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

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Drawing on economics, game theory, psychology, jurisprudence, and other fields. Ward Farnsworth's The Legal Analyst is a fascinating guide to tools for thinking about the law. Every idea is taught step-by-step, explained in clear, lively language, and illustrated with telling examples. The result is an indispensable book for law students, lawyers, scholars, and anyone else interested in legal questions.

About the Author:
Ward Farnsworth is professor of law and the Nancy Barton Scholar at the Boston University School of 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: 485,274
  • 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
Ex Ante and Ex Post     3
The Idea of Efficiency     13
Thinking at the Margin     24
The Single Owner     37
The Least Cost Avoider     47
Administrative Cost     57
Rents     66
The Coase Theorem     75
Trust, Cooperation, and Other Problems for Multiple Players
Agency   Eric Posner     87
The Prisoner's Dilemma     100
Public Goods     109
The Stag Hunt     117
Chicken     126
Cascades     136
Voting Paradoxes     144
Suppressed Markets   Saul Levmore     152
Rules and Standards     163
Slippery Slopes   Eugene Volokh     172
Acoustic Separation     182
Property Rules and Liability Rules     188
Baselines     198
Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept: The Endowment Effect and Kindred Ideas     209
Hindsight Bias     218
Framing Effects     224
Anchoring     230
Self-Serving Bias, with a Note on AttributionError     237
Problems of Proof
Presumptions     249
Standards of Proof     257
The Product Rule     273
The Base Rate     281
Value and Markets     294
Notes     305
Author Index     329
Subject Index     335
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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 17, 2010

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    Posted February 7, 2009

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    Posted May 10, 2009

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    Posted May 18, 2009

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