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Legal Realism

A Practical Approach To A Durable Result

Whereas sociological jurisprudence sought to utilize the common law as an engine of social reform, legal pragmatism, the fourth strand of realist thought, sought to employ common-law principles to resolve legal disputes in the most practical way. Pragmatists argued that a judge should undertake a four-step process when rendering an opinion.

First, the judge must identify the competing interests, values, and policies at stake in the lawsuit. Second, the judge must survey the range of alternative approaches to resolving the legal issues presented by the lawsuit. Third, the judge must weigh the likely consequences of each approach, considering the effect a particular decision may have on not only the parties to the lawsuit but also other individuals faced with similar legal problems. Fourth, the judge must choose a response that will yield the most durable result in the course of the law. This pragmatic legal philosophy is often characterized as result-oriented jurisprudence.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Labor Department - Employment And Training Administration to Legislative PowerLegal Realism - Power And Economics In Society, The Persuasion And Characteristics Of Individual Judges, Society's Welfare