Author: Catherine Barnard, Janet O'Sullivan and Graham Virgo
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Published: October 1st 2007
No. of Pages: 213
Most young people considering studying law, or pursuing a career in the law, have very little idea of what is involved or how universities teach people to become lawyers. This new book provides a 'taste' for the study of law. It is a short, accessible presentation of the study of law as an academic subject, designed with invaluable advice to help pre-college level young adults and others decide whether law as an academic discipline is the right choice for them when entering the university level of study. The book will also counter the perception that law is a dry and boring subject, showing how the study of law can be fun, intellectually stimulating, challenging, and of direct relevance to them. In doing so, it introduces to prospective law students issues involving the legal system, including the structure of the courts and the legal profession, precedent, statutory interpretation, and comparative law. This is a book that any student about to embark on the study of law should read before they commence their legal studies. Each of the editors has been involved in advising prospective law students at admissions conferences. -(Goodreads)
There are those who will ignorantly describe the subject of law to you as a text-filled hell reserved for the most cold hearted of people, and then there are books like What About Law? which prove that in actual fact, there is more to wanting to study this vivid enigma than having to answer the question “How could you ever defend someone you know is guilty?”
The main point here is that, What About Law? is brilliantly written. The authors have a magnificent grasp on the matter, with each chapter written by a different author and focusing on a different section of the law to ensure you are given the most informative experience possible in 224 pages. This is amplified by the fact each contributor wields their knowledge remarkably, in such a way that the material given is accessible to anyone with an interest in the subject whilst remaining detailed and –the best part- challenging. For those with an acute fascination with law, this book gives the raw building blocks needed to found a greater comprehension and, more importantly, appreciation for such a dynamic system. Inevitably, time must be taken to commend specific sections: Land Law invalidates common opinion, Tort provides a very engaging thought process, Constitutional Law makes you question everything and European Union Law is a captivating force to be reckoned with.
Fundamentally, that’s what the ‘brilliant’ part of this book is; its ability to urge you into action and compel you to think, question and challenge what you read. What About Law? is written in a way that gives you the choice to be involved with its contents, and that is often a rare thing to find in books like this. Of course, it is somewhat limited by the fact that in trying to briefly provide a taste of such an enormous subject it is unable to address the finer details and questions that can be unearthed by the reader. Yet I don’t necessarily view this as a negative feature, because it prompts you to pursue your line of thought and establish your own reasoning which is essential, particularly for students who in the haste of national exams become used to obsessing over the ‘right’ answer.
What About Law? is undoubtedly the essential book to be read by anyone who’s ever thought about studying law, as well as anyone who’s looking to gain a better understanding of how this ‘thing’ that shapes our lives works. There is a reason it is widely recommended, and that it’s hard to find anything else like it.