In recent years the ABA Journal, the magazine of the America Bar Association, has been into various “best of” lists for law (e.g., best movies, best TV shows). The latest is the 25 Greatest Law Novels Ever (there’s actually 26 because there was a tie for 25th). Evidently, my cultural legal education is lacking as I’ve only read seven of them.
Part of the reason may be the way a “law novel” is defined. A law novel is one whose storyline revolved around lawyers, legal cases or “the moral milieu of the law.” I’m sorry, what? Anyway, the magazine asked 14 “particularly well-read lawyers and scholars” for nominations and came up with a list of more than 100 books. The same panelists made the selection from that ballot.
You probably won’t be supervised that To Kill A Mockingbird topped the list. And, of course, John Grisham and Scott Turow show up. But I think you’ll be surprised by several of the entries. I know I was.
And none of these were required reading for law school. There’s a couple on the list that perhaps should be.
Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of [another].
Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird