BEST LAW SCHOOL PREP BOOKS
Getting to Maybe – A great guide on how to do well on law school exams. Law school exams are unlike anything you experienced in undergrad, and your law school grades in each course are based largely on a single exam. Knowing how to approach these unique exams will make your law school experience much easier. Almost everyone I know used this book to prepare for their first law school exams. You definitely need to read this book!
Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to The Law School Experience – This law school book starts with tips and advice on law school admissions, so it is a great resource to have even before you’ve started your first year of law school, but the real meat of the book guides you through your 1L year. From an overview of the subjects you will be covering during 1L year, to advice on how to brief cases, through outlining and preparing for exams, this is a great book to read once before you start your first year of law school and to use as a reference as you begin your studies. Most people I know got this book during 1L year if they didn’t already have it.
1L of a Ride by Andrew J. McClurg– Written by an award-winning professor who has taught all kinds of 1L subjects, this book gives you invaluable advice, telling you just about everything you need to know to be successful your 1L year. I especially liked the 5 habits of successful law students. Regrettably, I didn’t read this book before 1L. Don’t make the same mistake!
Black’s Law Dictionary – If you get the pocket version of Black’s Law Dictionary, you will not regret it. Nearly every case you read during your first year of law school will include some unfamiliar term that you will need to look up… Of course, you could use the internet, but the problem with doing so is that the legal meaning of many words is very specific and different from the colloquial meaning. Don’t leave your understanding of critical legal terms to chance, make sure you have a copy of the preeminent legal dictionary beside you whenever you open up a casebook 1L year!
BEST BOOKS FOR LEGAL WRITING
Your legal writing skills are perhaps the most important skills that you must develop in order to be a successful law student and lawyer. During the 3 years that you spend in law school, your grades are going to be based on written exams and papers. In your legal career, you will be writing memos, briefs, motions, etc. Accordingly, you’d be well-advised to hone your legal writing skills early and often during law school. The following list includes the best books to improve your legal writing skills for law school and beyond.
Plain English for Lawyers – Lawyers (and law students) have a bad habit of writing “like lawyers.” All Law students learning legal writing should read this book and form good habits early. Writing in plain English will make your essays, exams, and other writing more concise and clear. The skills taught in this book will carry you far throughout law school and your legal career.
Writing a Legal Memo – This book is a short, simple, effective guide to writing a legal memo. The same tips can be applied to any kind of legal writing… including exams.
The Elements of Style – Although this book is not specific to lawyers or law school students, it is an essential guide to writing. If you are able to incorporate these basic stylistic guidelines into your writing, you will have a solid foundation to build from while you refine your legal writing skills throughout law school.
The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation – Unfortunately, this book is a must-have for all law students and lawyers. Bluebook citation is a pain, but it is essential to learn this form of citation.