Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Bleak House is thought to be Charles Dickens’ best work and a masterpiece. It has also been called “the most important literary work about the law.”
As the ABA Journal says, this book is one of the best law novels. It took third place in the ABA Journal’s list of the 25 best. Esther Summerson, the illegitimate daughter of Lady Dedlock, is at the heart of this Charles Dickens book. She lives at Bleak House and doesn’t know that she is the daughter of Lady Dedlock. There is, of course, a murder, and Lady Dedlock is the person who is being looked into. But lawyers aren’t interested in Bleak House because of the whodunnit, which is why they go there. Dickens’ account of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, an estate case that goes from generation to generation until the money runs out, is what they like the most about the book. He hits a nerve with his classic description of “the undercurrent of cynicism that drives too many lawsuits.” An interesting side story? Dickens based Jarndyce v. Jarndyce on his own legal battles when he tried to stop publishers from selling copies of A Christmas Carol that were not from him.
The Firm by John Grisham
Despite the fact that this book isn’t high art, it’s still a good choice when you’re looking for a good book to read while you’re studying law. It’s about a young tax lawyer named Mitch McDeere, who finds out a dark secret while working at Bendini, Lambert & Locke in Memphis, Tennessee.
Publishers Weekly thinks this gripping story, which was on the NY Times bestseller lists for 44 weeks, is a great book. This is what they say. As a criminal defense lawyer, “Grisham” is very good at describing law office procedures at the highest levels and smoothly integrating them with the criminal events in his book. It’s an interesting and unusual story that will keep readers interested for a long time.
1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart
Washington, DC lawyer Trevor Potter says this book is “a great summer read.” It’s a history of the Civil War and the American Revolution, and Potter says it’s “a great choice for the ABA’s 30 Lawyers, 30 Books” list. An account of 1861, which was written 150 years after the Civil War began, is a fascinating and riveting look at the year that the war began. People who study history and constitutional law will love this book because it reads like a thriller. There was a vote to make the Constitution more clear that people could own slaves. Both houses of Congress agreed to make this one amendment that could never change. They did, too. All of this to try to make the Southern states more docile.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Netflix show may have been getting a lot of attention recently, but that doesn’t mean people should skip reading this cautionary and very relevant book by Canadian author Atwood.
The ABA Journal says that this book is one of the best law novels ever. Atwood’s best-selling book, “Gilead,” is set in a dystopian country that was once the United States. It shows how the Constitution is overthrown in favor of a Christian theocracy, which means that women’s rights are completely reversed. Women can’t read, write, or vote. And even though Atwood’s darkest fears have turned out not to be true in the decades since the book was written, during the peak of the Christian Right’s power in national politics, the book’s basic ideas could be used in a more global context.
Njál’s Saga by Anonymous
For a 50-year blood feud, this book is great. Even though it was written in the 13th century, it still holds up today.
The Oxford University Press blog says that “Njál’s Saga” looks at “persistent human problems.” These include failed marriages, divided loyalties, and the law’s inability to control human passions. When “decent men and women are swept up in a tide of violence beyond their control,” it can be very bad.
In particular, this book looks at how far disagreements can be settled by agreement, and how bad things can happen when revenge takes over society. Even though this is a story from a different time, it’s not hard to think of modern situations where revenge is more important than the rule of law. This should make you think about the dangers of a society where a revenge culture is widespread.
Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J Sandel
When Michael J. Sandel is a Harvard University professor, he is known for getting a lot of students to come to the campus theater to hear him talk about some of the most difficult issues that lawyers and society as a whole have to deal with right now.
According to Goodreads, “Justice takes readers on the same exhilarating journey that Harvard students love.” This book is an in-depth, poetic look at what it means to be just, and it invites people of all political stripes to think about familiar issues in new and interesting ways. “Affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, national service, patriotism and dissent, and the moral limits of markets are just a few of the things that Sandel shows us how difficult it is to think through these conflicts.”
The Rule of Law by Tom Bingham
Tom Bingham was called “the best judge of our time,” a “towering figure,” and a “rock of principle.” His many accomplishments are shown in this video. In them? This short but brilliant book talks about the history and meaning of “the rule of law.”
Conor A. Gearty, a professor of human rights law and a practicing lawyer, says this: Written in a lighthearted, broad-brush style, this book is a fun trip through the best parts of the common law and English law in general. What are the 12 best “rule of law” kind of things that have happened since 1200? It sounds like a transcript of a game played by a group of very smart students. Today, what are the eight most important things about the rule of law? While Bingham died a few years ago, his sharp mind and unique ideas are still a great help for anyone who wants to understand how important laws are to a stable society. These seven books are just the beginning. Have a law-related book of your own that you’d like to share? Please leave your ideas in the comment box below.