Hohfeld, “Fundamental Legal Conceptions,” Thu., Feb. 3, Dodd 399

This spring, the Legal Theory Reading Group will meet biweekly on Thursdays at 7:15 pm. Our next meeting will be Thursday, February 3, at 7:15 PM in Dodd Hall room 399, when we will discuss Wesley Hohfeld, “Some Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning,” 23 Yale L.J. 16 (1913) (available in JSTOR and Hein).

Published in: on January 27, 2011 at 10:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Agenda and Logistics for the Semester

At our meeting last week, we reached decisions (at least for now) about our agenda for our next several meetings, and about how we’ll run our meetings.

Meetings and Dinner: We decided that we would plan on meeting biweekly on Thursday evenings at 7:15 pm in Dodd 399. We decided that we would like to have dinner at our meetings. I’ll make arrangements for food and everyone who comes can chip in a few dollars to cover the cost of the food. Please try to RSVP for meetings (or tell me if you’re a “maybe”) so that I know how much food I should arrange for.

Topics for Discussion: We decided that for our next three meetings, we’ll read articles from several writers classifiable as “legal realists.” At our second meeting, we’ll discuss Hohfeld’s article, “Some Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning,” 23 Yale L.J. 16 (1913). At our third meeting, we’ll discuss Robert Hale, “Coercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Noncoercive State,” 38 Political Science Quarterly 470 (1923), and at our fourth meeting, we’ll discuss Felix Cohen, “Transcendental Nonsense and the Functional Approach,” 35 Columbia Law Review 809 (1935). These articles, along with some helpful introductions, are all anthologized in David Kennedy & William Fisher III, The Canon of American Legal Thought (2006) (available on Amazon). They are also all available on JSTOR and/or Hein, and I’ll distribute copies of the introductions from the Kennedy & Fisher volume in advance of our meetings. Once we’ve worked through these three articles, we’ll pick something else to read.

Background on Realism: I promised that I would find some short background material on American Legal Realism. If you would like a very brief (5 page) overview of American Legal Realism, you might try the editors introduction to American Legal Realism (William Fisher III, Morton Horwitz, & Thomas Reed eds., 1993), which provides a very quick overview of the realist movement.

Discussion Format and Reading: We agreed that we’ll all try to do all of the reading, but anyone who hasn’t been able to do all of the reading is still completely welcome to come. To make things easier for anyone who doesn’t have time to read a whole article, I’ll send out a note in advance of each of our meetings noting some of the most important sections or pages of an article. We also agreed that we’ll try to have fairly unstructured discussions of the articles, but that one person will volunteer to come up with a few questions in advance of each meeting so that we have something to turn to in case discussion slows down (at least for now–we can see how this works and reevaluate if need be). Also, anyone who would like to do so should feel free to circulate questions that occur to them in advance of the meeting. In order to keep down the volume of emails, if you do come up with a question that you would like to circulate, please email it to me, and I’ll send out all of the questions that I receive to this list the day before the meeting in a single email.


Published in: on January 27, 2011 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Holmes, “Path of the Law,” Thu., Jan. 20, 7:15 PM, Dodd Hall Rm. 399

The Los Angeles Legal Theory Reading Group will have its first meeting next Thursday, January 20, at 7:15 PM, Dodd Hall Room 399, UCLA. Dodd Hall is adjacent to the UCLA Law School; room 399 is in the northwest corner of the 3rd floor. Directions to Dodd and parking information are available here.

Meeting Agenda:

We’ll talk about logistics of the reading group and discuss Oliver Wendell Holmes’s Path of the Law, 10 Harv. L. Rev. 457 (1897), which is available online [HTML], in JSTOR, or in Hein. (If you want a PDF of the article and are unable to access it through JSTOR or Hein, let me know, and I can email it to you.)


If you are planning on coming to the January 20 meeting, please RSVP by the 19th, if possible. If you’d like to come but won’t know for sure until the last minute, that’s fine–just let me know so that I can arrange for food. (Also, please let me know of any dietary preferences or restrictions.)

If you aren’t able to make it to the meeting next week but have input on the group’s planning (e.g., what topics to focus on, when and where to hold regular meetings, how much reading to do, etc.), please let me know by email.

Communication and Emails:

I plan to send out one to two emails to the group’s email list per meeting (one announcing the reading and perhaps a reminder the day prior to the meeting). If you would like to be added to the email list, please contact me.

I will also try to post all relevant information to this website.


Published in: on January 11, 2011 at 7:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Announcing a New Reading Group

The Los Angeles Legal Theory Reading Group will meet regularly to discuss legal theory, broadly construed.

The group will begin meeting in January 2011. Tentatively, the theme for Spring 2011 is the history of American Legal Realism, but the theme is subject to change depending on participants’ interests.

The group will likely meet every other week for approximately two hours, with meetings held in evenings, over dinner. A day of the week and location for meetings will be determined once I know who is interested in participating.

If you are interested in joining, please contact Jonathan Gingerich.

– Jonathan, LALTRG Coordinator

Published in: on January 8, 2011 at 12:43 am  Leave a Comment