Legal doctrine—the creation of doctrinal concepts, arguments, and legal regimes built on the foundation of written law—is the currency of contemporary law. Yet law students, lawyers, and judges often take doctrine for granted, without asking even the most basic questions.
How to Do Things with Legal Doctrine is a sweeping and original study that focuses on how to understand legal doctrine via a hands-on approach. Taking up the provocative invitations from the “New Doctrinalists,” Pierre Schlag and Amy J. Griffin refine the conceptual and rhetorical operations legal professionals perform with doctrine—focusing especially on those difficult moments where law seems to run out, but legal argument must go on. The authors make the crucial operations of doctrine explicit, revealing how they work, and how they shape the law that emerges.
How to Do Things with Legal Doctrine will help all those studying or working with law to gain a more systematic understanding of the doctrinal moves many of our best lawyers make intuitively.
Pierre Schlag is distinguished professor at the University of Colorado and the Byron R. White Professor at Colorado Law. His books include The Enchantment of Reason and Laying Down the Law. Amy J. Griffin professor of legal writing and the associate dean for instructional development at Colorado Law.