Law 101: Everything You Need to Know About American Law

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9780195395136: Law 101: Everything You Need to Know About American Law
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The first two editions of the best-selling Law 101 provided readers with a vividly written and indispensable portrait of our nation's legal system. Now, in this third edition, Jay M. Feinman offers a fully updated survey of American law that incorporates fresh material on 2009 Supreme Court cases, the legal response to the war on terror (including the Guantanamo detainees and electronic surveillance), and to the latest developments in Internet law.

In a book brimming with legal puzzles, interesting anecdotes, and thought-provoking questions, Jay M. Feinman's clear introduction to the law provides us with a solid understanding of the American legal tradition and covers the main subjects taught in the first year of law school. Readers are introduced to every aspect of the legal system, from constitutional law and the litigation process to tort law, contract law, property law, and criminal law. Feinman illuminates each discussion with many intriguing, outrageous, and infamous cases, from the scalding coffee case that cost McDonald's half a million dollars, to the sensational murder trial in Victorian London that led to the legal definition of insanity, to the epochal decision in Marbury v. Madison that gave the Supreme Court the power to declare state and federal law unconstitutional. He broadens the reader's legal vocabulary, clarifying the meaning of everything from "due process" and "equal protection" in constitutional law to the distinction between "murder" and "manslaughter" in criminal law. Perhaps most important, we learn that though the law is voluminous and complex, it is accessible to all.

Everyone who wants a better grasp of current legal issues--from students contemplating law school, to journalists covering the legislature or the courts, to fans of Court TV--will find here a wonderful source of information: a complete, clear, and colorful map of the American legal system.

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About the Author:


Jay M. Feinman serves as Distinguished Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law, Camden. He is the author of five previous books, including 1001 Legal Words and Un-Making Law: The Conservative Campaign to Roll Back the Common Law.

Review:

"An engaging introduction to just about every aspect of law."--The American Lawyer"All the benefits of that first year of law school without the tedium, the terror, and the sleep deprivation...These legal lessons are presented in a style nearly always engaging and very often humorous."--Jurist"An entertaining and informative introduction to the law...For journalists, those interested in the law, and fans of television law dramas, this book should be required reading."--Library Journal"A layperson's introduction to the legal subjects that assault every first-year law student. From constitutional law to contracts to Dickensian procedures that guide civil suites, the book gives an approachable overview of the cases and concepts that combine to form our legal system."--NewarkStar-Ledger"Though a book is aimed at laypersons, it offers a good refresher course to update legal practitioners and paraprofessionals in areas where they do not specialize. A good read overall for those interested in the law."--Booklist"Law 101 attempts to teach you how to think like a lawyer--without requiring that you dedicate three years and tens of thousands of dollars to the task. The result? A practical book that is also a pleasure to read."--The Trenton Times"This basic text offers nonlawyers a concise, accessible overview of topics typically introduced in the first year of law school. Feinman, a law professor at Rutgers, cites seminal cases to highlight key concepts in the fields of constitutional law, civil procedure, torts, contracts, property, criminal law and criminal procedure. He does not minimize the actual complexity of these subjects, conceding variously that contract law has "tormented the most students," property law "most irritates students," conflicts of law "tortures students" and civil procedure is "the most alien." Nevertheless, he distinguishes his book from the various how-to-be-your-own-lawyer manuals on the market: 'This one is fun to read.' ...But many readers, particularly those contemplating law school, will find this a painless introduction to American legal theory and practice."--Publishers Weekly (Praise for the Second Edition)"Many readers, particularly those contemplating law school, will find this a painless introduction to American legal theory and practice."--Publishers Weekly"Feinman's style makes for easy reading, and Law101 is chock full of analyses, anecdotes, examples, questions, and legal reasoning set out in lay terms. Overall, the book provides an excellent explanation of what American law is, and it frequently suggests ways in which it might be improved."--TheFederal Lawyer

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