How should students begin their legal education? Professor Peter Strauss's innovative materials build on a Columbia Law School commitment reaching back to Karl Llewellyn's Bramble Bush -- that legal education should start with orientation to the materials lawyers use and the institutions they deal with. In general, Legal Methods provides an introduction to the processes and the skills necessary in the professional use of case law and legislation, and to the development of American legal institutions. The casebook starts with materials from the first decades of American history, with relatively simple common law litigation, statutes and institutions, and with a country having to fashion its law for itself, largely through its courts. As the country industrializes, judicial styles change, statutes and their interpretation become more and more important, administrative agencies emerge. The materials largely explore the developing law on the related questions of product liability and workplace injury -- both arising in the borderland between Contract and Tort, the one development occurring almost wholly through common law cases; the other, by statute. In proceeding from the early 19th Century to the greater complexities of the current day, the casebook explores the sources, forms, and development of law, the analysis and synthesis of judicial precedents, the interpretation of statutes, the coordination of judge-made and statute law, and the uses of legal reasoning. Understanding that today's lawyer must often deal with transactions governed by the civil law, the dominant legal system in much of the rest of the world, the casebook attempts to expose the student to its development as well. With this casebook, a student will have acquired skills essential to work in other law school classes, an appreciation for the changing styles of legal analysis that American jurists have brought to their work over time, and an awareness of current disputes about the modern role of judges, particularly in relation to the work of legislatures.
Law, Legal Education, General,