When Kenneth J. Vandevelde’s Thinking Like a Lawyer first published, it became an instant classic, considered by many to be the gold standard introduction to legal reasoning. In this long-awaited second edition, intended for fans of the original and a new generation of lawyers, Vandevelde expands his classic work with useful revisions and updates throughout.
Law students, law professors, and lawyers frequently refer to the process of “thinking like a lawyer,” but attempts to analyze in any systematic way what is meant by that phrase are rare. Vandevelde defines this elusive phrase and identifies the techniques involved in thinking like a lawyer. Unlike most legal writings, plagued by difficult, virtually incomprehensible language, Vandevelde’s work is accessible and clearly written.
The second edition features new sections on the legislative process—describing step-by-step how legislation is enacted—and the judicial process—describing step-by-step how a case is litigated in court. Other new sections address the significance of dissenting and concurring opinions as well as the role of cognitive bias in factual determinations and on persuading a jury, on burdens of proof, and on presumptions. A new chapter provides contemporary perspectives on legal reasoning, which includes new material on feminist legal theory, critical race theory, and the economics of law. A new appendix is intended for prospective law students, explaining how readers can use the techniques in the book to help them excel in law school.
Vandevelde’s Thinking Like a Lawyer will help students, lawyers, and lay readers alike gain important insight into a well-developed and valuable way of thinking. Professors and students will find the book useful in almost any introductory law course at the graduate level and in advanced undergraduate courses on law.