The goal of these materials is to accelerate
and refine learning about legal reasoning and argument. They are
designed to draw students into a steady habit of inventing arguments --
producing alternatives to what they see on the page -- as they study the
legal materials assigned in their courses. Law students need to learn
more than to "find" the law or to "fit" a problem to existing categories;
they need to learn
Effective legal advocates know how to recast
the unfamiliar in familiar terms and the familiar in fresh forms. They
have learned flexibility of mind. These lectures seek to promote such learning
through exercises illustrating the basic legal skills of narration, characterization,
analogizing, framing, and arguing about policies. These skills are fundamental
and pervasive. Thus, instruction in and about them "bridge" the usual course
divisions in law schools and also bridge theory and practice. Specific
connections are drawn to judicial decisions commonly studied in traditional
first year law school courses (civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts,
criminal law, property, and torts), and also to some influential works
of legal scholarship.
Some of the materials use live discussions
between students and faculty members to communicate their ideas; some combine
exercises with ideas presented through text and notes. Visuals, sound,
links into the LEXIS®-NEXIS® on-line services and cross-references
take advantage of new technological opportunities.
Any of the five lectures can be used to
enhance existing courses; they may be combined to serve as the backbone
for an overview of legal research and writing.
The best way to begin to explore the materials
is by reading the introductory problem.