Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Schmidt on German Free Lawyers and American Legal Realists

And while we're departing from our usual practice of posting abstracts only to ungated articles, here's another, by Katharina Isabel Schmidt, Law, Modernity, Crisis: German Free Lawyers, American Legal Realists, and the Transatlantic Turn to “Life,” 1903–1933, which is just out in German Studies Review 39 (February 2016): 121-140:
Scholars have long recognized American jurists’ idiosyncratic commitment to a prudent, pragmatic, and political style of legal reasoning. The origins of this style have been linked to the legacy of the most American legal movement of all: the realists. Conversely, German jurists’ doctrinal, idealistic, and apolitical approach can be tied to the relative failure of Germany’s equivalent movement: the free lawyers. How to account for the seemingly inverse fate of realistic jurisprudential reform projects on both sides of the Atlantic? In this paper I employ transnational history to shed light on this particular instance of German-American divergence.

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