Five summer reads for law students

The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken, by The Secret Barrister

Both a qualified junior barrister and award-winning blogger, The Secret Barrister has struck a balance between educational and entertaining with their debut book. It serves, in some ways, as a 21st century tale of morality and law, exploring the many wrongs and a few rights of our criminal justice system. You’ll also find useful information on the profession as a whole. Denser historical sections are often interspersed with witty remarks that disperse any ambivalence you may feel due to the anonymity of the author. For a taster, start with The Secret Barrister blog or their Twitter (@BarristerSecret) – nearly 150,000 followers would agree it’s worth a look.

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds, by Carmine Gallo

Being a lawyer requires you to be articulate, confident and authoritative when speaking to large groups or audiences – whether that be advocating in court or giving a presentation to a big client. Even university assessments that involve speaking in front of your seminar group could benefit from developing this skill and get you a higher mark. In her book, communications coach and TED talker Carmine Gallo offers tips for honing your public speaking skills and warding away stage fright.

The Trial, by Franz Kafka

The Trial follows the arrest and prosecution of Josef K, a bank cashier. Without actually revealing what K’s crime was, this dark and surreal classic sheds light on core themes in both law and literature, including power, justice and alienation. Reflecting on these ideas and their influence on law is a great way to keep your brain active over the summer break.

My Own Words, by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Every lawyer and law student should be aware of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to ever be appointed to the position of US supreme court justice. Her first book, My Own Words, was published in 2016. As well as providing an interesting dissection of how America’s Supreme Court works, Ginsburg’s collection of essays and speeches address pertinent world issues, both legal and political. If you’re looking to learn from the wisdom of one of the most influential individuals in the legal sphere, this is the place to start.

The Firm, by John Grisham

Former attorney and current award-winning author John Grisham published his legal novel The Firm in 1991, selling millions of copies. It follows accounting graduate Mitch as he joins the fictional law firm Bendini, Lambert and Locke for its appealing employee benefits. But it doesn’t take long for him to realise that everything is not as perfect as it seems. A gripping and imaginative story about the secrets of top law firms, it’s the ideal read for when you really can’t stomach any more academia.

  • Isabella Ford is the lead content editor at The Lawyer Portal, a resource for aspiring legal professionals.


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