8 Must-Read Books for Law Students


Date of Publication: 20 April 2020

Preparing to study law at university? Or even doing some reading around your subject in order to prepare you for your university applications, or before you join us on your law summer school?

We’ve compiled a list of 8 books that will help ease you into the subject and give you a feel for what studying and pursuing law as a career may be like. 


1. About Law, by Tony Honoré

Short but sweet, About Law offers a very basic, but great introduction to law which discusses a range of topics, including; the purpose of law, a simple explanation of how it works, as well as an introduction to the legal system in England.

Honoré is one of the most renowned legal academics and understands the complexities of law, using technical terminology only when necessary, but always providing a glossary of terms and explaining them in detail. 

A great starting point for students interested in law which will equip you with the basic knowledge to help further your studies.


2. Letters to a Law Student, by Nicholas J. McBride

Broken up into a digestible collection of ‘letters’ which are addressed to a fictional student, McBride’s book outlines what it’s like to study Law in higher education, and more importantly, helps you to think about whether it’s right for you. 

Written by a University of Cambridge fellow, this must-read book is packed full of helpful advice, tips and humorous anecdotes.


3. The Rule of Law, by Tom Bingham

If you’re already familiar with stock phrases in law, you may have already heard of the commonly used term, ‘Rule of Law.’ It is one that is often misunderstood, and, if you’re planning to pursue a career in law, one that you will need to develop your own understanding of.

Bingham tries to offer a great place to start in beginning to understand it, that the ‘Rule of Law’ is a principle of the UK’s unwritten constitution. It means that politicians must govern within their powers, and law should apply equal to all and easy to understand. He then goes on to lay out further principles that are vital to the rules of law, getting any reader ahead in their Public Law modules. 



4. Bleak House, by Charles Dickens

Something slightly different, fans of Dickens may well have already read his novel Bleak House – as it is still cited as one of his best works today.

This fiction novel tells the story of a court case in London which concerns a number of wills. Less informative but still a great read, it offers an insightful depiction of the types of character tropes that are characteristic of legal professionals.


5. The Firm, by John Grisham

Another one for the fiction lovers! Spending 44 weeks on the New York Times’ bestseller lists, this thrilling 1991 read outlines the fictional story of Harvard graduate, Mitch McDeere who finds himself working for the Mafia’s very own law firm. 

A truly engaging and unusual story about the highest law principles, you’ll be gripped from start to finish as you watch McDeere play against both the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sides of the law.



6. Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? By Michael J. Sandel

In his acclaimed book, Harvard professor Sandel offers the rare opportunity to make us think through the complexities of modern life today.

A lively and thought-provoking read, it takes us through a number of difficult questions on controversial topics such as same-sex marriage. Sandel relates them to political philosophy arguments, and shows how understanding philosophy can help us to make sense of politics, morality and convictions.


7. Using a Law Library: A Student’s Guide to Legal Research Skills, by Peter Clinch

When you embark on your journey studying law at university, or even taking part in a law summer school, you will need to do lots of legal research for essays and class preparation. This book by Peter Clinch is a useful guide on how to use catalogues and indexes, and search for things efficiently.


8. Great Debates in Criminal Law, by Jonathan Herring

If criminal law is a module which you think would interest you at university, then this book is a must-read. Exploring key debates that are going on in this area of law in simple and easily digestible chunks, it will keep you well informed when it comes to making university applications and discussing criminal law in interviews.

Think you may want to study pursue a career in law? Take a look at our available law summer school courses to experience the university subject this summer!

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