Thinking Like a Lawyer Abroad: Putting Justice into Legal Reasoning


Americans are taking new interest in legal reasoning. Thinking Like a Lawyer: A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning by Professor Frederick Schauer suggests why. According to Schauer, American legal methods often require decision-makers “to do something other than the right thing.” There has got to be a better way. Now comes a book that offers Americans opportunities to look into a world where legal methods help decision-makers do the right thing. According to Reinhard Zippelius in his newly translated Introduction to German Legal Methods, German legal methods help decision makers resolve legal problems “in a just and equitable manner.” This Article sets out what good legal methods do: help decide legal problems justly. It poses the puzzle: why does Schauer say legal methods challenge rather than support doing the right thing, when Zippelius does not? Relying on Schauer himself, the Article suggests an answer: neglect of legislation and law application and fixation on appellate law-making. It shows how German legal methods as described by Zippelius help decision makers to do the right thing.


Frederick Schauer, Reinhard Zippelius, Legal ethics, lawyering



James R. Maxeiner (University of Baltimore School of Law)



Publication details



All rights reserved

Peer Review

This article has not been peer reviewed.

File Checksums (MD5)

  • pdf: 7b324ba9bf709892cceb961e8203bd76