Suggested Reading for New Law Students

If you are looking for books to read or other media to watch before or during your 1L year, below is a list from the Spivey Consultants of their recommendations!

Disclaimer: do not think of this list as mandatory reading for you to be a successful law student — it is only meant to serve as a list of ideas for you to read for fun and for different perspectives on the legal world.

  • A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr
    For a somewhat dated but still descriptive view of civil litigation. –Joe Pollak
  • Brain Rules by Joe Medina
    It's  about how to "hack" your brain. I've recommended this to hundreds upon hundreds of law students and have yet to hear anything but very positive reviews.  –Mike Spivey
  • Getting to Maybe: How to Succeed on Law School Exams by Michael Fishl
    For those headed to law school, with the caveat that it's a bit abstract until you're in class and thinking about the material. –Anne Dutia
  • Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience by Robert Miller
    Basically covers how to navigate the law school experience from start to bar prep. –Paula Gluzman
  • Lawyers as Counselors: A Client-Centered Approach by David Binder, Paul Bergman & Susan Price
    A reminder of an important role lawyers play. –Nikki Laubenstein
  • Legal Writing in Plain English by Bryan Garner
    Best to read after starting the 1L year –Joe Pollak
  • Plain English for Lawyers by Richard Wydick
    This is a gem – the perfect small reference guide for all law students, especially 1Ls, and beloved by legal writing professors everywhere. –Jenn Kopolow
  • Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges by Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner
    Best to read after starting the 1L year –Joe Pollak
  • The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College by Jacques Steinberg
    It's about undergrad admissions at Wesleyan College. It isn't a "how to get into school" book, but more of a "year in the life of admissions” book. It’s a good reminder that admissions officers are regular people. –Nick Everdell
  • The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law by Nancy Levit & Douglas O. Linder
    –Nikki Laubenstein
  • The Little Book on Legal Writing by A.L. Dworsky
    A great resource for any writing, not just legal. –Shannon Davis
  • The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin
    –Joe Pollak
  • SCOTUS blog (
    Most interesting in late spring toward the end of the term when court tends to release the toughest and most anticipated decisions. –Everyone
  • Better Call Saul (television series)
    The first season is totally over the top, but the scenes where he is building a trusts and estates practice are realistic. –Joe Pollak
  • My Cousin Vinny (movie)
    In addition to being absolutely hilarious and featuring Marisa Tomei at her best, the trial scenes in this film depict cross-examination in a fascinating (if dramatized) way. –Anna Hicks
  • Lessons Learned by David M. Becker
    These stories are written by a mentor and colleague of Mike's who taught law for 51 years and who provided a guiding influence to countless law school students, administrators, and deans. They serve as a wonderful supplement to One L by Scott Turow, as they go beyond the first year to offer perspectives throughout the law school experience, including lessons learned from colleagues, mentors, family, and above all students.