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

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

3.9 26
by Scott Turow
     
 

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One L, Scott Turow's journal of his first year at law school introduces and a best-seller when it was first published in 1977, has gone on to become a virtual bible for prospective law students. Not only does it introduce with remarkable clarity the ideas and issues that are the stuff of legal education; it brings alive the anxiety and competiveness--with

Overview

One L, Scott Turow's journal of his first year at law school introduces and a best-seller when it was first published in 1977, has gone on to become a virtual bible for prospective law students. Not only does it introduce with remarkable clarity the ideas and issues that are the stuff of legal education; it brings alive the anxiety and competiveness--with others and, even more, with oneself--that set the tone in this crucible of character building. Turow's multidimensional delving into his protagonists' psyches and his marvelous gift for suspense prefigure the achievements of his celebrated first novel, Presumed Innocent, one of the best-selling and most talked about books of 1987.

Each September, a new crop of students enter Harvard Law School to begin an intense, often grueling, sometimes harrowing year of introduction to the law. Turow's group of One Ls are fresh, bright, ambitious, and more than a little daunting. Even more impressive are the faculty: Perini, the dazzling, combative professor of contracts, who presents himself as the students' antagonist in their struggle to master his subject; Zechman, the reserved professor of torts who seems so indecisive the students fear he cannot teach; and Nicky Morris, a young, appealing man who stressed the humanistic aspects of law.

Will the One Ls survive? Will they excel? Will they make the Law Review, the outward and visible sign of success in this ultra-conservative microcosm? With remarkable insight into both his fellows and himself, Turow leads us through the ups and downs, the small triumphs and tragedies of the year, in an absorbing and throught-provoking narrative that teaches the reader not only about law school and the law but about the human beings who make them what they are.

In the new afterword for this edition of One L, the author looks back on law school from the perspective of ten years' work as a lawyer and offers some suggestions for reforming legal education.

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429939560
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
08/03/2010
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
337
Sales rank:
93,469
File size:
337 KB

Meet the Author

Scott Turow, a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School, is the author of four worldwide bestselling: Presumed Innocent, The Burden of Proof, Pleading Guilty, and The Laws of Our Fathers. He lives with his family outside of Chicago, where he is a partner in the law firm of Sonnenschein, Nath&Rosenthal.
Scott Turow is the author of worldwide bestselling novels including Presumed Innocent, Innocent, Ordinary Heroes, The Burden of Proof, Reversible Errors and Limitations. His works of nonfiction include One L, his journal from his first year at law school, and Ultimate Punishment, which he wrote after serving on the Illinois commission that investigated the administration of the death penalty and influenced Governor George Ryan’s unprecedented commutation of the sentences of 164 death row inmates on his last day in office. Ultimate Punishment won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He lives outside Chicago, where he is partner in the firm of SNR Denton (formerly Sonnenschein, Nath&Rosenthal).

Brief Biography

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

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One L 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a student starting law school I found this book inspiring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Pastormom More than 1 year ago
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.
Mrslater2009 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nikki1CO More than 1 year ago
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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