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By Thomas D. Barton

PREVENTIVE LAW AND PROBLEM SOLVING: LAWYERING FOR THE FUTURE explores the complex relationships between legal problems and the procedures employed for their prevention or resolution. It seeks to broaden our understanding of legal risks and the methods by which they may be addressed. Law is viewed as one important part of a system of ideas and methods that protects individuals and their relationships, even while facilitating wider human interactions.

The work traces the intricate connections among the risks and problems that people bring to law; the methods available to avoid those risks or redress those problems; the skills that lawyers employ to use those procedures effectively; the ethics with which lawyers and judges are expected to operate those procedures; the vision of truth that guides the system; and the broader human culture within which law, lawyers, and legal methods are shaped. Gradually, this system of mutually influencing parts is evolving a new paradigm for engaging legal problems. The book unravels the historic trends behind this movement, and suggests some of its many implications for judges, lawyers, and students.

PREVENTIVE LAW AND PROBLEM SOLVING: LAWYERING FOR THE FUTURE is designed for four audiences. First, it introduces a broad, socially connected understanding of legal systems and legal thinking for students who are considering, or just beginning, law study. Second, for those who have completed their first year of legal training, the book reflects on the assumptions that underpin the thinking and methods they have been struggling to master. Third, for those interested in legal theory, the book describes and explains a new paradigm for legal thought. Finally, practicing lawyers are offered examples of using the preventive/ problem solving approach in contract formation, project management, general business representation, domestic violence, and health care delivery.

Thomas D. Barton is the Louis and Hermione Brown Professor of Law at California Western School of Law in San Diego. He obtained his J.D. degree from Cornell Law School, and a Ph.D. in Law from Cambridge University, where he researched problem solving within common law adjudication. Professor Barton teaches courses in problem solving and prevention, Civil Procedure, Contracts, and various topics in law and society for undergraduates. He writes and speaks primarily on legal theory and Preventive Law, and coordinates the National Center for Preventive Law, found at

June 2009, Paperback, 382 pages