Your first year in law school will consist mainly of reading opinions from the United States Supreme Court.

Jeffrey Toobin, journalist and author of The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court takes you behind the scenes into the chambers of the judges to reveal the most important legal body of our country. The non-fiction book is based on interviews with justices and will give you the context to make your first year in law school more enjoyable.

9. Letters to a Young Attorney by Alan Dershowitz

It is possible, and even probable, that you were given a copy Letters to Young Lawyer by a friend or relative as a graduation gift.

This is a valid reason. Although Alan Dershowitz has his critics, his book for young lawyers is inspirational, critical and always thought-provoking.

10. 24 Hours of Legal Assistance by Jasper Kim

It’s time for you to think about the type of lawyer you want as you begin your legal career. Jasper Kim spends 24 hours talking to 24 lawyers in his book so you can get a better understanding of the opportunities that the legal field offers.

Jasper Kim’s book covers everything you need to know about entertainment lawyers and criminal defense lawyers.