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July 12, 2008

Developing an innovative pre-law school summer reading list

Lbcover_2_1 An always useful topic for collective discussion is what should a person read the summer before starting law school. 

Of course, One L by Scott Turow is the modern classic, and it is still probably worth a read even though it is now a bit dated.   One of my favorite recommendations is  Broken Contract by Richard Kahlenberg, which does a nice job exploring how law school turns motivated public-spirited individuals into amoral solvers of legal problems.   And for a lighter read, future law students might check out the new Lawyer Boy by Rick Lax, which amusingly explores the experience of someone who was essentially fated to go to law school by accident of birth.

Eugene Volokh covered this question here last year, and I especially liked the commentor who recommended a cover-to-cover reading of the Constitution.  Helpfully, New York Law School's library has this on-line multimedia bibliography of "Books & Films on Law & Law School" providing lots of ideas.

OhpBut perhaps folks through the comments might aspire to be a bit more innovative.  In a world heavy with law and legal ideas, there are surely lots of fiction and non-fiction works that may not immediately spring to mind, but would be especially valuable for a future law student to consume.  Seeking to be innovative, I'd probably recommend some piece of legal or social history such as the collection of essays in The Oxford History of the Prison.

Any truly innovative suggestions, dear readers?

Cross posted at Prawfs.

July 12, 2008 in Books | Permalink


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Whatever if recommended, I think it's important to give students a sentence or two about WHY it's recommended. I've seen recommended reading lists that just throw the authors and titles of 50 books at the poor students. What are anxious entering students to do?

I really like the New York Law School list you linked to. It's nicely organized and has good annotations.

I know people who encourage students simply to read whatever they enjoy -- come fall, they'll have less free time to indulge in whatever it is.

A bar group asked me to talk about summer reading this month. I put together some Amazon Listmania lists here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/byauthor/AB5PRQYEJFM4G

Posted by: Mary Whisner | Jul 18, 2008 3:25:22 PM

PS You might be interested in my essay, Good Reads in the Law Library?, 93 LAW LIBR. J. 517-523 (2001), available at http://www.aallnet.org/products/2001_25.pdf.

Posted by: Mary Whisner | Jul 18, 2008 3:29:22 PM

Mary, I am interested in the Good Reads piece, but the link is not working....

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