How to Do Things with Legal Doctrine

How to Do Things with Legal Doctrine

Pierre Schlag and Amy J. Griffin

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9780226726106

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


“How to do Things with Legal Doctrine,” describes and explains those fundamental rhetorical moves that cut across the law school curriculum. We discuss rules vs. standards, textualism vs. purposivism, broad and narrow time frames, the theater metaphor, continuous and segmented transactions, the myriad arguments that attend the creation and destruction of legal distinctions, the classic techniques for reconciling doctrinal conflicts, and much (much) more. We look at legal doctrine by addressing the gaps, the conflicts, and other places where law seems to run out, yet legal argument must nonetheless go on. This is a book of theory, but what it theorizes are the practical arguments that lawyers make day in and day out. Our goal is not just to render the intellectual practical, but to reveal the intellectual aspects of the practical. Not just a discussion, this book also serves as a prompt, a compendium and a central resource for brainstorming about how to write a legal brief, a judicial opinion, a law review article.