In 1913 Ehrlich published his “Fundamental Principles of the Sociology of Law”. One hundred years later the Ernst Hirsch-Center for the Research into the Foundations of Law was established. On this occasion the socio-legal approaches of Ehrlich and Hirsch will be compared. In the Bukovina in the early 20th century Ehrlich made the experience of a schism between state law and the “living law”, the law living in the society. According to Ehrlich legal development takes place in three steps, starting at the bottom from the living law on a societal level, then moving to court decisions and finally reaching the top of state legislation. In his Turkish exile Hirsch also experienced a sharp discrepancy between Atatürk’s legislative reforms and traditional, religious patterns of social life. However, in the case of Turkey (and Hirsch’s observations) law developed top down. Both fundamentally distinct approaches are discussed. Finally, normative problems are addressed which neither Ehrlich nor Hirsch were concerned with, namely problems of cultural defense, caused by the conflict between state legislation on the one hand and societal, cultural as well as religious customs on the other hand.