Law for Amateurs

What skills to learn, what tools to get
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Law for Amateurs

Post by daylen » Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:34 pm

What legal knowledge is useful for regular people as they go through life? What essential legal terms should be understood when delving into the details of legal documents? Is it useful to have a general framework for how legal systems work locally and/or worldwide? How does the legal system relate to and interact with society in general?

I find that I have a gap in my latticework on this subject, and I would like to know what topics/resources to target in order to gain at least a shallow overview of law. I am not just interested in how to apply this knowledge to practical life situations, but also to better understand how the legal system interacts with the societal system as a whole. Therefore, I imagine that certain topics relating to the legal theory would be useful in that regard.

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Re: Law for Amateurs

Post by chenda » Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:57 pm

I would read up on the history of western legal systems and the development of Roman and Common Law.

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Re: Law for Amateurs

Post by EdithKeeler » Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:57 pm

I'd say a good understanding of the basics of contract law, since we run into contracts in so many aspects of daily life. Also a general understanding of real estate issues if you actually own any real estate. And tort claims law, the law that addresses when people do one another "wrongs" in a variety of ways. Tort claims also includes things like products law (ie, your rights if you're injured by the manufacturer of a defective product). And it wouldn't be a bad idea to understand the court system where you live, how it works.

I'm taking about a pretty high level understanding. Basically enough to know whether or not hiring a lawyer is a good idea. (Hint: if you're accused of a crime, hire a lawyer...).

I wouldn't think you'd need an exhaustive knowledge of law... more of a "For Dummies" level. ... &pmt=&plc=

I am not a lawyer, but I work in insurance and deal with the legal aspects of insurance, which is all about contract and tort law. I own property so have a decent understanding of property law. Fortunately I've not been in the criminal system, but I DO watch a lot of "Law and Order".... :D I'd say that these are the most common areas that touch on most people's lives. Patent law might be sort of interesting but do you really need that unless you're an inventor or something... My point is, there are a lot of aspects to the law, and even lawyers have to pick a specialty.

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Re: Law for Amateurs

Post by Dragline » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:51 pm

Yeah, I agree with EK. You kind of need to assess your risks and learn a little about those things. And knowing when you need a lawyer is key.

But most people would do well to learn about the legal consequences of marriage before entering into such a contract.

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Re: Law for Amateurs

Post by BlueNote » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:32 pm

Understand what to do when you are stopped, questioned,arrested,detained by or otherwise interacting with the police. I find most people are surprised at how little they need to comply with. Cops have a way of talking and acting, probably through training, that makes it seem like you'll be in big trouble if you don't do what they say at all times.

USA: ... nts-or-fbi

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Re: Law for Amateurs

Post by userqname » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:08 am

I am not just interested in how to apply this knowledge to practical life situations, but also to better understand how the legal system interacts with the societal system as a whole.
Tax law, and who benefits from it. Certain types of businesses and business practices have vastly more favorable tax treatment than others. This has the effect of incentivizing and expanding some industries at the expense of others.

Property rights. Some countries have very different property rights than the US. This has major economic consequences. What bank will lend you a mortgage if you can't prove who owns the land? Who enforces contracts of any kind if there is not legal theory of ownership?

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Re: Law for Amateurs

Post by brookline » Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:00 pm

You could pay a visit to a good court house law library and ask if the library has practical volumes with legal forms and "black letter" explanations of local law in contract, real estate, torts, and other areas relevant to your life. Also US tax law. Hopefully the library will have a scanner you can use. Here in Massachusetts we have or used to have the MCLE and Mass Practice volumes which cover such matters.

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