Professor Farnsworth asks:
Let me instead pursue the theory behind the book with a question. How should law school be organized? Isn’t it odd that the first-year curriculum is the same almost everyplace, and that it’s structured as it is? A couple of schools have started to experiment with minor innovation, but there still isn’t much of it. Here’s what I might suggest: a year spent just on analytical methods, another year spent entirely on various forms of rhetoric, and then one year on substantive legal doctrines (some of which would also have been taught along the way during the other two years). Not that every school should do this, but shouldn’t someplace do it? Perhaps you have other ideas of your own. I see no reason to assume that one size fits all.
A good chunk of law school should be organized around the concepts of "intent" and "manifestation."
These two questions must be answered in every area of law of which I am aware. Criminal law obviously but then also contract and tort and land use. The lawyer and/or judge is always trying to figure out what the parties intended to do and what they actually did. The emphasis changes depending on the circumstance but you always come back to trying to figure out what the parties thought they were trying to do and then what they actually manifested.
Whole areas such as evidence exist to systematize the raw data on which both intent and manifestation are proven. Competency to enter into a contract sets base-lines for when someone is allowed to legally "intend." It goes on and on.
"Intent" and "manifestation" is what I saw in law school.
Btw, non-lawyers should understand that what lawyers are supposed to do when they practice is "spot issues." (Actually most trades & professions involve issue spotting as their core competence. What's a plumber do when he sees a leak in your basement? Try to "spot the issue" -- where is the leak precisely?) Law schools don't teach you specific laws but a way of looking at human interaction. The very first questions a lawyer will ask a client are factual ones which are designed to set up "the story" and bring forth the intentions of the parties and then what happened.