C. C. Langdell

C. C. Langdell books and biography

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Brief Survey Of Equity Jurisdiction

By C. C. Langdell
Civil, Commercial And Criminal

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Canadian Constitution

By C. C. Langdell
International Legal Historical Documents

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Summary Of The Law Of Contracts

By C. C. Langdell
International Legal Historical Documents

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Christopher Columbus Langdell

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Christopher Columbus Langdell (May 22, 1826 - July 6, 1906), American jurist, was born in New Boston, New Hampshire, of English and Scotch-Irish ancestry.

He studied at Phillips Exeter Academy in 1845-1848, at Harvard College in 1848-1850 and at Harvard Law School in 1851-1854. He practised law from 1854 to 1870 in New York City, but he was almost unknown when, in January 1870, he was appointed Dane professor of law (and soon afterwards Dean of the Law Faculty) of Harvard University, to succeed Theophilus Parsons, to whose Treatise on the Law of Contracts (1853) he had contributed as a student.

He resigned the deanship in 1895, in 1900 became Dane professor emeritus, and on the 6th of July 1906 died in Cambridge. He received the degree of LL.D. in 1875; in 1903 a chair in the law school was named in his honour; and after his death one of the school's buildings was named Langdell Hall. He made the Harvard Law School a success by remodeling its administration.

But the greatest innovation of Dean Langdell was his introduction of the case method of instruction. Until 1890, no other U.S. law schoool used this method, which is now standard.

Moreover, the standard first-year curriculum at all American law schools — Contracts, Property, Torts, Criminal Law, and Civil Procedure — stands, mostly unchanged, from the curriculum Langdell instituted.

Langdell came from a relatively unknown family and it's said that he resented the fact that students from better families often received higher grades in their coursework, purely because of their family reputation. Dean Langdell instituted the process of blind grading, now common at U.S. law schools, so that students already known by professors or from famous families had no advantage over others.

Langdell wrote:

  • Selection of Cases on the Law of Contracts (1871, the first book used in the case system; enlarged, 1877)
  • Cases on Sales (1872)
  • Summary of Equity Pleading (1877, 2nd ed., 1883)
  • Cases in Equity Pleading (1883)
  • Brief Survey of Equity Jurisdiction (1905).

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopdia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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