The best books about law

8 authors have picked their favorite books about law and why they recommend each book.

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By Randi Kreger, Bill Eddy,

Book cover of Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Divorcing someone with a personality disorder can be one of the most stressful things one can face. Bill Eddy is a family lawyer and therapist who understands the complexities of divorcing a high conflict person and has mastered ways to communicate and co-parent with them. This book is a must-read for anyone facing high conflict divorce as it is filled with practical tips and suggestions.

Who am I?

As a Certified Divorce Coach and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, I work with clients during one of the most difficult stages of their lives. Clients often feel regretful about the past and fearful for the future, and the right book recommendation can really help them move forward. I often give clients reading assignments between coaching sessions that help them process their grief, figure out their goals, educate themselves about finances, feel less alone in the divorce process, and become more confident in making major decisions. I’m never not reading on this subject.

I wrote...

The Designed Divorce: How to preserve your wealth and peace of mind in divorce

By Jen Lawrence,

Book cover of The Designed Divorce: How to preserve your wealth and peace of mind in divorce

What is my book about?

In The Designed Divorce, Jen Lawrence shares the secrets she's gleaned from her private coaching and concierge practice and her training as a CDC Certified Divorce Coach, CDC Divorce Transition and Recovery Coach, Certified Divorce Specialist, and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.

This book will help you: deal with your emotions so you can focus on the business of divorce, get clear on your goals so your settlement supports your dreams, hire a divorce team that can help you maximize your options, avoid the biggest divorce mistakes that threaten your wealth and peace of mind, implement radical self-care techniques that go far deeper than a spa day, understand your money and how to build financial security, and start down the path to a future that excites you. Filled with practical tips, exercises, and memorable stories injected with Lawrence's trademark humor, The Designed Divorce will make you feel like you are never alone in this process.

Why Socrates Died

By Robin Waterfield,

Book cover of Why Socrates Died

Socrates’ trial and death together are a famous moment in classical history. This is a vigorous and authoritative scholarly investigation into the historical circumstances that led to Socrates being charged with impiety and corrupting the youth.

Who am I?

I have studied the ancient world for over 50 years and have found that there are always new things to discover. Everyone thought that all that was known about Socrates had already been said, so I was excited to discover new evidence for his relationship with Aspasia - a woman of extraordinary influence and intellect - hiding in plain sight. I am a Professor of Classics at Oxford University and Fellow and Tutor in Classics at Jesus College, Oxford

I wrote...

Socrates in Love

By Armand D’Angour,

Book cover of Socrates in Love

What is my book about?

Socrates: the philosopher whose questioning gave birth to the ideas of Western thought, and whose execution marked the end of the Athenian "Golden Age". But what was he like as a younger man, and what impelled him to take the path of philosophy? My book investigates these questions, and unravels the evidence for a surprising and overlooked influence on Socrates' life and thought - the brilliant and unfairly defamed Aspasia of Miletus.

Thinking Like a Lawyer

By Colin Seale,

Book cover of Thinking Like a Lawyer: A Framework for Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students

At first glance, you might not see why we think it’s a book for parents that addresses anti-racism. But digging deeper, you’ll see that one of the things we advocate for is developing the skills for introspection - to ask ourselves the tough questions, to challenge our own beliefs and assumptions, and think critically about the information that constantly surrounds us. Those skills are a fundamental part of our own anti-racism practices. Unfortunately, critical thinking is not a skill that’s been well taught, or evenly taught, throughout the schools in our country - so it’s important for each of us to help ourselves, and our children, learn this most foundational skill to succeed in the 21st century.

Who am I?

We are two biracial (Japanese and White) mothers with very mixed-race children, who believe that when we learn about our nation’s history and look more deeply at our personal experiences with race and identity, we gain the power to effect personal and systemic change. Some of that starts with the books that we read to, and with, our kids. We discuss these topics and more on our weekly award-winning podcast, Dear White Women. We hope that you love the books on this list as much as we do!

I wrote...

Dear White Women: Let's Get (Un)Comfortable Talking about Racism

By Sara Blanchard, Misasha Suzuki Graham,

Book cover of Dear White Women: Let's Get (Un)Comfortable Talking about Racism

What is my book about?

From the creators of the award-winning podcast Dear White Women, this book breaks down the psychology and barriers to meaningful race discussions for White people, contextualizing racism throughout American history in short, targeted chapters. Sara Blanchard and Misasha Suzuki Graham bring their insights to the page with concrete tips for addressing discrimination and microaggressions at home, in social groups, and elsewhere.

A 2021 Edelweiss Bookfest Editors’ Pick, Dear White Women challenges readers to encounter the hard questions about race (and racism) in order to push the needle of change in a positive direction. Blanchard and Suzuki Graham present contemporary advice rooted in cultural and historical insight, outlining the answers to questions so many of us have trouble answering ourselves.

The Pelican Brief

By John Grisham,

Book cover of The Pelican Brief

In many ways, this was the thriller that started it all for me.

Perhaps technically a legal thriller, the political dimension shines through in the shadowy forces tailing the fearless and unlikely heroine of legal student Darby Shaw as she uncovers a huge political scandal involving the US Supreme Court.

Its conspiracies may seem tame by modern standards, but for a fledgling writer trying to figure out what kind of stories he wanted to tell, this was thrilling and addictive stuff.

Grisham’s easy style appears effortless, but there’s true craft behind each chase, each plot twist, and each conversation. This book taught me how you really do it.

Who am I?

I’ve been obsessed with political thrillers since reading All The President’s Men when I was far too young to understand it all. What I did know was that at the upper echelons of society there were often shadowy conspiracies at play, and brave souls fighting to expose the truth. Something about Woodward and Bernstein’s quiet heroism and bravery in investigating a story that everyone told them to drop really stayed with me. That’s why I write political thrillers: in an attempt to tip the scales back in favour of good versus evil. And to make heroes of those who risk it all to tell truth to power.

I wrote...

Official Secrets

By Andrew Raymond,

Book cover of Official Secrets

What is my book about?

After a devastating political assassination, two journalists stand between the truth and a conspiracy that will shock the world.

Tom Novak and Stella Mitchell are covering the aftermath of a chilling terror attack on the British Prime Minister and the US Secretary of Defense. But the further the American and English duo investigate, the more holes they find in the official version of events. When they link the attack to a series of suspicious deaths the night before, Novak and Mitchell find themselves the next targets in an extraordinary conspiracy involving the White House, the British government, and a shadowy deep-state organization. On the run for their lives, Novak and Mitchell will find out just how far those in power are willing to go to preserve their secrets...

The Step Between

By Penny Mickelbury,

Book cover of The Step Between

Someone is trying to kill Carole Ann. As a Washington DC lawyer, Carole Ann embraces the challenge of working in DC’s competitive fast-paced environment, but that business has placed a bullseye on her back. She must figure out why while balancing work and her personal life. I appreciated how the author created a multidimensional woman that didn’t measure success by her romantic entanglements. 

Who am I?

Like myself, each of these novels involved older professional Black women protagonists. Each of these authors presented multidimensional women experiencing circumstances that surpass culture and ethnicity. As women age, not only do we take on new roles, but we physically and emotionally change. I appreciate books with relatable characters coping with issues I experience—menopause, aging parents, an empty nest. Reading mysteries with fictional characters dealing with situations I experience makes me feel less isolated. 

I wrote...

Murder is Revealing

By Michelle Corbier,

Book cover of Murder is Revealing

What is my book about?

Aspiring author Dr. Myaisha Douglas joined the Greensboro Women of Color Writing Group hoping to publish her writing. When someone murders a friend and member of the group, Myaisha believes she can help the police solve the crime. An avid mystery fan, she relies on the skills she gained from those stories to catch the killer. 

Though determined to get justice for her friend, the amateur detective soon regrets her involvement when the deceased’s corruption and illegal dealings become public. The police warn Myaisha to stop investigating when their prime suspect is also murdered.  Drawn back into the case after the police charge another member of the group with murder, Myaisha uses her medical knowledge—and years as an armchair detective—to solve the homicide without becoming another victim.

Presumed Innocent

By Scott Turow,

Book cover of Presumed Innocent

The book that practically created the courtroom thriller and inspired a million lawyers (including me) to dream about writing fiction. It has everything you could want from a thriller and a legal procedural in one—a grisly murder, a narrator you root for but don’t entirely trust, a smooth defense attorney, a (maybe) corrupt legal system, and a shocking twist at the end.

If you haven’t read it—read it. If you have read it, read it again. I read it almost every year.

Who am I?

I come by my love of legal thrillers honestly – when I’m not writing them, I’m living them as a full-time practicing lawyer. The cases in my real-life legal practice are far less exciting than those experienced by the lawyers in my books (or the books I’ve recommended here), but the throughline that connects them is that in reality and in fiction, the stakes are very high, the people involved have a motivation for what they’ve done, and the outcome is always in doubt until that last page. 

I wrote...

A Conflict of Interest

By Adam Mitzner,

Book cover of A Conflict of Interest

What is my book about?

At thirty-five, criminal defense attorney Alex Miller is the youngest partner at New York City’s most prestigious law firm, with the life he’s always dreamed of. When Alex’s father suddenly passes away, Alex is introduced to Michael Ohlig, a rich and powerful man who holds an almost mythical place in his family lore. But Alex is surprised when Ohlig admits that he’s in serious legal trouble, accused of a high-profile financial scam involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

When Alex takes on Ohlig’s defense, secrets are revealed that force Alex to question the motives of all the people in his life. Most importantly, he must decide whether the identity he projects to the world is the man he truly is—or even wants to be.

Showdown at Gucci Gulch

By Alan Murray,

Book cover of Showdown at Gucci Gulch: Lawmakers, Lobbyists, and the Unlikely Triumph of Tax Reform

Who knew that a book on tax reform could be so interesting? Showdown at Gucci Gulch, which tells the story of the 1986 federal tax reform, remains the best in depth look at how a bill really becomes a law, including a cast of interesting characters, from Ronald Reagan to Dan Rostenkowski. The book is also a good primer on what a good tax system ought to look like and how myriad special interests invariably oppose such a system. Murray and Birnbaum were reporters for the Wall Street Journal who covered the 1986 tax reform and write with a reporter’s eye for detail. Really, this is an entertaining book.

Who am I?

I’m passionate about economics and public policy because they are the tools we can use to improve our lives—everything from fighting a pandemic to preventing the next financial crisis. I’m interested in politics, too, because that is how policies get made in a democracy. We’re living through a time with serious social challenges and a political system paralyzed by partisanship. We have to do better.

I wrote...

Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

By Charles Wheelan,

Book cover of Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

What is my book about?

At last! A new edition of the economics book that won't put you to sleep. In fact, you won't be able to put this bestseller down. In our challenging economic climate, this perennial favorite of students and general readers is more than a good read, it's a necessary investment--with a blessedly sure rate of return. This revised and updated edition includes commentary on hot topics such as automation, trade, income inequality, and America's rising debt. Ten years after the financial crisis, Naked Economics examines how policymakers managed the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Demystifying buzzwords, laying bare the truths behind oft-quoted numbers, and answering the questions you were always too embarrassed to ask, the breezy Naked Economics gives you the tools to engage with pleasure and confidence in the deeply relevant, not so dismal science.

The Rosenberg File

By Ronald Radosh, Joyce Milton,

Book cover of The Rosenberg File

For decades the myth that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed for atomic espionage in 1953 and the only American civilians given the death penalty for espionage, were innocent was a staple on the American left. Radosh and Milton, employing declassified government documents and digging up new evidence, conclusively demonstrated their guilt.

Who am I?

For more than fifty years I have been fascinated by the relationship between the Communist Party of the United States and the Soviet Union. When Russian archives were opened to Western scholars after the collapse of the USSR, I was the first American to work in a previously closed archive where I discovered evidence that American communists had spied for the Soviets. Our understanding of twentieth-century history has been transformed by the revelations about the extent to which Soviet spies had infiltrated American institutions. Excavating long-buried secrets is a historian's dream!

I wrote...

Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America

By John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, Alexander Vassiliev

Book cover of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America

What is my book about?

Based on material from the KGB archives, the most complete account of Soviet espionage in America from the 1930s to the 1960s, demonstrating that virtually all those accused of spying during the Cold War, including the Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, and Lauchlin Currie were guilty - but exonerating Robert Oppenheimer. More than 500 Americans were involved with the KGB and GRU (Soviet Military Intelligence), and many of them are named for the first time in this book.

The War Before the War

By Andrew Delbanco,

Book cover of The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America's Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War

Even now we can't quite help thinking that America could have ended slavery without fighting a monstrous war. Delbanco argues that war was not only unavoidable--hardly, in fact, a controversial proposition--but that what made it so was not Kansas-Nebraska or Dred Scott but the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Once Congress agreed that slave-owners could pursue escaped slaves into free territory, and mobilize the federal government to track them down, Northerners got to see first-hand just what it meant to treat humans as chattel. Those sickening scenes helped bring the Republican Party into existence and made its cause that of the North.

Who am I?

I am a journalist and NYU professor whose primary field is American foreign policy. As a biographer, however, I am drawn to American history and, increasingly, to the history of liberalism. I am now writing a biography of that arch-liberal, Hubert Humphrey. My actual subject thus appears to be wars of ideas. I began reading in-depth about the 1850s, when the question of slavery divided the nation in half, while writing a short biography of Judah Benjamin, Secretary of State of the Confederacy. (Judah Benjamin: Counselor To The Confederacy will be published in October.) It was the decade in which the tectonic fault upon which the nation was built erupted to the surface. There's a book for me in there somewhere, but I haven't yet found it.

I wrote...

What Was Liberalism?: The Past, Present, and Promise of a Noble Idea

By James Traub,

Book cover of What Was Liberalism?: The Past, Present, and Promise of a Noble Idea

What is my book about?

I wrote this book to explain what, exactly, is threatened by "illiberal populists" like Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Narendra Modi. All were elected more or less fairly--that is, democratically. Yet all wield their majorities against the values and institutions that constitute "liberal democracy"--the rule of law, political and economic liberty, the autonomy of the judiciary. These principles are inherently in tension with majoritarianism and must at times be protected from it.

I trace the origins of liberalism to the American and French revolutions, through the works of seminal figures like Mill and Tocqueville, and then to FDR, whose liberalism encompassed an affirmative role for the state as a guarantor of economic and social justice. Then I seek to explain why the willingness to abide by liberal restraints has faltered and even failed in so many democracies. I ask whether we should now regard liberalism as a relic of the more coherent--and homogeneous--society of the twentieth century. If not, what is to be done?

Collaborative Divorce

By Pauline H. Tesler, Peggy Thompson,

Book cover of Collaborative Divorce: The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family, Resolve Legal Issues, and Move on with Your Life

Collaborative Divorce is not new, it has been around since the mid-1990s. It is an alternative to litigation when mediation is not going to be enough support. The core of the approach is respect, honesty, transparency, and concern for the entire family. Mediation and Collaborative Divorce are both confidential processes that avoid litigation but there are significant advantages to Collaborative Divorce. Mediation is with one neutral facilitator (mediator) but in a Collaborative Divorce, each person has their own specially trained attorney to guide them through the divorce. In addition, each person has their own divorce coach (sometimes just one neutral coach), and often a child specialist brings the voice of the children to the negotiations. This book describes how Collaborative Divorce works and will help readers decided whether this would be a good process choice for them. The goal is to help families avoid court and avoid ongoing conflict. The…

Who am I?

I am a child of a high-conflict divorce, so when I became a clinical psychologist my mission was to prevent the kind of suffering that is common in divorce, especially for children. I have worked with thousands of children and families going through divorces, some amicably and some with extreme difficulty. Divorce can be damaging but there are ways to prevent that damage, and these books including mine, as well as my blog are all tools with the same goal: help families avoid the pain, upheaval, loss, and destruction of a litigated divorce. In my work now I focus on working with people who commit to work through their divorce without threats of litigation. I work primarily in the area of Collaborative Divorce.

I wrote...

The Parent's Guide to Birdnesting: A Child-Centered Solution to Co-Parenting During Separation and Divorce

By Ann Gold Buscho,

Book cover of The Parent's Guide to Birdnesting: A Child-Centered Solution to Co-Parenting During Separation and Divorce

What is my book about?

Take co-parenting to the next level and provide a stable environment for your children as you and your spouse begin tackling your separation or divorce.

For parents who are separating and want to put their children first, birdnesting could be the interim custody solution you’ve been looking for. Instead of the children splitting their time being shuttled between mom and dad’s separate homes, birdnesting allows the children to stay in the “nest” and instead, requires mom and dad to swap, allowing each parent to stay elsewhere when not with the children.

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