BOOKS BEYOND THE SYLLABUS:
RECOMMENDED PROFESSIONAL READING

Professor Walter A. Effross
Fall 2000
Washington College of Law
American University


Although I don't endorse every opinion expressed in them, I suggest that law students might find the books below, most of which are available in paperback, useful in their continuing professional development.

The Office Life
Meetings
Legal Writing
Organization
Corporations and Business Law- Books
Corporations and Business Law- Periodicals
Computers/Internet
Psychological/Spiritual
Law Firms and the Future of the Profession
Great Books
Miscellaneous
One Final Item




The Office Life


Each of these small books contains about 360 brief suggestions, as varied as “When you're working on the computer, save the document you’re working on frequently,” “Always carry a cheap, thin calculator,” and “Never go to more than two meetings a day or you will never get anything done.” Each is the kind of thing that a friend or mentor might tell you an entire story to illustrate. Some of the material you’ll disagree with and some you’ll think is obvious. But some of Moran’s points you will probably find to be valuable new material, or at least useful reminders. Highly recommended.

Other books of the same type include:


A similar approach to advice on personal financial transactions can be found in

You might also find it useful to keep a dictionary (I recommend the latest edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary), a recent almanac, and a road atlas (I recommend the most recent edition of the AAA North American Road Atlas) in your office. Another good thing to have handy, especially in case of fast-breaking news, is a small radio.


Meetings


Legal Writing

Organization


Corporations and Business Law- Books


Corporations and Business Law- Periodicals

Note that every spring Fortune, Forbes and Business Week publish lists of the most successful companies, as well as articles that interpreting the year’s trends as reflected in these lists.


Computers/Internet

Psychological/Spiritual


Law Firms and the Future of the Profession


Great Books

In this vein, you might also enjoy:


Miscellaneous


Ch’ui the draftsman
Could draw more perfect circles freehand
Than with a compass.

His fingers brought forth
Spontaneous forms from nowhere. His mind
Was meanwhile free and without concern
With what he was doing.
. . . .

Easy is right. Begin right
And you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
Is to forget the right way
And forget that the going is easy.


One Final Item


Cardozo, Benjamin- “The Game of Law and Its Prizes”
In Selected Writings of Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (ed. Margaret Hall) (Fallon Publications 1947)

The text of his address at the seventy-fourth commencement of the Albany
Law School, on June 10, 1925.

Some excerpts:

[A lawyer] must be historian and prophet all in one-- the qualities of each united in a perfect blend-- who would fulfill that task completely. . . . Here is a game, a puzzle, a conundrum, to mystify and pique. Here is a task, a summons, a vocation, to rouse and stir and quicken. Give what you have, whether what you have be much or little. You will be sharers in a process that is greater than the greatest of its ministers. . . .
. . . . The process of justice is never finished, but reproduces itself, generation after generation, in ever-changing forms, and today, as in the past, it calls for the bravest and the best. . . .

I come back to my metaphor of a game, a game which exacts skill but which, like every game worth playing, exacts something more important, and that something is the sportsman’s spirit, which is only another word for character. This is the chief thing, more important far than skill, for skill without this will be palsied and perverted. Play the game like sportsmen, or give it up at the beginning, and choose some other calling, which, if its aims are less exalted, will at least spare you the reproach of insincerity, since its members will not have pledged themselves to be votaries of justice. . . .

. . . . There may be hours of discouragement and rebuff. When the course is run, we shall see them in their true perspective. We shall know in the end that the game was worth the effort.
“Most of the troubles of life,” says the French philosopher, “would be avoided if men would only be content to sit still in their parlors.” Ah! but they will not, even those of them who have the parlors, and that is their glory, if it is also their undoing. The ceaseless drive is there; the lure that prods and teases; the shining, if shifting, goal, which, like the lighthouses of today, may summon with a revolving light, but ever swings full circle, a beacon to the wandering traveler.

This is no life of cloistered ease to which you dedicate your powers. This is a life that touches your fellow men at every angle of their being, a life that you must live in the crowd, and yet apart from it, man of the world and philosopher by turns.

You will study the wisdom of the past, for in a wilderness of conflicting counsels, a trail has there been blazed.

You will study the life of mankind, for this is the life you must order, and, to order with wisdom, must know.

You will study the precepts of justice, for these are the truths that through you shall come to their hour of triumph.

Here is the high emprise, the fine endeavor, the splendid possibility of achievement, to which I summon you and bid you welcome.


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