Getting to the Other Side

by Joseph William Singer

Tags: Lawyering Skills/Study Aids, Legal Profession/Professional Responsibility

Table of Contents (PDF)

208 pp  $28.00

ISBN 978-1-5310-1225-0
eISBN 978-1-5310-1226-7

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Lawyers have techniques to persuade decision-makers about what the law should be. Their normative toolkit uses arguments based on common values, storytelling, and framing to help us see our own values in a new light. These tools of reasoned argument enable us to engage in civil debate about divisive issues and to justify decisions in hard cases. Persuasion: Getting to the Other Side categorizes the arguments that lawyers use in debates about ambiguous or contested legal questions. It also explains how judges justify their decisions about what the law should be when the case involves competing values and there are plausible arguments on both sides. The goal is to provide law students with a toolkit to help them engage in reasoned arguments about what the law should be.

So much of what passes for argument in our time is really just an effort to shout down or silence opponents. We are losing the art of persuasion, which requires a serious engagement with those with whom we disagree and a respect for their dignity as fellow human beings. It is thus a blessing that Joseph Singer has offered us a brilliant guidebook for how to persuade and how to be forceful and civil at the same time. Persuasion will shore up democracy's capacities for free exchange and self correction. All who value the public square will be grateful they read this book."

— E. J. Dionne, author of Code Red: How Progressives and Moderates Can Unite to Save Our Country