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Books for New Lawyers - Four Books Every New Lawyer Should Read

Essential Reading List for New Attorneys and Law Students


New lawyers and law students are often looking for guidance on what to do once they are finally licensed to practice law. The following books are on my recommended reading list for young lawyers or law students, which also happen to be good gifts for lawyers too.

1. Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges - Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner

Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges by Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner packs more practical advice on advocacy into one book than anything else on the market. There is no more fundamental issue in trial or appellate law practice than determining how to persuade the judge to rule in your favor. Scalia and Garner provide 115 specific rules to follow, each with an explanation of how to apply the rule in practice. This book should be required reading at every law school in the country, and it should be the first book you buy in planning a legal career.

2. How to Argue and Win Every Time - Gerry Spence

Gerry Spence

How to Argue and Win Every Time by Gerry Spence is an insightful guide on argumentation from one of America's most successful and persuasive trial lawyers. Spence provides practical guidance on how to be a more compelling and successful advocate for your clients, as well as on how to be more successful in life in general. Spence is a masterful storyteller and a wonderful writer. I also recommend obtaining a copy of the audiobook version of this book, as it is read by Gerry Spence himself. Spend some time listening to Gerry Spence read his book on how he is so successful at arguing cases, and you'll be ready to walk into any courtroom with confidence.

3. MacCarthy on Cross-Examination by Terence F. MacCarthy

Terence F. MacCarthy

There are many books, training programs, videos, and other educational tools available for young lawyers to use to learn the art of cross-examination. My recommendation for the new lawyer is to start with MacCarthy on Cross-Examination by Terence F. MacCarthy. While there are many cross-examination systems taught that take somewhat differing approaches to this critical trial skill, the benefit of MacCarthy's approach is that it is easy to learn. A new lawyer can quickly grasp his advice and put it to use in a trial almost immediately. While I recommend also looking at more detailed training programs that will take your skills to a deeper level, there is no better starting point than MacCarthy's. Early in my legal career, many years before MacCarthy had written this book, I attended a seminar he was teaching on cross-examination techniques. The advice was so useful and so practical that it stuck with me throughout my legal career (something I can't say about most seminars I attend). Every new lawyer needs to read this book so that he or she can conduct a competent cross-examination in every case.

4. The Elements of Legal Style by Bryan Garner

Bryan Garner
The second Bryan Garner book to make this list, The Elements of Legal Style was inspired by Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. This practical guide to better legal writing will help new lawyers with important writing fundamentals such as word choice, sentence structure, and rhetoric. While this may not sound as fun or as interesting as other books in this list, being a good legal writer will greatly benefit your career. Learn from Bryan Garner, the nation's top expert on legal writing, in this practical guide.
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