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Law for Society: Nature, Functions, and Limits

  • Kevin M. Clermont
  • Robert A. Hillman
  • Sheri Lynn Johnson
  • Robert S. Summers
Series / Aspen Criminal Justice Series
Teaching Materials
Law for Society: Nature, Functions, and Limits offers an illuminating conceptual framework that looks at five basic legal instruments with which the law addresses the problems and goals of society. For any Introduction to Law course or as secondary reading in political science, criminal justice, or general studies, Law for Society breaks down the very concept of “law” to answer the questions: What is law? How does law work? What can law do and not do? The book addresses the nature of law, its problem-solving functions, and the limits on what law can accomplish.
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About the authors
Kevin M. Clermont

Kevin Clermont is a specialist in the procedural aspects of litigation. After his graduation from Harvard Law School, Mr. Clermont clerked for the late Hon. Murray Gurfein of the Southern District of New York, and then spent two years in private practice as an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen Hamilton. Since he joined the Cornell Law School Faculty in 1974, Mr. Clermont has authored a good number of books on civil procedure. His coauthored casebook, Materials for a Basic Course in Civil Procedure, is regarded as a model of careful legal craftsmanship and also a thoughtful introduction for students.

Robert A. Hillman

Robert Hillman has written extensively on contracts and contract theory, the Uniform Commercial Code, and related jurisprudence. A 1972 graduate of Cornell Law School, Professor Hillman clerked for the Hon. Edward C. McLean and the Hon. Robert J. Ward, both U.S. District Judges for the Southern District of New York. After private practice with Debevoise Plimpton in New York City, he began his teaching career at the University of Iowa College of Law. Hillman joined the Cornell Law School Faculty in 1982, and, in addition to teaching and authoring or co-authoring several major contracts and commercial law works, he served as Associate Dean from 1990-1997. An arbitrator, consultant on commercial litigation, and currently the Reporter for the American Law Institute#39;s Principles of the Law of Software Contracts, Professor Hillman teaches contracts, commercial law, and the law of e-commerce. He also teaches a class on the nature, functions, and limits of law for Cornell University#39;s Government Department.

Sheri Lynn Johnson

Sheri Lynn Johnson focuses her research on the interface of race and criminal procedure. She is the Assistant Director of the Cornell Death Penalty project, an initiative that aims to foster empirical scholarship on the death penalty, to offer students an opportunity to work with practitioners on death penalty cases, and to provide information and assistance for death penalty lawyers. After her graduation from Yale Law School in 1979, Professor Johnson worked for two years in the Criminal Appeals Bureau of the New York Legal Aid Society, and then joined the Cornell Law School Faculty in 1981. Professor Johnson co-founded the Cornell Death Penalty Project in 1993. She teaches constitutional law and criminal procedure, and works with students to represent death row inmates and criminal defendants charged with capital offenses.

Robert S. Summers

Robert Summers has won international acclaim for his work in contracts, commercial law, and jurisprudence and legal theory. Since he came to Cornell Law School from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1969, Professor Summers has authored and coauthored multiple works on contracts, commercial law, jurisprudence and legal theory. His treatise on the Uniform Commercial Code, coauthored with Professor James White, is the most widely cited on the subject. His other influential works include texts on legal realism, form and substance in the law, and on statutory interpretation. Professor Summers has served as official advisor both to the Drafting Commission for the Russian Civil Code and to the Drafting Commission for the Egyptian Civil Code, and he lectures annually on jurisprudence and legal theory in Britain, Scandinavia, and Europe. He currently teaches contracts and American legal theory.

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Introduction to Law
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