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Dear Santa….. An associate’s holiday wishlist

When I graduated from law school and passed the Maryland Bar, Santa (better known as my parents) gave me The Practice Manual for the Maryland Lawyer for Christmas. As I opened the large box containing two large binders I realized that I had finally crossed over into adulthood. The telltale sign: I was elated to receive a work-related present.

Every year since, I continue to work on my ongoing project of getting my personal law library of books, manuals, and treatises to use at work together.  As the 2009 holidays draw near,  I am on the search for my latest acquisition and or request for the holidays.

I know many of us have access to a law library at our firms but for those who do not, building a working library can be a daunting task for a young lawyer. Even if you do have access to a law library at your office, it does not hurt to have your own copy of the “classics” like the Maryland Rules. Chasing down a rule book can be a pain when working on something time sensitive such as a motion or injunction and there is a need to reference a specific rule. When I clerked, the Honorable Ronald B. Rubin of the Montgomery County Circuit Court consistently stated the Maryland Rules and the Maryland Rules Commentary as invaluable resources and that every lawyer, young and seasoned, should bring the Rules with them each time they go to court.

The Micpel website has become one of my most visited bookmarks and an important source of great books like Anatomy of a Trial by Paul Mark Sandler and Murphy & Grimm’s Comparative Guide to the Maryland and Federal Rules of Evidence. The Maryland Law Encyclopedia, the Bluebook or ALWD citations manuals, and the Defense Counsel Training Manual by the International Association of Defense Counsel were named as some of the top books to have and use by the Maryland lawyers in my office. Of course, the books that will help you in your specific practice will vary by area. The point is to find those books and start building the foundation for a great library early.

If you participate in Secret Santa or some other holiday gift giving exchange, or will be treating yourself this holiday, don’t hesitate to ask for or purchase something for your law library. It will aid your practice of law for years to come and will be a worthy investment in your career and value as an attorney. I’ll be putting The Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work Product Doctrine: A Practitioner’s Guide by Thomas E. Spahn on my wishlist.


  1. I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  2. Does it make me too much of a law nerd to want the eighteenth edition of the Blue Book for my secret santa gift?