Ever since the first laws were adopted by ancient civilizations, laws and books about laws have helped to bind societies together. Although most early laws were simple prohibitions, such as prohibiting murder, laws have grown increasingly complex over time. As laws have become more pervasive and influential, the need for books about law has grown; case studies, legal theories and law histories have become essential books about law for any practicing lawyer.

However, books about law are not limited to professionals in the legal field. Law and crime are popular subjects for many works of fiction; legal thrillers, detective stories and true crime books fill the shelves of many bookstores. Books about law also help to change public opinion, championing the passage of new laws or laying the groundwork for repeal of existing laws. Although law can sometimes be dry and dusty, the importance of law in modern society is too great to ignore.

#1 – The Constitution of the United States of America, with all of the Amendments; The Declaration of Independence; and The Articles of Confederation

James Madison, Charles F. Stamper (editor)constitution.books.about.law

The United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation form the foundation of the entire United States legal system. This annotated work presents these three milestone documents in a single collection. Although not a long book, its convenient format and the importance of the documents it contains has helped it become one of the best-selling books about law.

#2 – The Federalist Papers

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay federalist-papers-books-about-law

The Federalist Papers is a collection of essays written in the late 1700s to promote ratification of the United States Constitution. Many of these essays were published in newspapers to reach a wide audience, and each essay covers a different topic. The success of The Federalist Papers paved the way for future books about law to advocate for changes to the law.

#3 – Law 101

Jay M. Feinman law-101-books-about-law

Jay Feinman presents a thorough overview of the American justice system in this book about law. Readers can expect to learn many of the same basic concepts taught to law students, including constitutional law and criminal law. Feinman uses well-known court cases as examples to help readers gain a better understanding of American law.

#4 – One L

Scott TurowOne-L-books-about-law

Scott Turow recounts the enormous challenges he experienced during his first year of law school at Harvard in this book about law. Typical challenges Turow faced included difficult professors, competitive students, sleepless nights and rigorous studying. Although Turow wrote this book in the 1970s, it’s still one of the most popular books about law for students preparing to enter law school.

#5 – The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law

Robert H. Borkthe-tempting-of-america-books-about-law

In the late 1980s, President Reagan nominated Robert Bork to become an Associate Justice for the Supreme Court, an event that has inspired many books about law. His nomination set off a long and controversial debate in the United States Senate that ended with the rejection of his nomination. In this book, Bork reflects on those events and also shares some of his controversial views on laws and politics in America.

#6 – The Legal Analyst

Ward Farsworththe-legal-anaylst-books-about-law

Many books about law focus on legal rules and laws. In this book, however, the author seeks to educate law students and lawyers on improving their ability to carefully think about legal concepts. In each chapter, the author presents a tool and explains how it can be used to solve a legal problem.

#7 – The Rule of Law

Tom Binghamthe-rule-of-law-books-about-law

This short book about law, written by one of Britain’s most prominent law experts, examines the concept of the rule of law. Under the rule of law, citizens are bound to the same set of common laws rather than the whims of an individual, such as a dictator. The author argues that following the rule of law is the best method to provide fairness to all members of a society.

#8 – To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Leeto-kill-a-mocking-bird-books-about-law

This classic American novel about law is narrated by Scout, the young daughter of an influential lawyer in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. Her father, Atticus Finch, is the only lawyer in town who will defend a black man accused of a horrible crime against a white woman. During the case, Scout comes to see the inherent racism in her small town.

#9 – In Cold Blood

Truman Capotein-cold-blood-books-about-law

Often considered the first modern true crime book, In Cold Blood focuses on the murder of the Clutter family in Kansas in 1959. The author spent considerable time researching the facts of the case, and the book blends these facts with recreated dialogue and scenes to create a fast-paced thriller. The success of this book inspired an entire genre of books about law and crime.

#10 – Letters to a Law Student

Nicholas J. McBrideletters-to-a-law-student-books-about-law

Prospective law students can gain useful knowledge about their upcoming education in this book about law. The book uses a conversational style to give readers a lively guide to the first year of law school, which is typically a challenging year. The honest advice given in this book makes it one of the best books about law for prospective law students to read.