Last updated: July 8, 2013

Many law schools provide lists of recommended readings. These books are not “required reading” in any sense, but can give the student a good look at the legal process, the history of law, and some of the people who have made significant contributions to the legal world. Selected reading can provide some leads to the answers of such questions as “What is the study of law like?” “Should I be a lawyer?” “What does a lawyer do?” The following lists may be of value.

(For a more complete list see “Prelaw Readings: Books of Interest in the Official Guide To Law Schools 2000" published by the Law School Admission Council)

Law School and Legal Education
  • Bell, Susan J., Full Disclosure: Do You Really Want to Be a Lawyer? Princeton, NJ: Peterson’s Guides, 1989
  • Gillers, Stephen, Guide from the Society of American Law Teachers. 3d ed. NAL/Dutton, 1990
  • Goldfarb, Sally F., Inside the Law Schools: A Guide by Students for Students: 6th ed. New York: Plume, 1993
  • Rold, Cynthia L., Real Life Guide To Graduate and Professional School: Chapel Hill, NC: Pipeline Press: 1998
Legal Profession
  • Bachman, Walt, Law v. Life: What Lawyers Are Afraid To Say About the Legal Profession. Rhinebeck, NY: Four Directions Press 1995.
  • Fox, Ronald W., Lawful Pursuit: Careers In Public Interest Law Chicago: American Bar Association, Career Series, 1995.
  • Mayer, Martin, The Lawyers Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1980
  • Moll, Richard W., The Lure of the Law: Why People Become Lawyers, and What the Profession Does to Them. New York: Penguin Books, 1990.
  • Munneke, Gary A., The Legal Career Guide: From Law Student to Lawyer. Chicago: American Bar Association Career Series, 1992
  • Munneke, Gary A. and William D. Henslee, Nonlegal Careers for Lawyers. Chicago: American Bar Association, 1994
  • Baker, Leonard, John Marshall: A Life in Law New York: Macmillan, 1974.
  • Lewis, Anthony, Gideon’s Trumpet New York: Random House, 1964.
  • Schwartz, Bernard, Super Chief, Earl Warren and His Supreme Court--A Judicial Biography. New York:. New York University Press, 1983.
  • White, G. Edward, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: Law and the Inner Self Oxford University Press, 1993.
Financing Law School
  • The Black Collegian’s Guide to Graduate and Professional Fellowships for Minority Students. 5th ed. New Orleans, LA
  • Kirby, Deborah M., Scholarships, Fellowships, and Loans: 1994-1995 10th edition. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc.
  • Schlachter, Gail Ann, Financial Aid for African Americans, 1997-99.
  • R. David Weber, El Dorado Hills, CA Reference Service Press, 1997.
  • Schlachter, Gail Ann, Financial Aid for Asian Americans, 1997-99
  • R. David Weber, El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 1997 
  • Schlachter, Gail Ann, Financial Aid for Hispanic Americans, 1997-99.
  • R. David Weber, El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 1997.
  • Schlachter, Gail Ann, Financial Aid for Native Americans, 1997-99.
  • R. David Weber, El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 1997.
  • Williams, Franklin A., The Law Student’s Guide to Scholarships and Grants.
  • Mark Fischer , New York: Scovill, Paterson, Inc., 1994

Vanderbilt University School of Law Reading List

Compiled by David Bachman, Alyne Queener Massey Law Library (July 1998)

Legal Education
  • Camarillo, John D. & Joseph M. Perillo, How To Thrive In Law School (1984)
  • Castleman, Harry & Christopher, Going To Law School?:Everything You Need To
  • Niewoehner, Know To Choose And Pursue A Degree In Law (1997)
  • Gillers, Stephen, ed., Looking At Law School: A Student Guide From The Society Of American Law Teachers (4th ed. 1997).
  • Guinier, Lani, et al., Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law School, and Institutional Change (1997)
  • Kahlenberg, Richard D., Broken Contract: A Memoir Of Harvard Law School, (1993)
  • Kennedy, Duncan, A Legal Education As Training For Hierarchy, in Kairys, David, ed., The Politics Of Law: A Progressive Critique (1990)
  • Llewellyn, Karl N., The Bramble Bush: On Our Law And Its Study (1951)
  • Nygren, Carolyn, Starting Off Right In Law School (1997)
  • Roth, George J., Slaying The Law School Dragon: How To Survive--And Thrive--In First-Year Law School (1991)
  • Slapo, Helene & Marshall Slapo, Law School Without Fear (1996)
  • Turow, Scott, One L (1977)
The Practice of Law
  • Arron, Deborah L., Running From The Law: Why Good Lawyers Are Getting Out Of The Legal Profession (1991)
  • Bachman, Walt, Law V. Life: What Lawyers Are Afraid To Say About The Legal Profession (1995)
  • Harr, Jonathan, A Civil Action (1996)
  • Heilbroner, David, Rough Justice: Days And Nights Of A Young D.A. (1990)
  • Joseph, Lawrence, Lawyerland: What Lawyers Talk About When They Talk About Law (1997)
  • Papantonio, Mike, In Search Of Atticus Finch (1996)
  • Snyder, Jean Maclean & Andra B. Greene, eds. The Woman Advocate (1996)
  • Trotter, Michael H., Profit And The Practice Of Law: What’s Happened To The Legal Profession (1997)
Law and Society
  • Alderman, Ellen & Caroline Kennedy, The Right To Privacy (1995)
  • Bork, Robert H., The Tempting Of America: The Political Seducation Of The Law (1990)
  • Carter, Stephen L., The Culture Of Disbelief: How American Law And Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion (1993)
  • Friedman, Lawrence M., American Law: An Introduction (1998)
  • Glendon, Mary Anne, Rights Talk: The Impoverishment Of Political Discourse (1991)
  • Hart, H. L. A., Liberty And Morality (1963)
  • Howard, Phillip K., The Death Of Common Sense:How Law Is Suffocating America (1994)
  • Kluger, Richard, Simple Justice: The History Of Brown V. Board Of Education And Black America’s Struggle For Equality (1977)
Crime and Enforcement
  • Estrich, Susan, Getting Away With Murder: How Politics Is Destroying The Criminal Justice System (1998)
  • Friedman, Lawrence, Crime And Punishment In American History (1993)
  • Kennedy, Randall, Race, Crime And The Law (1997)
  • Toobin, Jeffrey, The Run Of His Life: The People V. O.J. Simpson
  • Wachtler, Sol, After The Madness: A Judge’s Own Prison Memoir
Legal Career and the Job Market
  • Arron, Deborah L., What Can You Do With A Law Degree?:A Lawyer’s Guide To Career Alternatives Inside, Outside & Around The Law (1997)
  • Couric, Emily, ed., Women Lawyers: Perspectives On Success (1984)
  • McNeil, Heidi L.,ed., Changing Jobs: A Handbook For Lawyers For The 1990's (1994)
  • Walton, Kimm Alayne, Guerrilla Tactics For Getting The Legal Job Of Your Dreams (1995)
Theories of Justice
  • Delgado, Richard, Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge (1995)
  • MacKinnon, Catharine A., Feminism Unmodified: Discourses On Life And Law  (1987)
  • Posner, Richard A., Economic Analysis Of Law (4th ed. 1992)
  • Robson, Ruthann, Lesbian (Out) Law: Survival Under The Rule of Law 1992)
Legal Biography
  • Baker, Liva, The Justice From Beacon Hill: The Life And Times Of  Oliver Wendell Holmes (1991)
  • Couric, Emily, The Trial Lawyers: The Nation’s Top Litigators Tell How They Win (1988)
  • Darrow, Clarence, The Story Of My Life (1932)
  • Greenberg, Jack, Crusaders In The Courts: How A Dedicated Band Of Lawyers Fought For The Civil Rights Revolution (1994)
  • Kunstler, William (with Shelia Isenberg), My Life As a Radical Lawyer (1994)
  • Nizer, Louis, The Jury Returns (1966)
Law in Literature
  • Dickens, Charles, Bleak House (1853)
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor, Crime And Punishment (1886)
  • Guterson, David, Snow Falling On Cedars (1995)
  • Lee, Harper, To Kill A Mockingbird (1960)
  • Melville, Herman, Billy Budd, Foretopman (1924)
  • Shapiro, Fred, ed., Trial And Error: An Oxford Anthology Of Legal Stories(1997)
  • Wishingrad, Jay, ed., Legal Fictions: Short Stories About Lawyers And The Law (1992)