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Suggested Readings for Incoming 1Ls
Suggested readings from some of the librarians in the Chastek Library at Gonzaga University School of Law. These are by no means required but they may be helpful to give you a feel for law school or the practice of law.
During your first year of law school you will be doing an enormous amount of reading. For the most part, it is what many might consider difficult reading, as opposed to "pleasure reading" (reading for fun). Those of us in the Chastek Library would like to suggest that you do as much "pleasure reading" as you can this summer before the fall semester begins.
One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School by Scott Turow
It was a year of terrors and triumphs, of depressions and elations, of compulsive work, pitiless competition, and, finally, mass hysteria. It was Scott Turow's first year at the oldest, biggest, most esteemed center of legal education in the United States. Turow's experiences at Harvard Law School, where freshmen are dubbed One Ls, parallel those of first-year law students everywhere. His gripping account of this critical, formative year in the life of a lawyer is as suspenseful, said The New York Times, as "the most absorbing of thrillers."
Judge Dave and the Rainbow People by David B. Sentelle
Judge Dave and the Rainbow People is a book by US Federal Judge David B. Sentelle about his involvement with the 1987 annual Rainbow Gathering. The gathering was held in North Carolina where Sentelle was a U.S. District court judge. The State tried to prohibit the gathering because the Rainbow family failed to acquire a permit for the event. Sentelle's book is a humorous first person narrative about the event.
The Paper Chase by John Jay Osborn
A best-selling book and award-winning film and television series, THE PAPER CHASE is at its heart the story of a young Midwesterner, James Hart, who finds himself in the great classrooms of Langdell Hall at Harvard Law School, locked in a zero-sum game with a dominating, omniscient deity: Professor Kingsfield, who asks not just for the student's mind, but for his soul. You quail at the exams, exult when you know the answers, love-hate Professor Kingsfield. It is also a love story that is as contemporary today as it was when the book was written, of a boy from the Midwest and a mysterious and demanding professor's daughter, who refuses to accept accepted wisdom or role models and demands from Hart a love that transcends law school and conventional norms.
The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court by Bob Woodward; Scott Armstrong
The Bretheren, Inside The Supreme Court, by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong, Co-Authors of All The President's Men. The Brethren is the first detailed behind-the-scenes account of the Supreme Court in action. Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong have pierced its secrecy to give us an unprecedented view of the Chief Associate Justices-maneuvering, arguing, politicking, compromising , and making the decisions that affect every major area of American Life. The Brethren is a spellbinding account of the Court's landmark decisions of the past two decades - on the death penalty, the busing of school children, the release of Nixon's tapes, abortion, obscenity, and a remarkable portrait of the men who made the decisions.
The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the Survivors of One of the Worst Disasters in Coal-Mining History Brought Suit Against the Coal Company - And Won by Gerald M. Stern
One Saturday morning in February 1972, an impoundment dam owned by the Pittston Coal Company burst, sending a 130 million gallon, 25 foot tidal wave of water, sludge, and debris crashing into southern West Virginia's Buffalo Creek hollow. It was one of the deadliest floods in U.S. history. 125 people were killed instantly, more than 1,000 were injured, and over 4,000 were suddenly homeless. Instead of accepting the small settlements offered by the coal company's insurance offices, a few hundred of the survivors banded together to sue. This is the story of their triumph over incredible odds and corporate irresponsibility, as told by Gerald M. Stern, who as a young lawyer and took on the case and won.
Gideon's Trumpet: How One Man, a Poor Prisoner, Took His Case to the Supreme Court-and Changed the Law of the United States by Anthony Lewis
Gideon's Trumpet is a book by Anthony Lewis describing the story behind Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that criminal defendants have the right to an attorney even if they cannot afford one.
The Bramble Bush: The Classic Lectures on the Law and Law School by Karl N. Llewellyn
For over seventy years, there has been one book that law students have read to prepare for what they were about to encounter. That book is The Bramble Bush. After all these years and many imitators, The Bramble Bush remains one of the most popular introductions to the law and its study.
Llewellyn introduces students to what the law is, how to read cases, how to prepare for class, and how justice in the real world relates to the law. Although laws change every year, disputes between people haven't altered all that much since Llewellyn first penned The Bramble Bush, and the process of moving from private dispute to legal conflict still follows the patterns he described.
Moreover, the steps of a legal dispute, from arguments to verdict, to opinion, to review, to appeal, to opinion have changed little in their significance or their substance. Cases are still the best tools for exploring the interaction of the law with individual questions, and the essence of what law students must learn to do has persisted. If anything, many of the points Llewellyn argued in these lectures were on the dawning horizon then but are in their mid-day fullness now.
An Introduction to Legal Reasoning, 2d edition by Edward H. Levi; Frederick Schauer (Foreword by)
Originally published in 1949, An Introduction to Legal Reasoning is widely acknowledged as a classic text. As its opening sentence states, “This is an attempt to describe generally the process of legal reasoning in the field of case law and in the interpretation of statutes and of the Constitution.” In elegant and lucid prose, Edward H. Levi does just that in a concise manner, providing an intellectual foundation for generations of students as well as general readers.
For this edition, the book includes a substantial new foreword by leading contemporary legal scholar Frederick Schauer that helpfully places this foundational book into its historical and legal contexts, explaining its continuing value and relevance to understanding the role of analogical reasoning in the law. This volume will continue to be of great value to students of logic, ethics, and political philosophy, as well as to members of the legal profession and everyone concerned with problems of government and jurisprudence.
The Trial by Franz Kafka; David Wyllie (Translator)
"Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he had done nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested." From its gripping first sentence onward, this novel exemplifies the term ""Kafkaesque." Its darkly humorous narrative recounts a bank clerk's entrapment — based on an undisclosed charge — in a maze of nonsensical rules and bureaucratic roadblocks.
Written in 1914 and published posthumously in 1925, Kafka's engrossing parable about the human condition plunges an isolated individual into an impersonal, illogical system. Josef K.'s ordeals raise provocative, ever-relevant issues related to the role of government and the nature of justice. This inexpensive edition of one of the 20th century's most important novels features an acclaimed translation by David Wyllie.
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