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Recommended Books

Black's Law Dictionary

A good legal dictionary should be standard for every first year law student. Legal dictionaries are helpful to understand what the lawyers call "terms of art." These are often ordinary words or phrases that carry special connotations in the legal context. For instance, the word "consideration" in Contract law carries far different meaning legally than in normal speech.

There are several good legal dictionaries to choose from, but one of the best is Black's Law Dictionary. The abridged version with pronunciations should be detailed enough to carry you through three years of law school. Unless you plan to open a legal library, you probably don't need the unabridged version. You also generally will not need a pocket dictionary and a home dictionary.

Keep the dictionary close to where you actually read your assignments. Any time you don't understand a term or think the term might carry additional meaning, look it up. In creating briefs, you should also look up the terms describing legal rules. You will find that a good dictionary helps you state the elements of a rule.

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

Sink or swim is the method of teaching at most law schools and Scott Turow's account of that experience at Harvard is one of the most vivid and accurate portrayals of the hazing known as law school. This national bestseller gives a blow-by-blow account of the first year. As a study in the emotional trauma, it is a first class prep book and primer for any student considering the study of law.

A Civil Action

This true story of an actual case does a better job of telling you what it means to be a lawyer in America today than any other book I've run across. Although also made into a motion picture starring John Travolta, the movie does not do the book justice. Read the book if you want a real portrayal of the legal profession. It's a story of the plaintiff's attorney - greedy for money but also trying to do the right thing in his own way - going after big corporations that have acted badly but are represented by masterful lawyers in their own right.

Guerrilla Tactics for Getting The Legal Job of Your Dreams

Kimm Alayne Walton, J.D. gives outstanding tips and hints about finding a job that's right for you. From big firm to small, Ivy League school to night school, Walton gives you the expert advice on networking, resume writing, and positioning yourself for the real world. It would help any law student to read this book before they go to law school rather than in their third year as they begin to think about their job after law school. Your law school's career services office should have a copy around. Otherwise, get it and follow her advice to the letter. She even offers a money back guarantee if you follow the advice and don't get a job you enjoy.

America's Greatest Places to Work with a Law Degree

Another great book by Kimm Alayne Walton. This one tips you off on cool places to work with your J.D. Walton interviewed hundreds of people to find the best law firms, corporations, government agencies, and advocacy groups that need lawyers.

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