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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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