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. If you are set on reading something law or law-school related, Professor Susan Hankin recommends two books: Shapo’s Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success by Helen Shapo and Marshall Shapo. Another is What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know: An Introduction to the Study of Law by Tracey George and Suzanna Sherry.
You might also brush up on your understanding of the branches of government, state and federal court jurisdictions and court hierarchy. Understanding the stages of a lawsuit is also helpful. Along those lines, a fantastic read is A Civil Action by Jonathan Herr. (It is also a movie starring John Travolta!) It chronicles a case brought by families living near a chemical company whose children died of leukemia. The families sued the company alleging that it dumped chemicals that caused their children’s death.
While designed for high school students, one of our professors recommends this site for a crash course on civics. (The organization was founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and its board of directors is composed of lawyers and judges.) Another professor recommends “How to Read a Legal Opinion.” You will be reading many of these in the years ahead and there is an art to reading them. Orientation will include a session on how to read and brief a case so be assured that you will be introduced to this skill before classes start.