New Year's Resolution: 10 Books to Read, Picked by 10 Lawyers

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on January 02, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Many people's New Year's resolution is to read more books. If you're a soon-to-be law student, current student, or practicing lawyer who made a vow to broaden your reading habits in 2014, look to your colleagues for reading inspiration. The ABA Journal put together a fascinating reading list by asking 30 distinguished lawyers to pick a book they'd recommend to other legal professionals.

Here are ten books to read that were mentioned on the ABA's list:

  1. Legal thriller. "In the Shadow of the Law" by Kermit Roosevelt -- Recommended by Cynthia M. Lewin, general counsel and executive vice president of AARP.
  2. Law school memoir. "One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School" by Scott Turow -- Recommended by Dahlia Lithwick, contributing editor at Newsweek and a senior editor for Slate.
  3. Legal analysis. "The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking about the Law" by Ward Farnsworth" -- Recommended by Eugene Volokh, constitutional law professor at UCLA and creator of the highly respected legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy.
  4. Legal history. "Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality" by Richard Kluger -- Recommended by Adam Liptak, critically acclaimed journalist who regularly writes on legal issues for The New York Times.
  5. Legal biography. "Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made" by Jim Newton -- Recommended by Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UCI's law school, U.S. Supreme Court connoisseur, and general legal baller.


  1. Bildungsroman, science fiction. "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison -- Recommended by Dale Minami, partner at Minami Tamaki in San Francisco who successfully argued Korematsu v. United States.
  2. Novella. "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry -- Recommended by Geoffrey Fieger, plaintiffs' personal-injury lawyer based in Southfield, Mich. best known for his spirited defense of Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
  3. Comedy. "The Horse's Mouth" by Joyce Cary -- Recommended by Marci Hamilton, professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and champion of children's rights.
  4. Dramatic fiction. "Cry, the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton -- Recommended by Kim McLane Wardlaw, judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
  5. Absurdist fiction, philosophical fiction. "The Trial" by Franz Kafka -- Recommended by Thane Rosenbaum, award-winning novelist and founding director of Fordham Law School's Forum on Law, Culture and Society, which gathers together some of the most prestigious lawyers, judges, writers, actors and academics in the nation.

This should help to muster up the energy to read something more than humdrum legal cases. For more recommendations -- including really cool non-fiction ideas as well as the lawyers' compelling explanations for their picks -- check out the ABA's complete "30 Lawyers, 30 Books" list.

Editor's Note: This is a great list, with greatly accomplished lawyers, but come on, no "To Kill a Mockingbird"? Or is that just too 'expected.' Are we off base here? Tell us on Facebook.

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