Suggested Pre-Law Reading

Once an applicant finishes law school applications, thoughts often turn to preparing for your first year of law school. There are many great books that can help you learn more about law school, law school exam taking, legal history, and the legal profession.  We have compiled a list from multiple sources with some options for books to read to prepare prior to beginning your first year of law school (your 1L year).

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Preparing for Law School

  1. Bridging the Gap Between College and Law School: Strategies for Success/ Ruta K. Stropus
  2. Coming to Law School: How to Prepare Yourself for the Next Three Years/ Ian Gallacher
  3. Demystifying the First Year of Law School: A Guide to the 1L Experience/ Albert J. Moore
  4. Excelling in Law School: A Complete Approach/ Jason C. Miller
  5. Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success/ Helen Shapo
  6. Learning Outside the Box: A Handbook for Law Students Who Learn Differently/ Leah M. Christensen
  7. Starting Off Right in Law School/ Carolyn J. Nygren
  8. Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future/ Richard Susskind
  9. What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know: an Introduction to Study of Law/ Tracey E. George, Suzanna Sherry
  10. Succeeding in Law School/ Herbert N. Ramy
  11. The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking About the Law/ Ward Farnsworth
  12. A Student’s Guide to Law School: What Counts, What Helps, and What Matters/ Andrew Ayers
  13. A Short & Happy Guide to Being a Law Student: A Daily Companion for Law School/ Paula Ann Franzese
  14. Think Like a Lawyer: Legal Reasoning for Law Students and Business Professionals/ Scott Fruehwald
  15. Law School 101: How to Succeed in Your First Year of Law School and Beyond/ R. Stephanie Good
  16. Introduction to the Study and Practice of Law in a Nutshell/ Kenney Hegland
  17. 1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor’s Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School/ Andrew J. McClurg
  18. Hard-Nosed Advice from a Cranky Law Professor: How to Succeed in Law School/ Austen Parrish & Cristina C. Knolton
  19. Law School Survival Manual: From LSAT to Bar Exam/ Nancy B. Rapoport & Jeffrey D. Van Niel
  20. Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success/ Helene Shapo
  21. Law School Labyrinth: The Guide to Making the Most of Your Legal Education; Steven R. Sedberry
  22. A Weekly Guide to Being a Model Law Student/ Alex Ruskell

Class Preparation

  1. 1000 Days to the Bar But the Practice of Law Begins Now: How to Achieve Your Personal Best in Law School/ Dennis J. Tonsing
  2. Cracking the Case Method: Legal Analysis for Law School Success/ Paul Bergman, Patrick Goodman, Thomas Horn
  3. Finding Your Voice in Law School: Mastering Classroom Cold Calls, Job Interviews and Other Verbal Challenges/ Molly Bishop Shadel
  4. Legal Writing in Plain English/ Bryan A. Garner
  5. Reading Like a Lawyer: Time-Saving Strategies for Reading Law Like an Expert/ Ruth Ann McKinney
  6. Thinking Like a Lawyer: A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning/ Frederick Schauer
  7. Legal Analysis: The Fundamental Skill/ David S. Romantz, Kathleen Elliot Vinson
  8. Cracking the Case Method: Legal Analysis for Law School Success/ Paul Bergman & Patrick Goodman
  9. Law School Success in a Nutshell: A Guide to Studying Law and Taking Law School Exams/ Ann M. Burkhart & Robert Stein
  10. Learning Outside the Box: A Handbook for Law Students Who Learn Differently/ Leah Christensen
  11. Off the Charts Law Summaries: An All-in-One Graphic Outline of the 1L Law School Courses/ Julie F. Schechter

Exam Preparation

  1. Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams/ Richard Michael Fischl, Jeremy Paul
  2. Law School Exams: Preparing and Writing to Win/ Charles R. Calleros
  3. Mastering the Law School Exam: A Practical Blueprint for Preparing and Taking Law School Exams/ Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus
  4. Open Book: Succeeding on Exams from the First Day of Law School/ Barry Friedman & John C.P. Goldberg
  5. Law School Exams: A Guide to Better Grades/ Alex Schimel

The Courts, Judicial Process, Judicial Biography

  1. My Beloved World/ Sonia Sotomayor
  2. Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court/ Sandra Day O’Connor
  3. Real Law Stories: Inside the American Judicial Process/ Richard A. Brisbane, Jr., John C. Kilwein
  4. The Steps to the Supreme Court: A Guided Tour of the American Legal System/ Peter Irons
  5. What’s Law Got to Do With It?: What Judges Do, Why They Do It, and What’s at Stake/ Charles Geyh
  6. The Criminal Law Handbook: Know Your Rights, Survive the System/ Paul Begman & Sara J.  Berman
  7. Represent Yourself in Court: How to Prepare and Try a Winning Case/ Sara J. Berman & Paul Bergman

Issues of Social Justice

  1. All Labor Has Dignity/ Martin Luther King, Jr.
  2. Asylum Denied: A Refugee’s Struggle for Safety in America/ David Ngaruri Kenney, Philip G. Schrag
  3. Flagrant Conduct: the Story of Lawrence v. Texas: How a Bedroom Arrest Decriminalized Gay Americans
  4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks/ Rebecca Skloot
  5. Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the back Alley to the Board Room/ Merle Hoffman
  6. Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage/ Jeff Benedict
  7. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness/ Michelle Alexander
  8. Taking Back Eden: Eight Environmental Cases That Changed the World/ Oliver A. Houck
  9. There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice Through Jewish Law and Tradition/ Jill Jacobs
  10. What We Have Done: An Oral History of the Disability Rights Movement/ Fred Pelka
  11. Just Mercy/ Bryan Stevenson


  1. The Bramble Bush: The Classic Lectures on the Law and Law School/ Karl Llewellyn
  2. The Devil’s Advocates: The Greatest Closing Arguments in Criminal Law/ Michael S. Lief
  3. Gideon’s Trumpet/ Anthony Lewis
  4. One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School/ Scott Turow
  5. Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle for Equality/ Richard Kluger
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird/ Harper Lee

Other Interesting Titles

  1. The Companion Text to Law School: Understanding and Surviving Life with a Law Student/ Andrew J. McClurg
  2. Equal: Women Reshape American Law/ Fred Strebeigh
  3. Later-in-Life Lawyers: Tips for the Non-Traditional Law Student/ Charles Cooper
  4. Mindfulness for Law Students: Using the Power of Mindfulness to Achieve Balance and Success in Law School/ Scott L. Rogers
  5. 24 Hours with 24 Lawyers: Profiles of Traditional and Non-Traditional Careers
  6. The Zen of Law School Success/ Chad Noreuil
  7. The Buffalo Creek Disaster/ Gerald M. Stern
  8. A Civil Action/ Jonathon Harr
  9. Pass the Bar: A Practical Guide to Achieving Academic and Professional Goals/ Sara J. Berman
  10. Expert Learning for Law Students/ Michael Hunter Schwartz & Paula J. Manning