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2003

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Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

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Reconsidering Legalism, Robin West Jan 2003

Reconsidering Legalism, Robin West

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay is in the spirit of a friendly amendment. I have found Shklar's central arguments to be more compelling every time I have reread this book over the last twenty years. Nevertheless, I want to argue in this essay that in spite of Legalism's strengths, Shklar's core anthropological claim about the profession - more often asserted, rather than argued, throughout the book - that legalism, the attitudinal glue that binds lawyers professionally, consists of a commitment to the morality of rule abidance - is flawed, not because it is wrong, but because it is underinclusive. While legalism consists of ...