A random selection of interesting things I’ve come across, which I thought you might find useful. (None of these are affiliate links, so I’m not making any money if you buy these. They’re listed out of the goodness of my heart.)
Law School Toolbox:
Feeling a little lost in law school? Check out the Law School Toolbox, a course I’ve designed with Lee Burgess of Amicus Tutoring to demystify law school exams and help you do your best. Being a great law student is a learned skill, and we’re here to help you do it!
The People’s Therapist:
Will Meyerhofer is a BigLaw refugee, turned therapist. His ongoing psychoanalysis of the large law firm, and the impact it has on the people who work there, is not to be missed.
And he’s just published a book: Way Worse Than Being a Dentist, which should be required prelaw reading for anyone who has even the faintest interest in working in BigLaw.
Ms. JD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the success of women in law school and the legal profession. They run a useful and interesting website (where I’m honored to be a Writer in Residence) and have an on campus program, the National Women Law Students’ Organization, at law schools across the country. If your school doesn’t have a chapter, why not?
I think most commercial outlines are essentially interchangeable, so just pick the one you like best (or that you find used), and go with it. That being said, there are a few supplements that stand out.
Civil Procedure and Torts – Examples & Explanations:
The great thing about the Examples & Explanations is that they force you to engage with the material presented, rather than just reading it. If you don’t understand something, that’s a lot more obvious when you have to answer questions about it. If you just read an outline, and compile what you read into your own outline, there’s never a moment when you suddenly think “oh crap, I have no idea how any of this really works.” You need to have that moment of clarity before you sit down to write an exam.
Concepts and Case Analysis in the Law of Contracts (aka Chirelstein on Contracts):
For whatever reason, I hated my first-year Contracts class. Despite that, I did pretty well on the exam. This book is the only possible reason I didn’t fail the class! It’s a concise, readable, easily understood explanation of the basic contract law you’ll learn as a 1L. If you read this book, you’ll have a much better understanding of the course material than someone who spent hours outlining every case, guaranteed.
Finding Your Own North Star:
If you’re considering law school because you don’t know what you really want to do, you owe it to yourself to read this book. It’s fascinating. You’ll learn how to tap into your physical intuition to figure out what you should really be doing with your time. Which, you know, might just change your life for the better.
The Happiness Project:
Another can’t miss, for general readability and reliable advice. Gretchen Rubin, the author, is a former lawyer who graduated from Yale Law and clerked on the Supreme Court (yes, really!) before deciding she wanted to be a writer. The Happiness Project is a chronicle of her attempt to increase her happiness over the course of a year by focusing on one specific aspect of her life each month. She also runs The Happiness Project blog, which is fantastic.
The Gifts of Imperfection:
If you haven’t seen this TED Talk by Brené Brown, I highly suggest you watch it right now. She’s a researcher on shame, authenticity, and belonging, and The Gifts of Imperfection is a great book about all of these things. If you, like many law students, struggle with perfectionism, it’s a must read.
Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers:
This one’s a little heavy (subtitle: Will I Ever Be Good Enough?), and only applies to certain people. If, however, you’re one of those people, you need to read this book ASAP. It’ll change your life. I’ve suggested it to numerous friends, and no one’s been able to put it down.
The Places that Scare You:
Don’t let the title, or the Buddhist viewpoint, scare you away. Pema Chödrön is basically writing about how to chill the f**k out so you can relax into your life (even if things are falling apart all around you). You’re going to have to deal with difficult people and situations if you become a lawyer. May as well learn how to do so without falling apart yourself.
The War of Art:
Again, don’t let the title scare you off. The War of Art is the single best book I’ve ever read about getting things done. It’s not just for artists – it’s for anyone who has to work hard to accomplish a challenging task, particularly where that task involves some degree of creativity. Think that’s not law? Wrong. Every time you sit down to write a paper, or a brief, or an exam, you’re drawing on your creativity. The War of Art shows you what’s going to get in the way, so you’ll be able to persevere.