This book has one objective in mind: to enrich the skills of lawyers and law students so that each may bear—to borrow from Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler—the noble title of “compleat lawyer.”
The voice belongs to a nonagenarian who has rolled up his sleeves, sat back in his chair and said he is willing to share observations on the law—both its anatomy and philosophical purposes—based on his rather prodigious and extensive experience.
The content includes selective reflections from Judge Aldisert’s books, lectures and essays over 14 years as a lawyer and 50 years as a judge, teacher and author. Five major law themes have commanded his special interest over the years: the common law tradition, logic and law, the institutional crisis facing appellate courts, quality writing, and the judicial process. Lawyers and law students will be afforded answers to these queries: What is the bedrock of our common law system and how can I use that knowledge to better advocate? What are trial and appellate judges really looking for? How can I create a writing structure that will persuade? What is the logical configuration that is absolutely necessary in any legal argument? What practical challenges do judges face when deciding my case? How do I convince a judge to decide my way when no precedent controls and the law is not clear?
For a lawyer in the courtroom to become a truly compleat lawyer, he or she must learn “Why am I doing what I do?” And that’s what this book is all about.
“[N]o other single volume that I am aware of so neatly and clearly explains the American legal system. This book explains stare decisis better than anything else available.
Judge Aldisert writes about his particular passion — the law — with an enthusiasm that is almost exhausting. Through this book the law student can get a glimpse of just how enormously satisfying the next 60 or 70 years of his or her life can be....This book really should be required reading for all law students, lawyers and others too.” — Paul Lomio, library director and law lecturer at Stanford Law School