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Best books about law school and lawyering

 
 
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 10:27 am
Hatchling Glass asked an interesting question in another thread: what are the best books about law school and lawyering? Anyone have some candidates? In particular, what would be a good book for someone who is contemplating going to law school?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 4,197 • Replies: 8
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joefromchicago
 
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Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 12:52 pm
When I was in the middle of my first year in law school, I saw a list of "books that every future law student should read" (granted, I should have looked for those kinds of lists before I went to law school, but that bridge has already been crossed). As I recall, the list included the two standards: IL by Scott Turow and The Bramble Bush by Karl Llewellyn. I didn't read either of those before I went to law school and I still haven't read either of them, so I can't offer any comments (I did, however, meet Scott Turow once -- nice guy).

Another book on the list was The Common Law by Oliver Wendell Holmes. I read this book many years after graduation, and I think I would have been thoroughly confused if I had read it before entering law school. Either that or I would have switched to accounting.

On the whole, I don't read books about lawyering (too much like a busman's holiday for me), and the law books that I read are more focused on technical or philosophical issues. In short, I really don't know of any good books for aspiring lawyers. Anyone have any better advice?
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jespah
 
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Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 01:54 pm
When I went to Law School, I was given The Conscience of a Lawyer by Professor David Mellinkoff. It's a book on legal ethics, very interesting. I still have the book, still find it interesting, and I graduated Law School almost 20 years ago.
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joefromchicago
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 12:18 pm
Time to revive this thread. Anybody have any recommendations for books about law school or lawyering? This isn't confined to the lawyers. For non-lawyers, is there any book that you've read that made you think "wow, it would be cool to be a lawyer" or left you wondering what would have happened if you had applied to law school?
wandeljw
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 12:48 pm
@joefromchicago,
I almost hate to mention this. I only saw the movie based on Alan Dershowitz's Reversal of Fortune but I was impressed by Dershowitz's approach to law. His representation of a client that was shady (at least as portrayed by Jeremy Irons) was based on principle alone. Ron Silver who portrayed Dershowitz created a character that adamantly followed his personal ideas about justice. There was dialog in the film where Dershowitz talked about debating with himself about whether he would hypothetically defend Adolf Hitler in a situation that was consistent with his personal concept of the law.
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roger
 
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Reply Tue 5 Jul, 2011 01:58 pm
I was very impressed with Anatomy of a Murder. I suppose it's out of print.
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joefromchicago
 
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Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2011 07:43 am
Thirty books every lawyer should read.
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Thomas
 
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Reply Thu 4 Aug, 2011 05:32 pm
I'm not an aspiring lawyer, but I liked Jay Feinman: Law 101. Oxford University Press (2000). Feinman gives a bird's-eye view of the law and the legal system in America. The book should do a good job helping high-school and college students decide if the field interests them.

That said, let me qualify it with a general piece of academic advice: When I started out studying physics, I read way too many physics books and way too few physics papers. Books give you an air-brushed summary of other physicists' results. But it's the papers that tell you how physicists go about their actual work. The corollary to aspiring lawyers should be: read fewer law-books than people recommend that you do. Instead, read cases, briefs, trial transcripts, and similar documents showing the actual lawyering work. It was the trial transcripts of the US v. Microsoft case that sparked my own interest in American law (and economics).
joefromchicago
 
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Reply Fri 5 Aug, 2011 11:35 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

I'm not an aspiring lawyer, but I liked Jay Feinman: Law 101. Oxford University Press (2000). Feinman gives a bird's-eye view of the law and the legal system in America. The book should do a good job helping high-school and college students decide if the field interests them.

Thanks for that. I'm not familiar with Feinman's book, but then I looked at the Amazon.com page and I wasn't familiar with most of the other books featured there. We didn't have all those resources available to us when I went to law school, although, to be fair, that was around the time they were issuing the final revisions to the Code of Hammurabi.

Thomas wrote:
That said, let me qualify it with a general piece of academic advice: When I started out studying physics, I read way too many physics books and way too few physics papers. Books give you an air-brushed summary of other physicists' results. But it's the papers that tell you how physicists go about their actual work. The corollary to aspiring lawyers should be: read fewer law-books than people recommend that you do. Instead, read cases, briefs, trial transcripts, and similar documents showing the actual lawyering work. It was the trial transcripts of the US v. Microsoft case that sparked my own interest in American law (and economics).

That's an interesting approach, but I'm not sure the average student interested in law school or the layman interested in the law would understand a lot of the technical legal language used in a case report or a deposition transcript, just as the average non-physicist would have a difficult time understanding a physics paper.
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