A Lawyer's Reading List:
John H. Wigmore, in 1941, was represented as being a lecturer of comparative law in Northwestern University. He was the author of a number books, including; Panorama of the World's Legal Systems, Science of Judicial Proof and A Kaleidescope of Justice Containing Authentic Accounts of Trial Scenes from all Times and Climes. In 1922, this very learned scholar, Wigmore, submitted an essay to the Illinois Law Review entitled, "A List of one Hundred Legal Novels" (# 17, p. 26). Wigmore prepared this list with lawyers in mind, his thinking being that lawyers could learn much from the great novel writers of the past.
Wigmore broke his list down into four categories:
(A) Novels in which some trial scene is described - perhaps including a skilful cross-examination;Some fifty years later, in 1976, a Richard H. Weisberg submitted an article to the Northwestern University Law Review, "Wigmore's 'Legal Novels' revisited: New Resources for the expansive Lawyer" (#71, p. 17). Weisberg restated Wigmore's categorization as follows:
(B) Novels in which the typical traits of a lawyer or judge, or the ways of professional life, are portrayed;
(C) Novels in which the methods of law in the prosecution and punishment of crime are delineated; and
(D) Novels in which some point of law, affecting the rights or the conduct of the personages, enters into the plot.
(A) Works in which a full legal procedure is depicted, sometimes exclusively a "trial scene," but just as frequently the preliminary investigations leading to the trial.
(B) Works in which, even in the absence of a formal legal process, a lawyer is a central figure in the plot or story, frequently but not always acting as the actual protagonist.
(C) Works in which a specific body of laws, often a single statute or system of procedures, becomes an organizing structural principle.
(D) Works in which, in an otherwise essentially nonlegal framework, the relationship of law, justice and the individual becomes a central thematic issue.
I construct the combined lists of Wigmore (WL) and Weisberg (RWL), in part, as follows:
Tales of Manhattan (1964-'67); RWL(B).
The Partners; RWL(B).
Pere Goriot (1834).
The Rebel (1954); RWL(D).
The Fall (1957); RWL(B).
The Pickwick Papers (1837); WL(A,B).
Oliver Twist (1837-9); WL(A,C).
The Old Curiosity Shop (1840); WL(A,B).
Barnaby Rudge (1841); WL(C).
- Doctorow, E. L. (1931- ):
The Book of Daniel (1971); RWL(B).
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor (1821-81):
Crime & Punishment (1866); RWL(A).
The Brothers Karamozov (1879-80); RWL(A).
- Dumas, Alexandre (1802-70):
The Count of Monte Cristo (1844); WL(A,C,D).
Adam Bede (1859); WL(A).
Felix Holt (1866); WL(A,B,D).
Tom Jones (1749); WL(C).
- Hawthorne, Nathanial (1804-94):
The Scarlet Letter (1850); WL(C).
- Hugo, Victor (1802-85):
Les Miserables (1866); WL(A,C,D).
The Trial (1925); RWL(A,D).
- Lee, Harper (1926- ):
To Kill A Mocking Bird (1960); RWL(A,B).
- Malamud, Bernard (1914-86):
The Fixer (1960); RWL(A).
- Melville, Herman (1819-91):
Billy Budd, Foretopman; RWL(A,C).
- Oates, Joyce Carol (1938- ):
Do With Me What You Will; RWL(A).
- Ouida (1839-1908) Pen Name of Louise de La Ramee:
Under Two Flags (1868); WL(A).
- Page, Thomas Nelson (1853-1922):
Red Rock (1898); WL(D).
No Exit (1944); RWL(A).
The Heart of Midlothian (1818); WL(A,B,D).
Ivanhoe (1819); WL(A).
King Lear; RWL(A,C).
- Solzhenitsyn, Alexander (1918- ):
The First Circle (1968); RWL(A,C).
Kidnapped (1886); (WL(B,C).
The History of Pendennis (1850).
- Wouk, Herman (1915- ):
The Caine Mutiny (1951); RWL(A).