The Books I Read Before Law School

Since I am an avid reader, I knew I wanted to take advantage of the summer before law school started to read as much as I could for pleasure – and I threw in a few law-school related books for good measure to help get into the headspace for what was to come. One thing I will say is this, though: while reading is a great way to get a taste of the structure of law school and the legal profession, keep in mind that the actual experience of law school itself will likely vary from what you will find in books. Here are some thoughts on the four books that I read before starting at BU.

  1. 24 Hours with 24 Lawyers by Jasper Kim: I loved the concept of this book because it was broken down into 24 chapters that followed the day-to-day lives and schedules of lawyers who worked in every possible niche within the legal field. I found it helpful in the sense that it gave me a glimpse not only into the true daily work of lawyers, but also because I learned of areas within the legal profession that I otherwise would not have even known existed. Mostly, I found the book to be helpful because it made the realities of the profession more clear to me, as it is all too easy to blindly believe you know what actual lawyers do from their portrayal in the media or elsewhere.
  2. Law 101: Everything You Need to Know About American Law by Jay M. Feinman: I found this book to be the perfect resource as someone who had limited exposure to the different classes I would be taking as a 1L. Each chapter is focused on a class that a typical law student will take their first year, and even though it was dense at times, I was very happy to have read it. I would even recommend this book to those who are unsure if they should pursue law school, just to get an idea of what is to come. Needless to say, I will definitely be turning back to its pages and glancing over the chapters focused on my spring semester courses come January.
  3. The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking About the Law by Ward Farnsworth: I bought this book and only when I was about halfway through did I discover that the author actually taught here at BU for about 15 years (and served as associate dean for academic affairs) before becoming the dean at Texas Law. This was probably my favorite book out of the four that I read this past summer. I found the writing style to be very accessible, and it was very comprehensive. Overall, I felt that I learned valuable information, and again, this will likely be a resource I return to in the future.
  4. Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams by Jeremy R. Paul and Richard Michael Fischl: I read this book in August and had the hopes of reading it over again before finals in December, but at that point in time I was very, very naive as to the amount of time I would have to do this (spoiler alert: none). Regardless, I found this book to be interesting and helpful, even though at the time I read it, much of what the authors wrote of was not yet applicable. This was the first book I have ever read about taking exams, but from what I had heard about law school finals, I thought it was important to at least get an inkling of what was to come, and what strategies would be helpful. I’m making a point to skim it over again before May, now that I have one semester under my belt.

Thanks for reading!

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