Incoming Students

Suggested summer activities

Incoming students often ask what they can do now to prepare for law school.  Our advice is to enjoy the summer because you will work very hard in law school. 

Incoming law students also ask whether there is anything they should read before starting law school.  The list of books, articles, movies and TV series below was compiled over several years by asking law professors, law students, and recent graduates what recommendations they had for incoming law students.  This is by no means a required reading list, nor a comprehensive one, but if you feel like reading or watching something law-related, you are likely to find something that interests you here. If you encounter something not on this list that you’d recommend to others, please let us know by e-mailing Associate Dean Susan Krinsky at skrinsky@law.umaryland.edu.

Other general suggestions from our faculty and others:

  • Read leading newspapers daily to get a sense of the world beyond the law.
  • Read good fiction – you’ll have less time for pleasure reading during law school, and it will give you a greater sense of perspective.
  • Read a thriller novel of your choice about a lawyer, for the same reason athletes shout before a big game—get psychologically ready, and get excited about law school.

About Law School and the Legal Profession

Real Cases and the Law

Biographical

  • Nancy Gertner, In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate (2011)
  • Linda Greenhouse, Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun’s Supreme Court Journey (2006).
  • Jeffrey Toobin, “Heavyweight,” [about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg], The New Yorker, March 11, 2013.
     

Business Practice

Constitutional Law and History

Criminal Law and Procedure

  • Wilbert Rideau, In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance (2010).
  • David Simon, (Author, Producer) The Wire (in DVD format) (2002-2008).
  • Abbe Smith, Case of a Lifetime: A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Story (2009)
  • Abbe Smith and Monroe Freedman (eds.), How Can You Represent Those People? (2013)

Environmental Law

Fiction

Legal History

Reading and Writing

  • Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren, How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent
  • Reading (1972).
  • Bryan A. Garner, Legal Writing in Plain English (2001). [and anything else he’s written]
  • Richard A. Posner, The Little Book of Plagiarism (2007).
  • Richard C. Wydick, Plain English for Lawyers (4th ed. 1998).
  • William Zinsser, On Writing Well (7th ed. 2006).

Mostly Philosophical and Theoretical

Sports Law

Others

Movies

  • The Accused
  • Amistad
  • Anatomy of a Murder
  • Body Heat
  • Breaker Morant
  • A Civil Action
  • Class Action
  • The Client
  • Compulsion
  • Conviction
  • Closed Circuit
  • Erin Brockovich
  • Fracture
  • A Few Good Men
  • The Firm
  • Gideon's Trumpet
  • The Hurricane
  • The Informant
  • In the Name of the Father
  • Inherit the Wind
  • The Insider
  • And Justice for All
  • Judgment at Nuremberg
  • Kramer v. Kramer
  • Legally Blond
  • The Lincoln Lawyer
  • A Man for All Seasons
  • Michael Clayton
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • My Cousin Vinny
  • North Country
  • The Paper Chase
  • The Pelican Brief
  • The People v. Larry Flynt
  • Philadelphia
  • Presumed Innocent
  • Primal Fear
  • The Rainmaker
  • Reversal of Fortune
  • Runaway Jury
  • The Social Network
  • Suspect
  • The Sweet Hereafter
  • A Time to Kill
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Twelve Angry Men
  • True Believer
  • The Verdict
  • Witness for the Prosecution
  • Young Mr. Lincoln
  • West of Memphis
  • Capturing the Friedmans
  • Crazy Love
  • Terror’s Advocate
  • Hot Coffee
  • Whitey: United States of America v. James Bulgur
  • The Art of the Steal
  • Injustice
  • The Central Park Five
  • Divorce Corporation
  • The Case Against Eight
  • Freeing Bernie Baran
  • Gideon’s Army
  • In Prison My Whole Life
  • Scottsboro: An American Tragedy
  • Super Chief: The Life and Legacy of Earl Warren
  • Deliver Us from Evil
  • Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son about His Father
  • The Chamber
  • Court Martial of Bill Mitchell
  • A Cry in the Dark
  • Gideon’s Trumpet
  • Guilty as Sin
  • I Am Sam
  • Murder in the First
  • Rules of Engagement
  • The Trial (1963)
  • The Wire (series)

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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Admissions: PHONE: (410) 706-3492 FAX: (410) 706-1793

Copyright © 2016, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved