Book Review: The Path Of The Law

Title: The Path Of The Law

•Sub-title: Learning, Understanding, and Mastering the Law

•Author: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

•Publication Date: 2009

•ISBN: 978- 1933230- 08- 5


The insightful peruser of The Path of the Law will appreciate the impression of having next to him a guide, thinker, and educator who cautiously directs him to getting the hang of, comprehension, and acing the law. To peruse and rehash this book is to encounter taking on from an incredible educator a portion of the things he has learned and to get amped up for the subject too.

The Path of the Law presents the ends drawn by Holmes after more than 30 long periods of legitimate perception, thought, and practice of law. He presumably composed this essay to additionally examine what he started in his most renowned production, The Common Law. The Path of The Law was composed not as a manual about the act of law, yet a manual to tell understudies the best way to take on a similar mindset as a legal counselor; being a decent attorney; and having a fruitful law career.

What Is This Book About?

Obviously, numerous progressions and enhancements have occurred in the legitimate calling and in lawful instruction since Holmes composed this essay in 1897. Be that as it may, in this book Holmes isn’t worried about the functional moment subtleties of finding out about the law: “Hypothesis is my subject, not pragmatic subtleties. The methods of educating have been improved since my time, however capacity and industry will ace the crude material with any mode. Hypothesis is the most significant piece of the authoritative opinion of the law, as the modeler is the most significant man who partakes in the structure of a house.”

Who Was Holmes?

Holmes was in a situation to talk about American law with incredible position. In the wake of moving on from Harvard with his law degree, he showed law there. He at that point served for 20 years on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. At that point he was named to the U.S. Incomparable Court as an Associate Justice, where he served for 30 years. Notwithstanding his extravagant titles and exceptionally broad experience, Holmes never speaks condescendingly to the peruser of this book. Holmes’ undeniable love of the law and his craving to help other people comprehend this fascination comes through to the peruser noisy and clear. Holmes utilizes some straightforward models all through the essay to make his point.

The “Awful Man Theory” and “Ethical quality Vs. Law”

The quality and straightforwardness of Holmes’ composing is reason enough to draw in perusers – particularly law understudies. His representations are clearly looked over wide encounters and resemble striking pictures flashed on a smaller than normal screen. The universally adored delineation is typically Holmes’ clarification of his “awful man hypothesis”. Holmes clarifies “that an awful man has as much explanation as a decent one for wishing to stay away from an experience with the open power, and along these lines you can see the down to earth significance of the differentiation among ethical quality and law”. At the end of the day, a terrible man will need to know just what the material outcomes of his direct will be; he won’t be roused by profound quality or heart. This model makes way for the vast majority of the book. Holmes invests a great deal of energy into giving instances of the contrasts among ethical quality and law.

History and Tradition

A huge segment of the book examines the significance of history, or convention, as a significant piece of the investigation of law. Holmes reveals to us that “The normal investigation of law is still to a huge degree the investigation of history. History must be a piece of the investigation, on the grounds that without it we can’t know the exact extent of rules which it is our business to know. It is a piece of the normal investigation, since it is the initial move toward an edified distrust, that is, toward a purposeful reexamination of the value of those rules.”

Isn’t This Book Outdated?

The hurried peruser may expect that this book was composed excessively quite a while in the past to be of any pragmatic use to a cutting edge law understudy or legal advisor. In any case, a cautious peruser will promptly understand that Holmes has a lot to offer us today. Holmes summarizes his whole book in two short paragraphs:

“I assume that no listener to mine will misconstrue what I need to state as the language of skepticism. The law is the observer and outer store of our ethical life. Its history is the historical backdrop of the ethical improvement of the race. Its act, disregarding well known jokes, will in general make productive members of society and great men. At the point when I underline the contrast among law and ethics I do as such concerning a solitary end, that of learning and understanding the law. For that reason you should ace its particular imprints, and it is for that I approach you for the second to envision yourselves apathetic regarding other and more noteworthy things.”

“If a man goes into law it pays to be an ace of it, and to be an ace of it intends to look straight through all the emotional occurrences and to recognize the genuine reason for prescience. Thusly, it is well to have an exact thought of what you mean by law, by a right, by an obligation, by vindictiveness, goal, and carelessness, by proprietorship, by ownership, thus forth.”


Those of you perusing this book under the steady gaze of entering graduate school should put forth an attempt to re-read it a few times during your graduate school examines. It is then that you will start to see a greater amount of The Path of the Law each time you read it, and truly start to comprehend what Holmes was attempting to let us know – at a more profound level – and make the most of his message even more.

by Joseph C Kunz, Jr