The book provides an overview of American legal institutions and sources of law, and presents a guide to the interrelationships between and among those institutions and legal authorities. It discusses the defining role of the doctrine of stare decisis in the American common law system and the critical judicial review function. In addition, American Legal Systems shows the reader how to determine and apply the relative priorities of sources of law, all in the context of the legislative process, agency action, and principles of constitutional and legislative supremacy. American Legal Systems ties many of these concepts to the realities of law practice. Portions of the book demonstrate how to locate specific resources, use legal terms, and prepare commonplace legal documents.

Among the main virtues of the book is its reader-friendliness. It introduces readers to some extremely complicated issues of American jurisprudence in a clear and straightforward way. It is relatively short and concise, much of it in chart form, allowing the user to quickly find and assimilate sought-after information. American Legal Systems can be used for reference purposes in conjunction with a student’s substantive course work, or it could be used in connection with an experiential task, such as legal research and writing. Of course, it can also be read on its own.