Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

July 28, 2015

It's educational malpractice to recommend that incoming law students read Llewellyn's "The Bramble Bush"...

...as, alas, Michael Krauss (George Mason) does in The Washington Post no less.  Llewellyn's book is delightful and rich with interesting material, but I guarantee it makes no sense to someone who hasn't already read a lot of cases and studied some basic common-law subjects, like torts and contracts.  (I offer the basic Jurisprudence course here as a 1L elective in the Spring Quarter, and to those students it makes a lot of sense precisely because they've already seen so many examples of what Llewellyn is talking about.)  The one book I recommend to students who ask what to read before starting law school is Ward Farnsworth's The Legal Analyst (though the "Jurisprudence" part of the book isn't really about jurisprudence).  This is accessible to a novice, and provides a beginning law student with a variety of useful analytical tools.  (Farnsworth, now Dean at Texas, is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and the book actually covers much of the material covered in "Elements of the Law," a required fall quarter class for all 1Ls here--indeed, one of my colleagues who teaches "Elements" uses Farnsworth's book in the class.)


July 28, 2015 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice | Permalink

May 13, 2015

On legislative intent

I strongly recommend this review (and the book).


May 13, 2015 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

April 21, 2015

I've joined Aeon Ideas...

...here, and have a couple of viewpoints up.


April 21, 2015 in Jurisprudence, Navel-Gazing | Permalink

April 02, 2015

"Legal Realism and Legal Doctrine"

This piece is for a Penn law Review symposium.


April 2, 2015 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

March 30, 2015

"Normativity for Naturalists"

This paper is for a forthcoming volume of Philosophical Issues (the supplement to Nous) on "Normativity" edited by Ram Neta.  It's a bit more philosophically technical than the typical purely jurisprudential piece, but may interest some readers.


March 30, 2015 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

March 10, 2015

"Philosophy of Law" for the Encyclopedia Britannica

For the first time in a half-century, the Encyclopedia Britannica has commissioned a new essay on "Philosophy of Law," written by myself and a former student, Michael Sevel, now at the University of Sydney.  Hopefully ours will have a half-century run as well!


March 10, 2015 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

January 22, 2015

"Marx, Law, Ideology, Legal Positivism"

The final version of this paper, forthcoming in the Virginia Law Review symposium on "Jurisprudence and (its) History."


January 22, 2015 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

January 12, 2015

"Constitutional Law, Moral Judgment and the Supreme Court as Super-Legislature"

Here's a draft of the Tobriner Memorial Lecture in Constitutional law that I will be giving at Hastings later this afternoon in San Francisco.


January 12, 2015 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

December 31, 2014

A brief video discussion of "Why Tolerate Religion?" with Prof. Weiler at the EUI

During my October "Italy tour" (when I gave the Fresco Lectures at Genoa, and also gave a seminar at Palermo), I was fortunate to visit the European University Institute for the first time, thanks to Prof. Dennis Patterson.  While there, Joseph Weiler, President of the EUI and editor in chief of the European Journal of International Law, asked to record a short discussion about Why Tolerate Religion?


December 31, 2014 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

December 20, 2014

Blast from the past: "Why Philosophy Has Been Central to Legal Education"