5 Books for Lawyers to Add to Their Summer Reading Lists

books for lawyers

Even if you’re spending more time in front of the bench than on the beach, these books for lawyers will help you enjoy the extra daylight this summer.

Our Commissioners and members of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) have recommended books for lawyers that have twofold benefits for your practice.

First, reading for pleasure can improve your personal mental function and well-being. Second, the topics of these books will expand your professionalism and cultural competency.

Check out these 5 books for lawyers to meet both your reading goals and your professional development goals.

1. A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archi Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson

Recommended by August Hieber, AOIC Senior Program Manager.

This short graphic novel is an accessible guide to why pronouns matter and how to use gender-neutral pronouns.

The content of the graphic novel speaks to those who use gender-neutral pronouns, as well as those who want to better understand and be respectful of colleagues or clients who use gender-neutral pronouns.

“I chose this book because it helped me teach my family, friends, colleagues, and peers how to use ‘they/them’ pronouns in a fun, easy-to-learn way that makes me feel respected and loved,” Hieber said.

2. Atomic Habits by James Clear

Recommended by Commissioner Azam Nizamuddin, Managing Partner at Martoccio and Martoccio

Have you tried to implement a new habit—like taking daily walks or dedicating time to learning a new skill—only to abandon your efforts as soon as a stressful case comes up?

“[Atomic Habits] is one of the best recent self-help books [I’ve read], which provides a helpful guide on mastering the four laws of improving aspects of your life through habit formation,” Nizamuddin said.

By following the strategies in the book, lawyers will learn to build and maintain habits, aiming to “get 1% better every day,” according to the book description.

3. To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

Recommended by Alison Spanner, Director, Access to Justice and Strategic Planning at the AOIC

This book is separated into three distinct timelines in America with overlapping characters. The characters have complex backgrounds of varied ethnicities, disabilities, sexualities, and economic positions. However, each character’s arc is united under the theme of “finding paradise.”

“It is about love, family, loss, and the elusive promise of utopia,” Spanner said. “Novels with an alternative history remind me that the confines of our world are malleable and that change is possible.”

4. The Practice: Brutal Truths About Lawyers and Lawyering by Brian Tannebaum

Recommended by Commissioner Trisha Rich, Partner and Co-Chair of the Legal Profession Team at Holland & Knight LLP

Author Brian Tannebaum is a lawyer, former columnist for Above The Law, and professional ethics blog founder and writer. His blog “My Law License” was named one of the top 100 legal blogs by the American Bar Association.

“The Practice: Brutal Truths About Lawyers and Lawyering” covers the proper way to handle referrals, rainmaking, personal branding, and more.

“I think this is a great read, especially for young lawyers,” Rich said. “The book is both accessible and entertaining, and also provides practical advice.”

5. Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

Recommended by Commissioner Heather Kroencke, Partner at Zanck, Coen, Wright & Saladin, PC  

No summer reading list is complete without a fiction thriller. This book follows a Chinese family, located in the Netherlands and the U.S., as they search for a missing member of their family.

“Kwok artfully integrates the struggles of an immigrant family with the suspense of a thriller novel,” Kroencke said.

Did we miss any books for lawyers that have made your summer reading list? Add them in the comments below.

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