Best Books for Lawyers: 24 Books Every Lawyer Needs to Read

books for lawyersAre you a new lawyer looking to get your bearings in the legal industry? Maybe you’re an experienced lawyer looking for a little inspiration, or just need a refresher?

Checking out what books your peers are reading is a great place to start.

The foundation of every good lawyer is knowledge. Law school prepares you to practice law, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best books for lawyers. From the best books on mental health and time management to books on business and starting a law firm, there’s something for everyone.

Let’s begin.

What are the best books for attorneys?

The best book for attorneys — and just about anyone — is either entertaining or informative. Don’t gift a generic best-seller; instead, think about that type of book the lawyer in your life could actually use.

Do you know a lawyer who’s struggling with time management? Or maybe you know a lawyer who just finished law school and is feeling overwhelmed?

Whatever the case is, there are plenty of books out there that could make a good lawyer great.

Best books for new lawyers

Just graduated from law school?

You’ve likely done your fair share of reading.

But we recommend checking out some of these books so you can give yourself an advantage as you start practicing.

the young lawyer

The Young Lawyer’s Jungle Book: A Survival Guide by Thane Messinger


Being published back in 1999, it’s easy to dismiss this masterpiece.

But consider it a bridge between law school and being a practicing lawyer. With humour and insight, Messenger shares what he’s learned, including tips on law office life, managing complex relationships with senior attorneys, drafting memos, researching like the best of them, and even how to deal with clients.

It’s not a tough, stuffy read either. Perfect for the graduate who’s tired of textbooks but wants a leg up in the workplace.

the new lawyers handbook

The New Lawyer’s Handbook by Karen Thalacker


When you leave law school, you’ll know how to think, write, and research like a lawyer. You’ll be able to go toe-to-toe with the best of them.

But there are some things you can only learn from experience (or in this case, someone else’s experience).

This handbook teaches you everything you need to know about working in law.

Need advice on handling difficult clients? You’ll find that here. Want to learn how to maintain a healthy work-life balance. You’ve got it.

What we love is that it’s easy to follow. Thalacker outlines her tips in an easy-to-follow and approachable way.

The Marble and the Sculptor: From Law School to Law Practice by Keith Lee

The Marble and the Sculptor: From Law School to Law Practice by Keith Lee


A more modern approach to guiding professionals from law school to lawyering, Lee provides a “framework for becoming successful—both as a lawyer and in life.”

If you’re wracking your brain with big questions like, “was law school the right choice?” or “how do I get a job?”, this book is for you.

You’ll find advice on everything from choosing your classes while in law school and how to write well to mistakes to avoid making when you get your first job.

And it’s suitable for lawyers in all practice areas and in firms of any size. If you care about law, give it a read.

Best books for lawyers starting or running a law firm

Are you knee-deep in running your own law firm? Or maybe you’re considering branching out and going solo. 

Whatever it is, this collection of books will teach you how to start a law firm and make sure it becomes a success.

The E-Myth Attorney by Michael Gerber

The E-Myth Attorney by Michael Gerber


Gerber writes in a casual, easy-to-understand style that makes all of his advice that much more digestible.

And if you’re looking to get your business up and running, and want to do it quickly and efficiently, you’ll need straightforward advice.

It serves as a complete guide to getting your law firm off the ground and running successfully. And there’s additional advice from attorneys who’ve put Gerber’s principles into practice and started their own firms.

How to Start & Build a Law Practice by Jay Foonberg

How to Start & Build a Law Practice by Jay Foonberg


Although a bit outdated, this classic has helped thousands of lawyers start their own successful law firms.

Foonberg shares what he’s learned from his decades of experience, including “guidance on identifying the right location, finding clients, setting fees, managing your office, maintaining an ethical and responsible practice, maximizing available resources, upholding your standards, and much more.”

We appreciate that all of the advice is realistic, practical, and easy to follow. Plus, there are templates and checklists to keep you on track.

Law Is a Buyer's Market Building A Client-First Law Firm

Law Is a Buyer’s Market: Building A Client-First Law Firm by Jordan Furlong


Where Furlong shines is in giving lawyers actionable advice on how to stay innovative in a hypercompetitive and ever-evolving legal landscape.

He explains that law has become a buyer’s market, where clients are shopping around for lawyers are more in control of their relationships with law firms.

He then gives actionable advice on how to create a client-centered law firm that “rethinks the business model, culture, client service, competitiveness, growth strategies, diversity, and leadership of legal enterprises.”

Best books for lawyers on business

You’ve been trained in the law, but not necessarily in business.

To learn the business skills you need to succeed, you’ll want to check out these books.

How to Become a Rainmaker The Rules for Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients

How to Become a Rainmaker: The Rules for Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients by Jeffrey J. Fox


While not specifically for lawyers and law firms, this book has crucial tips and guidance for law firms struggling with finding and keeping clients.

Fox’s writing style is witty and captivating, and all of his advice is practical–real tips that you can use in your day-to-day life.

It’s the type of book you read once and keep nearby to refer to when you need a sales-refresher.

The Tools of Argument How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win Paperback

The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win


Whether you’ve been practicing law for 30 years or are fresh out of law school, Trachtman’s book is worth a read.

He shares his trade secrets that’ve been honed over decades of practice. By the end of it, you’ll have improved “your analytical thinking, your foundational legal knowledge, and your confidence as you win arguments for your clients, your organizations or yourself.”

Mastering the art of argument can help you not only in court but in business dealings and even when you’re trying to win clients.

Lean Startup How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries


The legal market is always shifting, and it’s been seeing some rapid changes over the past ten or so years. As clients become empowered and technology advances, what was once a stuffy, by-the-book field has become more transactional.

Ries shares how all businesses can continue to adapt and adjust to changing market conditions by staying innovative.

We recommend this not only for law firm owners but for anyone interested in staying on top of their industry.

Best books for attorneys on productivity and time management

Struggling to stay productive and hit deadlines? Even the best of us have days where we just can’t get everything done.

With these books, you can level up your productivity and master time management.

Getting Things Done The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen


What has been hailed as one of the most influential business books of all time, Allen’s bible of productivity may be what you need to stay on top of business and life.

It’s so well-known that it’s inspired an entire way of living. “GTD” is now shorthand for a way of approaching personal and professional organization.

The Checklist Manifesto How To Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen


Gawande acknowledges that with advancing technologies and more advanced training needs, it’s becoming harder to stay on track of tasks.

He takes us through captivating stories of times when checklists literally saved lives.

If you’re struggling to stay on top of things, mastering the checklist could be what you need.

Brain Rules 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina


Taking a more scientific approach to productivity, Medina, a molecular biologist, shares how brain science can affect the way we work and live.

In each chapter, he goes over a brain rule–confirmed findings of how our brains work–and provides actionable advice to employ them in our daily lives.

And his writing style is vibrant and friendly, making the stories and anecdotes all the more effective.

Best books for lawyers on mental health and the work-life balance

Working in the legal profession is incredibly demanding, even moreso for lawyers and law firm owners. Finding ways to take care of mental health and create a positive work-life balance is essential for staying healthy and avoiding the dreaded burnout.

The Happy Lawyer Making a Good Life in the Law by Nancy Levit and Douglas O. Linder

The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law by Nancy Levit and Douglas O. Linder


If you’re feeling unhappy or are questioning your career in law, it might be time to take a step back and examine why you’re unhappy.

The Happy Lawyer looks at what aspects of law typically make lawyers unhappy and outlines a path toward a more rewarding and fulfilling career in law.

It goes over everything from the science of happiness to the small details, like choosing the right job to maximize your happiness. Plus, there are even tips for firm managers struggling to keep their team’s morale up.

the anxious lawyer

The Anxious Lawyer: An 8-Week Guide to a Joyful and Satisfying Law Practice Through Mindfulness and Meditation by Jeena Cho


As science has begun to validate the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, interest has skyrocketed. But lawyers value logic, and many struggle to see the value in sitting still for any amount of time.

Gifford and Cho’s The Anxious Lawyer found relief in meditation as practicing lawyers and created a guide for others in the profession.

It’s a straightforward 8-week guide with step-by-step instructions. We promise if you give it a try, you’ll become a better you.

The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale


If you’ve been struggling with negative thoughts, you need to give this a read.

This international bestseller gives you practical tips you need to reinvigorate your life and start thinking more positively about yourself, your career, and life.

With it, you’ll learn to believe in your power as a practicing lawyer, improve your relationships, and find ways to manage self-doubt and anxiety.

Best books for lawyers on self-improvement

Being a lawyer involves constantly learning. You’ll need to stay on top of changing laws, but you’ll also want to continue learning the soft skills lawyers use every day.

Things like negotiating and storytelling are used in courtrooms, in the board room, and when meeting with clients.

Storytelling for Lawyers by Phillip Meyer

Storytelling for Lawyers by Phillip Meyer


Lawyers are storytellers by nature. They tell stories in court, in the boardroom, when meeting with clients, and when speaking to other lawyers.

Being an effective storyteller is a key skill for any legal professional. If you can confidently construct a narrative that has an emotional impact on its intended audience, you’ve done your job.

But there’s a lot to storytelling that doesn’t come naturally (and it isn’t taught in law school). Learning how to construct a narrative and turn boring facts into a compelling story is a skill.

Meyer explains the importance of narrative in litigation and provides a toolkit and practical tips for lawyers hoping to learn to craft their own legal stories.

the 7 habits of highly effective people

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey


This international best-seller has helped millions of people, including CEOs, presidents, parents, teachers, and lawyers become more effective professionals.

It’s chock-full of practical anecdotes and insights that help illustrate Covey’s principle-centred approach for solving both personal and professional problems.

The principles of fairness, honesty, integrity, and dignity shape the 7 habits Covey outlines which can help you become a more effective and adaptive person.

Getting to Yes Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher


Based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, Getting to Yes is a national bestseller that’s helped millions of people learn to negotiate.

A necessary skill for any lawyer, Fisher outlines a step-by-step strategy to becoming a better negotiator. The best part is that it’s not just filled with theory–there are practical steps that are applicable to everyone.

Best humorous books for lawyers

All work and no play makes for… well, an unhappy lawyer.

These books will help brighten up your work life and provide some perspective that you may be missing out on.

The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law by Mark Herrman

The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law by Mark Herrman


Written by a self-proclaimed curmudgeon, this collection of essays has practical advice for surviving in the legal industry.

It covers everything from law firm etiquette and the basics of working in a law practice to how to do effective research and what to wear.

But it distinguishes itself by providing helpful advice through a humorous, tongue-in-cheek lens.

Whether you’ve just graduated from law school or are a seasoned lawyer, this book is sure to have some valuable insight.

Humor, Seriously Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life (And how anyone can harness it. Even you.)

Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life (And how anyone can harness it. Even you.)


Aaker and Bagdonas have created something special here. It’s a guide to using humor as a tool for leadership, a thought most lawyers have never had.

They claim that because of this unprecedented period of uncertainty that we live in, many of us are deficient in human connection and mental health.

The remedy? Laughter.

This book is a companion to their Stanford course, where they draw on findings of behavioral scientists and comedians to teach you how and why you should use humor in your professional life.

The New Yorker Book of Lawyer Cartoons

The New Yorker Book of Lawyer Cartoons


There’s not much to say here.

This is a classic collection of acclaimed lawyer cartoons that are great when you just need a laugh.

Best memoirs, historical accounts, and other classics

There’s a lot to learn from reading the historical accounts of other legal professionals. Reading about others’ successes and mistakes can teach you a lot about your own experience and how to navigate situations.

Here are a few of our favorites.

And the Dead Shall Rise by Steve Oney

And the Dead Shall Rise by Steve Oney


Steve Oney recounts the case of Mary Phagan’s murder and accused Leo Frank’s commutation and lynching, a case that’s been the subject of many Hollywood productions.

It’s an illuminating case on America’s history, and Oney tells a gripping narrative while he goes over all the facts of the case.

It’s worth a read for anyone in the legal profession.

The Story of My Life by Clarence Darrow

The Story of My Life by Clarence Darrow


This is the story of Clarence Darrow, a famous corporate, labor, and (perhaps what he’s best known for) criminal lawyer. It’s an intimate autobiography where Darrow goes into some of his most celebrated cases, including the Chicago “thrill” murder case with Leopold and Loeb.

Written in his conversational style, it’s mandatory reading for any lawyer interested in getting some perspective into some landmark cases and, ultimately, Clarence Darrow.

My Life in Court by Louis Nizer

My Life in Court by Louis Nizer


A New York Times bestseller, My Life in Court is Nizer’s autobiography which recounts his significant civil and criminal cases.

Critics praised it as “entertaining and philosophically instructive, an unusual combination.”

While taking a dramatic and compelling look at his famous cases, including the famous libel action which would be turned into a Broadway play, Nizer shares some real insight into his court processes and decisions.