4 answers

Which books should I read before I enter law school this fall semester?

Asked Burbank, California

I was recently accepted into law school. I am eighteen years old, so I likely do not have as much knowledge in my head as other incoming 1Ls.

I would like to enter law school at least somewhat prepared. Ideally, I will be familiar with the basic legal jargon and concepts that I will encounter the first year of law school.

Which books can help me accomplish this? #law-school #california #young-adults

4 answers

Lisa’s Answer

Updated Summit, New Jersey

Jade - first of all, congratulations! Gaining admission to law school is a great accomplishment and doing it at age 18 is especially impressive. Well done!

It sounds like you want to become familiar with basic vocabulary and concepts that you'll encounter as a first year student. If you want to try to accelerate your learning curve, consider picking up a couple of "Nutshells." Nutshells are short books that provide top-line, readable summaries of key principles in diverse areas of the law (e.g., criminal law, constitutional law, etc.) They are generally fairly inexpensive (comparatively speaking). I suggest waiting to buy textbooks, hornbooks (treatises) or study outlines unless you know for sure what books your professors want you to use.

When I was a first year law student, Scott Turow's "One L" was popular - you might find it interesting as well.

You'll be doing a lot of reading and studying when you start school in the fall. Consider 'taking a break' this summer and reading for pleasure when you read, rather than trying to keep pace with or outpace your classmates. Alternatively, consider reading material that will help strengthn your analytical and writing skills. Reading, digesting and cogently summarizing complex materials can help prepare you to read cases, extract relevant legal principles, and identify critical facts that help form the basis for different results.

As an alternative to learning by (exclusively) reading, you might enjoy spending some time in your local courthouse, listening to trial courts resolve motions or hear cases. Courtroom observation may make your formal studies of civil procedure, criminal procedure, family law, evidence, etc., more interesting and meaningful. Another thought - judges usually have law clerks who are typically recent law school graduates. Depending on the rules in your courthouse, it may be possible for you to seek an introduction to a law clerk to discuss his/her law school experience and any success tips s/he might have.

Again, congratulations and best of luck!



Thank you for all the great advice!
I am very interested in my career because of your information

Julia’s Answer

Updated Renton, Washington

Congratulations! I am sure you are a very driven individual. I would suggest that you take it easy and rest your mind. The study of law rewires your brain a bit when you are immersed in it in a law school setting. Reading law related books to prepare will only go so far. That said, Scott Turow's "One L" is a good memoir to read. Though it came out in the 1970's is has remained popular read for those entering law school (I read it the summer before law school). It might not hurt to read The Constitution. Other than that, rest. And perhaps watch some law related movies -- you'll hear the jargon and when you get to law school you'll find out how it has been misused, but you'll still be exposed to it. Philadelphia, Absence of Malice, Presumed Innocent (or the book), The Paper Chase (classic), even Legally Blonde! all the John Grisham books and movies. It might sound frivolous, but it's a way to hear terms without stressing yourself out and I believe the best lawyers are those who can draw on life experiences. Also, check out the documentary "Fantastic Lies" -- about the Duke Lacrosse team rape allegations -- shows a great cross-examination of an expert witness. And the documentary Loving v. Virginia -- to hear about Constitutional issues.

And listen to the soundtrack to Hamilton.

Be normal now, while you can -- haha!

Thanks for the advice!
I am very interested in my career because of your information

Jarvarus’s Answer

Updated Atlanta, Georgia

I think that you should definitely read Law School Confidential. See the link below. It is very important to use your time wisely in law school and this book will help a lot before starting school. The book can be purchased on Amazon for about $15.


Good luck with school!

I am very interested in my career because of your information I am very interested in my career because of your information I am very interested in my career because of your information

Nelson’s Answer

Updated Chicago, Illinois


First off, congratulations! The other answers are great suggestions for books about law school, and some of the material you'll encounter in law school. I think if you want the best bang for your buck check out Getting to Maybe, which you can find here: http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Maybe-Excel-School-Exams/dp/0890897603. GTM talks about how to do well on law school exams, and the cold hard truth is that your law school success is about 99% tied to doing well on exams, which may or may not be tied to how well you actually know the law. For most of your classes your entire grade will be determined by your final exam. GTM will help you figure out exams.

Good luck!

I am very interested in my career because of your information