If you’re anything like me, you have a reading list that feels as though it is a mile long. I track all sorts of to-be-read titles on my list – recommendations from friends, books with stellar reviews in the New York Times, and new releases from my favorite authors. But there is also a spot on my reading list for the “big books,” those doorstoppers that always appear on lists of “100 Best Books of All Time” or, perhaps more auspiciously, on Rory Gilmore’s Reading List. (It’s really a thing. Check out the full list here.) Included on my list of big books are titles like War and Peace by Tolstoy, Les Misérables by Hugo, and Middlemarch by Eliot.
But, have you ever considered adding some of the legal classics to your reading list? What about trying some works by Blackstone, Bentham, Coke, Langdell, or Wythe? These legal scholars provided some of the first comprehensive descriptions of the common law, contributed to developments and changes in that legal tradition, and also spearheaded the development of our current legal education system. Adding a few of these “big legal books” to your reading list can only help to sharpen your legal reasoning skills, and they might just provide you with some handy anecdotes or talking points for use during interviews.
UNC Law students can access most of these titles in their first edition formats via HeinOnline’s Legal Classics database. The database contains thousands of works from the greatest legal minds in history, including some rare items that are found in only a handful of libraries around the world. Works in the collection date from the early 16th century to the present. The collection covers topics from accident insurance to zoning laws, so there is something on nearly every legal topic of interest. Filtering options in the database allow users to sort through the materials by title, author, date or subject.
Be sure to give this collection a try! There are countless gems of legal brilliance just waiting for you to discover.
Posted by Melissa M. Hyland on Mon. March 30, 2020 9:00 AM