My Recommended Law School Summer Prep Reading List

Now that my summer is quickly coming to an end (orientation starts on Monday what?!?!?), I’ve moved on from my law school prep books to my actual required texts. Before I get into the books I read this past summer, a quick update:

Just this past Wednesday I received three of my class syllabi with my first day assignments! Although the amount of reading I’ll have to do over the course of this term is intimidating, I’m really excited about the material so far. The biggest surprise from my syllabi is not the amount of reading that I’ll have to do, but the fact that two of my classes have graded midterms! From everything I’ve read I thought law school classes only consisted of one terrifying final at the end of term. I’m not too stoked by the idea of having two midterms back to back at the beginning of October, but I’m happy that I’ll have a chance to practice my test-taking skills before December. Also, all three of my professors are cold callers – so here’s to hoping I don’t end up like Elle Woods on her first day.


Now that I have turned my attention to my required texts, I thought it would be great to reflect on the books I’ve read over the summer. Reading books simply to prepare for “how to go to school” has been a totally new experience for me. Looking back, I don’t think I read anything in preparation for undergrad!

Here are the books that I read over summer, and that I’d recommend for anyone curious about law school/about to attend themselves:

  1. Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience: By Students, for Students by Robert H. Miller

This was the first book I read this summer, and definitely a great introduction into everything you need to know about law school: resumes, things to get before class, how to brief a case efficiently, how to outline, how to creatively prep for exams, etc. The book not only address the 1L year, but goes into depth about 2L and beyond (which I will save for later).

  1. OneL: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School by Scott Turow 

Recommended by my dad, this book is a classic. At first I wasn’t sure how much I could relate to a guy who went to Harvard Law School in the ’70s, but I really enjoyed this book! It was a little terrifying to read about the emotional breakdowns that everyone (including the author) had during their first year, but it was comforting to read that even the most accomplished new law students struggle at the beginning. Turow not only does a great job explaining how the first year of law school goes, but also offers interesting critiques about the whole process itself.

  1. Reading Like a Lawyer: Time-Saving Strategies for Reading Law Like an Expert by Ruth Ann McKinney 

Before this summer, I had never read a legal opinion (or case) before. With the knowledge that learning legal language will be like learning a whole new language, I wanted to get an early start on learning to read the law. McKinney’s book is a great start and includes multiple case-briefing exercises!

  1. Law School Exams: Preparing and Writing to Win by Charles Calleros 

Of the books I read this summer, this one was the most helpful. I found out after reading this book that Calleros is actually a professor at my law school – which made my choice even better! In this book, Calleros goes into depth about how you can prepare for your exams every step of the way (through case briefs, outlines, case synthesizing, etc.). At the end of the book, Calleros details how successful exams should be written, and provides numerous examples and practice problems. Definitely a book that I will rely on throughout the term!

  1. Law School for Dummies by Rebecca Greene

This book is great to read whether you are about to start law school, or if you are just thinking about applying/taking the LSAT. There are a ton of great, easy-to-read tips in this book about every step in the law school process (from applying to prepping for the bar exam)!


And here are some honorable mentions that I’ve heard are good, but that I haven’t had a chance to read yet!

  1. 1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor’s Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School by Andrew McClurg 
  2. The Paper Chase by John Jay Osborn, Jr. 
  3. Ivy Briefs: True Tales of a Neurotic Law Student by Martha Kimes 


Although I didn’t get a chance to read every book I wanted to this summer, I’m really thankful I read the ones I did! I don’t think anything can totally prepare you for law school (I’m sure I’ll still be a hot mess the first week), but these books have helped get me started.

And before I finish, a quick shoutout to the people that inspired me to select these books: my dad, Legally Lana, and the lovely people at my law school!


My next post will be a recap of my first week of law school. T-minus 4 days and counting! 




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