Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The ultimate question posed by the realistic movement in American jurisprudence is whether the practical conception of legal study and instruction as projected by legal realism, is really practical. There are two considerations among others which suggest that it is not, whether for training or research. The first is that the volume of existent law of any modern industrialized state is too vast and complicated for the human mind to master in all its technical detail and specialization during the brief time allotted. The second is that, even if this were possible, since the legal materials of the time and place are subject to constant change, there is no assurance that such knowledge will be useful in the future. If these obvious points are admitted, the next step in jurisprudence must be, not to abandon the critical achievements of legal realism, but also to develop on more constructive lines, including particularly those that realism tended to ignore. This would necessarily involve a humanistic conception of legal science, with due attention to systematic analysis of legal theory and to historical and comparative legal research.