Suggested Summer Activities

Incoming students often ask what they can do now to prepare for law school. Our advice is to relax and enjoy the summer because you will work very hard in law school. But if you just can't wait to get into the law school mindset, we have some suggestions. 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. This 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. 

In addition to the suggestions below, our faculty and alumni also recommend: 

  • Reading leading newspapers daily to get a sense of the world beyond the law.
  • Reading good fiction – you’ll have less time for pleasure reading during law school, and it will give you a greater sense of perspective.

About Law School and the Legal Profession

Real Cases and the Law


  • 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


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



  • 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)
  • How to Get Away with Murder (series)