Liberal Lawyers: To Kill a Mocking Bird and Other Essential Readings

In his essay titled “Liberally Educating Law Students: Suggested Readings”, Professor Leonard J. Long rightly notes (albeit in the US context) (read the article here):

“Is the aim of legal education merely to produce (that is, graduate) mere legal technocrats? If that were the primary aim of legal education, then a reading list for the well-read law graduate could conceivably consist of only law or law-related titles. But lawyers, at least in America, wield a fair bit of political power and influence. (I will not comment here as to whether this is a good or bad thing.) Lawyers are found to dominate all branches of government, and to dominate all levels of government (from the highest executive office of the federal government down to the local school or zoning board). Lawyers are found in key positions in both the for-profit and the nonprofit business arenas. Lawyers will dominate the never-ending debates over healthcare reform, welfare reform, prison reform, school reform, gun control, the rights of children, etc. And there will be some sad results if the lawyers who dominate these debates lack a liberal education and are merely legal technocrats.”

He proceeds to give a list of suggesting reading for a “liberally educated law student”, which as he states, in not “the definitive list,” but only “a list.” He claims to choose his readings  based on their ability to contribute new perspectives/views to the reader’s mind.

His observations apply with some force to Indian legal education as well, given that we too need our fair share of well-rounded legal leaders, policy makers and social change makers of tomorrow. We’ll do another post soon highlighting some wonderful Indian (and other non US/English titles in this regard).

I’ve extracted some of his recommended list below. Some of these books offer compelling perspectives that make for a well-rounded, holistic legal personality.  And if not for anything else on this list, I would especially recommend that every law student read: “To Kill a Mocking Bird” (if they haven’t already). What a book! What a story! Almost every sentence in that book is a valuable life lesson! Pulsating with the richness of human character, their strengths, their weaknesses, their prejudices; and yet harbouring a hope that transcends.  A book that teaches empathy, humility, tolerance, diversity, creativity, playfulness and much more. A book that may have driven many to the pursuit of law and justice. As it did for me. But we’ll keep a full fledged post on this book for later.

For now, do savour the titles below.

PS: Please do suggest titles from your end as well, particularly local/regional ones. And we will keep adding to this list to make it more comprehensive and global.

 A SUGGESTED READING LIST

  1. ARISTOTLE, NICOMACHEAN ETHICS (H. Rackham trans., Wil- liam Heinemann 2d ed. 1934).
  1. THE YALE YOUNGER POETS ANTHOLOGY (George Bradley ed., 1998).
  2. SUSAN BROWNMILLER, AGAINST OUR WILL: MEN, WOMEN AND RAPE (1975).
  3. FORREST CARTER, WATCH FOR ME ON THE MOUNTAIN (1978).
  4. CHARLES DICKENS, BLEAK HOUSE (Norman Page ed., Penguin Books 1971) (1853).
  5. FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY, THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV (Constance Garnett trans., Random House 1950) (1880).
  6. JOSE SARAMAGO, THE HISTORY OF THE SIEGE OF LISBON 18 (G. Pontiero trans. 18 (G. Pontiero trans., 1997).
  7. RALPH ELLISON, INVISIBLE MAN (1952).
  8. ROGER FISHER & WILLIAM URY, GETTING TO YES: NE-GOTIATING AGREEMENT WITHOUT GIVING IN (Bruce Patton ed., 2d ed. 1991).
  9. CAROL GILLIGAN, IN A DIFFERENT VOICE: PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY AND WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT (1982).
  10. H.L.A. HART, THE CONCEPT OF LAW (2d ed. 1994).
  11. OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR., THE COMMON LAW (Little Brown & Co. 1990) (1881).
  12. THOMAS JEFFERSON, Declaration of Independence (1776), in 2 THE WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 42, 42 (Paul L. Ford ed., 1893).
  13. FRANZ KAFKA, THE TRIAL (1925).
  14. IMMANUEL KANT, GROUNDWORK OF THE METAPHYSIC OF MORALS (H. Paton trans., 1984) (1785).
  15.  ANTHONY T. KRONMAN, THE LOST LAWYER: FAILING IDEALS OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION (1993).
  16. HARPER LEE, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1960).
  17. EDWARD H. LEVI, AN INTRODUCTION TO LEGAL REASONING (1949).
  18. JOHN LOCKE, TWO TREATISES OF GOVERNMENT (Peter Laslett ed., Cambridge Univ. Press 1988) (1690).
  19. ALASDAIR MACINTYRE, AFTER VIRTUE (2d ed. 1984).
  20. JAMES M. MCPHERSON, BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM: THE CIVIL WAR ERA (1988).
  21. HERMAN MELVILLE, Billy Budd, Foretopman, in SHORTER NOVELS OF HERMAN MELVILLE 227 (1924) (1881).
  22. JOHN STUART MILL, ON LIBERTY (Stefan Collini ed., Cambridge Univ. Press 1989) (1859).
  23. BARRINGTON MOORE, JR., INJUSTICE: THE SOCIAL BASES OF OBEDIENCE AND REVOLT (1978).
  24. VLADIMIR NABOKOV, LOLITA (1955).
  25. FEMINIST LEGAL THEORY: READINGS INLAW AND GENDER (Katharine T. Bartlett & Rosanne Kennedy eds., 1991).
  26. FRANZ KAFKA, THE COMPLETE STORIES 3, 437 (1971).
  27. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, ON THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS (Walter Kaufmann ed. & Walter Kaufmann & R.J. Hollingsdale trans., Random House 1967) (1887).
  28. MARTHA C. NUSSBAUM, THE FRAGILITY OF GOODNESS: LUCK AND ETHICS IN GREEK TRAGEDY AND PHILOSOPHY (1986).
  29. GEORGE ORWELL, ANIMAL FARM (1945).'”
  30. HERBERT L. PACKER, THE LIMITS OF THE CRIMINAL SANCTION (1968).
  31. MARGE PIERCY, WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME (1976).
  32. RICHARD A. POSNER, ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF LAW (5th ed. 1998).
  33. JOHN RAWLS, POLITICAL LIBERALISM (1993).
  34. JOHN RAWLS, A THEORY OF JUSTICE (1971).
  35. JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU, THE SOCIAL CONTRACT (Maurice Cranston trans., Penguin Paperback 1968) (1762).
  36. ALEKSANDR I. SOLZHENITSYN, THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO 1918-1956: AN EXPERIMENT IN LITERARY INVESTIGATION I-II (1973). 43.
  37. ALEKSANDR I. SOLZHENITSYN, THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO 1918-1956: AN EXPERIMENT IN LITERARY INVESTIGATION III-IV (1975).
  38. ALEKSANDR I. SOLZHENITSYN, THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO 1918-1956: AN EXPERIMENT IN LITERARY INVESTIGATION V-VII (1976).
  39. SOPHOCLES, ANTIGONE (Richard E. Braun trans., Oxford Univ. Press 1973).
  40. JOHN STEINBECK, THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1939).
  41. WALLACE STEVENS, COLLECTED POETRY AND PROSE (1997).
  42. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE, UNCLE TOM’S CABIN or, LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY (Ann Douglas ed., Penguin Books 1981) (1852).
  43. HENRY DAVID THOREAU, Civil Disobedience, in CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE: THEORY AND PRACTICE 28 (H. Bedau ed., 1969) (1849).
  44. GARRY B. TRUDEAU, THE DOONESBURY CHRONICLES (1975).
  45. 1 ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA (Phillips Bradley ed. & Henry Reeve trans., Vintage Books 1945) (1835).
  46. GEORGE ORWELL, Politics and the English Language, in A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS 162 (1946).
  47. 2 ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA (Francis Bowen ed. & Henry Reeve trans., Vintage Books 1945) (1840).
  48. RICHARD WRIGHT, NATIVE SON (1940).
  49. MALCOLM X & ALEX HALEY, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X (1966).

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Written by Prof. Shamnad Basheer, Founder and Managing Trustee, IDIA

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