At your fingertips

You are a busy lawyer in a top practice, the telephone is ringing, you have an appointment with a client in five minutes and you need information fast…where do you turn?

That's the question The Lawyer put to librarians at the top ten law firms in an attempt to find the definitive lawyers' bible. Leading the pack of legal publications was 'Chitty on Contracts' (Sweet & Maxwell), now in its 27th edition.

Rochelle Rawlinson, library manager at Lovell White Durrant in London, explained the book's appeal. “Chitty is one of those rare books which is useful to both the specialist and the general reader. No matter which area of the law you work in. Chitty is essential because contract has an impact on most lawyers.”

'The Supreme Court Practice' (Sweet & Maxwell) also known as 'The White Book', came a close second in the permanently on-loan category. 'The White Book', which is updated by supplements twice a year, is essential, according to Rawlinson. “If you are a litigator, you simply can't practise without it.”

Third place was taken up by more eclectic selections – those citing The Lawyer as an indispensable read, to bon vivants who like to go to work with a copy of the 'Good Food Guide'.

Here is the full run-down: