law students must-read books often explore various aspects of legal education, professional development, and the broader implications of these literary works on the legal profession.
You’ll often be told that you should read about your subject in order to prepare for university applications, but how do you know what to read? Law is famously dense and impenetrable, making it difficult to know where to begin. As a result, we have compiled a list of ten books that we feel every prospective law student should read.
10 Books That Every Law Students Must Read
We believe it is critical to make things easy and enjoyable when first learning about a subject, thus we avoided dry, opaque, and complex materials. In truth, many of the novels mentioned below are fictional literature.
These books have been carefully chosen to provide you with a clear image of what Law is all about in an understandable manner. After reading them, you should have a good understanding of the law, laying the groundwork for further courses like our Oxford Summer School in Law.
So, on to number one!
“About Law” by Tony Honoré
About Law is arguably the most basic introduction to the legal field you can find. Tony Honoré is a well-known legal expert who has condensed his knowledge into an accessible and engaging introduction to the law. He tackles a wide range of issues, including the purpose of law, how it works (in layman’s terms), and an overview of the English legal system.
It is strongly recommended that you read this book for law students, even if you read nothing else on this list. It’s a short book, but at the end, you’ll know far more than you did at the beginning.
“Landmarks in the Law” by Lord Denning
Lord Denning’s Landmarks in the Law is a fascinating account of some of the most significant events in English law. It has tremendous legal and historical value.
Another reason I recommend this book is the author’s skill and prestige. Lord Denning was perhaps one of history’s most significant judges. He focused on making the law understandable to ordinary people, and he did so with great skill. His judgments are unrivaled, but if you can’t get to them personally, this book is the next best thing.
“Letters to a Law Student” written by Nicholas McBride
This is a series of “letters” to a hypothetical student on what it’s like to study law, with a basic overview of the legal system.
The primary focus is on teaching you how to study well, and McBride provides a wide range of practical and valuable suggestions, from basic themes like how much work you should be doing to more particular topics like how to take notes on a case.
Although the student mentioned in this book is fictitious, the letters are actually addressed to all prospective Law students, making it ideal for a spot on our list.
“Bleak House” by Charles Dickens
Reading should be both enjoyable and useful, so here’s the first fiction book on the list!
Dickens was perhaps one of the greatest storytellers of all time, and Bleak House is often regarded as his masterpiece. The plot revolves around a court dispute involving several wills, with the most of the action taking place in London’s legal neighborhoods.
Not only is it one of the finest books ever written, but it is especially relevant to law students since it provides insight into the character and traditions of the legal profession.
“Learning the law” by Glanville Williams
This book, like About Law at number one, provides a slightly more extensive overview of the English legal system.
It was released in 2002, thus some of the portions are now out of date. Nonetheless, we’ve included it on the list because it clearly and thoroughly covers a wide range of legal fundamentals.
“To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
Lee’s second fiction novel is about racism and culture in 1930s America. It, like Bleak House, is a stand-alone masterpiece. The primary character, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer entrusted with defending a man rejected by everyone else, which makes it especially relevant for law students.
Finch embodies the legal ideas of justice and equality, and the book is an excellent source of inspiration for individuals who ask why the law is necessary and why rights must be safeguarded. Legal heroes, especially fictional ones, remind us why we study the law.
“Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories” Author: Thomas Grant
From a fictitious hero to a real one, this is a recent book on criminal barrister Jeremy Hutchinson’s numerous, thrilling cases. Hutchinson represented some of the most notorious personalities to appear in court in the last century, from drug smuggling to the “Profumo affair”.
His tactics and success in court are quite astounding. I encourage reading this to law students to get a sense of the excitement and importance of life as an advocate.
“Winning Arguments” by Jay Heinrichs
In keeping with the advocacy theme, consider reading Jay Heinrichs’ Winning Arguments. The book’s theme requires minimal explanation, although it is particularly relevant to law students. Much of your work, as a student or a lawyer, will include developing arguments that look to be correct (even if they aren’t), in order to provide fair representation to all parties.
Heinrichs’ book contains a wealth of useful information on how to order your ideas and employ creative rhetorical strategies. It’s also lighthearted and enjoyable to read!
“Lord Denning, A Life” by Iris Freeman
This biography, which references several of the preceding works on the list, is worth reading as inspiration for any aspiring lawyers. I’ve previously provided a quick overview of Lord Denning’s relevance and the originality of his writings, so I thought I’d offer his biography in case you wanted to learn more.
Lord Denning is an important figure not only because he is a remarkable judge, but also because he came from a very poor background with no prior legal experience. While many English judges were rich or even aristocratic, Lord Denning rose from humble origins to become Master of the Rolls (the country’s second highest judge) and Master of the Court of Appeal. He did not forget his past when he reached these heights, as his approach to the law demonstrates.
I recommend this book for law students because it demonstrates that you can become a brilliant lawyer regardless of where you come from.
Jurisprudence: A Choice of Three
My final recommendation consists of three books for law students.
Jurisprudence is the study of the philosophy of law (or why and how it exists), and Ronald Dworkin, Herbert Lionel Adolphus Hart, and John Stuart Mill were among the most prominent theorists in this field.
“On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill
Mill argued that individual liberty was the most important aspect of society. He claimed that the sole basis for legislation was to prevent harm to others.
“The Concept of Law,” by Herbert Lionel Adolphus Hart
Hart believed that law was simply a set of man-made rules that we could choose to follow or ignore.
“Law’s Empire” by Ronald Dworkin
Meanwhile, Dworkin believed that law was a byproduct of morality and could not exist without it. His theories are thus directly opposed to Hart’s, and the two authors debated this for many years (the issue remains unsolved).
In conclusion, articles discussing the “10 Books That Every Law Students Must Read” provide valuable insights into the essential literary works that contribute to the education and professional development of aspiring lawyers.
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