‘How Elite Lawyers Shape the Law’

Paul R Gugliuzza, The Supreme Court at the Bar of Patents, 95 Notre Dame Law Review (forthcoming, 2020), available at SSRN; Paul R Gugliuzza, Elite Patent Law, 104 Iowa Law Review (forthcoming, 2019), available at SSRN. Christopher Langdell’s ‘case’ method of teaching the law has dominated the law school classroom for over a century. In this pedagogical approach, students typically read appellate opinions, and professors tease ‘rules’ from the opinions – often in concert with the so-called Socratic method, which enlists students to aid in this abstractive process. This approach is said to make students ‘think like lawyers’, but what’s typically ignored in the process is the role lawyers actually play in the very cases under consideration. Instead, the working assumption is that judges are presented with arguments and facts up high from anonymous sets of ideal lawyers, who never miss a key argument or forget a relevant fact … (more)

[Ted Sichelman, JOTWELL, 26 July]

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