Thinking Like a Lawyer: An Introduction to Legal Reasoning

Thinking Like a Lawyer: An Introduction to Legal Reasoning

by Kenneth J. Vandevelde
     
 

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When Kenneth J. Vandevelde’s Thinking Like a Lawyer first published, it became an instant classic, considered by many to be the gold standard introduction to legal reasoning. In this long-awaited second edition, intended for fans of the original and a new generation of lawyers, Vandevelde expands his classic work with useful revisions and updates

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Overview

When Kenneth J. Vandevelde’s Thinking Like a Lawyer first published, it became an instant classic, considered by many to be the gold standard introduction to legal reasoning. In this long-awaited second edition, intended for fans of the original and a new generation of lawyers, Vandevelde expands his classic work with useful revisions and updates throughout.

  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. Vandevelde defines this elusive phrase and identifies the techniques involved in thinking like a lawyer. Unlike most legal writings, plagued by difficult, virtually incomprehensible language, Vandevelde’s work is accessible and clearly written.   The second edition features new sections on the legislative process—describing step-by-step how legislation is enacted—and the judicial process—describing step-by-step how a case is litigated in court. Other new sections address the significance of dissenting and concurring opinions as well as the role of cognitive bias in factual determinations and on persuading a jury, on burdens of proof, and on presumptions. A new chapter provides contemporary perspectives on legal reasoning, which includes new material on feminist legal theory, critical race theory, and the economics of law. A new appendix is intended for prospective law students, explaining how readers can use the techniques in the book to help them excel in law school.   Vandevelde’s Thinking Like a Lawyer will help students, lawyers, and lay readers alike gain important insight into a well-developed and valuable way of thinking. Professors and students will find the book useful in almost any introductory law course at the graduate level and in advanced undergraduate courses on law.

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Editorial Reviews

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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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813345253
Publisher:
Westview Press
Publication date:
12/28/2010
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
424 KB

Meet the Author

Kenneth J. Vandevelde is 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 four books and numerous articles on U.S. and international law.

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