Top lawyers share their favourite books for Reading Week

By: November 6, 2017

These three books will make you a better lawyer

woman reading in bed

Reading Week is here. You’ve made it through two months of classes, not to mention the fall recruitment season. You deserve a break. So take this time to relax and catch your breath.

But as a law student, you probably can’t stay idle for too long. If you’re looking for something both relaxing and productive to do this Reading Week, why not pick up a good book? We’ve asked three lawyers to each share one book that made a big impact on their careers. We hope this reading list will do the same for you.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Bleak house

Recommended by: Molly M. Reynolds, associate, Torys, Toronto

An associate recommended this book to me when I attended my first trial as an articling student. Even though the story is set in the 18th century, Dickens’s engaging narrative reveals how access-to-justice issues have plagued the common-law system since the Victorian era.

Trial delays, self-represented litigants and even the sometimes-grueling experience of articling are all laid bare in this novel. We can’t change the future if we don’t understand the history of our legal system. But what has changed since the time of Dickens is our ability, as young lawyers in a technology-driven economy, to test out new solutions to these age-old problems.

Dickens is way more entertaining than your Grade 9 English teacher made him seem, so pick up Bleak House this Reading Week. Bonus: it’s available for free download on your tablet because the copyright has long expired.


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

Influence persuasion book

Recommended by: Sean Robichaud, owner of Robichaud’s Criminal Defence Litigation, Toronto

This book is considered essential reading for advertisers and marketers, but it’s equally applicable to lawyers. We need persuasion to advance our client’s interests, increase the value of our businesses and earn credibility with courts and opposing parties. And we’re toothless as advocates without it. Robert Cialdini brings together the keys concepts of psychology in his book to answer the important question, “Why do people say ‘yes’?” The answer may surprise you.


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To kill a mocking bird

Recommended by: Tom Boyd, associate, Lawson Lundell, Vancouver

This is the classic novel for lawyers. The story is centered around a racially-charged murder trial that took place during the Great Depression in America’s Deep South. In addition to its searing critique of small-town racism, the novel is best known for its moral touchstone: Atticus, the defense counsel in the trial. Atticus’s calm and reasoned defense of the black man who was accused, in the face of bigotry and unfairness, is a model for all lawyers. And there are few lawyers, senior partners included, who haven’t read this book — it’s a great talking point at interviews. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already.

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