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Americans are taking new interest in legal reasoning. Thinking Like a Lawyer: A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning by Professor Frederick Schauer suggests why. According to Schauer, American legal methods often require decision-makers “to do something other than the right thing.” There has got to be a better way.

Now comes a book that offers Americans opportunities to look into a world where legal methods help decision-makers do the right thing. According to Reinhard Zippelius in his newly published Introduction to German Legal Methods, German legal methods help decision makers resolve legal problems “in a just and equitable manner.”

This article set outs what good legal methods do: help decide legal problems justly. It poses the puzzle: why does Schauer say legal methods challenge rather than support doing the right thing, when Zippelius does not? Relying on Schauer himself, it suggests an answer: neglect of legislation and law application and fixation on appellate law-making. It shows how German legal methods as described by Zippelius help decision makers to do the right thing.