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One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School Paperback – September 1, 1997
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About 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.
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In my case, I graduated law school 25 years ago, but recently completed the LLM & SJD degrees. While this book describes law school culture prevalent back in "my day," I've also seen an immense cultural shift in law schools over the past years. Thus, some of the "hard" aspects of the 1L experience have softened a bit, but certain things have not (e.g., student anxiety).
Because it is non-fiction, the circumstances make it an interesting read in the beginning, but it does not have a plot nor a direction, nothing really gets 'developed' and once you are acquainted with the setting, it becomes less interesting towards the end. I had to google the author (I didn't know who he was) and only after reading his Wiki entry could I motivate myself to finish the book.
Also, I am reading it as a thirty-something who's had more life experience than the author did at the point of his writing. Thus some of the difficulties he faced are things I can identify with but consider trivial now. It may be more interesting and useful as a heads up to a slightly younger audience.