If you’re like a lot of lawyers I speak to, you’re constantly watching out for good books that might lead you to rethink the way you run your practice and/or the services you render to your clients.
I’m just like you. The truth is, my computer bookmarks are full of links to books that I intend to read.
A few months back, I was telling someone about a few of the fascinating books I have already read, and he mentioned I should share them with other attorneys. It seemed like a great idea.
But, I have read literally hundreds of books. And the reality is, not all of them are all that notable.
So this is what I decided to do – I spent almost a month going through all of the books that I have read. I put together a list of books, then deleted anything that I thought would not add value to your legal practice, or your professional life as an attorney. I also eliminate any book that I thought was simply mediocre. And when I was all done, I had what I believe to be five of the most fascinating books ever written for, or about, lawyers.
In my opinion, these are the best of the best, so I am sure you’ll appreciate them as well. Read on…
1. End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services by Richard Susskind
An insightful analysis of the ways in which emerging technologies are transforming the landscape of the legal profession. As the world becomes more connected, and information shared more easily, there is increasingly more pressure to reassess the way legal services are provided and to make them more efficient and less costly. Susskind brilliantly argues that the current market can no longer bear the weight of expensive attorneys billing for tasks that a paralegal can and should perform at much lower rates and that this will lead to the obsolescence of traditional lawyers who fulfill these roles today. Furthermore, the author provides a variety of tools and tips to assist lawyers in planning for the future. Although this book has been superseded by a variety of more recent books on the topic, it is still a highly recommended read.
2. Storytelling for Lawyers by Philip Meyer
Sometimes, good attorneys make good raconteurs, and this book explains how the best attorneys can transform a simple set of factual circumstances into a fascinating and believable narrative that has the ability to capture the heart and the minds of everyone in the courtroom. This book provides a new perspective on the role of evidence in the courtroom. The simple yet elegant manner in which Philip Meyer illustrates this anecdotal structure makes it a must-read for anyone associated with the law. This book can benefit law professors and students alike, as well as, the most accomplished lawyers, and should be kept on hand at all times.
3. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
To many, Bleak House is Dickens’s greatest novel; it is surely one of the writer’s most compelling and entertaining. It deals with the themes of loss, law, social class, secrecy, and inheritance, as well as, the effect the process of law has on clients and their businesses. Although throughout the book the legal cases it deals with seem like mere backdrops to the central plot, all of the main characters are connected to these cases in one way or another and suffer tragically as a result. Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce, the central case in the novel, has become synonymous with cases that border on the absurd and for which there is no real resolution. Dickens interweaves the serious with the comical in ways that make this 19th-century creation an utter masterpiece and relevant to us even today.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
While it is common knowledge that lawyers are considered by some to be selfish, cagey and of questionable integrity, this novel contrasts this image with one of a lawyer, Atticus Finch, whose integrity is unwavering. Although the book deals with the disturbing issues of rape and racism, it is both tender and hilarious. The main character’s stand against racial prejudice, at a time and place where this was far from the norm, serves to remind us all of an obligation than should not be ignored–to ply our craft with both moral and ethical integrity. A classic for all time.
5. Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blachman
Written as if it were a long blog post, Anonymous Lawyer recounts the experiences of a dynamic lawyer who endeavors to become chairman of his firm. His lust for power has no boundaries and there is no price we won’t pay to achieve his goals. However, there are several obstacles that he must overcome on his way to ultimate success, including a bitter rival and a wife who spends his money as fast as he earns it. Not only is this book is easy to read and entertaining, it comes across as a rare glimpse of the inner workings of some the biggest law firms in the nation.