Book Reviews

Books Every Pre-Law Student Should Read

I have seen a lot of incoming students in my law school’s GroupMe trading book recommendations. Some are for pleasure, others are for 1L prep. While I am not doing much by way of 1L prep, I have compiled a list of books every pre-law student should read. The list includes some of the most recommended books and some of my personal favorites. I have included links on photos and in text so it’s easy to find the books on Goodreads or at their personal pages. Let me know in the comments if you have read any of these books or what books you might add to the list!

The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

I read this book for a course in undergrad and cannot recommend it enough. Michelle Alexander expertly details a “new” system of racism wherein the criminal justice system’s use of mass incarceration actively works to keep people of color in an inferior position. Whether or not you plan to pursue a civil rights path, I think this book is a must-read for all students.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

This is another excellent resource and helps readers understand how the government exacerbates de jure segregation. I have not finished this one yet but am learning a lot so far!

1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor's Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School

1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor’s Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School

This is more of a textbook, but a helpful one at that. I enjoy skimming through this on my Kindle app where I can highlight and add notes. I definitely see myself turning back to this resource as the semester continues, especially around exam time.


Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

One of the most powerful books I have ever read. Just Mercy is also the book that made me want to become a public interest lawyer. If you haven’t done so already, read the book and then watch the movie. Bryan Stevenson’s story is beyond admirable.

The Rooster Bar

The Rooster Bar

Okay, hear me out on this one, becuase I know it is not a “how to tackle law school” book… But, I really enjoy John Grisham’s writing. This is one of my personal favorites and I recommend it simply because it was enjoyable!

Legal Writing In Plain English (2nd Edition)

To be honest, I was not planning on reading this book before school started. It comes highly recommended to me by an attorney, but I did not want to start reading about legal writing before I actually started legal writing. After I saw some other students in my class talking about it as well, I reluctantly purchased a hard copy on Amazon. The tips and examples are exactly what I need to review grammar and writing structures. I will definitely use this over the next 3 years.

Honorable Mentions

Disclaimer: I have not personally read these books (some of them are on my list!) but they are recommended often by my fellow classmates, various blogs, and my future professors.

24 Hours With 24 Lawyers: Profiles of Traditional and Non-Traditional Careers

One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law

Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams

Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience, By Students, For Students

An Introduction to Legal Reasoning

What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know