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7 Essential Books to Read Before Law School

As you approach your first semester in law school, you might begin to feel doubt or fear.

It’s natural; after all, venturing into one of the most competitive specialisations is challenging. But it’s equally beautiful and fulfilling. If you’re a dedicated student, you increase your chances of having a rewarding career.

Until then, you can manage your time effectively and read some of the most helpful yet entertaining books about law. Here are seven of them described.

Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges by Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner

Making Your Case discusses all the essential aspects of judicial persuasion and the art of persuasive speaking and writing in courtrooms. Although it’s been written with the American reader in mind, the storyline can be enjoyed by any aspiring lawyer worldwide. It is a valuable resource for both new and experienced litigators.

The writers explain the principles of sound legal thinking, including articulating the underlying syllogism of every argument. The duo also illustrates the art of brief writing and what one should omit or include so that the judge is forced to focus solely on the arguments.

In a nutshell, this is a well-researched guide that explains what you need to create a successful oral argument and addresses the common mistakes law practitioners make.

24 hours with 24 Lawyers by Jasper Kim

You may have been attracted to law and justice for as long as you remember, but you still don’t know exactly what path to take since there are many job opportunities in this field. Or maybe you want to switch legal careers, for the same reason. It’s normal to have a hard time making up your mind. This book shows exactly what layers in different fields do in a day and will keep you entertained 24/24, which might help you have a clearer vision of what you want.

When deciding on a career, it’s paramount to consider your key attributes and goals. These are also factors that recruitment agencies like take into consideration when helping you stand out to future employers to increase your chances of being offered the role you want.

Family Law by William P. Statsky

If you ask people what their number one priority is, most of them will say it’s their family. If you, too, believe that this is your most precious treasure, then you understand the necessity of protecting it.

Family Law teaches you how to protect the interests of your family, and also how to defend others’ families. It aims to help you understand the position of a paralegal and an attorney, how the law is related to domestic relations, and how you can exercise your power to protect your family, providing references for outside primary and secondary authorities.

Many students regard it as a “bible” for family law, as it’s very organised, comprehensive, and well-written for anyone willing to learn it.

Letters to a Young Lawyer by Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz’s creation is both daring and thought-provoking, offering the finest legal advice and criticism you can find in a book. Although it is mainly written with the novice lawyer in mind, it’s also excellent for experienced lawyers. There is something for everyone, with themes ranging from law to life.

This book is part of Dershowitz’s Art of Mentoring series and aims to teach you how to work with various clients and balance your career with success. It mentors the reader on every step of the way of law school, and most readers praise the author’s powerful and profound sense of justice.

Understanding Criminal Law by Joshua Dressler

Understanding Criminal Law provides a lot of value for anyone looking for content on criminal law and is regarded by many students as an excellent reference book for passing the exam. It’s been written for students, and the content and logical chronology make it easy to digest.

This book compares practical aspects of criminal law with the penal code and is a good go-to if you feel the need to review several amendments to a situation. You will find concise explanations, cases, examples, references, and types of crimes and their legal actions. The specific crimes discussed are group criminality, theft, homicide, and rape, but it also covers principles like proportionality and legality and theories of punishment.

Letters to a Law Student by Nicholas McBride

Letters to a Law Student is a collection of “letters” to a fictional student that explains the legal system and reveals what it’s like to study law. The main goal is to help you learn how to study effectively through all kinds of sensible and valuable advice given by McBride, from specific things like how to make notes on a case to general topics like how much work you’d have to do.

The student in this handbook is fictitious, but the letters give useful counsel to any prospective law student, which is why this book is ideal for a spot on this list.  

The Art of Always Being Right: The 38 Subtle Ways of Persuasion by Arthur Schopenhauer

This book isn’t exactly a law book, but more of a helpful tool to help you understand one of the most crucial skills of lawyers – persuasion. It deals with “tricks” that negotiators, businessmen, lawyers, and politicians use in their everyday lives or to gain an advantage, from logical to rhetorical and everything in between. To avoid tricks that can be used on you, you need to understand the mechanics of a persuasive individual. After all, it’s not enough to be right all the time when there are lives on the line.

Expect to be assigned many books to read during your first year of law school. The reading you do to pass the exams generally takes the form of dry legal opinions, but if you allocate a few hours to reading some of the books above, it’ll be easier to understand complicated statutes. 

Read more:
7 Essential Books to Read Before Law School

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