American Law in a Global Context: The Basics / Edition 1

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Whatever your background, if you seek an understanding of the legal system of the United States, this is the book for you.

American Law in a Global Context is an elegant and erudite introduction to the American legal system from a global perspective. It covers the law and lawyering tools taught in the first year of law school, explaining the underlying concepts and techniques of the common law used in U.S. legal practice. The ideas central to the development and practice of American law, as well as constitutional law, contracts, property, criminal law, and courtroom procedure, are all presented in their historical and intellectual contexts, accessible to the novice but with insight that will inform the expert. Actual cases illuminate each major subject, engaging readers in the legal process and the arguments between real people that make American law an ever-evolving system.

George P. Fletcher and Steve Sheppard's exciting approach contrasts the American legal system with other legal systems, especially those of continental Europe. This comparison illuminates the core concepts of US law, making them easily understandable to readers from other systems, and offering a unique perspective on American law as part of global network of laws. Designed to help the foreign student grasp the basic ideas of pedagogy, legal institutions, and substantive law in the US, appendices include an introduction to the common law method, instruction on how to read a case, and the interpretation of statutes.

Based on the course for lawyers from across the globe studying American law at Columbia University, this cutting edge volume makes the basics of American legal education accessible to students and the public worldwide. A must-own reference source for LLM students, undergraduates, and students of US law in other countries.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"AMERICAN LAW IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT examines the foundations and evolution of common law in the United States, with an explicit focus on an audience not familiar with these aspects.... In conclusion, I believe this is a well-written volume that accomplishes its stated goal--to help familiarize readers with the American common law. It is a text that I will strongly encourage my students to read, if they wish to pursue a legal education."--The Law and Politics Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195167238
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/10/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 696
  • Sales rank: 733,928
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

George P. Fletcher is the Cardozo Professor Jurisprudence at Columbia University School of Law. He is the author of many works on the U.S. Constitution and legal theory, and has taught his comparative introduction to American law course to lawyers from universities throughout the world.

Steve Sheppard is a law professor at the University of Arkansas. He has written widely on legal history and legal philosophy and recently edited The Selected Writings and Speeches of Sir Edward Coke, a founder of modern common law.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Common Law
1. Common Law
2. Civil Law
3. The Language of Law: Common and Civil
4. Legal Reasoning
Part II: Constitutional Identity
5. The Constitution as Code
6. Judicial Review
7. Federalism
8. The Alternative Constitution
9. Equality Prevails
10. Freedom Fights Back
11. The Jury
12. Due Process Ascendant
13. Coordinating the States
14. Multiple Common Laws?
Part III: The Theory of Common Law: Liberalism and its Alternatives
15. Feudalism
16. The Triumph of Equity
17. Contemporary Property
18. The Frontiers of Property
19. Contract as Law
20. Contract as Justice
21. Contractual Harm
22. Foundations of Tort Law
23. Economic Efficiency
24. From Contributory to Comparative Fault
25. Punitive Damages
26. Stages of a Civil Trial
Part IV: Criminal Law: The Adversary System and its Alternatives
27. Where Would You Rather Be Tried?
28. The Fate of Bernhard Goetz
29. Self-Defense: Domestic and International Conclusion
30. Summary: The Right and Reasonable
Appendix 1: How to Read (and Brief) a Case
Appendix 2: Common Law Method; or How to Do Things with Cases
Appendix 3: The Interpretations of Statutes

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