Best law books: the ultimate reading list for legal professionals
Looking for the best law books to fill out your legal library? Whether you’re a legal ops professional, prospective law student, or anyone working in the legal industry, you’re sure to find something on this list!
We’ve broken up our recommended reading into the following categories:
- Best law books for law students
- Legal project management books
- Corporate law books
- Best law books for improving time management
- Intellectual property books
- Best law books about landmark rulings
- Bonus books
Best law books for law students
If you’re looking for the best books to read before law school or want some extra reading material outside of class, these titles are great options.
This book draws you in with its clever title and keeps you reading by providing step-by-step guidance for crushing your first year of law school both emotionally and academically. The author, Andrew J. McClurg, uses his years of experience as a law school professor to provide actionable advice for new law school students. He also includes comments from actual students, so the reader can benefit from both a professor’s and students’ perspectives.
LETTERS TO A LAW STUDENT: A GUIDE TO STUDYING LAW AT UNIVERSITY
by Nicholas J. McBride
As one of the top-voted books to read before law school, Letters to a Law Student is a great choice for anyone feeling nervous about beginning a JD program. In this book, you’ll find advice on taking exams, coping with stress, and even tips for finding your place in the legal industry once you earn your degree.
THE LEGAL ANALYST: A TOOLKIT FOR THINKING ABOUT THE LAW
by Ward Farnsworth
Books for law students sometimes focus too heavily on the letter of the law and leave out the equally important practice of thinking about how laws are written and interpreted. If you’re interested in diving into the gray areas of legal work, The Legal Analyst will take you through a variety of examples that will make you examine law from a new perspective.
LAW SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL
by Robert H. Miller
Author Robert H. Miller wanted to create a book “by students, for students,” so he focused his research around recent law school graduates. Miller and his interviewees provide a fresh outlook on everything from the current admissions process to getting a job with your newly earned JD.
Legal project management books
The legal industry tends to move slowly when it comes to adapting to new technology and processes. However, with the right project management strategy and setup, legal professionals can make their lives (and departments) a lot less stressful.
We may be a bit biased, but we believe our white paper is a great quick-start guide for migrating your legal tech and modernizing your legal project management. In this paper, we address common objections and obstacles to new legal tech and share examples of how we’ve helped legal ops team address them. If you feel frustrated and locked into your current system, this short guide will help you feel empowered and motivated to upgrade.
Steven B. Levy’s book makes a case for legal project management by showing legal professionals that they’ve actually been trying to implement some form of project management for years. If you’ve been trying to control costs, set more accurate deadlines, and work cross-functionally with other departments, you’ve been searching for a legal project management solution. Levy shares his experiences and gives his advice on how to manage a legal department effectively.
THE POWER OF LEGAL PROJECT MANAGEMENT: A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK
by Susan Raridon Lambreth and David A. Rueff
If you’re ready to dig deep into the world of legal project management, this book has got you covered. In this handbook, you’ll find straightforward definitions and practical guidance for implementing a legal project management process. Plus, insights from more than 30 law firms, corporate lawyers, consultants, and legal project management software vendors are included throughout the book.
Corporate law books
Business law books can be dense, but the following books discuss corporate law in a more digestible format.
CORPORATE LAW (CONCEPTS AND INSIGHTS)
by Stephen Bainbridge
Although this is aimed at law students, this is one of the best law books for navigating corporate law. This book covers state and federal corporate law in a style that’s very reader-friendly. If you need to interpret laws in a business or financial context, this is a great text to keep on your bookshelf.
THE ANATOMY OF CORPORATE LAW: A COMPARATIVE AND FUNCTIONAL APPROACH
by various authors
With six contributing authors, this book offers a comprehensive overview of the interpretation and enforcement of corporate law. In the third edition, the authors revised the text to address regulatory changes in the U.S. and include more global economies, including Brazil, India, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK. Regardless of whether you are new to practicing law or an experienced attorney, this book is an excellent reference.
BUSINESS BRIBES: CORPORATE CORRUPTION AND THE COURTS
by Cecil C. Kuhne III
Good law books are accessible, but the best law books figure out a way to make even dry topics like corporate law entertaining. Business Bribes includes a collection of true stories that detail the dark role that connections and money play in corporate courtrooms. Stories of commercial bribery and how they influenced judicial opinions in the U.S. and around the world provide engaging lessons in corporate law.
Best law books for improving time management
Whether you’re trying to improve your productivity in the office or figure out a way to log off and make it home in time for dinner, these books are helpful resources on managing your time more efficiently.
TIME MANAGEMENT FOR ATTORNEYS: A LAWYER’S GUIDE TO DECREASING STRESS, ELIMINATING INTERRUPTIONS & GETTING HOME ON TIME
by Shawn McNalis and Mark Powers
Lawyers are not known for their time management skills or ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This book sets out to address those issues by providing productivity advice specific to the legal profession. You’ll learn how to optimize your daily schedule with tips for eliminating disruptions, managing phone calls, and working with others. If you want to do great work without burning out, this book can help.
In this ebook, you’ll discover how to make your department more efficient with the right tools. Many legal professionals stubbornly hold onto outdated systems, like email and spreadsheets, when more evolved tools could help them get the job done better and faster. This ebook shows you how to streamline your work by leveraging business process applications.
THE HAPPY LAWYER: MAKING A GOOD LIFE IN THE LAW
by Nancy Levit and Douglas O. Linder
It’s no secret that legal professionals are prone to low job satisfaction and even depression. The Happy Lawyer digs into the root causes of that dissatisfaction and shows readers how they can carve out a path towards happiness. Prospective lawyers will appreciate the candid advice about potential jobs in the legal industry while practicing attorneys can learn how to improve their current situation.
Intellectual property books
Intellectual property (IP) is incredibly valuable, but only if you know how to protect it. These intellectual property books help make sense of the notoriously complicated aspects of IP law.
If you’re just getting started with IP law, grab this book. Key to IP claims, “In about an hour, you’ll learn the language of intellectual property and come out knowing more than 90% of the general public.” Think of this book as a quick-start guide that prepares you to have informed conversations about patents and IP law.
In this comprehensive guide, readers explore important IP law rulings and delve into the nuances of intellectual property law. If you handle IP management, patent prosecution, or patent litigation, this resource deserves a spot in your library.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW: LEGAL ASPECTS OF INNOVATION AND COMPETITION
by Kurt M. Saunders
Attorneys and business professionals alike benefit from the real-life examples and practical exercises included in this book. Convenient summaries of applicable law and relevant case excerpts make this book a handy reference guide for paralegals, corporate professionals, attorneys, or anyone seeking a better understanding of IP law.
Best law books about landmark rulings
Add these books to your reading list if you’re looking for a legal precedent or just want to explore the cases that shaped the U.S. court system.
LANDMARK SUPREME COURT CASES: THE MOST INFLUENTIAL DECISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
by Cindy L. Tate, Roy M. Mersky, and Gary R. Hartman
This comprehensive collection covers game-changing Supreme Court cases that tackled difficult topics, such as civil rights, labor unions, privacy, taxation, freedom of religion, and more. Consider this text a go-to reference for some of the most influential cases in the history of the U.S.
THE COLOR OF LAW: A FORGOTTEN HISTORY OF HOW OUR GOVERNMENT SEGREGATED AMERICA
by Richard Rothstein
This detailed account of the U.S.’s history of segregation is powerful and informative. While it may not be a light read, it’s an important book that sheds light on the role the U.S. government played in keeping America segregated. You’ll finish this book feeling astounded by how discrimination seeped into state and federal laws.
NEW YORK TIMES V. SULLIVAN: CIVIL RIGHTS, LIBEL LAW, AND THE FREE PRESS
by Kermit L. Hall and Melvin I. Urofsky
In this book, you’ll learn the details behind the 1964 case that further strengthened the U.S.’s protection of freedom of the press. This short but insightful read discusses the facts of the case while also telling the larger story of how the ruling influenced the civil rights movement and the political environment in the southern U.S.
While these books may not fit into a specific legal niche, they cover law either directly or tangentially with engaging storytelling.
A CIVIL ACTION
by Jonathan Harr
A Civil Action is a true story of a courtroom battle involving two large corporations accused of water contamination, but the writing style and drama make it read like a riveting novel. The reader is taken through the heartbreaking story of two children who died as a result of water contamination and their parents’ fight for justice.
After more than 15 years of going in and out of prison, battling addiction, and struggling to survive the long-lasting impact of incarceration, Susan Burton shares her story in this powerful book. Becoming Ms. Burton forces the reader to take a hard look at how prison, drugs, and lack of mental health services keep women in a cycle of addiction and incarceration. Burton also discusses what needs to change to give formerly incarcerated women a chance to recover and thrive.
THE STORY OF MY LIFE
by Clarence Darrow
With 50 years of corporate, labor, and criminal law practice experience, Clarence Darrow had plenty of insights to share in his book, The Story of My Life. This autobiography covers important cases that established union workers’ right to strike, teachers’ right to include evolution theories in their lessons, and many more influential cases.
WHITE BY LAW: THE LEGAL CONSTRUCTION OF RACE
by Ian Haney López
In this widely cited and celebrated book, author Ian Haney López explores the disturbing role race law has played in perpetuating inequality in the U.S. In his 10th anniversary update, López argues that white racial privilege affects how racism is defined in legal terms.
Former litigator Amy Impellizzeri discusses the logistical and ethical aspects of taking a break from practicing law. She provides advice for planning ahead and includes stories and insights from a variety of lawyers who chose to explore careers outside of the legal industry. If you’ve ever considered hitting pause on your legal career and wondered if you’d be able to pick up where you left off, this book is worth a read.
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