This updated casebook serves a course in introduction to legal reasoning. It is designed to initiate students in the legal methods of case law analysis and statutory interpretation. In a course of this kind, students should acquire or refine the techniques of close reading, analogizing, distinguishing, positing related fact patterns, and criticizing judicial and legislative exposition and logic.
Law studentsa?? introduction to law can be unsettling: the sink or swim approach favored by many schools casts students adrift in a sea of substantive rules, forms and methods. By contrast, the Legal Methods course seeks to acquaint students with their new rhetorical and logical surroundings before, or together with, the studentsa?? first encounters with the substance of contracts, torts, or other first year courses. This approach may not only be user friendly; it should also prompt students to take a critical distance from the wielding of the methods. In this way, students may avoid (or at least broaden) the tunnel vision that so often afflicts beginning law students.