June 4, 2020

Book Review: The Path Of The Law

The thoughtful reader of The Path of the Law will experience the feeling of having at his facet a manual, truth seeker, and trainer who cautiously publications him to studying, information, and studying the regulation. To study and reread this e book is to revel in taking over from a brilliant instructor a number of the things he has learned and to emerge as excited about the situation too.

The Path of the Law gives the conclusions drawn by Holmes after extra than 30 years of prison commentary, concept, and practice of law. He likely wrote this essay to further speak what he commenced in his most famous book, The Common Law. The Path of The Law was written no longer as a manual approximately the practice of law, but a guide to expose students a way to suppose like a legal professional; what it means to be an excellent attorney; and what it way to have a a success law profession.

What Is This Book About?

Obviously, many changes and enhancements have taken area within the felony profession and in prison schooling for the reason that Holmes wrote this essay in 1897. But on this e-book Holmes isn’t always involved with the practical minute details of mastering approximately the law: “Theory is my difficulty, now not realistic details. The modes of coaching have been advanced considering the fact that my time, however ability and industry will master the raw cloth with any mode. Theory is the most important part of the dogma of the regulation, as the architect is the maximum vital guy who takes component in the constructing of a house.”

Who Was Holmes?

Holmes changed into in a role to speak about American regulation with incredible authority. After graduating from Harvard together with his regulation degree, he taught law there. He then served for two decades on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Then he turned into appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court as an Associate Justice, where he served for 30 years. Despite his fancy titles and really huge experience, Holmes in no way talks down to the reader of this e book. Holmes’ apparent love of the law and his preference to help others apprehend this attraction comes through to the reader loud and clear. Holmes makes use of many easy-to-recognize examples for the duration of the essay to make his factor.

The “Bad Man Theory” and “Morality Vs. Law”

The nice and ease of Holmes’ writing is motive enough to attract readers – specially law students. His illustrations are manifestly chosen from extensive studies and are like brilliant pix flashed on a miniature display. Everyone’s favored illustration is commonly Holmes’ rationalization of his “bad man theory”. Holmes explains “that a terrible man has as an awful lot cause as a terrific one for wishing to keep away from an come across with the general public pressure, and consequently you may see the practical importance of the difference between morality and regulation”. In different words, a bad man will want to understand best what the cloth outcomes of his conduct may be; he’s going to now not be influenced with the aid of morality or moral sense. This instance units the stage for maximum of the e-book. Holmes puts a variety of attempt into giving examples of the differences among morality and regulation.

History and Tradition

A massive portion of the ebook discusses the importance of records, or lifestyle, as an important a part of the have a look at of law. Holmes tells us that “The rational have a look at of law continues to be to a massive volume the observe of history. History should be part of the observe, due to the fact without it we cannot understand the ideal scope of policies which it’s miles our business to understand. It is a part of the rational take a look at, due to the fact it’s miles step one toward an enlightened skepticism, that is, toward a deliberate reconsideration of the well worth of these rules.”

Isn’t This Book Outdated?

The hasty reader would possibly count on that this e book became written too long ago to be of any practical use to a present day law scholar or attorney. But a cautious reader will immediately recognize that Holmes has an awful lot to provide us today. Holmes sums up his complete e-book in two quick paragraphs:

“I take it as a right that no hearer of mine will misread what I even have to mention because the language of cynicism. The regulation is the witness and outside deposit of our ethical existence. Its records is the records of the moral development of the race. The exercise of it, notwithstanding popular jests, tends to make proper residents and proper men. When I emphasize the distinction between law and morals I do so with regards to a single stop, that of getting to know and expertise the law. For that reason you have to really master its specific marks, and it’s miles for that I ask you for the moment to imagine yourselves detached to other and extra matters.”

“If a person goes into law it can pay to be a grasp of it, and to be a master of it means to look directly through all the dramatic incidents and to parent the actual basis for prophecy. Therefore, it’s far nicely to have an correct perception of what you imply by using regulation, by a right, by using a obligation, by way of malice, motive, and negligence, through possession, by possession, and so forth.”


Those of you analyzing this book earlier than entering regulation college ought to take some time to re-study it several times at some point of your regulation faculty studies. It is then that you will begin to apprehend extra of The Path of the Law on every occasion you read it, and really start to understand what Holmes become trying to inform us – at a deeper degree – and enjoy his message even more.

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