The American Judicial System: a Very Short Introduction by Charles L. ZeldenAt some point, everyone living in the United States has some type of interaction with the American judicial system. For most, this contact is relatively minor: contesting a traffic ticket, suing or being sued in civil court, being a witness in a civil or criminal trial, or serving on a jury.Others are caught up in the criminal justice system - as defendants, as victims, as witnesses, as jurors, or as relatives of a victim or a defendant. For still others, contact comes via an important policy issue affecting their lives in the hands of judges and justices sitting in judgment in marbletemples to the law. Yet whatever the level of contact, the American judicial system affects peoples' lives. What courts and judges do matters.This book provides a very short, but complete introduction to the institutions and people, the rules and processes, which makeup the American judicial system. Jargon free and aimed at a general reader, this Very Short Introduction explains the 'where,' 'when,' and 'who' of American courts. It alsomakes clear the 'how' and 'why' behind the law as it affects everyday people. It is, in a word, a starting place to understanding the third branch of American government at both the state and federal levels; a guide to those wishing to know the basics of the American judicial system; and a cogentsynthesis of how the various elements that make up the law and legal institutions fit together.
American Law an Introduction by Lawrence M. Friedman, Grant M. HaydenThis book is a general introduction to the law and legal system of the United States and the relationship between law and society. Written for both students and general readers, it uses anecdotes, historical detail, and modern scholarship to give an overall view of the American legal system. After giving some brief historical background, the book begins with the basic structure of the system: the courts, legislatures, administrative agencies, and the relationship between federal and state law. The book then turns to substantive law, broadly canvassing a range of legal issues with special focus on the criminal justice system and constitutional law and civil liberties. The book finishes with a series of chapters exploring the role of the law, legal culture, and a number of extralegal factors in changing legal behavior. The book situates American law in its historical and social context, and explains how the law and legal culture reflect and, in some cases, prompt changes in American society.
Publication Date: 2017
A History of American Law by Lawrence M. FriedmanRenowned legal historian Lawrence Friedman presents an accessible and authoritative history of American law from the colonial era to the present day. This fully revised fourth edition incorporates the latest research to bring this classic work into the twenty-first century. In addition tolooking closely at timely issues like race relations, the book covers the changing configurations of commercial law, criminal law, family law, and the law of property. Friedman furthermore interrogates the vicissitudes of the legal profession and legal education. The underlying theory of thiseminently readable book is that the law is the product of society. In this way, we can view the history of the legal system through a sociological prism as it has evolved over the years.
Publication Date: 2019
Law 101: Everything You Need to Know About American Law by Jay M. FeinmanIn this fifth edition of his bestselling classic, Jay Feinman provides an authoritative and up-to-date overview of the American legal system. In the years since the publication of the fourth edition, there have been many important developments on the legal front. The Supreme Court has issued important decisions on presidential powers, freedom of religion, and personal liberty. Police shootings and the rise of Black Lives Matter has impacted the court system too. The rise of arbitration at the expense of jury trials has affected the rights of consumers, and internet law remains in a state of constant change. This fully updated fifth edition of Law 101 accounts for all these developments and more, as Feinman once again provides a clear introduction to American law. The book covers all the main subjects taught in the first year of law school, and discusses every facet of the American legal tradition, including constitutional law, the litigation process, and criminal, property, and contracts law. To illustrate how the legal system works, Feinman draws from noteworthy, infamous, and even outrageous examples and cases. We learn about the case involving scalding coffee that cost McDonald's half a million dollars, the murder trial in Victorian London that gave us the legal definition of insanity, and the epochal decision of Marbury vs. Madison that gave the Supreme Court the power to declare state and federal law unconstitutional. A key to learning about the law is understanding legal vocabulary, and Feinman helps by clarifying terms like "due process" and "equal protection," as well as by drawing distinctions between terms like "murder" and "manslaughter." Above all, Feinman reveals to readers of all kinds that despite its complexities and quirks, the law can be understood by everyone. Perfect for students contemplating law school, journalists covering legislature, or even casual fans of "court-television" shows, Law 101 is a clear and accessible introduction to the American legal system.
Publication Date: 2018
Sources of American Law: An Introduction to Legal Research by Beau B. Steenken and Tina M. BrooksAt its most basic definition the practice of law comprises conducting research to find relevant rules of law and then applying those rules to the specific set of circumstances faced by a client. However, in American law, the legal rules to be applied derive from myriad sources, complicating the process and making legal research different from other sorts of research. This text introduces first-year law students to the new kind of research required to study and to practice law. It seeks to demystify the art of legal research by following a “Source and Process” approach. First, the text introduces students to the major sources of American law and describes the forms the various authorities traditionally took in print. After establishing this base, the text proceeds to instruct students on the methods they will most likely use in practice, namely electronic research techniques and the consultation of secondary sources. Sources of Law incorporates screencasts currently hosted on YouTube that actively demonstrate the processes described in the static text. Finally, the text illustrates how the different pieces come together in the legal research process.
Sources of Law focuses on realistic goals for 1Ls to learn in a relatively small amount of instruction time, and so focuses mainly on the basics. It does introduce some advanced material so that 1Ls can recognize pieces of information they may encounter in research, but it does not fully cover researching materials outside the scope of the traditional 1L course. As such, it is best-suited for introductory legal research courses for 1Ls.
What's New in the Seventh Edition: There are two substantive additions. There is now a glossary of terms at the end of the book, which we hope will be useful to first year students trying to get a handle on all the new vocabulary they encounter in law school. The second addition is a brief section towards the end of Chapter 2 on generative AI.
Publication Date: 2023
The Yale Law School Guide to Research in American Legal History by John B. Nann; Morris L. CohenThe study of legal history has a broad application that extends well beyond the interests of legal historians. An attorney arguing a case today may need to cite cases that are decades or even centuries old, and historians studying political or cultural history often encounter legal issues that affect their main subjects. Both groups need to understand the laws and legal practices of past eras. This essential reference is intended for the many nonspecialists who need to enter this arcane and often tricky area of research.