A frequently asked question is what summer reading will best prepare one for law school. Though Miami Law generally suggests that the best way to prepare for law school is to arrive relaxed, focused and ready for the hard work that accompanies the study of law, there are numerous books offering advice and strategies for navigating law school.
The list below represents some of the suggestions from faculty, administrators, and students for summer reading.
TRANSITION TO LAW SCHOOL (As Recommended by Miami Law's Academic Achievement Program)
These first books have been recommended by Director Joanne Harvest Koren and are by colleagues with whom Director Koren is personally acquainted. She chose them as the authors have devoted their professional careers working with law students in the areas of Academic Support and Writing.
Law School Exams – A Guide to Better Grades, by Alex Schimel
Bridging the Gap Between College and Law School: Strategies for Success, by Ruta Stropus and Charlotte Taylor
The Legal Writing Handbook: Research, Analysis & Writing, by Oates & Enquist
Reading Like a Lawyer, by Ruth Ann McKinney
The Law Student's Pocket Mentor: From Surviving To Thriving, by Ann Ijima
Expert Learning for Law Students, by Michael Hunter Schwartz
Law School Exams, by Charles Calleros
Succeeding in Law School, by Herbert Ramy
Plain English For Lawyers, by Richard Wydick
NONFICTION : STRONGLY RECOMMENDED
Tomorrow's Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future, by Richard Susskind
This book is a definitive guide to the future for young and aspiring lawyers. It introduces the new legal landscape and offers practical guidance for those who intend to build careers and business in law.
A Civil Action, by Jonathan Harr
This book chronicles a class action lawsuit brought in 1986 against Beatrice Foods and W.R. Grace. The plaintiffs charged that toxic waste on properties owned by the giant corporations had infiltrated town drinking water and caused an outbreak of leukemia.
Damages: One Family's Legal Struggles in the World of Medicine, by BarryWerth
This book is about an actual medical malpractice lawsuit in Connecticut, but it reads like a gripping novel.
Gideon's Trumpet, by Anthony Lewis Vintage Books, 1989
This book is about the landmark case of James E. Gideon's fight for the right to legal counsel.
Simple Justice, by Richard Kluger
One of the best histories of the long road to Brown v. Board of Education.
Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right, by Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld & Jim Dwyer
This book examines the shortcomings in the legal process and how they have led to the wrongful convictions of innocent people.
Letters to a Young Lawyer, by Alan Dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz offers advice and reflection on practicing law for the fledgling lawyer.
The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the Survivors of One of the Worst Disasters in Coal- Mining History Brought Suit Against the Coal Company—and Won, by Gerald Stern
The Courage of Their Convictions: Sixteen Americans Who Fought Their Way to the
Supreme Court, by Peter Irons
Peter Irons introduces 16 Americans who had the courage and perseverance to pursue a belief in their constitutional rights all the way to the Supreme Court. Their cases, decided by the Supreme Court between 1940 and 1986, raise four major issues of our time -- religion, race, protest, and privacy.
The Law and Harry Potter, by Jeffrey E. Thomas and Franklin G. Snyder
This volume considers the depiction of law and legal institutions in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels.
The Nine, by Jeffrey Toobin
CNN Senior Legal Analyst Toobin takes you into the chambers of the most important-and secret-legal body in our country, the Supreme Court, and reveals the complex dynamic among the nine people who decide the law of the land.
An Innocent Man, by John Grisham, Doubleday, 2006
John Grisham’s first work of nonfiction explores small town justice gone terribly awry.
Learning Legal Reasoning: Briefing, Analysis and Theory, by John Delaney
This book specifies a six-step approach to briefing a case with specific guidelines for accomplishing each step. Emphasis is placed initially on the techniques of briefing as an introduction to the learning of legal reasoning, the first priority of the first year of law school.
A Question of Choice, by Sarah Weddington
The attorney who won Roe v. Wade, traces the history of her involvement with this momentous Supreme Court case and its aftermath.
LEGAL THEORY AND BEYOND
Discipline and Punish, by Michel Foucault
Theory of Justice, by John Rawls
Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, by Immanuel Kant
Bramble Bush*, by Karl Llewellyn
Gorgias*, by Plato
On Liberty, by J. S. Mill
Caring for Justice, by Robin West,
Introduction to Legal Reasoning*, by Edward Levi
Two Concepts of Liberty, by Isaiah Berlin
Women's Lives, Men's Laws, by Catharine MacKinnon
Countless works of fiction center on the drama of a trial or the intricacies of a legal proceeding. Here are just a few of the classics.
Bleak House, by Charles Dickens
A Frolic of His Own, by William Gaddis
The Trial, by Franz Kafka
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
GRAMMAR & LEGAL WRITING
Elements of Style, by William Strunk, R. and E.B. White
Legal Writing in Plain English, by Bryan Garner
The study of law is tightly woven with an understanding of our government, political process and world affairs. We encourage you to read a good national newspaper, such as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post or The Los Angeles Times. A few professors will require a New York Times subscription for their courses.
MOVIES / TELEVISION
Adam's Rib (1949)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Witness for the Prosecution (1957) Anatomy of a Murder (1959) Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
The Paper Chase (1973)
Reversal of Fortune (1990)
A Few Good Men (1992)
The Wire (HBO) - Each season of The Wire focused on a different facet of the city of Baltimore. They are, in chronological order: the illegal drug trade, the seaport system, the city government and bureaucracy, the school system, and the print news media.
Law & Order (NBC)
Damages (FX) - The series revolved around a ruthless lawyer, her protégée, and a large Plaintiff’s class action law firm. The series is known for its depiction of the season-long cases both from the law firm's point of view and from the target's point of view.
Where to Buy Books?
The majority of Law Students purchase their textbooks in these locations:
1. University of Miami Bookstore www.miami.edu/bookstore/ Phone: 305-284-4101
2. Book Horizons, 1110 South Dixie Highway, Coral Gables/Phone: 305-665-6161 www.bookhorizons.com
3. Most of the books mentioned on this web page will be generally available online or in major book stores.
Also see list of bookstores on the student services page.
(Books with * are required by some 1L faculty in the fall semester.)