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The Death of the Law? 72 Cornell Law Review 1 (1986)


The 1970s were an exciting and unusual time for legal education in America. The period was marked by the emergence of two jurisprudential movements which filled classrooms and law reviews with a remarkable spirit and energy. Today everyone is talking about theory. The purpose of my lecture, however, will not be to celebrate these developments, but rather to criticize them. I want to look at these two jurisprudential movements in some detail, and try to explain to you, if I can, why and how these movements endanger the proudest and noblest ambitions of the law. My claim is that though the jurisprudential movements of the seventies have electrified the academy, they also distort the purposes of law and threaten its very existence.

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