Skip Levi, it's a classic (and reads like one.) It's like reading The Bramble Bush
instead of Law School Confidential
. Read it later if you're a completist or want some exposure to traditional materials.
Aldisert is great, but probably much more rigorous than you want. He's serious about using logic. I'd suggest reading this article of his first, which is a sort of manifesto-cum-introduction and see if it appeals to you:
"Logic for Law Students: How to Think Like a Lawyer"
University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Vol. 69, No. 1, 2007
Law schools no longer teach logic. In the authors' view this is tragic, given that the fundamental principles of logic continue to undergird the law and guide the thinking of judges. In an effort to reverse the trend, this essay explains the core principles of logic and how they apply in the law school classroom. The manuscript begins by examining the basics of the deductive syllogisms and then turns to inductive generalizations and the uses and abuses of analogies. The authors claim that students who master the basics of logic laid out in this article will be better lawyers and will feel more comfortable when they find themselves presenting arguments to judges and jurie
Full text at:http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? ... _id=966597
Delaney's book is widely praised, but I haven't looked at it much yet. It seems more like a tutorial workbook, as mentioned above.
I've been impressed so far with what I've read of Thinking Like a Lawyer: a New Introduction to Legal Reasoning
by Schauer, which is well organized, thorough and erudite (written like a real work of scholarship rather than a workbook) but still approachable.
I'm a big fan of The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking About the Law
by Farnsworth. This is qualitatively different than the rest of the primers floating around--it helps pull together the kinds of overarching considerations that I suspect law students are supposed to glean from lecture or tease out of course materials, and brings them into sharp focus. That must sound nebulous, so here are the chapter headings:
PART 1: Incentives
Ex Ante and Ex Post
The Idea of Efficiency
Thinking at the Margin
The Single Owner
The Least Cost Avoider
The Coase Theorem
PART 2: Trust, Cooperation, and Other Problems for Multiple Players
Agency (written w/R. Posner)
The Prisoner's Dilemma
The Stag Hunt
Suppressed Markets (written w/S. Levmore)
PART 3: Jurisprudence
Rules and Standards
Slippery Slopes (written w/E. Volokh)
Property Rules and Liability Rules
PART 4: Psychology
Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept: the Endowment Effect and Kindred Ideas
Self Serving Bias, with a Note on Attribution Error
PART 5: Problems of Proof
Standards of Proof
The Product Rule
The Base Rate
Value and Markets
The books by Vandevelde (also Thinking Like a Lawyer
) and Mertz (The Language of Law School: Learning to Think Like a Lawyer
) are excellent, but probably a little too meta-level. Vandevelde does cover some of the basics, but with a lot of historical and social framing. Mertz analyzes the law school classroom, and understanding its social construction and linguistic ideologies may be more disheartening than enlightening for 0Ls. Perhaps it's better not to peek behind the curtain until after 1L.....
Here are a couple others that I've been lent with positive recommendation, but haven't yet read:Whose Monet? An introduction to the American Legal System
-- Humbach -- takes you through DeWeerth v Baldinger (a suit over ownership of a Monet) as a vehicle to introduce legal thinking and process. Widely praised, but a more general primer. Good for people who don't yet understand what common law is and how it works, how the courts are organized, the general course of civil procedure, etc. Deconstructing Legal Analysis
-- Wendel -- Features a very interesting "planar" system for diagramming/analyzing cases/issues. Could be extremely effective if it works, but I'd hate to gamble on it if it turns out to be an inefficient gimmick. Has anyone read this and used the system (by assignment or otherwise?)
Finally, for those interested in classical approaches, I'd recommend Introduction to Classical Legal Rehetoric: a Lost Heritage
by M.H. Frost. I found it both enlightening and approachable (after the first chapter, which is a bit of a theoretical/historical brain dump for contextualization of the rest.) Definitely not everyone's cup of tea.
On GTM -- GTM is more about exam writing than legal reasoning as a whole. IMHO.