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This casebook introduces non-U.S trained lawyers, law students, and college undergraduates to the intricacies and nuances of our legal system. The world is becoming a smaller place and as a consequence of this globalization, the need for lawyers who are international in perspective and competence is increasing. Whatever one's opinion about globalization, there is no doubt that the U.S. legal system is at the forefront of these changes. This book attempts to compress three years of U.S. legal education into one casebook.

The following materials in this chapter, and throughout this book, will help non-United States law students and pre-law students gain a better understanding of the legal system and the overall legal culture at work in the United States. Particularly, within this chapter is information on the infamous Socratic Method employed, to some extent, at most law schools throughout the country. Also, within this chapter is information that draws specific contrasts between the United States legal system and others. As the reader continues through the text, he will begin to understand that in the United States legal culture, the way one arrives at the answer is just as important as answering the question.

Given its intended audience, this book is an introduction to comparative legal studies, under the theory that, in establishing what the law is in each jurisdiction under study, comparative law (and for that matter, studies of foreign law, as well) should (a) be concerned to describe the normal conceptual world of the lawyer, (b) take into consideration all the sources upon which a lawyer in that legal system might base her opinion as to what the law is, and (c) take into consideration the gap between the law on the books and law in action, as well as (d) important gaps in available knowledge about either the law on the books or the law in action.

GW Paper Series

GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 214, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 214


Introduction and Chapter One

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