The Best Books for Lawyers—25 Books Every Lawyer Should Read

Written by Teresa Matich13 minutes well spent
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Ever wonder what information you need to run the best legal practice possible? There are a million-and-one books on business, law, and the business of law—so how do you know you’re reading the top books for lawyers?

A great place to start is to explore what your peers in the legal industry are reading. To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the 25 best books for lawyers—drawing from recommendations from our community of legal professionals and Clio’s lawyer-in-residence, Joshua Lenon.

Read on to discover everything from timeless classics to lesser-known gems. We’ve also included quotes from the legal professionals who recommended them for added measure. Happy reading!

Best books for lawyers on starting and running a law firm

1. The E-Myth Attorney: Why Most Legal Practices Don’t Work and What to Do About It

By: Michael Gerber

The E-Myth Attorney is one of the best books for lawyers because it teaches you how to get your business up and running as quickly as possible—using tools and strategies needed for 21st-century law firms. This was the most recommended legal book by our lawyer community. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

“It is the standard for business owners in terms of how to grow your business by working on it and not in it!” -Bertha B.

“It’s a great book that gets you thinking about how to make your practice relevant and forward-thinking.” -Alicia I.

“This book really hammers home the importance of fully systemizing your practice.” – Matthew T.

2. How to Start & Build a Law Practice

By: Jay Foonberg

Part of the career series from the American Bar Association, How to Start & Build a Law Practice offers a guide to planning, launching, and growing a successful practice.

“His idea to keep photos of your loved ones or things you really want on the wall behind potential clients is so effective. You can look at the potential client juxtaposed against the loved ones or things you desire while determining if the client who balks at the quoted rate is more loved than your children, pets, spouse, cottage, etc.” -Jennifer S.

Want more tips on starting a law firm without breaking the bank? Download our free guide, How to Start Your Own Law Firm.

3. Attorney and Law Firm Guide to the Business of Law: Planning and Operating for Survival and Growth, Third Edition

By: Edward Poll

Want to get the fundamentals of running a law firm in one clear, concise guide? Clio’s lawyer-in-residence, Joshua Lenon, recommends this ABA bestseller as a top book for lawyers.

Whether you’re starting a law firm from the ground up or looking to expand your practice, the Attorney and Law Firm Guide to the Business of Law contains the information you need to achieve success.

4. Solo by Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be

By: Carolyn Elefant

The heart wants what the heart wants. If you’re thinking about going solo but are hesitant to take the big leap, read this book to gather the courage to do it—and do it right. 

Solo by Choice is meant for any lawyer who has wanted to start their own practice, but is worried about committing career suicide, stressed over how to set up the office, and nervous about how to find clients. You’ll learn best practices and hear stories from other lawyers who have been successful at starting their practice.

Looking to start your own practice? Here are 15 useful ways to invest in your law firm’s future, based on some of our most popular posts from the Clio Blog.

5. The Marble and the Sculptor: From Law School to Law Practice

By: Keith Lee

Have you just finished law school and are trying to figure out your next step? Lee’s The Marble and the Sculptor is one of the best books for lawyers who are new to the field. Advice includes everything from which classes to take during law school to the importance of being able to write well and develop client relationships.  

Do you want to start your own law practice as a young solo practitioner? Here are a few tips for succeeding as a young solo practitioner.

6. The Client-Centered Law Firm: How to Succeed in an Experience-Driven World

By: Jack Newton

The Client-Centered Law Firm covers the what, why, and how of running a client-centered practice, with examples from law firms leading this revolution. It’s a rallying call to unlock the enormous untapped demand in the legal market by providing client-centered experiences, improving internal processes, and raising the bottom line. 

Although we may be a tad biased since Jack is Clio’s CEO, with the practical and in-depth implementation strategies throughout this book, we promise you won’t regret adding it to your list of best books for lawyers. 

7. Law Is a Buyer’s Market: Building A Client-First Law Firm

By: Jordan Furlong

Law is a Buyer’s Market covers how lawyers can respond to an increasingly competitive landscape with cost-effective solutions. 

Jordan Furlong is a leading strategic forecaster of the global legal market. He explains how to create a law firm built to succeed in this new buyer’s market, starting with being client-centric. 

Best books for lawyers on productivity and time management

8. First Things First

By: Stephen Covey and Roger Merrill

Lawyers and other legal professionals are high performers by nature, which sometimes throws off the time dedicated to personal life. First Things First qualifies as one of the best books for lawyers because it delivers proven tools to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

“[Read this book] to help figure out how to prioritize things properly and to remind [yourself] that [your] client’s emergency may not really be an emergency.” -Todd V.

9. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

By: Stephen Covey

A business bestseller for over two decades, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People takes readers through a change in perception regarding productivity, law firm time management, positive thinking, and more. It’s a must-read for any business professional, lawyers included.

“I would recommend the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for those who have not read it. If you read it some time ago, maybe read it again. Staying in Quadrant 2 is a major stress-prevention technique that works.” -Marc J.

Looking for a solution to help you stay organized on-the-go? Built for lawyers, Clio’s legal calendar software keeps you connected to your cases, clients, and work.

10. Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life

By: Spencer Johnson

If you’re looking at a big change like switching practice areas or starting your own law firm, Who Moved My Cheese? can help prepare you.

“A very simple, but wise, little book literally changed the way I looked at my career and life … I know, eyes are probably rolling, but when I left my large law firm after 16 years, and in my 40s, to start a new firm with a group of lawyers and co-workers, this book confirmed I was making the right decision.” -Rhonda O.

Are you starting your own practice but need guidance on where to start? Check out our dedicated resource section on Clio’s website for how to start your own law firm.

Best books for lawyers on business

11. Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

By: Eric Ries

Want to thrive in an ever-changing legal market? Start by reading this book. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, Lean Startup focuses on rapid scientific experimentation, and several other counter-intuitive practices, to shorten product development cycles, measure progress without being distracted by vanity metrics, and cater to customer demands. 

Lean Startup by Eric Ries should be mandatory for all of us. Like it or not, we all operate ‘startups,’ which Ries defines as human institutions operating in times of extreme uncertainty. The legal market—and future of our profession—makes Lean Startup tools critical.” -Greg McLawsen, 2016 Clio Cloud Conference speaker

12. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

By: Seth Godin

Looking for ways to set yourself apart from the competition? Purple Cow is a great book for lawyers because it gives you the tips you need to get started.

“This book explores the importance of standing out in a sea of others who sell the same thing as you. Godin has written many other books on marketing (Permission Marketing, Tribes, etc.), and you can find excellent takeaways from each.” -Jeremy N.

Want to learn more about marketing? Check out The Lawyer’s Guide to Marketing Your Firm Online

13. The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

By: Bob Burg

If you’re anxious about reaching out to potential clients, The Go-Giver is for you.

“This helped me to better understand clients, be more patient, be a better referral partner, and be less cautious or afraid of ‘selling’ or reaching out to people generally. People who have never been in sales tend to be very tentative about reaching out to folks or don’t want to seem ‘pushy.’” -Shreya L.

Whether you’re networking with fellow attorneys or attending non-legal networking events relevant to your practice area, here is a list of top legal networking tips to help you be successful.

14. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

By: Peter Thiel

If you want your firm to be a cut above the rest, you’ve got to be different. Zero to One shows you where to begin.

“A good read with practical thoughts on how to run/organize a business. We sometimes forget that while we are a profession, we are running businesses as well, and we need to make sure that we stay current with things so we do not become irrelevant.” -Todd V.

15. How to Win Friends & Influence People

By: Dale Carnegie

One of the most groundbreaking and iconic bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends & Influence People will help you build relationships with clients, lawyers, and others in the legal community.

“It’s got great basic principles about dealing with people and establishing business relationships.” -Mike B.

16. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

By: Simon Sinek

This book focuses on a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, influential, and profitable than others? In Start with Why, Sinek takes a deep dive into why businesses are able to generate greater customer and employee loyalty than others. 

“‘People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.’ This is the single most impactful phrase from that book for my business.” – Michelle N. Ogborne, Ogborne Law PLC

Best books for lawyers on mental health

17. Awaken the Giant Within

By: Tony Robbins

Trying to get motivated, but need just one more push? Pick up Awaken the Giant Within, give it a read, and you’ll be primed to get started.

“It will motivate you to change everything, your relationships, your work habits, your finances and your life.” -John S.

18. The Anxious Lawyer: An 8-Week Guide to a Joyful and Satisfying Law Practice Through Mindfulness and Meditation

By: Jeena Cho

The legal profession is inherently stressful, but it doesn’t have to harm your health. The Anxious Lawyer provides a straightforward 8-week introductory program on meditation and mindfulness, created by lawyers for lawyers. 

The program includes practical tools, including access to guided meditations and worksheets that allow the reader to track their progress.

Lawyers often work under a high amount of stress. Learn how to take care of your mental health while working at a law firm with this mindfulness and meditation webinar for lawyers.

Classic best books for lawyers

19. To Kill a Mockingbird

By: Harper Lee

A list of the best books for lawyers wouldn’t be complete without this classic work of American literature. Atticus Finch, the main character in To Kill a Mockingbird, has become a role model for many lawyers—there’s even a monument in his honor at a courthouse in Monroeville, Alabama.

20. Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates

By: Ross Guberman

Want all of your briefs and motions to shine? The author of this book has carefully analyzed arguments from distinguished lawyers, and has distilled his findings into tips to help you write like them.

Each chapter of Point Made focuses on a specific challenge you might face during your client’s case. Guberman provides a strategic roadmap, practical tips, and annotated examples of the successes of prominent attorneys.

21. Storytelling for Lawyers

By: Philip Meyer

Good lawyers know how to tell compelling stories. No matter what the complexities of the case, they can capably explain a chain of events to judges and juries so that they understand. Exceptional lawyers take it even further, constructing narratives that have an emotional impact on their intended audiences. 

Eager to refine these skills? Storytelling for Lawyers is packed with advice on how to construct a compelling narrative based on (sometimes) dry facts.

Inspirational best books for lawyers

22. Lawyers as Changemakers: The Global Integrative Law Movement

By: J. Kim Wright

Integrative Law has to do with a fundamental shift in our worldview. Lawyers as Changemakers helps the reader think in a more expansive way to imagine what could be possible. It draws upon many disciplines, such as philosophy, science, psychology, and spirituality. 

“This offers great insights into all the powerful, creative ways lawyers get out there and truly help people and society.” – Nancy Retsinas, Nancy Retsinas PC

23. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

By: Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy is a #1 New York Times bestseller and was named one of the most influential books of the decade by CNN. It’s an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age. 

“This is one of the most powerful books I’ve read, and shows just how badly the scales of justice are tipped against criminal defendants, especially particular segments of society. I’d recommend it to every lawyer, not just defense attorneys.” – Ericka McFee, Attorney, McFee Law Offices PC

Best books for lawyers who like writing

24. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

By: Lynne Truss

A misplaced comma can make all the difference in a contract or argument. Eats, Shoots & Leaves makes a powerful case for the understanding and application of proper punctuation.

25. The Elements of Legal Style

By: Bryan A. Garner

Inspired by Strunk and White’s classic guide, The Elements of Legal Style is one of the best books for lawyers as it covers word choice, grammar, mechanics, and more.

Garner also highlights the special conventions specific to legal writers, including how to use headings, defined terms, quotations, and many other devices. 

Final thoughts on the best books for lawyers

Wrapping up our exploration of the best books for lawyers, it’s clear that a wealth of knowledge is at your fingertips. Whether you’re just starting out, seeking to refine your practice, or looking to innovate in a rapidly changing legal landscape, these books offer invaluable insights and guidance. 

Embrace these resources to enhance your skills, expand your perspectives, and ultimately run a successful, fulfilling law practice. Happy reading, and here’s to your continued success in the legal profession!

Categorized in: Business, Marketing, Technology

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