Best books to read before law school

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connordalto
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Best books to read before law school

Postby connordalto » Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:56 pm

Hi all, I was wondering if there are any must read books out there for incoming 1Ls... not about course material but more about mentality, exam tips, general stuff like that. Any suggestions?

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BasilHallward
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby BasilHallward » Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:59 pm

Anything unrelated to law school. Pick up "Getting To Maybe" if it eases your mind. But seriously, enjoy reading, because you may very well despise during and after law school. Just don't be one of those people that wastes a summer before law school by combing through the FRCP/supplements/cases. Enjoy your life! Everything 1st year will come down to those last 2-3 weeks in each semester.

cavalier1138
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:12 pm

I will preach the gospel of "Getting to Maybe" as a necessary book before starting school, primarily because you won't have enough time to read it after starting school. It's a quick read, and I found it invaluable for getting my mind in the right place before getting started.


connordalto
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby connordalto » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:13 pm

BasilHallward wrote:Anything unrelated to law school. Pick up "Getting To Maybe" if it eases your mind. But seriously, enjoy reading, because you may very well despise during and after law school. Just don't be one of those people that wastes a summer before law school by combing through the FRCP/supplements/cases. Enjoy your life! Everything 1st year will come down to those last 2-3 weeks in each semester.


Not a chance I'll be traveling Europe with my girlfriend. Just was more curious if there was anything super crucial out there.

connordalto
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby connordalto » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:16 pm



That dude has more balls than I... but production brewery for the win my young scholar.

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Smc1994
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby Smc1994 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:20 pm

connordalto wrote:


That dude has more balls than I... but production brewery for the win my young scholar.



He certainly has a lot of something. I didn't memorize the dictionary, like our friend there, but I'm fairly confident that the word--or, rather, set of words--you're looking for is "false and highly inflated views of himself".

HonestAdvice
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby HonestAdvice » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:41 pm

Best thing you could do is get on a steady and consistent schedule. Could be fitness or reading, anything you don't really want to do but consistently push yourself to do. The people who put in their 12 hours a day, day in day out may not perform the best but have a big advantage.

It's also helpful to find something you enjoy doing, but only takes 2 minutes. This could be reading box scores or checking perusing a retail website. The point is to be able to efficiently recharge yourself when you walk around every few hours. The ability to self manage stress is one of those things that isn't tested that can have a tremendous impact.

twokings
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby twokings » Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:19 pm

NOTHING! I read every book possible and I truly do not believe it made a difference. I would do anything to have that time and money back, especially when those are both about to become so precious. My best piece of advice would be to build up your reading speed through books and intellectual magazine articles on topics that interest you. Even doing this over winter break really helped me to jump back into the new semester easily.

Paul Revere
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby Paul Revere » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:00 pm

I read a book called Open Book: Succeeding on Exams from the First Day of Law School. On amazon: http://a.co/fOk2j3y.

It's written by law school professors (NYU and HLS) and was recommended to me by my 1L con law professor. I thought it was great. Helped me to approach exams more systematically with a pretty good idea of how most law school professors grade. It's pretty concise too. Maybe I just got better at law school, but my grades went up after I read it. Wish I would've known about it before I started.

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KunAgnis
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby KunAgnis » Sun Jan 22, 2017 9:24 pm

I enjoyed One L by Scott Turow. It might scare you about law school but on the other hand it gives you a skewed preview of what is to come.

Gunner19
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby Gunner19 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:08 pm

memorize the blue book

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dannyswo
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby dannyswo » Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:59 pm

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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Kummel
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby Kummel » Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:00 pm

The Wretched of the Earth

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yyyuppp
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby yyyuppp » Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:25 pm

Reading anything about the law or law school prior to 1l is pointless. Your professors will determine what you need to know and how you need to use that knowledge on the exam.

Law school exams are about understanding how a given fact can be viewed differently using a single and/or competing interpretations of the law, and then being able to argue all that both in favor and against a party/s that the fact pertains to. Then maybe use a policy arg to justify how the court might decide. So, just remember that when you do your case book reading next fall. Now you don't have to read getting to maybe.

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O.J.
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby O.J. » Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:11 pm

yyyuppp wrote:Reading anything about the law or law school prior to 1l is pointless.


And people wonder why so many visit these forums, then bail. So tired of the baseless platitudes around here. So you have the market cornered on what constitutes value within a book for all personality types? I've read a half-dozen books on law as an 0L and have gained all kinds of interesting insight. I guess I'm just wrong?

Some of you need to relax and lighten up.

cavalier1138
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:20 pm

O.J. wrote:
yyyuppp wrote:Reading anything about the law or law school prior to 1l is pointless.


And people wonder why so many visit these forums, then bail. So tired of the baseless platitudes around here. So you have the market cornered on what constitutes value within a book for all personality types? I've read a half-dozen books on law as an 0L and have gained all kinds of interesting insight. I guess I'm just wrong?

Some of you need to relax and lighten up.


Not to sound flippant, but come back after first semester and tell us all about how that "insight" helped in the classroom and exams.

I don't agree with the no-reading approach, but reading books about the law is not a good approach. Your professors will teach you the law in their own way. Learning a different approach may seem really smart, but it just sets you up for problems during school.

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yyyuppp
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby yyyuppp » Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:59 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
O.J. wrote:
yyyuppp wrote:Reading anything about the law or law school prior to 1l is pointless.


And people wonder why so many visit these forums, then bail. So tired of the baseless platitudes around here. So you have the market cornered on what constitutes value within a book for all personality types? I've read a half-dozen books on law as an 0L and have gained all kinds of interesting insight. I guess I'm just wrong?

Some of you need to relax and lighten up.


Not to sound flippant, but come back after first semester and tell us all about how that "insight" helped in the classroom and exams.

I don't agree with the no-reading approach, but reading books about the law is not a good approach. Your professors will teach you the law in their own way. Learning a different approach may seem really smart, but it just sets you up for problems during school.



Sorry, I wasn't trying to be a jerk. I read a little before last semester and it didn't help much because the exam prep I did before 1l ended up being very obvious by the time finals rolled around.

I stand by the fact that reading anything relating to a specific class is a bad idea because your professors will likely have a specific way they want the law to be learned and also will not teach everything you will read in a horn book or e&e and may sometimes even contradict it.

The gist of what I think is important to know before 1l is this: you read what will likely be
cases that are great or even determinative examples of how the specific doctrine is applied. Your exams, however, will entail fact situations that will not easily fit into the doctrine you've learned. Your job is to recognize how the doctrine can apply to those facts and how it won't , and then argue that both ways, because it won't be clear. These arguments should be derived from how your professor taught you the issue

That is really broad but allow me to illustrate with a torts example:

Under products liability for torts, there is manufacturing defects and also defective design. The former requires that you prove that the product that caused the harm varied from the intended result of the manufacturer in some way and this deviation caused the harm. the latter requires that the design was not as safe as it other wise reabsonbly could have been (they're are a couple of tests for this and you apply both).

But maybe the facts aren't clear as to why this product caused the harm. Maybe it was a manufacturing defect or design; maybe this thing broke cuz it came off the line bad or maybe it broke because the design was shit. To get points, talk about that and what facts might point one or the other and why (and why not) as you apply each test and what other facts might be needed.

Then, apply the indeterminate products defect test, which is used for when the reason for the harm that resulted from the products use is unknown, and argue why and why it may not be a good arg based on facts you have.

I hope this is helpful. My point is that you will learn everything you need to succeed during the semester and reading before hand has marginal benefits at best and can actually be counterproductive

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 04, 2017 1:12 pm

O.J. wrote:I've read a half-dozen books on law as an 0L and have gained all kinds of interesting insight. I guess I'm just wrong?

Honestly it depends on what "books on law" means. If you're reading E&Es on torts, property, etc., there is no point and its wasted effort. If you're reading about how the courts work and different aspects of our legal system (about SCOTUS or the criminal justice system or tort reform or whatever), to the extent that interests you, that's great - it won't really make a difference for succeeding in law school but it's perfectly reasonable stuff to want to know about. If you're reading books about how law school works like Law School Confidential or maybe Planet Law School (except I hate Planet Law School), that can be perfectly fine too if it makes you feel less anxious about starting this new unknown thing, as long as you don't become wedded to any one approach to law school and will be able to adjust as your experience is different. I think trying actually to learn black letter law by reading supplements/outlines is actively a waste of time. Other general guides to law school or the like aren't necessary and aren't going to put you ahead of anyone else, but aren't going to be actively pointless like learning black letter law is.

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O.J.
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby O.J. » Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:27 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Not to sound flippant, but come back after first semester and tell us all about how that "insight" helped in the classroom and exams...reading books about the law is not a good approach.


A good approach to what? You see, some of you jump to conclusions. The OP was just asking for some books on law to read. He wasn't asking how to master law school as an 0L. There's a difference, and some of you always feel the need to control the conversation by demanding all books are sh*t. This is not a new topic around here, which always devolves into someone proclaiming books as the devil's work, instead of providing some recommendations on interesting reads. No one says these should be read as profound doctrines.

If you're reading some law book without any common sense, reason or ability to separate the good from bad, you shouldn't be going to LS in the first place. Reading benign books about law isn't going to negatively affect anyone's outcome in LS. At worst, it's going to have zero impact, at best, it's going to have some relevant correlation to certain social or educational moments during 1L.

0L's are excited about LS, and in their free time want to consume as much info about law, the process, exams, and other benign LS related stuff as much as possible. Is that really so bad? Are they really going to damage their ability to perform in LS because they read some dumb ass book about torts, or how to get an edge on exams? No, man, it wont. It's ok, they'll survive, I promise.

So relax, and give some opinions on cool books to check out, it's not going to hurt anyone.

Man, some of you are seriously wound way too tight. ;)

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O.J.
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby O.J. » Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:53 pm

yyyuppp wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:reading before hand has marginal benefits at best and can actually be counterproductive


Show me a 1L who read a book as an 0L that is being negatively affected as a result, and I'll show you an idiot who is at the bottom of their class at Cooley.

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smaug
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby smaug » Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:02 pm

Bartleby the Scrivener

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yyyuppp
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby yyyuppp » Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:26 pm

O.J. wrote:
yyyuppp wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:reading before hand has marginal benefits at best and can actually be counterproductive


Show me a 1L who read a book as an 0L that is being negatively affected as a result, and I'll show you an idiot who is at the bottom of their class at Cooley.


come on dude.

OP asked what books are must reads. the consensus is none unless the concept of law school exams is not entirely clear to you, in that case GTM might help (the guides on this site are also great). if you want to read whatever that's fine, but you don't need to get so defensive about your 0l prep. I think what the replies were trying to get across is that you shouldn't feel you have to read anything before 1l in order to know whats going on or get good grades. but if you are psyched or anxious or whathaveyou about school (i was that person too), then maybe pick up some books about how the courts work or GTM and have a skim, but no pressure cuz everything you will need will be addressed in your classes.

just don't read doctrinal stuff. don't read a contracts E&E. no one concept you learn in school is hard to master. the difficulty is keeping it all straight and consistent in your head when exams come so you can be quick and clever and write good answers. so, if you read something back in july about contracts, which your professor doesn't talk about or even thinks isn't true or how the law is applied, then this might be a problem when trying to correctly deploy that concept on a test. it probably won't, but i bet it can happen to someone at a T14 or someone who struggles at a lower ranked school.

cavalier1138
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:02 pm

O.J. wrote:If you're reading some law book without any common sense, reason or ability to separate the good from bad, you shouldn't be going to LS in the first place. Reading benign books about law isn't going to negatively affect anyone's outcome in LS. At worst, it's going to have zero impact, at best, it's going to have some relevant correlation to certain social or educational moments during 1L.


Again, check back in after your first semester.

It's not about separating the good from the bad. It's literally about knowing whether your professor favors a law and economics approach to tort law or a strict compensatory approach (or something else entirely). And since you don't know that, reading a book about tort law may put you in a bad frame of mind to handle the material that your professor wants to focus on. As was already mentioned, there's nothing wrong with reading general books discussing the American system of jurisprudence and overall structure of the courts. But you'll still learn all that stuff in school, so those aren't really must-reads (which, for those of us who were actually reading the OP, is what this thread was supposed to be about).

No one here is actually "wound too tight", except the 0L flying off the handle at the people who have been to law school giving advice about potential pitfalls of reading books on the law before starting school.

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mjb447
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Re: Best books to read before law school

Postby mjb447 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 5:42 pm

O.J. wrote:The OP was just asking for some books on law to read. He wasn't asking how to master law school as an 0L.


connordalto wrote:Hi all, I was wondering if there are any must read books out there for incoming 1Ls... not about course material but more about mentality, exam tips, general stuff like that. Any suggestions?


Maybe OP isn't looking for "mastery," but he's not asking for beach reading - he's looking for "must read books" containing "tips" that will presumably give him an advantage during law school. Some people have recommended books that are arguably in that vein (e.g. Getting to Maybe), but there really aren't many books like that, and people disagree about whether any of them are very helpful.




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