One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School

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Overview

Becoming a first-year law student--a "One L"--at the oldest, most esteemed law school in the U. S. threw Scott Turow into a physical, emotional, and intellectual combat zone. An ultimate test by fire of his honesty and principles, in a time of hazings, betrayals, challenges and triumphs--a law school primer.

Becoming a first-year law student--a "One L"--at the oldest, most esteemed law school in the U. S. threw Scott Turow into a physical, emotional, and intellectual...

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One L

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Overview

Becoming a first-year law student--a "One L"--at the oldest, most esteemed law school in the U. S. threw Scott Turow into a physical, emotional, and intellectual combat zone. An ultimate test by fire of his honesty and principles, in a time of hazings, betrayals, challenges and triumphs--a law school primer.

Becoming a first-year law student--a "One L"--at the oldest, most esteemed law school in the U. S. threw Scott Turow into a physical, emotional, and intellectual combat zone. An ultimate test by fire of his honesty and principles, in a time of hazings, betrayals, challenges and triumphs--a law school primer.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Reprint. Originally published by Putnam, 1977. Includes a new long Afterword by Turow. No bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
From the Publisher
“The most accurate, complete, and balanced description yet of a century-old rite of passage in America.”—Baltimore Sun

“A sensitive, dramatically paced account of the author’s first year at Harvard Law School...I read the book as if it were the most absorbing of thrillers, losing track of the time I spent with it, and resenting the hours I had to be away from it...It should be read by anyone who has ever contemplated going to law school. or anyone who has ever worried about being human.”—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143119029
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 102,945
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Turow is a writer and attorney. He is the author of seven best-selling novels: Presumed Innocent (1987), The Burden of Proof (1990), Pleading Guilty (1993), The Laws of Our Fathers (1996), Personal Injuries (1999), Reversible Errors (2002) and Ordinary Heroes (2005). A novella, Limitations, was published as a paperback original in November 2006 by Picador following its serialization in The New York Times Magazine. His works of non-fiction include One L (1977) about his experience as a law student, and Ultimate Punishment (2003), a reflection on the death penalty. He frequently contributes essays and op-ed pieces to publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Playboy and The Atlantic. Mr. Turow's books have won a number of literary awards, including the Heartland Prize in 2003 for Reversible Errors and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award in 2004 for Ultimate Punishment and Time Magazine's Best Work of Fiction, 1999 for Personal Injuries. His books have been translated into more than 25 languages, sold more than 25 million copies world-wide and have been adapted into one full length film and two television miniseries.

Biography

In addition to writing cinematic legal thrillers like Presumed Innocent (1987), Reversible Errors (2002), and Limitations (2006), lawyer Scott Turow has also drawn upon his personal and professional experience for thought-provoking nonfiction that includes One L (1977), an account of his freshman year at Harvard Law, and Ultimate Punishment (2003), a reflection on capital punishment. His essays and op-ed pieces have appeared in the Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and other distinguished publications. In 2005, he forayed into historical fiction with Ordinary Heroes, an emotionally resonant novel inspired by his father's experiences in World War II. A practicing attorney with experience in both civil and criminal law, Turow has become involved in extensive pro bono work on death penalty cases.

Good To Know

Turow rarely writes his novels in a linear fashion from beginning to end. Instead, he sketches out individual scenes and then figures out where they fit into the grand scheme of a story.

Turow may be a bestselling author who has sold roughly 25 million books worldwide, but this crusading attorney has yet to give up his day job!

Don't let that "F" on your report card deter you from a writing career; just look at Turow, who flunked freshman English in high school, but whose shelves are currently lined with literary awards.

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    1. Hometown:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 12, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Amherst College, 1970; M.A., Stanford University, 1974; J.D., Harvard University, 1978
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2013

    Great book

    As a student starting law school I found this book inspiring.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    1L

    Although I have no interest in entering law school, the story of Scotts experience was really informative. I always wondered what it was like in HLS, and even if this exp. is decades old...well, its much better than what Legally Blonde tells you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2011

    Greast for Parents of a One L

    Great read for a parent of a One L. Although many things have changed with the style of law education it gives you a good idea what your daughter or son is going through. It also helps you understand the "lingo" of law school so you don't have to keep asking them "anyoing" questions.

    It is a fast and fun read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Informative and Well written

    Scott Turow gives a detailed account of his first year in law school. It serves to enlighten aspiring law school students about the tribulations of being a One L. I found it very informative and has led me to plan to enter law school with caution and fully prepared.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2008

    An interesting period piece without much application to today's law students.

    I appreciate the perspective Turow's book provides, but I must say that the law school of 30 years ago is quite different from the law schools of today. Professors are no longer mean spirited, students no longer rip pages out of books (everything is online), and the advent of the laptop has radically changed the way law students do work. If you are looking for an interesting read, I would recommend the book. If you are looking for a book to provide you with realistic expectations about what your first year of law school will be like, look elsewhere. Take it from someone who is a first year law student at a top tier school, it is not anywhere near as bad as Turow's experiences would have you believe.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2003

    WOW! A fine piece of writing

    Not only is this a fine piece of writing, it is also very informative and entertaining. This is a must read for anyone considering law school or for any one who is simply interested in the hallowed tradition of one of America's finest educational institutions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2003

    Good book, but things have changed

    As a lawyer who followed Turow into Harvard Law School's hallowed halls a decade later (I'm certain they raised the standards after I graduated), I found One L entertaining. Unlike Turow, though, I actually enjoyed my experience -- and I was nowhere near the top of the class. Aspiring law students should read Turow's book, but not take it too seriously. I think most 21st-century U.S. law schools -- including Harvard -- are more humane institutions than the place Turow describes. For anyone who has read One L, I recommend another book, Dead Hand Control. I'd go so far to say that novel should be required reading for anyone considering law as a career, especially if their only insight into law school is from One L. Dead Hand Control chronicles a second-year law student's journey through classes, interviews, and the law firm environment. The author, Tim Stutler, is an attorney who attended Harvard as well as Boalt Hall (U.C. Berkeley). The law school experiences described in Stutler's book are much more realistic (and far more entertaining) than those in One L. Equally enlightening is the book's depiction of life after law school.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2001

    A good reminder to expect the worst and prepare your mind for an experience like no other

    Turow does an excellent job of relating his experience at Harvard in the 70's to the attitude one may still expect to find lingering in the halls of American law schools today. Although I will not begin my legal journey for a few months, I observed a couple of classes at one of the 'top ten' schools where my brother attended a few years back and I can assure you that the intimidation factor between the professors and the students is alive and well! This book was more entertaining to me than anything, but has also helped me to get into the mindframe of being a law student. I think One L is especially good for those who have yet to enter law school; it gives you a great idea of what the 'worst case scenario' could be and encourages you to ask yourself if you are really ready for the challenge you will soon be facing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2000

    A Dramatic Account of a First Year at Law School

    If contemplating law school or just simply interested, this book does a good job of taking you inside the doors of America's top law school and portrays the trials and victories that are found there. Turow does a successful job of making a difficult education interesting and his account of his first year in law school is worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2000

    Only read if not comptemplating law school....

    this is a good book, will keep your interest if interested in the law. However, this book will cause anxiety if read by someone contemplating law school, or about to start law school. One must remember that it is no long 1975, and most people do not attend Harvard Law school.....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2014

    Aron

    Hey babe i wount be on tpday ill talk to u tommor

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    very highly recommended

    I read One L when it first came out, having just re read it, it still inspires the same feelings of admiration, fear & virtual nausea, thinking about my own college days. Law school has changed in the ensuing years, however school has not, the same feelings, the same issues with others that you are competing with.

    There are no dull moments in this book, I literally read it in one sitting. The writer has gone on to write mysteries that gave been made into successful movies (Presumed Innocent for one); he was a successful attorney for many many years. There is nothing pompous about this book. you cheer for the students, you empathize with the author & you understand the dilemma of wanting to do something so much that you will give up your entire life, your emotional life, to make this possible.

    Excellent read, I highly recommend

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    Posted August 9, 2010

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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