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The best law books that aren’t To Kill a Mockingbird

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Legal Cheek team’s picks

If you’re about to start a law degree, have legal profession aspirations or are just interested in the subject, you may want to grab yourself a law-themed book. But, aside from To Kill a Mockingbird, and maybe The Rule of Law and Letters to a Law Student, there aren’t all that many famous ones.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of good ones out there. Here are the Legal Cheek team’s recommendations.

The Children Act, by Ian McEwan

Image via Instagram @mullenpat

Katie: This book — written by the critically acclaimed author of Atonement — is named after the 1989 statute of the same name. It traces the story of a High Court judge hearing one of the toughest family law cases of her career: that of a seriously ill teenage Jehovah’s Witness refusing a blood transfusion. The book is both popular and soon to be released as a film starring Emma Thompson (as the judge) and Dunkirk’s main actor Fionn Whitehead (as the teenager), so there’s every incentive to read it.

Anonymous Lawyer, by Jeremy Blachman

Image via Instagram @naiaash

Tom: Our anonymous lawyer is a high-billing partner at one of the world’s largest law firms. Written in the form of an internet blog, the unnamed lawyer — who hates holidays, paralegals and associates who leave the office before midnight — lifts the lid on life at the corporate coalface.

Antifragile, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Image via Instagram @fasciadoc

Alex: A book all about how some ‘antifragile’ things gain from disorder while other ‘fragile’ things are destroyed by it. One of the examples used by Taleb to illustrate this concept is the common law, whose strength lies in its flexibility and ability to keep evolving. A great read for any law student.

The Caper Court series, by Caro Fraser

The front cover of Judicial Whispers. Image via Instagram @simplylynette

Katie: penned by an ex-shipping solicitor, this series of books is deliciously law-themed without having much to do with the law at all. Instead, it’s all about the scandal that comes with working in legal London both as a barrister and as a solicitor. Titles include Judicial Whispers and The Pupil.

Law and Disorder: Absurdly Funny Moments from the Courts, by Charles M. Sevilla

Tom: The title is fairly self-explanatory on this one. Showing a lighter side to legal life, the author has brought together a collection of hilarious (but completely true) courtroom stories.

Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight

Image via Instragm @melissa_hartwig

Alex: The story of how Nike grew from a tiny shoe import business run by a young sports fanatic is one of the most enjoyable ways I can imagine boosting your commercial awareness. There are crazy colleagues, ruthless rivals and maverick lawyers. There are spectacular highs and lows. But what comes through most is how much fun the whole mad process of building Nike proved to be.

Bewigged and Bewildered?: A Guide to Becoming a Barrister in England and Wales, by Adam Kramer

Image via Instgram @lawcareersnet

Tom: This book offers practical tips and explainers for those considering a career at the bar. It provides, among other things, a useful insight into routes to qualifications, funding options, practice areas and how to go about securing that all important pupillage.

Sister Sister, by Sue Fortin

Image via Instagram @thepagemasters_bookclub

Katie: a psychological thriller to rival The Girl on the Train, this novel’s main character, Clare, is a law firm partner struggling under the weight of her family’s history. Spoiler alert: her fellow partners, Tom and Leonard, end up playing bigger roles in the story than you may at first think.

Flack’s Last Shift, by Alex Wade

Alex: This novel about two rivals — a lawyer and a journalist — who work in the newspaper business is a must-read for anyone with an interest in defamation law. Wade (who is a regular contributor to Legal Cheek, as well as The Times and various other leading publications) charts the decline of print news from its pre-internet pomp. The good old days of Fleet Street sound like a blast.

Read a law book you’d recommend? Let us know in the comments below.

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35 Comments

Just Anonymous

Could I also recommend Catch 22, by Joseph Heller.

Not a law book in the strict sense – or indeed in any sense.

However, its narration of pure human insanity is in many ways, a perfect introduction to the legal profession.

(41)(1)

Sir Geffroy De Joinville

My most used law book was a 1970s law French et law Latin dictionary.
This allowed me and the elderly judges (High Court and Above) to have conversations that excluded the baby barristers and their silly solicitors.

(6)(10)

Millie Tant QC

Classist pig! Check your stale male and pale white privilege! Literally shaking right now!

(5)(0)

Working Class Barrister with Latin GCSE

Yes, because working class lawyers can’t buy Latin dictionaries, can they?

(4)(1)

Annette

Hilarious!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Bleak House

(5)(0)

Anonymous

The Rule of law by Tom Bingham is excellent.

It is very clear and concise, helping to explain complex legal issues in a straightforward manner. i really think that anyone who is even remotely interested in law should read it.

(10)(1)

A slightly Addicted Lawyer

The Addicted Lawyer is a must!

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Addicted to what?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Garlic bread

(3)(0)

Peter Kay QC

In my mouth????????

(3)(0)

Anonymous

That is no baguette

(1)(0)

Anonymous

They can read?!

(1)(0)

Anonymous

The Trial by franz kafka
Gives a good sense of perspective on how bewildering the legal process can be for non-lawyers

(8)(0)

LegalRec

Spolier Alert – Characters play part in story……LOL. Thanks KK.

Breaking news…this book also has zero pop-up pages.

(2)(2)

Anonymous

‘I have to move my car’ by Lord Pannick for a more light hearted read

(1)(0)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

I like the interactive visual novel series ‘Phoenix Wright’.

(2)(0)

Daniel Barnett

For anyone in danger of losing their mojo about a career in the law, any of these three fictional courtroom dramas will reignite it.

1. QB VII – Leon Uris
2. The Talbot Odyssey – Nelson de Mille
3. A Criminal Defense – William L Myers Jr.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

I love eating KFC in bed.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Paddington Bear goes to school – T.K. Myers

(0)(0)

peter

The Tyrannicide Brief by Geoffrey Robertson is a highly readable biography of John Cooke – the barrister given the most dangerous brief in England – to prosecute Charles I for war crimes, and his subsequent involvement with the Commonwealth.

(2)(0)

Scouser of Counsel

The Rumpole books kept me motivated as a student.

Turns out they’re not a million miles from reality!

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Rumpole?

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Of the Bailey.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Law and Order by Tim Kevan makes for some entertaining reading.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Caro Fraser is a barrister, isn’t she?

As well as being George MacDonald Fraser’s daughter.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

My wife is stuck in her corset but I am too busy reading the Caper Court series to help her. Poor old biddy.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

You could always use some of your acne cream as grease to ease her out of it.

(0)(0)

Otto Preminger

‘Anatomy of a Murder’ remains easily the best novel concerning a trial.

Made into a great film with James Stewart too…

(1)(0)

Anonymous

In Cold Blood is a masterpiece.

A thought provoking ‘textbook’ is The Wrongs of Tort.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Scott Turow Books are a must. One L (autobiographical first year at Harvard) and his fiction books containing the ethical dilemmas of prosecutors and defence counsel (Presumed Innocent and more) are all excellent. No masters of the universe strutting across the courtroom making it seem easy but humans following their craft and coping with their cases and lives.

(0)(0)

Willson, LL.B

Give some USA author Greg Iles novels a try. Also any book by the late USA lawyer Vincent Bugliosi worth a read; have read Grisham’s non fiction “The Innocent Man” several times/

(0)(0)

Threefingermcgurk

The Juryman’s Tale
by Trevor Grove

(0)(0)

Scep Tick

Uncommon Law by AP Herbert. Will strike a note with anyone who has ploughed through 1920s and 1930s tort cases. Brilliantly written.

Also Megarry’s Judicial Miscellany – third volume came out not long before his death. Basically sets out cases which give contradictory results with the result that everything is illegal.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Rumpole!

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.