Course Information

Course Number




Introduction to Legal Theory

Introduction to Legal Theory is a 3 credit, lecture and discussion class with an enrollment limited to 35. The course aims to introduce students to a number of major themes legal theory, focusing particularly on the history of American legal thought and the way in which that history affected court decisions, ideas of institutional competence, conceptions of the role of the state, attitudes towards economic regulation and the implicit messages of legal education. The goal is to help students who are looking for common theoretical themes in the material they have already covered in their first and second year classes. We will spend a fair amount of time on interpretive arguments, such as the debate over original intent, and on movements such as legal realism, law and economics and critical legal studies. The general focus of the class is legal theory in action -- the way that theoretical ideas have changed our understanding of law, economy, legal education and the role of lawyers. The class requirements include regular attendance, weekly Blackboard postings and a take-home final exam. No prior exposure to legal theory, jurisprudence, philosophy or political theory is required.

Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.