Top Legal Books Every Lawyer Should Read

Books have the power to teach us new things about life and the world and the ability to transform the way we act. As lawyers, continuing to learn, improving your skills and staying engaged are a large part of developing a successful legal career. Books can play an important part in your professional development. The next time that you need something new to read, we encourage you to consider picking up a book that will give you a new perspective on the practice or business of law. Here are some suggestions:

“A Civil Action”

If you didn't read it in law school, you should read this book now. This epic courtroom showdown takes you through the ups and downs of high stakes civil litigation and the toll it can take on the attorneys involved. While the movie is great, the book should not be missed.

“Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”

A large part of successful legal advocacy is the ability to negotiate on your client’s behalf. Unfortunately, many law schools do not provide comprehensive training on negotiation, leaving new attorneys without this important skill set. “Getting to Yes” provides a step-by-step strategy for reaching agreements, giving attorneys an effective and concise way to learn and implement this valuable skill.

“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead”

While this is not your typical legal book, “Daring Greatly” addresses the effect vulnerability has on our lives. In many areas, vulnerability in the workplace is viewed as a weakness, but as Dr. Brown opines, a willingness to be vulnerable on the part of the supervisors and bosses creates a safe and productive work environment. Cultivating a safe work environment in law firms can only serve to improve employee performance and satisfaction in their work. A must read for anyone in a supervisory position.

“How to Win Friends & Influence People”

This is a classic book that is still just as helpful in today’s modern world. Dale Carnegie believed that success hinges on “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership and to arouse enthusiasm among people”, and he teaches the reader to do just that. For attorneys, the ability to understand people and motivate them is an invaluable skill both inside and outside the courtroom, and support and cooperation is needed from a number of people to resolve any case.

“The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice”

This book is an interesting reflection on the history of constitutional law and the United States Supreme Court along with the composition of the Supreme Court during Justice O’Connor’s tenure. The information she provides is particularly helpful for international attorneys who may not be as familiar with the Supreme Court.

“The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”

In this book Malcolm Gladwell explores the tipping point phenomenon, looking at how people sell products and share information and ideas. For lawyers, looking at the tipping point can be helpful for networking, marketing and changing the way the public views the attorneys in their community.

“Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates”

A brief or motion can make or break a case. The ability to write compelling prose is an undervalued skill that doesn’t receive the attention it deserves in school. “Point Made” examines the work of some of the most successful legal writers of our time and shows the reader how to imitate and adapt their skills.

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

Success as an attorney hinges on more than just one’s understanding of the law. As Stephen R. Covey points out, understanding yourself and improving teamwork and communication with others is an absolute necessity for a successful career anywhere in the world and is invaluable in a legal career.

“Thrive: A New Lawyer’s Guide to Law Firm Practice”

For many new attorneys, working in a law firm is a foreign and frustrating experience. This can be particularly true for attorneys who have trained outside the U.S. and are pursuing an LL.M. or career in the United States. “Thrive” bridges the gap between law school and the practice of law, helping a new attorney avoid the pitfalls and headaches that often come with beginning a career in a law firm.

“What Can You Do With a Law Degree? A Lawyer’s Guide to Career Alternatives Inside, Outside & Around the Law”

Although many attorneys feel pigeonholed in their legal careers, the idea of pursuing a career outside the traditional law path is so foreign that they don’t know where to start. This book is a wonderful starting point, providing thought provoking suggestions on how a law degree can be used.