2019 summer reads

 

With July 4th just around the corner, you might be looking for a good beach read to enjoy. (Yes, even lawyers need to relax.) We recently ran a piece with tons of great suggestions specifically for lawyers. Here are a bunch of other recommendations:

“For lawyers looking for a great fun read this summer, I recommend When Corruption Was King by Robert Cooley. A lawyer becomes an informant for the FBI against the mob, and it’s all a true story.” —Russell D. Knight, a divorce lawyer in Naples, Florida

“If you’re heading to the beach, I suggest bringing My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni. This is a great legal read for the off-duty legal mind. My Sister’s Grave reminds us that for the justice system to work, it is better to have a guilty man on the street than an innocent in jail. It is a nail-biter of a read that will keep you guessing until the very last page.” –Andrew November, a disability lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio

The Last Trial by Robert Bailey is the third standalone book in the McMurtrie and Drake legal thriller series, so you can just read one of them or check out the entire series. Taking place in Alabama, Bailey takes you on an intense page-turner with his protagonist, Thomas Jackson McMurtrie, who takes on the case of a woman arrested for the murder of his old nemesis. Bailey attended law school at the University of Alabama and has practiced law for the past thirteen years, making him a great author for lawyers. He is exceptional at weaving together a tense trial full of surprises.” –Lance J. Robinson, a criminal defense and personal injury attorney in New Orleans

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe is a superbly written piece of fiction by one of our generation’s best writers. It is entertaining but also involves the high-stakes drama of New York criminal court machinations set in the mid-80s. It’s a great escape from the day-to-day minutiae of the law.” —Jeff Shiver, a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia

“For trial lawyers, Rules of the Road by Rick Friedman and Patrick Malone and Reptile by David Ball and Don Keenan are both a must to show you how and why to use industry safety standards and safety rules to win negligence cases of all types.” –Lin McCraw, a personal injury lawyer in Texas

“I tend to reach for true crime books that will keep my interest and teach me something. I highly recommend Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupDoing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law; and The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. Each of the books includes case histories and touches on why the rule of law is so important in our society.” –Michael Schmiege, a criminal defense attorney in Chicago

“Trial lawyer Carl Bettinger hits a home run with 12 Heroes, One Voicea book on trial preparation and presentation. Borrowing from many sources, Bettinger offers a manual on persuading juries to reach high dollar verdicts in difficult cases. Also, in the amazing Maps of Meaning, controversial political figure Jordan Peterson analyzes human perception in the context of ancient stories, and he explains why the hero’s journey format remains so intrinsically powerful.  As trial lawyers, we are first and foremost story-tellers, and Pederson explains how our brains evolved to be receptive to a certain pattern of storytelling. This book is a must-read for all trial lawyers.” —Patrick Barone a criminal defense attorney in Michigan

“There are countless books aimed at lawyers but my recommendation are books on how to run a business.  My favorites recently have been Secret Service: Hidden Systems That Deliver Unforgettable Customer Service by John DiJulius.  This book explains how to provide customer service above and beyond what customers and clients expect.  While not aimed at lawyers, the concepts are easily adaptable to today’s law practice.  Our clients will judge our customer service measured against Amazon, Target, Starbucks, etc. and lawyers are notorious for providing poor customer service.  Another great book is Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It and Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0) by Verne Harnish.  This book is like an MBA degree in 200 pages. It is a blueprint for successful businesses, including today’s modern law firm.  My final recommendation is The Motivation Toolkit: How to Align Your Employees’ Interests with Your Own by David Kreps.  A lawyer is the heart of the law firm, but the successful lawyer is surrounded by competent staff.  This book explains how to motivate your staff in a way that makes you, as the lawyer, the most productive.  For summer reading, I highly recommend lawyers to move outside their comfort zone and learn how to improve their business, rather than how to improve their skills.” —Michael McCready, a personal injury and workers compensation lawyer in Chicago

Kristin Johnson is an executive and corporate communications professional, and founder of KSJ Communications, a communications and public relations firm. She consults with a diverse roster of clients spanning the technology, professional services, financial services, public sector, consumer, and healthcare industries. In addition to Rocket Matter, Johnson writes for various other publications as well.