As a lawyer, you know that staying up to date on the latest legal trends is essential for success. But what are the best books to read in order to stay ahead of the curve? Check out our list of 35+ of the best books for lawyers this year, ranging from legal theory to practice guides.
Whether you’re looking to improve your litigation skills or simply gain a better understanding of current laws, these titles are sure to provide you with valuable insights.
Here are our recommended books for your legal reading list!
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Best Books for Law Students
1. 1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor’s Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School – Andrew McClurg
Andrew McClurg’s 1L of a Ride is a practical and empowering guide to surviving your first year of law school. The author draws on his years of experience as a law school professor to provide the right path for first-year students struggling with everything from law school exams to life in general. Plus, you’ll also get to hear valuable perspectives from actual law students throughout the book. Whether you’re looking for a gift for a prospective law student or you’re a current student just looking for a great read, 1L of a Ride is a must-have!
2. Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers: Lives in the Law – Jill Norgen
For centuries, the legal industry has been a male-dominated field. In Stories from Trailblazing Women Lawyers, author Jill Norgren paints a picture of the oral histories of 100 women who challenged established rules and fought for their place in the legal profession. It’s an inspiring story of how these women broke down barriers and paved the way for future generations of female lawyers.
3. One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School – Scott Turow
How do you know if the practice of law is for you? Ever wonder what it’s like to be a lawyer? Get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most prestigious law schools in the country with One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School. This riveting account by Scott Turow chronicles his own first year at Harvard Law, filled with terrors, triumphs, and plenty of surprises. If you’re thinking about pursuing a legal career, this is one of our highly recommended must-read books!
4. Law School Confidential – Robert H. Miller
This isn’t your average boring legal textbook. Instead. Law School Confidential is a fun, down-to-earth guide written by students, for students. It’s packed with insider tips and practical advice on everything from choosing the right law school to surviving your first year and beyond. Trust us, you don’t want to go to law school without it!
5. Letters to a Law Student – Nicholas McBride
It’s no secret that law students have a lot on their plates. There’s the pressure of getting good grades, the challenges of understanding complex legal concepts, and the difficulty of outlined texts. No wonder so many law students feel overwhelmed! Letters to a Law Student is full of helpful answers to the most common questions about studying law at uni. You’ll learn about what law students need to do to graduate, how to get the best grades on exams, coping with the challenges of studying law, and what you can do with a law degree. With this invaluable resource, you can traverse the ladder to becoming a young lawyer!
Best Books for New Lawyers
6. The New Lawyer’s Handbook: 101 Things They Don’t Teach You in Law School – Karen Thalacker
This essential guide covers everything you need to know to excel in your new career, from how to handle clients and work with colleagues to the importance of keeping a semblance of a healthy work-life balance (even while you’re killing it at the office). Plus, this book is a light and funny read that’s easy to enjoy.
7. The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law (Second Edition) – Mark Herrmann
The Curmudgeon knows everything there is to know about the legal profession, and he’s not afraid to share his wisdom (even if it is a little jaded). In this guidebook, you’ll learn how to do billing, manage your assistant, draft internal memos, deal with clients, and build a thriving law practice. If you want to make yourself indispensable and prove that you’re the best lawyer around, make sure you pick up a copy of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law.
8. The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law – Nancy Levit and Douglas O. Linder
Legal professionals aren’t considered happy most times and maybe all you need is to be The Happy Lawyer.
This helpful book takes an in-depth look at what causes dissatisfaction among lawyers as well as how to achieve a more fulfilling career in law. Eschewing a one-size-fits-all approach, The Happy Lawyer shows how maximizing our chances of achieving happiness depends on understanding our personality types, values, strengths, and interests. Plus, this book covers everything from brain chemistry and the science of happiness to the workings of the modern law firm. In short, authors Nancy Levit and Douglas Linder provide a comprehensive guide to finding lasting satisfaction in your legal career.
9. 24 Hours with 24 Lawyers: Profiles of Traditional and Non-Traditional Careers – Jasper Kim
24 Hours with 24 Lawyers gives you an all-access pass into the real-world personal and professional lives of 24 law school graduates. These working professionals each present you with a “profile” chronicling a typical day in their traditional and non-traditional careers.
In this book, you’ll get first-hand accounts of different perspectives that show you what it’s really like to be a lawyer, from the high-powered successful lawyer to the legal consultant pursuing a music career. This unique and insightful book will help you make an informed decision about which career path you decide to pursue with your law degree.
10. The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win – Joel P. Trachtman
This book presents the powerful tools of argument that have been honed through the ages in the legal sector. Plus, it shows you how to use these tools to win cases for your potential clients, your organization, or even yourself. The strategies in this book will also help boost your analytical thinking, your foundational legal knowledge, and your confidence as you argue for your clients.
11. How to Be a Lawyer: The Path from Law School to Success – Jason Mendelson
For anyone newly entering the legal profession, How to Be a Lawyer is the perfect guide. This book bridges the gap between law school and practice, helping you to translate your years of training and education into a successful career. The experienced team of lawyers and entrepreneurs behind the book deliver an eye-opening discussion of what it really takes to succeed in the legal world. Within these pages, you’ll discover how you can use what you learned in law school to develop the real-world skills you’ll need to deal with clients and colleagues. With practical advice and insider insights, this book is an essential resource for anyone seeking to launch a successful career in law.
Best Books for Lawyers on Mental Health
12. The Anxious Lawyer: An 8-Week Guide to a Joyful and Satisfying Law Practice Through Mindfulness and Meditation – Jeena Cho
The Anxious Lawyer was created by a lawyer for lawyers. The 8-week program outlined in this book provides straightforward instruction on meditation and mindfulness, with exercises designed to reduce the risk of burnout and improve quality of life.
13. Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers – Ann M. Brafford
Introducing the Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers! This groundbreaking new resource provides a comprehensive approach to improving well-being in legal practices.
This Toolkit is designed to help lawyers and legal employers create a work environment that supports healthy work habits and lifestyle choices. It includes resources on managing workload, fostering a sense of control and autonomy, providing adequate rewards, building a sense of community, promoting fairness, and aligning values with organizational goals.
14. Yoga for Lawyers: Mind-Body Techniques to Fell Better All the Time – Hallie Neuman Love and Nathalie Martin
This user-friendly yoga book is packed with meditative yoga techniques and safe therapeutic yoga stretches that are medically proven to relieve stress. And best of all, they can be done in very little time throughout the day, even in your office or practice areas!
15. The Power of Positive Thinking – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
In this bestseller, Dr. Peale demonstrates the power of healthy optimism in action. With the practical techniques outlined in the book, you can energize your life and give yourself the initiative needed to achieve your goals. This book will help you believe that you can reach your goals, break the worry habit, and improve your personal and professional relationships. And perhaps best of all, you’ll also learn how to be more kind to yourself.
16. The Creative Lawyer: A Practical Guide to Authentic Professional Satisfaction – Michael F. Melcher
The Creative Lawyer: A Practical Guide to Authentic Professional Satisfaction is a game-changing book for lawyers of all experience levels. The book starts by giving you a framework for envisioning and managing your professional development. With this resource, you’ll learn how to stay happy in your career, even when things get tough. Plus, if you’re feeling lost or stuck, The Creative Lawyer is a quick read that will give you the tools you need to sort things out and move forward.
Best Books for Lawyers on Legal Management
17. The Client-Centered Law Firm: How to Succeed in an Experiment-Driven World – Jack Newton
The Client-Centered Law Firm lets you take a look into the best practices for managing a law firm through a client-centric mindset. This go-to guide will help you improve your internal processes, increase efficiency, and add new clients to your legal practice with ease. With in-depth implementation strategies and real-world examples, this law book will offer a new perspective on getting in touch with your clients while maintaining exemplary legal services.
18. You Can’t Teach Hungry: Creating the Multimillion Dollar Law Firm – John Morgan
You Can’t Teach Hungry is a valuable resource where John Morgan shares his secrets to creating a successful and sustainable law practice. The book takes you on a journey that’s filled with practical advice from years of experience and error. Get ready to learn about the top strategies, plans, and tools needed to establish successful law firms.
19. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It – Chris Voss
In Never Split the Difference, world-renowned negotiator and former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss shares the nine powerful principles that helped him and his colleagues succeed in some of the most high-stakes negotiations imaginable.
If you want a successful career in law, you must not be afraid of being persuasive in negotiations and decision-making. Plus, these are valuable skills that you might need in both your professional and personal life.
20. Fireproof: A Five-Step Model to Take Your Law Firm from Unpredictable to Wildly Profitable – Mike Morse with John Nachazel
In this book, Mike Morse and John Nachazel lay out a roadmap that can put everything in the right place. You can count on this guide to help you grow your firm knowing that you have the right tools in place. A good business should be profitable and able to keep clients happy, and this book is a great resource for helping you go down that road.
21. The Game Changing Attorney: How to Land the Best Cases, Stand Out from Your Competition, and Become the Obvious Choice in Your Market – Michael Mogill
As an attorney, your success depends on your ability to land the best cases and stand out from your competition. But in today’s crowded marketplace, that’s much easier said than done. Enter The Game Changing Attorney. In this groundbreaking book, marketing expert Michael Mogill helps you make an emotional impact on clients. It’s time to dominate your market and push out the competition with The Game Changing Attorney.
Best Books for Lawyers on Productivity
22. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to be successful, no matter what their goal. It’s one of the most helpful books out there that provides insights on how we can all achieve success through the seven habits that we need to develop. This bestseller is akin to a survival guide in the legal field.
23. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World – Cal Newport
If you’re like most people, you probably feel like you’re constantly connected and always on the go. But what if there was a way to be more successful by disconnecting from all the distractions and focusing on getting the best work done?
That’s what Deep Work by Cal Newport is all about. In this audiobook, Newport argues that cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits in almost any profession. He then outlines a rigorous training regimen, presented as four “rules”, for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill. By embracing boredom, quitting social media, and draining the shallows, you can learn to work deeply and focus on what’s most important. So, if you’re looking for a more productive and successful way to work, Deep Work is a must-listen.
24. How to Do More in Less Time: The Complete Guide to Increasing Your Productivity and Improving Your Bottom Line – Allison C. Shields and Daniel J. Siegel
This new book, How to Do More in Less Time: The Complete Guide to Increasing Your Productivity and Improving Your Bottom Line, is just what you need to get the most out of your time!
Written specifically for lawyers who are looking to increase their productivity, this guide provides strategies and tips for taking control of your day and getting more done. You’ll learn how to identify the right activities that need to be accomplished, and then how to perform those activities efficiently to maximize your productivity.
25. Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success – Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness
Do you want to be a top performer in your field? This book is filled with common principles that can help you achieve great success, no matter what field you’re in. In Peak Performance, Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness share the latest scientific insights into how you can elevate your game and avoid burnout. With inspiring stories of top performers across a range of disciplines, this book will show you how to reach your full potential.
26. Time Management for Attorneys: A Lawyer’s Guide to Decreasing Stress, Eliminating Interruptions & Getting Home on Time – Mark Powers and Shawn McNalis
This book offers a unique and effective approach to time management, specifically tailored for lawyers. It’s packed with useful tips and strategies that can help you take control of your practice and your life. Whether you want to learn how to better prioritize your work, how to deal with interruptions more effectively, or how to reduce stress in your life, this book has the time management answers you need.
27. The Lawyer, the Lion, and the Laundry: Three Hours to Finding Your Calm in the Chaos – Jaime Jackson Spannhake
We all know that feeling. You’re juggling a million things and you’re just trying to keep your head above water. You’re exhausted and you’re not even sure how you got here. Jamie Spannhake knows that feeling all too well. As a lawyer and wellness coach, she’s dedicated her life to helping people find calm amidst the chaos. Now, in her new book, The Lawyer, the Lion, and the Laundry: Three Hours to Finding Your Calm in the Chaos, she lays out a clear path to doing just that. Plus, with her methods, you might even find time for a social life!
Best Books for Lawyers on Legal Writing
28. The Grammar and Writing Handbook for Lawyers (ABA Fundamentals) – Lenne Eidson Espenschied
Most lawyers are pretty good at grammar and writing, but there are always those pesky rules that trip up even the best writers sometimes. This is where The Grammar and Writing Handbook for Lawyers comes in handy! Not only does it tell you which rules to follow, but it also provides tips on choosing the right words and structuring your sentences.
Whether you’re drafting a memo or trying to make a persuasive argument, this book will help ensure that your legal writing is polished and error-free. Plus, it’s a fun read! Who doesn’t love a good grammar lesson? Don’t let poor writing hold you back from being the best lawyer you can be!
29. The Elements of Legal Style (Second Edition) – Bryan A. Garner
Who says the law has to be boring and stuffy? Not us, that’s for sure! The Elements of Legal Style is here to show you that legal writing can be clear, concise, and yes, even fun!
Written by Bryan A. Garner, one of the country’s foremost legal writing experts, this book is a must-have for lawyers who want to improve their writing skills. It covers all the basics, from mechanics and word choice to structure and rhetoric, with plenty of examples from famous legal writers throughout history.
30. The Little Book on Legal Writing (Second Edition) – Alan L. Dworsky
The Little Book on Legal Writing is a great introduction or refresher course for standard legal writing like memorandum, contracts, briefs, and pleadings. This is a good legal education resource for those who tend to find themselves swamped with legal paperwork.
31. Legal Writing in Plain English, Second Edition: A Text with Exercises – Bryan A. Garner
Legal scholars will find the book Legal Writing in Plain English extremely helpful. It includes Chicago guides to writing, editing, and publishing that are very useful tools for all people who write about legal issues.
Bryan A. Garner’s guide provides readers with practical tools for improving their writing skills, with a focus on creating clear, powerful prose. In addition to tips on organization and editing, Garner also offers valuable insights into the writing process itself, making this an ideal guide for anyone looking to improve their writing skills.
32. Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates (Second Edition) – Ross Guberman
Another book that you should be reading if you’re looking to improve your legal prose is Ross Guberman’s Point Made. This book takes an empirical approach to legal writing, analyzing the work of the nation’s 50 most influential advocates to develop specific, learnable techniques. With this book as your guide, you’ll learn how to write more persuasively, efficiently, and effectively. You’ll also find tons of helpful tips on organization, grammar, and style.
Best Fiction Books for Lawyers
33. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Harper Lee is the 1961 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Fiction for To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a classic book that explores the nature of good and evil in a society where lawyer Atticus Finch struggles to protect and defend his client, Scout. Author and lawyer Scott Turow lists To Kill a Mockingbird as one of his most recommended legal novels.
34. The Just and the Unjust – James Gould Cozzens
In this captivating novel written in 1942, the fictional town of Childerstown is enmeshed in a murder trial when the judge and attorneys gather to make decisions that will define their lives. The Just and the Unjust by James Gould Cozzens explores how legal dilemmas affect the community of small-town America.
35. The Trial – Franz Kafka
Kafka’s The Trial is a page-turning story of one man’s fight against an unknown charge. This classic tale was written posthumously in 1925, yet it brilliantly explores issues in the legal system that still exist today. According to Britannica, this novel has been seen as an imaginative anticipation of totalitarianism.
Related: 15+ Fun Gifts for Lawyers in 2022
That’s it for our roundup of the best books for lawyers this year! We hope you enjoyed this list and that it gave you some great ideas for your personal reading list.
Be sure to check out our other recommendations here at Destination CLEs, where we cover everything from legal writing to professional development to the best holiday destinations for lawyers.
Thanks for reading!
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