Why the Law Is So Perverse


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Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Sep 02, Graham Polando rated it really liked it. Witty, thought-provoking, and well-written. The answer to the title question certainly surprised me: Admittedly, some of it was difficult to understand, even on re-reading, which is just as likely a product of my own ignorance than a problem with the book. I have a very high threshold for strikingly artificial leg Witty, thought-provoking, and well-written. I have a very high threshold for strikingly artificial legal puzzles, and even I was occasionally annoyed by their frequency.

Overall, however, very much worth the time it took to read it. Mar 13, K.

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An excellent interconnected series of essays on the question of why all legal systems seem to have odd and incongruous features. Katz argues that, much like voting systems, all legal systems as a necessary feature include multicriterial decisionmaking, where addition or removal of certain irrelevant-seeming alternatives can change results that don't need to be changed.

It w An excellent interconnected series of essays on the question of why all legal systems seem to have odd and incongruous features. It was interesting, but I think the book could be read without it and perhaps even understood a little better as at least for me the legal concepts were much easier to grasp. His earlier books win out, but for fans of Katz this is a fun read. Mar 12, Doug Cornelius rated it it was ok Shelves: I admit that I offered to read and review the book based on the title. I'm not sure that Professor Katz makes the case that the law is perverse.

He does show the complexity and the complexity in human decision-making in the legal system. I suppose that title is not quite as catchy. That title is more closely aligned with the style of writing and content. For me, the book was like stepping back into law school and analyzing choices and consequences of actions in the context of legal decision making.

Leo Katz on Why the Law is So Perverse

That means there are some interesting puzzles and thought exercises. It also means that it's a bit disconnected from the real world. First, the publisher supplied me with a free copy of the book. Second, some of the statements in the book left me bitter with the way Professor Katz characterized the legal profession. The most notable was: I don't know any lawyers who get excited looking for loopholes, or who would even call their daily practice exploiting loopholes.

On the criminal side, it's all about the evidence and culpability. On the business side it's about trying to figure out what the government will allow and not allow.

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He draws us in to a puzzle and examines it from many angles until we feel that we understand not just the puzzle, but the world around us. And when one phrases it that way, one initially thinks: So you join this Kidney Club and you have as a downside you might be designated to be a donor. He made some very simple background assumptions that are not worth going into, basically that this is a truly collective decision as opposed to being a dictatorship. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Even stronger than in the kidney case is the example with which I open the book. Katz asserts that these perversions arise out of a cluster of logical difficulties related to multicriterial decision making.

The law is complex and the decision-making is difficult, but that doesn't make it perverse and doesn't make the lawyer's job one of merely searching for loopholes. In a whimsical example of a loophole, Professor Katz uses children cutting in line. According to playground law, line-cutting requires the consent of the party who will be immediately behind the cutter.

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So you can let someone cut into the line in front of you, but no backsies. The loophole is to allow the cut in front, then let the consenting party cut in front of you. Professor Katz even parades a cartoon involving a playground lawyer to illustrate the point. Where Professor Katz sees a loophole, I see a flawed law. It should either be cutting allowed or no cutting allowed. By allowing only one type of cutting, the law creates a distortion in behavior. The law can be changed and flawed laws should be changed.

Besides loopholes, Professor Katz focuses on a few other "perversities. Legal systems don't punish certain kinds of highly immoral conduct while prosecuting other far less pernicious behaviors. If you miss law school, Why the Law Is So Perverse will take you back through some of the best and some worst features of law school.

I suppose that title is not quite as catchy. That title is more closely aligned with the style of writing and content.

Why the Law Is So Perverse

For me, the book was like stepping back into law school and analyzing choices and consequences of actions in the context of legal decision making. That means there are some interesting puzzles and thought exercises. First, the publisher supplied me with a free copy of the book. Second, some of the statements in the book left me bitter with the way Professor Katz characterized the legal profession. The most notable was:. Actually, the point should probably be put the other way around: What is strange is that, given the contempt in which loophole exploitation is held, it is nevertheless central to legal practice.

What can a profession say for itself whose main preoccupation consists of this kind of activity? In a whimsical example of a loophole, Professor Katz uses children cutting in line. According to playground law, line-cutting requires the consent of the party who will be immediately behind the cutter.