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Great Books To Read Before/During Law School

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15 hours ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

I would estimate I read about 1,000 pages total over the year in 1L for law school. Which is not much - on average about 60-100 pages of reading a week. It was a light enough workload that I didn't work on weekends at all until the week before exams. I did my entire tax course reading in 2L in 3 days and got my H/B+.

Law school is not about how much you read. At all. My undergrad had significantly more reading - the humanities end of it had thousands more pages per year than law and the math courses had so much more actual labor to do that it would be difficult to overstate the difference. That's not to say getting high marks in law school isn't difficult or doesn't require some skill set. But the challenge is not in your hours or reading load. 

Read for fun. I've had to remind myself to do that now that it's a few years out and managing the workload of practice actually is tough. It makes life better.

I just looked at some of my syllabae and in torts we read around 600 pages over the year, property and contracts were around 700, crim was 900 and constitutional was about 400 per semester. 

Second year first semester was: 600 for arbitration, 650ish for evidence, 425 for admin, 350 or so for ethics,  and 300 or so for insurance. All of that is exclusive of cases, statutes, regulations, and guidelines not contained in the text or casebook.

I get that you could potentially learn a lot the material without doing those readings, but it often makes class discussions almost indecipherable if you haven't done them in advance.

Given the above, I only recommended reading for fun since there's no point in trying to read for law school things that aren't your required readings. 

 

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On 12/19/2017 at 1:03 PM, bcgradstudent said:

The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King. It is a powerful, stark, and (in the words of Richard Wagamese) "essential" read for anyone remotely interested in the history/relationship between Canadian settler society and Indigenous peoples. Plus it's just a great book.

I will be a dissenting voice here because I did not like that book or learn much from it at all. I am very interested in indigenous issues and have read and enjoyed other books by indigenous writers (including those of Wagamese) but that one turned me off, for some of the reasons @utmguygives, and others.

On a more positive note, I love to read, and reading greatly reduces my stress levels. I prefer fiction (because I'm working on my own fiction and want to read the greats.) I think I got my articling position in part because I talked about fiction I had been reading and my interviewer was interested in the books I named.

I just finished re-reading Donna Tartt's "The Goldfinch" (highly recommend) and I am now working my way through Zadie Smith's "nw" which is dense and slow-going but I am enjoying it, though not as much as her other works.

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1 hour ago, grishamlaw said:

War and peace. It's epic as hell and not related to law. 

Ditto on this but it's really one of those books you set aside time to read. 

I had a few summers not doing much where I read this a few hours a day and still didn't finish.

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10 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Yeah surely it is up to the luck of the draw. But 60 per week is definitely on the lower end. I'm happy when I end up getting a 200 page week - either this or my first year :)

Second year had more pages of reading, but they were quicker pages. Journal articles fly a little faster than cases, and by 2L you’re reading cases quicker as well. 

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No relation to Law but “The Undoing Project” by Micheal Lewis was great. It discusses the relationship b/n two Psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman  who would later win a Nobel Prize in Economics for their work. 

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The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids by Melville - fun piece of satire on the decadence of students at law, circa 1855.

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It's not a book, but it's a poem called "Desiderata" by Max Ehrmann. It's a great poem to read when you're stressed or just need some motivation. 

 

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The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. It’s a damn near perfect narrative arc that informs and delights and unites and devastates. A great break from text-heavy narratives - and there is an updated version with much better ink. 

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Astronaut's guide to Life by Chris Hadfield, assuming you want to feel both completely inadequate and completely motivated to bust your ass.

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Flow, the psychology of optimal experience is good if you want to know how to feel happy/content while drowning yourself in law school material.

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