Whether you’re in your first year of law school or well into a career as a veteran real estate law attorney, there are some essential books for lawyers that you should read. Let’s first take a look at some of the best lawyer books you should read before you head off to law school or to the office.
Best Books to Read before Law School
I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough”
Are you worried about how others see your life and path? If so, reading I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” may be just want you need to refocus some of your energy away from worrying about measuring up to other people’s expectations. Get your head into the real game by learning to avoid the “tailored self” trap of creating a false image just to get the approval of others. Learn to embrace your imperfections so that your law school journey will be a lot less stressful and a lot more fulfilling.
Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams
This is one of the best books for aspiring lawyers. Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams outline that even if you aced the LSAT and did well in undergraduate school, dealing with the pressures of exams in law school might be a very different beast. Two professors offer details about how to do your best on every law school exam.
The Bramble Bush
The Bramble Bush is a collection of lectures delivered by Karl Llewellyn to the 1929 first year students of Columbia Law School — decades before legal tech tools like legal practice management software or legal document automation software were talked about.
Llewellyn introduces students to what the law is, how to read cases, how to prepare for class, and how justice in the real world relates to the law. Although laws change every year, disputes between people haven’t altered all that much since Llewellyn first penned The Bramble Bush, and the process of moving from private dispute to legal conflict still follows the patterns he described.
Even after 70 years, this book is a classic for all new law school students.
Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience, by Students for Students
If you’re a first-generation law student, Law School Confidential is one of the best books to read before law school. Find out what to expect and how to handle yourself in the high-pressure environment of law school.
This updated edition contains the very latest information and strategies for thriving and surviving in law school ― from navigating the admissions process and securing financial aid, choosing classes, studying and exam strategies, and securing a seat on the law review to getting a judicial clerkship and a job, passing the bar exam and more. Newly added material also reveals a sea change that is just starting to occur in legal education, turning it away from the theory-based platform of the previous several decades to a pragmatic platform demanded by the rigors of today’s practices.
The Partner Track by Helen Wan
The Partner Track is a novel about the challenges and roadblocks a first-generation law student faces on her way to becoming partner at a prestigious law firm. Want to get an inside look at what “the partner track” may look like for you? Read this novel.
Ingrid Yung’s life is full of firsts. A first-generation Chinese American, the first lawyer in her family, she’s about to collect the holy grail of “firsts” and become the first minority woman to make partner at the venerable old law firm Parsons Valentine & Hunt.
As the book’s back cover teases: “Ingrid has perfected the art of “passing” and seamlessly blends into the old-boy corporate culture. She gamely banters in the corporate cafeteria, plays in the firm softball league, and earnestly racks up her billable hours. But when an offensive incident at the summer outing threatens the firm’s reputation, Ingrid’s outsider status is suddenly thrown into sharp relief.”
Best Books for Law Students
So you’re in your first year of law school — here are a few of the best books for law students. Lots of novels that can help take the edge off right after tough exams.
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka is an author respected for his understanding of how bureaucracy and legal systems impact individuals. The Trial is a great legal drama about a man who gets arrested and prosecuted by an unseen legal authority but the charges are never revealed.
The Firm by John Grisham
The Firm explores a kind of “worst nightmare” scenario for any aspiring attorney. The Firm follows the story of a young lawyer who receives a “too good to be true” job offer that leads to an epic tale filled with many twists and turns. Don’t have time to read the book? The film adaptation starring Tom Cruise is pretty close to the book.
Essential Books for Lawyers
If you’ve already made your way through the law school grind, here are a few amazing books for law school graduates. These are the law books to read if you’re trying to gain an edge as an attorney.
Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges by Antonin Scalia & Bryan Garner
Going into litigation, this is a great book for anyone who wants to learn to convince anyone of anything. Making Your Case will improve your skills of persuasion and help you shine in the courtroom and on paper.
The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking about the Law by Ward Farnsworth
Learn to build arguments and use reasoning and analysis to your benefit. Want to become a better thinker and a better lawyer? This lawyer book is a great start in honing your critical thinking skills. Already acute in law firm analytics? Smokeball’s law firm insights reporting might be the tool you’re missing at your practice. Learn more about how “Using KPIs to Increase Law Firm Profitability” can help you.
Storytelling for Lawyers by Philip Meyer
When getting too focused on arguments and analysis, some lawyers forget that at the heart of it every attorney is a storyteller. Learn how to spin a narrative that will captivate and convince your audience.
The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance by Kevin Underhill
If you’re a legal nerd, you’ve probably spent a little too much time looking up and laughing at some of the most frivolous lawsuits in history and most insane laws ever created by humans. Now you can dive back into that rabbit hole with this book, which explores some of the most surprising and hilarious laws every dreamed up.
If you’re looking for law books to read that will inform, inspire and even make you laugh, this reading list is a great start.
Have a favorite novel or non-fiction book about the law that’s not on the list? Leave it in the comments and see what others think!