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11 Books To Read Before Law School

June 5, 2024


Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 6/4/24

While extensive preparation for law school isn’t necessary, there are easy ways to begin getting ready for your legal career, such as reading useful books. This guide will go over some of the top books you should read before law school.

The Salem Witch Trials will forever be an infamous historical legal case that combined law with superstition and court proceedings with the paranormal.

While it’s difficult to grasp the complexity of these past events, author Mary Beth Norton does an excellent job in her novel In The Devil’s Snare. This is a book pre-law students may find interesting to read to learn about previous laws before learning how to defend contemporary ones! 

This list of the 11 best books to read before law school will cover not only interesting reads but also novels that will help you succeed in law school and your legal career!

Best Books to Read Before Law School

Here are our top picks to read before law school.

1. Is Eating People Wrong? Great Legal Cases and How They Shaped the World By Allan Hutchinson

As another interesting read, this book covers several important law cases from around the world to display just how messy and diverse law can be and the different approaches lawyers take to tackle cases. 

This book also delves into some of the social influences behind the cases and the entire legal process from start to finish. Is Eating People Wrong? can help students gain a better understanding of legal action and just how dynamic law is!

2. My Own Words By Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Any aspiring judge or lawyer knows the name Ruth Bader Ginsburg! Her autobiography gives insight into her journey to becoming a Supreme Court judge and details some of her famous trials.

It also delves into deeper issues, such as gender and race inequality in the justice system, which can be an inspiring read for students! Through Ginsburg’s tale of unexpected triumph, students can see that they can overcome adversity and surpass their goals with enough dedication! 

3. IL Of A Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor's Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School By Andrew J. McClurg

IL of a Ride is arguably one of the best books to read before law school. While many students think they should begin preparing for law school by getting familiar with legal content, this isn’t an effective way to prepare for law school.

There’s no way to know the exact content you’ll be learning in your first year, so you shouldn’t waste time trying to memorize all the legal terms you can. Instead, you can read this book written by an actual law school professor to learn real tips on how to succeed in and survive your first year.

McClurg provides practical advice on how to do well in law school and even details the assessments and type of content you’ll see your first year. 

4. Getting To Maybe: How To Excel On Law School Exams By Richard Michael Fischl And Jeremy Paul

Law school exams are likely one of the most dreaded aspects of law school for pre-law students. You’ve likely heard horror stories about exam questions asking for the exact legal clause written in a subsection of a subsection. 

To ease your test anxiety, you can read this novel to know exactly what to expect on your exams and how to ace them! 

5. Law School Done Right: Proven Tips for Success from Recent Grads Who Killed It By Brian Savage And Michael Seringhaus

The best way to prepare for law school is to learn tried-and-true tips for success. So, here is another novel with tips from Brian Savage and Michael Seringhaus, who attended Michigan and Yale, respectively.

This guide will help you get ahead of the game because it contains advice previous law students claim they wish they knew before their first year of law school! 

With the wisdom of past law students donned on you through this book, you can enter your first year equipped with more confidence and knowledge to excel in your first year. 

6. How To Be Sort Of Happy In Law School By Kathryne Young

Law school is hard! With many law students suffering from anxiety, depression, and fatigue, it sometimes feels impossible for law students to be happy in law school. 

But this doesn’t have to be the case! You should be able to enjoy law school as much as possible, and Young will show you how. In this book, she provides young law students with easy strategies to find focus, happiness, and purpose amongst the slew of problems they encounter during law school.

7. Making Your Case: The Art Of Persuading Judges By Bryan A. Garner And Antonin Scalia

While you won’t be appearing in front of judges anytime soon, this novel is written by two well-known legal writers who know exactly how to be persuasive. 

Garner and Scalia provide the best insight on how to develop arguments, the art of writing, and what it takes to succeed in an oral argument. While this may seem like a boring read at first, these authors have written the novel in a fun and fresh way to keep you engaged and focused throughout!

8. The Elements Of Style By William Strunk Jr. And E.B. White

This guide may be old, but it is definitely gold! Despite being written in 1999, this style manual is still a popular choice amongst law students who want to improve their writing. Rather than waiting till law school to become a better writer, you can begin now!

You’ll be expected to write a lot in law school, so it’s important you brush up on these skills to ensure you do well in your first year! This novel breaks down how to improve your writing in simple and easy-to-remember steps and provides detailed explanations of common writing errors.

9. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? By Julie Smith

As we’ve mentioned numerous times, law school is stressful! Burnout is real, and most law students have a hard time coping with all of the expectations and responsibilities they have. 

Julie Smith is a clinical psychologist who has put years of research into this 368-page book that can enhance your law school experience. She provides the steps and skills required to take charge of your emotional and mental well-being and helpful coping strategies to manage stress.

10. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff… And It's All Small Stuff: Simple Ways To Keep The Little Things From Taking Over Your Life By Richard Carlson

In law school, it’s easy to fixate on the negatives. One bad grade can make you second-guess your decision to attend law school. This is where Carlson’s novel comes into play! This novel will tell you how to let go of negativity and focus on the bigger picture.

He gives helpful tips on small daily changes you can make to live a more stress-free life. As a law student, these tips will be exceedingly helpful to get you through law school and keep your morale up!

11. The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law By Nancy Levit And Douglas O. Linder

Law isn’t as glamorous as it’s portrayed to be in the media. It often involves long hours, unexciting work, and a lot of difficult reading. As such, there is generally a high rate of dissatisfaction amongst lawyers. This book goes over the common reasons lawyers feel dissatisfied and how you can ensure more satisfaction in your life and career. 

You’ll definitely want to check out this book since it covers methods to increase happiness throughout your legal career, starting well before you even enter your first law lecture room! In fact, Linder explains how aspiring lawyers should pick the right law school to maximize their long-term happiness.

For students who have yet to apply to or accept a law school, you might want to give this book a read before making any final decisions!

You can also try out our Where Should I Go to Law School? Quiz. Choosing a law school can be tough, with over 190 ABA-approved institutions in the US. Fortunately, our quiz simplifies this process. In just one minute, using real admissions data, the quiz helps you identify the best law schools for you. Try it out and make your decision easier.

Once you’ve chosen which law schools you have your sights set on, you’ll need to navigate the admissions process. Check out this video to guide you through each step and increase your chances of success. 

FAQs: Books to Read Before Going to Law School

For any remaining questions, here are the answers to frequently asked questions about recommended reading before law school.

1. What Should Aspiring Lawyers Read?

Aspiring lawyers should read books written by law professors or students about how to be successful in law school. Additionally, they should read books on how to increase their happiness and decrease their stress during law school. 

Lastly, they should read books about legal topics that interest them! This way, they can become familiar with how legal proceedings work in a fun way.

2. Which Book Is Best for Basic Law?

The novel Glanville Williams: Learning the Law has excellent foundational knowledge to begin learning basic legal material. 

3. How Much Do Law Students Read?

Law students spend an average of 18.6 hours a week reading for their classes.

4. Will Reading Help Prepare Me for Law School?

Reading the correct books can help you prepare for law school! But make sure you don’t make these readings a chore. You’ll already be reading difficult texts in law school! Read books that are both interesting and helpful, like the ones listed in this guide!

5. What Book Can Help Me Get Better Grades in Law School?

1L Of A Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor's Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School and Getting To Maybe: How To Excel On Law School Exams can give you tips to get better grades in law school.

6. Which Books Can Help Me Manage My Stress in Law School?

The book Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? is written by a psychologist who has studied stress management for years. This novel has various tips for you to try out to help reduce your stress during your legal studies!

Final Thoughts

While it’s difficult to completely prepare yourself for law school, this guide on the 11 books to read before law school can provide you with a good starting point! Pick a few books that stand out and take your time reading them so you can really grasp and digest the valuable knowledge in them!

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