This paper is about four courses developed by faculty of the Wisconsin Law School from about 1950-1970 that reflected the law-in-action instructional goals of American legal realism: Legal history by Willard Hurst; Criminal Justice Administration by Frank Remington, Herman Goldstein and colleagues; The Wisconsin contracts course by Stewart Macaulay, Bill Whitford and colleagues; Legal Process by Willard Hurst, Lloyd Garrison, Carl Auerbach and colleagues.
Eight themes in the courses are discussed: 1. Major flaws in the legal reasoning of appellate decisions (e.g., as internally incoherent, un-predictive of later results, politically biased under the guise of formal reasoning) 2, The importance of practical remedies over theoretical rights 3. The importance of legal agencies and law practice beyond appellate and other court decisions (e.g., legislation, administrative law) 4. The importance and impact of discretionary decisions of lower level public officials (for lawyers and citizens) 5, How private actors react to law and influence outcomes (and the role of lawyers in advising them) 6. Growth of legal policies over time in relationship to the wider society & economy (legal history) 7. The gap between social needs and justice and real legal outcomes and workable legal reforms (political progressivism) 8. The importance of empirical research on law, interdisciplinary research and social scientists on law school faculties or in collaboration with law faculty membersOn Hurst's legal history and the Hurst et al. Legal Process course (previously, Hurst & Garrison, "Law in Society"), see William Eskridge and Philip introduction to their edition of Hart and Sack's The Legal Process (separately published here) and the symposium on Hurst in 18:1 of Law and History Review.