5 Great Books for Law Students

Ask 20 lawyers for a list of five great books that every law student should read and you’ll get a wide assortment of books to choose from. The reason is, of course, is that there are many fine fiction and non-fiction books associated with the law. Here is a list of five that are among the most commonly recommended for law school students.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

This Pulitzer Prize winning novel is on every list of books law students should read. It tells the story of justice and injustice in the deep-south featuring a white lawyer, Atticus Finch, who stands against racial prejudice by defending a black man falsely accused of rape. The author paints Finch as a man with high moral and ethical integrity, something every attorney should strive for. Told though the eyes of his young daughter Scout, the tale is gripping, sad at times and heroic in the end.

2. The Firm, by John Grisham

Attorney John Grisham’s numerous law novels have made him a best-selling author because he knows how to tell stories that make the law interesting and exciting. This particular work portrays a young lawyer who receives a job that appears to be too good to be true. His instincts are correct as he discovers the reputable firm he works for is built on a foundation of corruption, fraud and even murder. When you finish the book, look for the movie version starring Tom Cruise. It’ll keep any young law student glued to the screen for 90 minutes of action and intrigue.

3. How to Argue and Win Every Time, by Gerry Spence

Gerald “Gerry” Spence is an American trial lawyer, best-selling author and a member of the American Trial Lawyer’s Hall of Fame. The title of the book is derived from the fact that Spence has a perfect win record both as a prosecutor and as a highly paid defense attorney. The book gives you his secrets on becoming a great communicator, something that Spence feels is essential in the success practice of the law. Based in Montana and usually decked out in a buckskin-fringed jacket, Spence is a one-of-a-kind lawyer who offers some great trial tips on how to win in court.

4. Madame Prosecutor, by Carla del Ponte

Carla Del Ponte is a former Chief Prosecutor of two UN International criminal tribunals and is considered one of the toughest most awe-inspiring prosecutor ever to practice international law. She was successfully prosecuted some of the most horrific genocide cases since World War II. Her success as portrayed in this book instills hope that international law. This work is also an inspiration for young women who are studying the law and how the law can be used to correct horrid injustices.

5. End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services, by Richard Susskind

Susskind presents an analysis of how emerging technologies are beginning to change the legal profession. As we share information and become more connected with the world, there is pressure to make legal services more efficient and less costly. He argues that we can no longer afford burden the expensive of attorneys doing tasks that paralegals are able to do. This thinking could lead to lower legal bills and lessen the need for traditional lawyers. To counter this trend, Susskind provides tips and tools to help lawyers in planning for the future.

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This suggested list of five great books for law students to read was chosen not only for the legal material the books provide but also for the interesting content and stories they convey. Happy reading!