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Beyond Legal Reasoning: a Critique of Pure Lawyering

The concept of learning to ‘think like a lawyer’ is one of the cornerstones of legal education in the United States and beyond. In this book, Jeffrey Lipshaw provides a critique of the traditional views of ‘thinking like a lawyer’ or ‘pure lawyering’ aimed at lawyers, law professors, and students who want to understand lawyering beyond the traditional warrior metaphor. Drawing on his extensive experience at the intersection of real world law and business issues, Professor Lipshaw presents a sophisticated philosophical argument that the "pure lawyering" of traditional legal education is agnostic to either truth or moral value of outcomes. He demonstrates pure lawyering’s potential both for illusions of certainty and cynical instrumentalism, and the consequences of both when lawyers are called on as dealmakers, policymakers, and counsellors.

This book offers an avenue for getting beyond (or unlearning) merely how to think like a lawyer. It combines legal theory, philosophy of knowledge, and doctrine with an appreciation of real-life judgment calls that multi-disciplinary lawyers are called upon to make. The book will be of great interest to scholars of legal education, legal language and reasoning as well as professors who teach both doctrine and thinking and writing skills in the first year law school curriculum; and for anyone who is interested in seeking a perspective on ‘thinking like a lawyer’ beyond the litigation arena.

Jeffrey Lipshaw received his undergraduate education at the University of Michigan and is a graduate of Stanford Law School. Following law school graduation, Professor Lipshaw practiced with the law firm of Dykema Gossett of Detroit, Bloomfield Hills and Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has also served as a Vice President and General Counsel for two corporations. In 2005, he moved from the corporate world to teach as a visiting professor at Wake Forest University School of Law and later at Tulane University Law School. Professor Lipshaw has written extensively in the areas of contracts and business law. At Suffolk University Law School, Professor Lipshaw teaches LLCs and Partnerships, Securities Regulation, and Contracts.

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