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One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School | [Scott Turow]

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

One L, Scott Turow's journal of his first year at law school 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 also brings alive the anxiety and competitiveness, with others and, even more, with oneself, that set the tone in this crucible of character building.
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Publisher's Summary

One L, Scott Turow's journal of his first year at law school 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 also brings alive the anxiety and competitiveness, with others and, even more, with oneself, that set the tone in this crucible of character building.

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. Will the One Ls survive? Will they excel? Will they make the Law Review, the outward and visible sign of success in this ultra-competitive microcosm?

With remarkable insight into both his fellow students and himself, Turow leads us through the ups and downs, the small triumphs and tragedies of the year, in an absorbing and thought-provoking narrative that teaches the listener not only about law school and the law but also about the human beings who make them what they are.

©1977, 1988 Scott Turow; (P)2005 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

What the Critics Say

"The most accurate, complete, and balanced description yet of a century-old rite of passage in America." (Baltimore Sun)
"[One L] should be read by anyone who has ever contemplated going to law school or anyone who has ever worried about being human." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (149 )
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4.0 (48 )
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  •  
    william c thill 08-29-05 Member Since 2013
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    "A well-told and well-written account"

    One L brought insight into the self-induced psychopathology that first year students bestow on themselves, as well as the misdirected, flip pieces of advice that professors give to students undergoing a great deal of stress. I also became very interested in learning the basics of the law. I never knew what "torts" were until I listened to the story. I was impressed with the liveliness of the narration, and the clear writing as well. While some explanations rambled a bit, I was very interested in hearing Turow's story, and listened to the story straight through. I have new insight to the world my lawyer friends went through in their first year, and greater understanding why many of them exhibit the aggressive, combative personas when I talk with them. Turow wrote the book while undergoing law school, and the tone of the narrator's complaints and demonizing remarks sometimes come across as immature and whiny. Nonetheless, the narrative felt authentic, and I was engrossed in Turow's progress.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Courtney Clonch Los Angeles, CA, US 03-02-10
    Courtney Clonch Los Angeles, CA, US 03-02-10 Member Since 2009
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    "considering law school?"

    I would highly recommend this book to anybody considering law school. There is no other book of its kind...it will definitely give you an idea as to what you're in for.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alika Fricke Nebraska 03-12-09
    Alika Fricke Nebraska 03-12-09 Listener Since 2005

    dominate6

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    "Good Story"

    You can really feel what the author is feeling as he writes in his journal about his first year. I don't agree with his politics, and think some of his fears may have been misplaced, but I haven't gone to Harvard Law School, so I can't comment further.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Old Lyme, CT, USA 09-29-07
    Karen Old Lyme, CT, USA 09-29-07
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    "Still a great choice 30 years later!"

    This audiobook describes Scott Turow's first year at Harvard Law in the 1970s. The first person perspective kept my attention. He candidly describes elitist professors, competitive fellow students, the detrimental effect on his marriage and the stress all 1Ls seem to endure. Any negativity is balanced by his underlying respect for the law, education and the process. The narrator is very good. I especially admired how adept he was at switching to different accents to portray different characters. This was a great choice for my commute as a 1L. It's remarkable how little legal education has changed in 30 years--many of his experiences are similar to my own. Several of his anecdotes even made me laugh out loud. I wish it hadn't ended...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Wilson 02-03-12
    Greg Wilson 02-03-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Turow's law school diary"

    Basically just a mildly interesting look at law school. I wasn't disappointed in my use of a credit as it was just as I suspected it would be.

    However I can't in good faith recommend it unless you like me are interested in the vicarious experience. Not really a well developed novel, rather a documentation of his experiences at Harvard.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linsey BRANDON, FL, USA 09-15-07
    Linsey BRANDON, FL, USA 09-15-07
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    "One L or heading to law school? get this book"

    This book is a bit outdated--Turow was a One L in 1975--but his story expresses themes universal to the One L experience. If you are a One L or have been one, you will surely identify with Turow. If you are headed to law school, this makes good book to read before you go, to help you mentally prepare for the experience! In any case, Turow is a terrific writer and this is a good memoir--he admits to his downfalls and challenges in a way that makes him, and all the people at HLS with him, students and professors alike, sympathetic. You'll enjoy it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian C Robertson South Australia, Australia 05-01-13
    Ian C Robertson South Australia, Australia 05-01-13 Member Since 2010

    Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.

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    "Comparisons are Lawyerly"

    John Donne, amongst others, wrote that comparisons are odious. My experience of Scott Turow's recollections of his first year at Harvard Law School suggests that this is not always true.
    I went to Law School in Australia in the early 80's. My first two years (here we once split the first year of law over two years in combination with part of a sympathetic second degree, in my case Commerce) bore very little resemblance to his. In some ways heading his memoir I felt like I'd been deprived the trial by ordeal that he endured. Like all competitive people I suspect, I am not sure whether I am glad or disappointed by this. Having said that, some of the themes he described were common; the bright eyed wonder when I actually enjoyed it, the searching for relevance and the diametric pull between the lure of the dollar and the demands of a system intended to promote a just result. Overall I found his insight rivetingly interesting and I paused to wonder at his maturity at 26 to write an account which is as profound as I regard it to be.
    Holter Graham's performance was good too. He delivered it convincingly and consistently with the young Turow's emotions laid bare on the page. In a work of this sort I wanted him to be the vehicle for the words, which is what he was. He could have lost the listener if it became about him, but he did not allow this to occur.
    Finally, it would be remiss of me not to note the lengthy postscript that Turow adds at the end of the audio. It added appreciably to my enjoyment of the original text. The audio interview was so-so, but Turow's own observations on being a lawyer rang a strong and resonant chord with me. I personally endorse what he says about the role of the practice of the law and its continuing disconnect with the way young lawyers are taught.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray Glendale, AZ, United States 01-21-12
    Ray Glendale, AZ, United States 01-21-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Worth The Listen"

    Curious book.

    I haven't been to law school so I can't really comment on how valuable it may be as an aid to first year students. But the author and his classmates come across as self-absorbed children.

    They consistently missed the larger lessons of what the law professors were trying to get through to them and instead felt abused, and mistreated.

    This book represents one man's recollection and interpretation of one section, of one year at one law school. But if it's accurate, it explains a lot about why people tend to not think highly of lawyers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Bianca ATLANTA, GA, United States 06-17-11
    Bianca ATLANTA, GA, United States 06-17-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Very Realistic"

    This book was very realistic yet boring. I found myself zoning in and out. It wasn't terrible but I won't be listening again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annette New York, NY 01-05-11
    Annette New York, NY 01-05-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Bored to Tears...."

    Just not interesting to me....a lot of tiny details and personal insight about HLS. I didn't finish it. Some people found it interesting... I didn't.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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