Suggested Reading for Admitted Law Students

This guide is a list of suggested reading materials for incoming law students.


The currency of law is words. We sort and skim daily, but for law school you will also need old-fashioned reading skills: the ability to immerse yourself in complex and lengthy texts for sustained comprehension and reflection on ideas. (After all, the 2010 Supreme Court opinion of Citizens United v. FEC has 20% more words than The Great Gatsby!) So our advice is to read — novels, history, whatever engages you — to build your concentration, comprehension, and critical thinking skills.

A great place to start building your reading muscle is newspapers and magazines. They'll help you have a better understanding of what's going on in the world and provide good examples of solid, thoughtful (and sometimes not-so-solid-and-thoughtful) writing. Quality national newspapers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, or magazines like The Economist and The New Yorker are excellent sources. If you're already an avid newspaper reader, try branching out into that section that you typically skip (the business or arts section, for instance). Regularly tackling new and challenging material will help prepare you for the reading that is to come. (And think about rading them in print. Reading online versions of these publications encourages skimming and skipping around. You'll need to read more deeply as a lawyer; and typically you'll be reading from casebooks, not on a screen.)

Here are some additional reading recommendations as you prepare to join the Snata Clara community. These aren't assignments, they're suggestions. Pick and choose based on your own tastes and your available time this summer, including some material that stretches your brain. (Added bonus: this will give you a good reason to visit your local library; libraries are like second homes for law students and attorneys.)

This document was compiled by the Academic Success Program with recommendations from across the SCU community. To learn more about the Academic Success Program, visit their website.

Heafey Law Library Research Team