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

James R. Maxeiner

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: July 30, 2011

Abstract

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

Maxeiner, James R., Thinking Like a Lawyer Abroad: Putting Justice into Legal Reasoning (July 30, 2011). Washington University Global Studies Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2012, pp. 55-92.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1640878 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1640878

James R. Maxeiner (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States
410-837-4628 (Phone)

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