The Judicial Process: Law, Courts, and Judicial Politics is an all-new, concise yet comprehensive core text that introduces students to the nature and significance of the judicial process in the United States and across the globe. It is social scientific in its approach, situating the role of the courts and their impact on public policy within a strong foundation in legal theory, or political jurisprudence, as well as legal scholarship. Authors Christopher P. Banks and David M. O’Brien do not shy away from the politics of the judicial process, and offer unique insight into cutting-edge and highly relevant issues. In its distinctive boxes, “Contemporary Controversies over Courts” and “In Comparative Perspective,” the text examines topics such as the dispute pyramid, the law and morality of same-sex marriages, the “hardball politics” of judicial selection, plea bargaining trends, the right to counsel and “pay as you go” justice, judicial decisions limiting the availability of class actions, constitutional courts in Europe, the judicial role in creating major social change, and the role lawyers, juries and alternative dispute resolution techniques play in the U.S. and throughout the world. Photos, cartoons, charts, and graphs are used throughout the text to facilitate student learning and highlight key aspects of the judicial process.

The Practice of Law

The Practice of Law

IN THE 1830S, THE FRENCH OBSERVER ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE NOTED THAT IN THE United States lawyers possess a “specialized knowledge of the law” that enables them to “fill most public functions” in society.1 A majority of American presidents have come from the legal profession and, in contemporary times, almost half of the Congress consists of lawyers. In the private sector, lawyers occupy influential positions on corporate boards, in nonprofit organizations, and on community task forces or committees. In short, lawyers perform a variety of critical public and private functions. Most important, they are the “primary gatekeepers to the administration of justice” and have an instrumental role in providing access to courts.2 In this chapter, we examine the ...

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