The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking about the Law / Edition 1

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Overview

There are two kinds of knowledge law school teaches: legal rules on the one hand, and tools for thinking about legal problems on the other. Although the tools are far more interesting and useful than the rules, they tend to be neglected in favor of other aspects of the curriculum. In The Legal Analyst, Ward Farnsworth brings together in one place all of the most powerful of those tools for thinking about law.

From classic ideas in game theory such as the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” and the “Stag Hunt” to psychological principles such as hindsight bias and framing effects, from ideas in jurisprudence such as the slippery slope to more than two dozen other such principles, Farnsworth’s guide leads readers through the fascinating world of legal thought. Each chapter introduces a single tool and shows how it can be used to solve different types of problems. The explanations are written in clear, lively language and illustrated with a wide range of examples.

The Legal Analyst is an indispensable user’s manual for law students, experienced practitioners seeking a one-stop guide to legal principles, or anyone else with an interest in the law.

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Editorial Reviews

David J. Bederman
“This is an outstanding book that occupies a significant and unique niche in the literature of jurisprudence and legal methodology. Farnsworth introduces students and practitioners alike to basic methods of legal analysis across a broad range of disciplines. This book should become the ultimate ‘toolkit’ for those new to the profession.”
Ian Ayres
“Every good lawyer knows that there’s a standard set of argumentative moves that are repeatedly made in different legal settings.  Farnsworth’s book is chock full of the kind of tools that every legal analyst should have in his or her back pocket.  This ambitious book is likely to spur a lively debate about what exactly are the essential tools of legal analysis.  While some will grouse that their pet tool was excluded, the books points toward a new way of organizing the first-year curriculum.  Farnsworth is forging a new pedagogical canon.”
Douglas Lichtman
“This is one of those rare books that will actually raise the level of analysis at every law school in the country. A must-read not only for students just beginning law school, but indeed for anyone who could use a reminder of how diverse and powerful the legal toolkit really is.”
Daniel Farber
“This book is a very accessible introduction to the major ideas of modern legal thinking and useful survey of current thinking in the field.  It covers an extraordinarily broad range of topics in a limited space and is very clearly written, studded with interesting examples and observations. It can profitably be read by law students, lawyers, and lay people with an interest in the legal system.”
Oona A. Hathaway
The Legal Analyst provides an engaging and enlightening introduction to the most essential concepts of legal reasoning. In exceptionally clear prose, Ward Farnsworth walks the reader through concepts such as the Coase Theorem, the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and Property Rules and Liability Rules—peeling away the fog of confusion that often envelops them to reveal the deep and startlingly simple insights that they offer. The reader comes away from the book with a toolkit of ideas that can be used to take apart and examine almost any legal issue.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226238357
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 326
  • Sales rank: 245,072
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ward Farnsworth, who clerked for both Judge Richard A. Posner and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, is professor of law and Nancy Barton Scholar at the Boston University School of Law. He is the coauthor of Torts: Cases and Questions.

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Table of Contents

Preface · vii
Acknowledgments · xi

Part I. Incentives

1 Ex Ante and Ex Post
2 The Idea of Efficiency
3 Thinking at the Margin
4 The Single Owner
5 The Least Cost Avoider
6 Administrative Cost
7 Rents
8 The Coase Theorem

Part II. Trust, Cooperation, and Other Problems for Multiple Players

9 Agency (with Eric Posner)
10 The Prisoner’s Dilemma
11 Public Goods
12 The Stag Hunt
13 Chicken
14 Cascades
15 Voting Paradoxes
16 Suppressed Markets (with Saul Levmore)

Part III. Jurisprudence

17 Rules and Standards
18 Slippery Slopes (with Eugene Volokh)
19 Acoustic Separation
20 Property Rules and Liability Rules
21 Baselines

Part IV . Psychology

22 Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept: The Endowment Effect and Kindred Ideas
23 Hindsight Bias
24 Framing Effects
25 Anchoring
26 Self-Serving Bias, with a Note on Attribution Error

Part V. Problems of Proof

27 Presumptions
28 Standards of Proof
29 The Product Rule
30 The Base Rate
31 Value and Markets
 
Notes
Author Index
Subject Index

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2007

    'Tool Kit' is Right. Real-World Value

    Is it wrong of me to argue before the local Bench while relying on what I've learned from 'The Legal Analyst' without giving Ward Farnsworth credit? It's been a very long time since I've enjoyed any book more than 'The Legal Anaylst.' I read about it on the Volokh Conspiracy and I imagined 'theory.' But I quickly realized it has, for me, such real-world value that I consider it one of my most essential tools. Besides, it's just plain good reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 16, 2012

    Bi Line should say "Power" Tool Kit for thinking about the law.

    I read this book while studying for the bar in Alabama. I wish I had read it earlier.

    Most stuff from law school wont help you prepare for the bar or practice except the ability to sit still and read cases for 9 1/2 hours. The Legal Analyst fills in the crevasses; law is making more sense now. I can see several moves ahead when before I felt I was just moving through a haze of opinions that seemed to contradict each other.
    Great Stuff.

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  • Posted December 29, 2009

    a recomended book

    If someone is in the legal business must read this book

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    Posted May 10, 2009

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    Posted May 18, 2009

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