Thinking Like a Lawyer: An Introduction to Legal Reasoning / Edition 2

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Law students, law professors, and lawyers frequently refer to the process of "thinking like a lawyer," but attempts to analyze in any systematic way what is meant by that phrase are rare. In his classic book, Kenneth J. Vandevelde defines this elusive phrase and identifies the techniques involved in thinking like a lawyer. Unlike most legal writings, which are plagued by difficult, virtually incomprehensible language, this book is accessible and clearly written and will help students, professionals, and general readers gain important insight into this well-developed and valuable way of thinking.

Updated for a new generation of lawyers, the second edition features a new chapter on contemporary perspectives on legal reasoning. A useful new appendix serves as a survival guide for current and prospective law students and describes how to apply the techniques in the book to excel in law school.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the First Edition:
“Contains the best introduction to legal reasoning that I know of.” —Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School.
“Vandevelde restores luster to the phrase ‘thinking like a lawyer.’ Everyone, whether a newly entering law student or an experienced practitioner, will take away from Thinking Like a Lawyer valuable insights about law and lawyering in the United States.” —Christopher G. and Jill Robinson Wren, coauthors, The Legal Research Manual
“Manages at one and the same time to take legal reasoning seriously and yet not be taken in by it. Written in a lively and engaging style, this book is both comprehensive in its treatment of the subject and provocative in its central argument, namely that thinking like a lawyer means making judgments about policies. . . . A real achievement.” —Austin Sarat, Amherst College
“A comprehensive overview of the standard techniques of legal reasoning. It stands out because of the way it enriches the basic discussion with perspectives from legal history and theory.” —Joan Williams, American University
Tells the absorbing story of Russell Means, the accountant- turned-Indian activist who led a 71-day armed takeover of Wounded Knee in 1973. His life story is presented in the context of the Indian struggle for cultural identity and self- determination. B&w photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813344645
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2010
  • Edition description: Second Edition, Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 449,461
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth J . Vandevelde is a Professor of Law and former Dean at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he has practiced law before U.S. courts and international tribunals. He is the author of numerous books and articles on U.S. and international law.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Identifying Applicable Law 7
2 Analyzing Statutes and Cases 25
3 Synthesizing the Law 39
4 Researching the Facts 57
5 Applying the Law 65
6 A Historical Perspective on Legal Reasoning 109
7 Policy Analysis, Synthesis, and Application 141
8 Contracts 183
9 Torts 195
10 Constitutional Law 209
11 Civil Procedure 223
Conclusion 235
Selected Bibliography 237
About the Book and Author 241
Index 243
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