The Foundations of American Law

A Companion to the 1L Year

by H. Jefferson Powell

Tags: First Year, Law School Study Aids

Table of Contents (PDF)

162 pp  $29.00

ISBN 978-1-5310-2951-7
eISBN 978-1-5310-2952-4

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The main objective of this text is to introduce the reader to many of the background assumptions about American law and legal argument that inform how lawyers and judges read decisions and other legal documents, and how they think about legal problems. Lawyers presuppose and use these ideas and intellectual tools without discussing them, while law professors (and the materials they assign) often leave it to students to figure out the assumptions for themselves. The book discusses the relationship between logic and historical experience in the construction of the law, the ways pre-Revolutionary English common law shaped American law, and the 19th and early 20th century developments that led to contemporary American law.

The reader will also come away with a clear sense of the ways in which lawyers use "lawtalk" (the characteristic ways lawyers imagine, analyze, and address problems) to make sense of events and issues that require legal attention or decision. While there are a number of books that introduce readers to American legal thought, none are as introductory, accessible, or broad-covering as The Foundations of American Law: A Companion to the 1L Year. This book is primarily intended for first year law students, but will also be interesting to people considering law school or those who are simply interested in how lawyers and judges think and make decisions.

Comp Copy If you are a professor teaching in this field you may request a complimentary copy.