July 27, 2005
Reading Recs for Prospective Students
Professor Gordon Smith recently commented on a number of books frequently recommended for prospective law students, including his number one recommendation:
But one book on Harvard's list stands out above all others in my memory. It is a book about lawyers, legal strategy, and the power of law to change the world. It was recommended to me by a professor at Yale, and if I could choose only one book to recommend to prospective law students, this would be the one: Richard Kluger, Simple Justice.
In the comments and trackbacks there you'll find more discussion and recommendations — plenty of possibilities to fill the rest of your summer if you're waiting to start school or just considering whether to take the plunge for the LSAT.
June 28, 2005
Law School Survival Kit
Nick at Wisdom's Friend liked Law School Survival Kit by Jeff Adachi. From Nick's post, which contains some of the best advice from the book, it sounds similar to other pre-law books like Law School Confidential. (Via Evan Schaeffer: also in Evan's post, a recommendation for Bramble Bush and a link to an older post about exam tips.)
June 16, 2005
Study guide rankings
Law student blogger wt at Expressio Unius has compiled a list of best and worst law school study guides, based on personal experience, in two posts. The study guides cover classes from multiple years, including Con Law, Admin Law, and Evidence.
June 15, 2005
Introducing the Surprisingly Named “Books Category”!
A helpful reader writes:
Would it be at all possible to cross-list some of the posts under a “Books” category (or something similarly titled, such as “Helpful/Recommended/Suggested/Super/etc. Books”), when relevant? I remembered seeing a book on here a while back but couldn't think of the category it might have been under and had to comb through the archives, which took awhile.
Great idea! Please check out the new Books Category and let me know if anything is missing. We'd be happy to add more book recommendations if anyone has them. In fact....
If you've read a book about any aspect of law or law school that you found helpful and worthwhile, please write a short review (from one sentence to dozens—whatever you feel like saying) and send it in via the submission form. Law students are often readers so you'll be doing us all a favor by making sure we have good stuff to read. Thanks!
May 03, 2005
Resources to Prepare You for Your First Days as a Lawyer, and for the Days that Follow
Hey all you recent or soon-to-be graduates: Check out Dennis Kennedy's advice for “every law student and young lawyer”, by which he means all associates and all new partners. In short, Kennedy recommends working with a career coach to help you make good career decisions from the start, and reading What Law School Doesn't Teach You: But You Really Need to Know by Kim Walton. He also recommends some online resources for new lawyers, including materials from the ABA, Findlaw, and Vault. Not surprisingly, he also recommends reading blawgs:
If you listen carefully, you will start to hear talk about the way that the lawyer bloggers are helping change the image of lawyers for the better with their helpfulness and generosity. Although there are many examples, I want to single out three blogs that often have useful advice, tips and discussion for young lawyers: Evan Schaeffer's Notes from the (Legal) Underground, Scheherezade Fowler's Stay of Execution, and Arnie Herz's Legal Sanity.
I'm sure he just decided not to mention his own blawg because he assumed everyone was reading it regularly already.
[link via Notes from the (Legal) Underground]
April 29, 2005
Book Review: Introduction to the Study and Practice of Law
As part of her (I think her; so hard to keep track of genders sometimes) pre-law reading, CM at Magic Cookie
reviews Introduction to the Study and Practice of Law, a Nutshell book by Professor Kenney Hegland. The review follows CM's previous notes about OneL and includes brief comments about Law School Confidential, as well. CM writes:
This was the best of the three, although not as widely known. Unlike the other books, this one does not focus solely on what law school will be like. Instead, Hegland tries to explain the fundamentals of studying law: how to read and understand a case, how a trial works, how to write effectively.
It sounds like the book is not just intended for pre-law preparation, but contains information that law students and graduates might find helpful, as well.
Oh, and for you pre-law students who think you might not want to do any law-related reading prior to law school, you're in good company.
April 21, 2005
First, Make a Case: Is Law School for You?
Schneider and Belsky encourage would-be law students to really consider the cost of attending law school. The debts you take on, and the opportunity costs of spending three years of your life pursuing this degree will have an impact on the rest of your life. Once you're in school, it's hard to fight the momentum that will keep you there, and then sweep you into a career you may not be suited for.
And yet, law school applicants rarely perform even basic number-crunching before signing up for the LSAT, Schneider and Belsky contend. As a result, while half of all law students come in saying they want to do public interest work, less than 4 percent wind up in such fields -- mainly because of their debt loads, which can easily reach six-figures.
This is the most complete and helpful review I've yet seen so if you've wondered whether you should buy this book, I definitely recommend you check out this review. Also, Deborah Schneider, one of the book's authors, will be doing an online chat on May 6th at 2 p.m. here. Get your questions ready!
March 25, 2005
Guide to Law School Admissions:A lot of people have just finished (or are in the process of finishing) the law school admissions process, but if you're just thinking about it or just getting started, this new book may be for you. The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions: Straight Advice on Essays, Resumes, Interviews, and More promises to help you answer questions such as:
- What kind of essay should I write to set me apart from the rest of the pack?
- Should I explain my low LSAT score, my D in chemistry, my attention deficit disorder, my time in rehab?
- Is law school worth the debt I'll face when I graduate
March 20, 2005
Classic Legal Texts OnlineProfessor Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy recently noted that several classic legal texts are available online for your enjoyment, including:
- Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England
- The Nature of the Legal Process by Benjamin Cardozo
- The Path of the Law by Oliver Wendell Holmes
- The Common Law, also by Holmes
February 24, 2005
Brief Review: Should You Really Be A Lawyer?Attorney blog May it Please the Court offers a brief review of the new book, Should You Really Be A Lawyer? The gist:
“Should You Really Be A Lawyer?” is written by a lawyer, for lawyers and law students. It covers the gamut from helping you decide whether you should try to get into law school, stay in once you're there and what you really should be doing afterward. It gives solid guidance on how to deal with the cost of law school, and destroys the bubble that everyone who graduates from law school starts at $150,000 or more (the book pegs the actual average at $61,000). But you'll get no other spoilers here. You'll have to read it and go through the exercises. The authors point out that you're going to spend some 80,000 hours working. Why not invest a few hours figuring out what to do with all that time?It's hard to argue with that, isn't it? UPDATE 3/03/05: Additional reviews at Al Ny the Lawyer Guy (a longer, more in-depth evaluation that's positive overall) and Ernie the Attorney (a very short recommendation). [links via Notes from the (Legal) Underground]
February 20, 2005
Pre-Law ReadingNew 0L blawgger “Law Student” recently published reviews of two books that often appear on pre-law reading lists: One L by Scott Turow and Brush With the Law by Robert Byrnes and Jaime Marquart. “Law Student” recommends both books as good preparation for law school, largely because they provide insight into the emotional and psychological stresses that might be involved. I read both books myself before starting law school and wrote about them here. I found One L less interesting and useful than it seems “Law Student” did, but it still seems almost obligatory to give it a read if you're going to law school. I also mentioned a couple of other books I read before starting school which may be of interest to some of you 0Ls. At this point, with the benefit of hindsight, I'd recommend reading the following books before starting law school: Should You Really Be A Lawyer? (I'm still reading this, but it seems worthwhile so far.) “The Official Guide to Legal Specialties” (Lisa L. Abrams, National Association for Law Placement, National Association for Law Placement, NALP) “What Can You Do With a Law Degree?: A Lawyer's Guide to Career Alternatives Inside, Outside & Around the Law” (Deborah Arron) Those will all help you decide whether you really want to/should go to law school. If you decide to go, I'd also recommend: “Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams” (Richard Michael Fischl, Jeremy Paul)
February 18, 2005
The Practice of Law SchoolThe New York Lawyer (“For lawyers on the verge”) is serializing a new book about law school called The Practice of Law School:
Take charge of your legal career right away -- starting with law school! Find out what to expect, how to succeed at every stage, and how to make your law school experience fulfilling and relevant to your development as a lawyer. We are serializing this book with a new installment every Wednesday. This week: Does law school matter?The first installment explains what the book is about and what to expect. In a nutshell:
A student who approaches law school focused only on what she needs to do to graduate and get a job is likely to find that that is exactly what law school will be to her: a ticket to punch. She will have paid her dues and moved on to what she deems the “real” experience -- the practice of law. However, if she wants a relevant experience, in which her money and time will be spent to her best advantage, and one that is economically and personally rewarding, then she should read this book. By employing the methods presented in this book, students will learn how to take a big-picture, practical approach to applying to and thriving in law school. And that, in a nutshell, is the practice of law school.Sounds pretty good. Check back next Wednesday for more.