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Feb 15, 2012

Becoming a lawyer is a process, not an event [Section 4 of 5]

By: Paul Ebeltoft

A Suggested Reading List
For People Who Would Like To Become A Lawyer

"What will help prepare us for law school?" "What are the skills that may make a good lawyer great?" "What is it like to be a lawyer?" We lawyers have all had these questions asked of us. I rely on others to begin to answer them.

Due to space limitations in this column, I have divided 25 recommended readings and film suggestions into sections. This is the fourth of five. Look for the remaining sections in coming months or check in the archives to the left for those you may have missed.

I welcome suggestions and comments.

D. The Heavy Lifting

1. A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles
By: Thomas Sowell

Lawyers should be critical thinkers. An understanding of the rules of discourse and analysis should support argument. If you are an undergraduate seriously committed to law school, Sowell provides a sophisticated treatment of critical analysis and the structure of political and philosophical debate.

2. Law, Legislation, and Liberty, Volume 1, Rules & Order
By: F. A. Hayek

This is not for the faint-of-heart. Another book of critical analysis, Hayek’s first volume of a three-part series, dissects theories of justice. It may not help you decide to become a lawyer, but understanding what this book has to say will make you a better lawyer if you chose to become one.

3. An Introduction to Legal Reasoning
By: Edward H. Levi

Shifting from critical analysis to legal analysis, this book uses case law to demonstrate legal reasoning in the development of common law, statutory construction and constitutional analysis. It is not easy reading and will not be understandable to the casual student. It will give a good student a “leg-up” for a position on Law Review.

4. Logic for Lawyers
By: Ruggero Aldisert

This is book explains logical analysis. Written by a judge to help improve legal arguments from lawyers, it is also an introduction to a valuable legal skill.

5. Due Process of Law: A Brief History
By: John V. Orth

Taking the student back to our judicial system’s roots in England, Professor Orth, follows the development of the concept of due process to its place in American Constitutional law. Due Process is not a subject susceptible to neat examination. The student will find that Orth’s scholarship is dense. Overlaying his analysis with concepts of natural law, Orth makes his case ponderously but completely. Again, the average student may find this book inaccessible.