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Reading Lists

Just in case any other Columbia students are reading this: I'm trying to do some reading in preparation for first year. Just something to get my mind into a 'law school' frame of reference, not reading textbooks. So far I'm looking at a few books, including Looking Back at Law's Century, Oliver Wendall Holmes The Common Law, and a book called An Introduction to the Law of Contract which seems to cover mostly English contract law.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them.


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I think you should take time to watch all the best lawyer films, Devils Advocate, The Firm, that kind of thing M
maybe you should read fiction BY lawyers! John Grisham . . . whose best book actually is I think "A Painted House" and has nothing to do with being a lawyer. Oh, and Emperor of Ocean Park is REALLY good, but again, nothing to do with being a lawyer except that the main character is one.
Well, I would suggest watching every single episode of Ally McBeal ever made in one long tortuous marathon... but then again I want you to do well at law school... so perhaps seeing if any Columbia law tutors have written any books would be a better idea. Not only does it give you valuable insight into their preferences on certain topics, but in the long run it may save you a lot of time in term, as it is not a rare occurrence that a tutor ends up putting their own works on reading lists, I find. Hope things are going well, hon.
I think you should relish every last non-law moment and just read lots of great novels! But, if you must read something law-related, I would check out Actual Innocence by Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, and Jim Dwyer. It's good to learn about some of the serious problems with the legal system you're getting into. But most of all, I would ENJOY THE SUMMER!
This probably won't be read, given how I've stumbled onto this site so recently, but as a student who just finished his first year at Columbia Law, I would recommend Marvin A. Chirelstein's Contracts. It is admittedly a textbook, but it was amazingly helpful, a tiny book, and written in by far the most engaging style you will ever have in law school. I definitely wish I had read this before I took contracts. IF you're really lucky, you'll have Chirelstein teach you contracts. Best of luck.
Thanks. I'll take a look for it. (And every comment gets emailed to me, so I read it about as soon as it's read. Thanks for the info!)
I'd grab a few of the US equivalent of Nutcases / Nutshells (the little 'pocketsize' notes). I've got the Criminal cases book and it's really useful. If you can get something like that in the US then you'll find things a lot easier. They are just brief facts, with the decisions and citations. Got me through Crim this year. John Grisham is good - he's a barrister over here in England, and he said a particularly excellent thing once: "No brilliance is required in the law - just common sense and relatively clean fingernails." Fantastic. *looks at fingernails* I might have a chance...
If you haven't yet, pick up a few of Richard Posner's books. They're good just to see how well a very thoughtful person proceeds through an investigation/argument. I started with Sex and Reason, due to ancillary interests, and have worked through Public Intellectuals, The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory, and am currently reading Frontiers of Legal Theory.

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