Legal Process

Class Unique: 28910
Course Description The Legal Process Professor Powers Spring 2017 “The Legal Process” is a course on legal philosophy and on legal history. It is a course on legal philosophy because it examines how and whether judges (and lawyers) have a special method of reasoning different from legislators and other policy makers, and it examines whether courts have a different institutional role from legislatures, executive branch offices, and private entities. In short, it examines the question of whether (and how) there is something special about “thinking like a lawyer.” It is a course on legal history because it examines these questions through a famous set of materials, called “The Legal Process”, developed at Harvard by Henry Hart and Al Sachs in the 1950’s and taught pervasively in leading American law schools in the latter part of the 20th century. These materials were intended to be a response to earlier theories of law, such as legal formalism and legal realism, and they spawned the later sympathetic legal theory of Ronald Dworkin. They also spawned critical reaction from “postmodern” legal theories such as critical legal studies, critical race theory, and critical feminist theory. In addition, many of the tenants of the Legal Process school are still influential today. The course has a traditional discussion format. The grade is based on a final examination. There are no midterm exams or papers.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:10 - 10:00 am JON 6.207/208
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room
Final 5/11/17 1:30 pm A-Z

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Allowed


  • The Legal Process - Basic Problems in the Making and Application of Law - Henry M. Hart, Jr. and Albert M. Sacks
      Foundation Press , edition: First
      ISBN: 1-56662-236-0   (required)


Powers, William C Jr. Powers, William C Jr.