Looking for something new to add to your reading list this year?
From enhancing your leadership skills to niching down to delivering a better client experience, there are some excellent books to help you reach new goals. These are 16 essential books every lawyer should add to their "to be read" pile.
1. Niching Up: The Narrower the Market, the Bigger the Prize by Chris Dreyer
We can't put together a list of the best books for lawyers without making a reference to the book that outlines why our agency has been so successful.
This book is a go-to for lawyers who want to narrow their focus and deliver big results in one or two practice areas. Readers will discover how niching down makes running a business easier and sets the tone for quick opportunities to scale when done correctly.
If you've been feeling overwhelmed or spread too thin, use this book as a chance to re-envision what results look like for your firm.
2. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Pat Lencioni
It doesn’t matter if you're the figurehead of the firm or you’re operating a small team as the only lawyer, you can't forego opportunities to improve your leadership and management skills.
If you find yourself in a constant cycle of hiring and firing or quitting, check out this book to see if you're missing an essential component of team building.
Whether you're new to practicing law or are stepping into a role with many direct reports and plenty of experience, it's always good to look at how you lead. You can set an entire team up for success or failure with the way you broach communication and operations. This book is a great option to read on your own or have the entire team read together.
3. Tiger Tactics by Jay Ruane, Ryan McKeen, Billie Tarascio, William Umansky, and Theresa DeGray
If you have always dreamed of owning, operating, or selling a million or multi-million dollar law firm, this book is for you.
Written from the firsthand experience of several lawyers who did it, you'll get inside tips for creating a law firm that's built to scale. Even solo lawyers venturing out to hang their own shingle for the very first time will find actionable strategies to make it happen.
4. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
Whether you're in family law, personal injury, business law, or criminal law, negotiation tactics are key. Voss leverages his background as an FBI negotiator to help you think through the way you work towards outcomes.
Your ability to see all possible avenues to resolution and to make a case for your client applies across the board. If you're pivoting into a new practice area that requires more negotiation conversations or simply want to improve your ability to make a compelling case for your client, this book will help you rethink your approach.
5. Happy Lawyer by Nancy Levit and Douglas O. Linder
Lawyers report feeling burned out in their jobs more than half the time. Long hours, heavy workloads, and the ongoing stress of representing clients can take its toll, leading many lawyers to experience physical and mental impacts.
Designed to help you revisit why you started practicing and to connect that with helpful strategies for coping with the pressures of the modern practice of law, this book will help you get your firm back on track.
6. The New Lawyer's Handbook: 101 Things They Don't Teach You in Law School by Karen Thacker
Stepping into a law office with presentation and research skills is one thing. Working in a law firm calls upon so many other skills needed for success. In this book, Thacker takes a practical approach to introducing lawyers to quick tips for being a better colleague and legal service provider.
7. The Client-Centered Law Firm by Jack Newton
If your law firm is too focused on you and what you offer and not enough on how you help clients, there's a big disconnect across all your law firm marketing and legal service delivery.
Take a look at any law firm review engine like Google My Business, and you'll spot a common complaint: lack of communication.
Clients today expect personalized and fast service, but they also want to know that they'll have a great experience overall. This book is designed to help you look at all the processes in your firm, from intake all the way to settlement or trial.
8. The E-Myth Attorney by Michael Gerber
The e-myth concept is a well-known way of thinking about setting up your business so that someone else could easily take it over in the future. Even if you don't intend to sell your law firm, positioning it to be less reliant on you and more appealing to a buyer has numerous benefits.
The legal market spin on this age-old classic will get you excited about getting more free time and mental space back.
9. Law is a Buyer's Market by Jordan Furlong
Increased competition in the legal market, especially in fields like personal injury, means you need to put some intention and effort behind your marketing efforts.
Knowing your ideal client and creating marketing and messages designed specifically for them is the only way to make an impact and grow your firm. To better understand what's happened in the legal space and how you might need to revise your approach to new clients, check out this book.
10. You Can't Teach Hungry by John Morgan
From evaluating your staff effectively to building a winning marketing plan, there is a proven path to building a revenue-generating law firm in your practice area.
Leveraging his nearly three decades of experience in doing just that, John Morgan walks you through some of his best tips for focusing your efforts and getting a better return on your investment as you grow.
11. The Game-Changing Attorney by Michael
At some level, every attorney must be a great storyteller. But your ability to weave a tale goes far beyond the courtroom. You must be able to tell stories through visual content that connects directly with your target audience.
Michael Mogill is an expert at this, making your content creation process simple and approachable. Since marketing is a core aspect of drawing in new clients for your firm, make sure to check out this book to verify if your messages are resonating.
12. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
There's a reason this book is a classic among leaders in numerous industries: it breaks down what successful people have in common. This book is a relatively easy read, but also sets the tone for you to look back and adjust your own approach to leading a law firm.
With digestible stories that make the habits come to life, you'll enjoy thinking about what it really means to connect with and inspire others after reading this book.
13. Playing to Win by Alan G. Lafley & Roger Martin
The word "strategy" is thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean?
Lafley and Martin get to the heart of that issue in this book, breaking best practices in strategy down into five core questions. These include defining your winning aspiration, determining your market where you'll play, how you'll stand out from your competition, the capabilities you need to thrive, and the management systems you need to get there.
14. Traction by Gino Wickman
If you feel like getting your team on the same page is one of the biggest challenges you face, this is an excellent book to re-orient not just your goal setting but all of your daily and weekly practices, too.
This book gets into the Entrepreneurial Operating System. You'll learn how to run 90 day sprints, use weekly team and leadership meetings effectively, and set meaningful metrics aligned with your growth goals.
15. Play Bigger by Christopher Lochhead, Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, and Kevin Maney
These authors argue that it's not enough to try and beat your competition. They claim that the best way to stand out in a busy market is to invent another market or category altogether.
If innovation and a different approach to practicing law appeal to you, this is a great book to turn traditional things you've heard you "should" do on their head. What's powerful about this way of thinking is that you can create your own demand when you build your own category.
16. Atomic Habits by James Clear
Clear says that if you're struggling to keep your habits, you're not alone, and it's not your fault. He argues that it's not the intentions behind the goals you set or your willpower but that it's your system.
In the book, you'll find a clear framework for rethinking how you set and achieve goals. This is a great one to read along with your entire team, too.
Turn the Page to Your Next Chapter Now
Need more inspiration? Get more out of your reading habit by choosing a few top selections of the best books for lawyers. If you want more books about running a firm check out our list of the best law firm management books.
To get started, pick one of the books above to begin building your next-level law practice. Check out more great resources for putting your law firm on the map offered on our blog. Books are just one way for you to learn more and hit your goals, but you should also check out top legal podcasts and leading legal blogs to help you stay on the cutting edge.