The Common Law Tradition

The Common Law Tradition : A Collective Portrait of Five Legal Scholars

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This book commemorates a place and a time in American law teaching, but more importantly, an outlook: the common law tradition. That outlook was empirical and tolerant. These values were carried into expression by a group of people who were not part of a cult or faction nor ruled by the herd instinct. George W. Liebmann has prepared a collective portrait of five scholars who epitomize the tradition. The focus is Chicago in the 1960s, when the "law and economics" movement occupied a rather minor place. The five figures considered - Edward H. Levi, Harry Kalven, Jr., Karl Llewellyn, Philip Kurland, and Kenneth Culp Davis - did much to broaden the perspectives of the legal academy. Levi made use of sociology, economics, and comparative law. Kalven collaborated with sociologists on the Jury Project and with economists on tax law and auto compensation plans. Llewellyn's commitment to empirical research underpinned his work on the Uniform Commercial Code. Kurland's approach to constitutional law was highlighted by his insistence on the relevance of legal history. Davis was an energetic comparativist in his work on administrative law. What distinguished these Chicagoans is that their work was practical and rooted in the law, and hence yielded concrete applications. The group's diversity, the tolerant atmosphere in which they taught and wrote, and the attachment of its individual members to empirical approaches differentiate them from today's legal scholars and make their ideas of continuing importance. The Common Law Tradition examines these figures' lives and achievements, and assesses the extent to which their immediate agendas were realized. In a year devoted to celebration of the constitutional heroics instigated by Brown v. Board of Education, this book provides a reminder of what has been lost during the last fifty years: a consensual, gradualist, and empirical approach to law reform.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 375 pages
  • 162.6 x 231.1 x 33mm | 703.08g
  • Taylor & Francis Inc
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0765802813
  • 9780765802811

Review quote

-George Liebmann's skillful blending of biography and legal history makes his Common Law Tradition a must-read book for anyone who wants to understand the development of American law in the twentieth century. His analysis... also prompts reflection on the qualities of mind and character that are needed to sustain the rule of law in a democratic republic.---Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University -[The Common Law Tradition] is clearly written from the perspective of an individual who believes that legal thinkers can and should matter ... The book is full of distilled insights into the legal academy and its relationship to the legal profession and society as a whole.--- Bradford A. Berenson, Engage -The author traces the lives and times of five weavers of the tapestry of American law who happen to have been law professors at the University of Chicago: Edward H. Levi, Harry Kalven, Jr., Karl Llewellyn, Philip Kurland and Kenneth Culp Davis.... Far more emphasis is on what these men did and the significance of their contributions to our system of law... As you read you may marvel at how things used to be and as they are now in the arena of law reform.- -- Patrick G. Cullen, The Association Press, a publication of the Association of Defense Trial Lawyers -This is quite a substantial book ... The author has not only done exceptional research on each individual, but apparently had personal contact with them while either a student of the law school or in other contexts.... [A] highly informative volume with considerable value and insight, with some staunchly conservative ideas thrown in for good measure.- --- Ronald H. Clark, Arent Fox PLLC -Few books offer nicely intertwined sketches of the life and thought of a group of scholars whose collective perspective helped define the ethos of a major academic institution during provocative times.--- Alani Golanski -....useful to those interested in the time period or in any one of the book's subjects. Liebmann has compiled information form personal papers, from the proceedings of professional associations and other archival material that offer a rich history of a particular time and place.- -- Kathleen S. Sullivan, Law and Politics Book Review -To offer a series of five mini-biographies, all carefully researched, is an impressive achievement. The book's useful overview allows us to learn from ideas that still have power despite-and because of-the distance between those ideas and our own.- -- Brian H. Bix, The American Journal of Legal History -This collection also provides an illuminating window into the discipline of political science in mid-nineteenth America.- --Joseph R. Fornieri, The University Bookman "George Liebmann's skillful blending of biography and legal history makes his Common Law Tradition a must-read book for anyone who wants to understand the development of American law in the twentieth century. His analysis... also prompts reflection on the qualities of mind and character that are needed to sustain the rule of law in a democratic republic."--Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University "[The Common Law Tradition] is clearly written from the perspective of an individual who believes that legal thinkers can and should matter ... The book is full of distilled insights into the legal academy and its relationship to the legal profession and society as a whole."-- Bradford A. Berenson, Engage "The author traces the lives and times of five weavers of the tapestry of American law who happen to have been law professors at the University of Chicago: Edward H. Levi, Harry Kalven, Jr., Karl Llewellyn, Philip Kurland and Kenneth Culp Davis.... Far more emphasis is on what these men did and the significance of their contributions to our system of law... As you read you may marvel at how things used to be and as they are now in the arena of law reform." -- Patrick G. Cullen, The Association Press, a publication of the Association of Defense Trial Lawyers "This is quite a substantial book ... The author has not only done exceptional research on each individual, but apparently had personal contact with them while either a student of the law school or in other contexts.... [A] highly informative volume with considerable value and insight, with some staunchly conservative ideas thrown in for good measure." --- Ronald H. Clark, Arent Fox PLLC "Few books offer nicely intertwined sketches of the life and thought of a group of scholars whose collective perspective helped define the ethos of a major academic institution during provocative times."-- Alani Golanski .."..useful to those interested in the time period or in any one of the book's subjects. Liebmann has compiled information form personal papers, from the proceedings of professional associations and other archival material that offer a rich history of a particular time and place." -- Kathleen S. Sullivan, Law and Politics Book Review "To offer a series of five mini-biographies, all carefully researched, is an impressive achievement. The book's useful overview allows us to learn from ideas that still have power despite-and because of-the distance between those ideas and our own." -- Brian H. Bix, The American Journal of Legal History "This collection also provides an illuminating window into the discipline of political science in mid-nineteenth America." --Joseph R. Fornieri, The University Bookman "George Liebmann's skillful blending of biography and legal history makes his Common Law Tradition a must-read book for anyone who wants to understand the development of American law in the twentieth century. His analysis... also prompts reflection on the qualities of mind and character that are needed to sustain the rule of law in a democratic republic.""--Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University" "["The Common Law Tradition"] is clearly written from the perspective of an individual who believes that legal thinkers can and should matter ... The book is full of distilled insights into the legal academy and its relationship to the legal profession and society as a whole."-- Bradford A. Berenson, Engage "The author traces the lives and times of five weavers of the tapestry of American law who happen to have been law professors at the University of Chicago: Edward H. Levi, Harry Kalven, Jr., Karl Llewellyn, Philip Kurland and Kenneth Culp Davis.... Far more emphasis is on what these men did and the significance of their contributions to our system of law... As you read you may marvel at how things used to be and as they are now in the arena of law reform." -- Patrick G. Cullen, The Association Press, a publication of the Association of Defense Trial Lawyers " "This is quite a substantial book ... The author has not only done exceptional research on each individual, but apparently had personal contact with them while either a student of the law school or in other contexts.... [A] highly informative volume with considerable value and insight, with some staunchly conservative ideas thrown in for good measure." --- Ronald H. Clark, Arent Fox PLLC "Few books offer nicely intertwined sketches of the life and thought of a group of scholars whose collective perspective helped define the ethos of a major academic institution during provocative times."-- Alani Golanski .."..useful to those interested in the time period or in any one of the book's subjects. Liebmann has compiled information form personal papers, from the proceedings of professional associations and other archival material that offer a rich history of a particular time and place." -- Kathleen S. Sullivan, "Law and Politics Book Review" "To offer a series of five mini-biographies, all carefully researched, is an impressive achievement. The book's useful overview allows us to learn from ideas that still have power despite-and because of-the distance between those ideas and our own." -- Brian H. Bix, "The American Journal of Legal History" "This collection also provides an illuminating window into the discipline of political science in mid-nineteenth America." --Joseph R. Fornieri, "The University Bookman"show more