Thinking Like a Lawyer Abroad: Putting Justice into Legal Reasoning
Washington University Global Studies Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2012, pp. 55-92.
38 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2010 Last revised: 23 May 2015
Date Written: July 30, 2011
Americans are taking new interest in legal reasoning. Thinking Like a Lawyer: A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning by Professor Frederick Schauer suggests why. According to Schauer, American legal methods often require decision-makers “to do something other than the right thing.” There has got to be a better way.
Now comes a book that offers Americans opportunities to look into a world where legal methods help decision-makers do the right thing. According to Reinhard Zippelius in his newly published Introduction to German Legal Methods, German legal methods help decision makers resolve legal problems “in a just and equitable manner.”
This article set outs what good legal methods do: help decide legal problems justly. It poses the puzzle: why does Schauer say legal methods challenge rather than support doing the right thing, when Zippelius does not? Relying on Schauer himself, it suggests an answer: neglect of legislation and law application and fixation on appellate law-making. It shows how German legal methods as described by Zippelius help decision makers to do the right thing.
Keywords: Zippelius, Schauer, legal reasoning, legal thinking, think like a lawyer, syllogism, giving reasons, legislation, statute, precedent, case law, legal methods, procedure, code, codification, rules, German, Germany
JEL Classification: K19, K39, K49, I29
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation