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 students’ 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 students’ 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.

The fifth edition features a substantially revised chapter on statutory interpretation. It not only highlights recent Supreme Court decisions, but also confronts students with statutory texts to construe independently of judicial exposition. The chapter also includes new sections on ordinary meaning, the use of dictionaries and corpus linguistics, and temporal problems in statutory interpretation.


Imprint: Foundation Press
Series: University Casebook Series
Publication Date: 06/26/2020
Related Subject(s): Leg/Reg

Jane C. Ginsburg, Columbia University Law School

David S. Louk, Columbia University Law School

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The fifth edition features a substantially revised chapter on statutory interpretation. It not only highlights recent Supreme Court decisions, but also confronts students with statutory texts to construe independently of judicial exposition. The chapter also includes new sections on ordinary meaning, the use of dictionaries and corpus linguistics, and temporal problems in statutory interpretation.

Learn more about this series.