We spent 23 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Students interested in becoming lawyers are often surprised to learn that pre-law isn’t a common major and, in fact, many top colleges don’t offer it as such. But don’t worry, because you can still prepare yourself to pursue a J.D. with a full program of reading and associated courses. Our selection of textbooks and law-related works will get you started on the right foot. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.

10. Thinking Like a Lawyer

Thinking Like a Lawyer provides an uncomplicated yet useful introduction to reasoning as it defines what it means to put your brain to work in this field. You might consider it a navigational aid to guide you on your way as you learn about contracts, procedures, and so on.

  • Addresses research concerns
  • Commonly used for classroom study
  • Could be interesting to lay readers

Brand Westview Press
Model pending
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?

Respected Harvard professor Michael Sandel offers a thoughtful unpacking of public life and political philosophy in Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? With its nuanced look at highly charged issues, such as affirmative action, it guides readers to new understandings.

  • Rigorous and interesting
  • Introduces philosophical viewpoints
  • Based on a course the author teaches

Brand Farrar Straus Giroux
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. In Cold Blood

Escape the tedium of endless texts and read one of the most highly recommended narrative works for those entering the field when you pick up In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. It’s an engaging account of a chilling murder case that offers insight into American justice.

  • Good gift for a student
  • Best seller from a beloved author
  • May be too disturbing for some

Brand Truman Capote
Model pending
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

7. Legal Writing in Plain English

Everyone, from law students to established professionals in the field, can benefit from Legal Writing in Plain English, which teaches readers through both instruction and exercises how to create clear, concise documents and avoid obfuscating legalese.

  • Boosts editing skills
  • Shows how to organize ideas
  • Too general in places

Brand University of Chicago P
Model pending
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. One L

For a taste of what law school can be like, check out One L by Scott Turow. He shares his experiences as a first year student at Harvard, taking you on a voyage through his highs and lows that is both engrossing and honest.

  • Audiobook available
  • Not too terribly long
  • Author seems whiny at times

Brand One L
Model pending
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. A Rulebook for Arguments

Anyone interested in pre-law would do well to take courses in writing, logic, and rhetoric and read books in these areas, including A Rulebook for Arguments. It covers the type of sound thinking you’ll need in crafting everything from academic writing to public debate.

  • Builds evaluation skills
  • Helps you become more persuasive
  • Some find the author biased

Brand A Rulebook for Argument
Model pending
Weight 5.3 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Law School Confidential

In order to succeed, you’re going to need to know more than just your subject material. You’ll also need guidance as you navigate the entire schooling experience, which is where Law School Confidential comes in. It’ll take you from admissions to passing the bar and beyond.

  • Wisdom from recent graduates
  • Advice for the lsats
  • Some find it overhyped

Brand St. Martin’s Griffin
Model pending
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Getting to Maybe

Before you can become an attorney, you’re going to have to take tests. Lots and lots of tests. Reading Getting to Maybe will not only help you boost your performance but could also help you feel less stressed about the whole ordeal.

  • Improves analytical skills
  • Teaches two-sided argumentation
  • Moves beyond common study tips

Brand Fischl, Richard Michael
Model pending
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Law 101

In “Law 101: Everything You Need to Know About American Law,” author Jay Feinman offers an overview of the inner workings of the legal system through noteworthy cases. He also breaks down key vocabulary and distinguishes between terms that are similar.

  • Updated fifth edition
  • Avoids becoming dull or dry
  • Good intro to the judicial system

Brand Law 101
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. A Critical Thinking Approach

It wouldn’t be surprising to see A Critical Thinking Approach in a law school classroom, but there’s nothing stopping you from getting a head start. The work is comprehensive and divided into two parts, Introduction to the Legal System and Basic Legal Concepts.

  • Covers modern and relevant issues
  • Ample discussion questions
  • Helpful illustrations

Brand A Critical Thinking App
Model pending
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0