Background Note | HBS Case Collection | December 2003 (Revised February 2008)

Law and Legal Reasoning: An Introduction

by Henry B. Reiling


Gives prominence to Mr. Justice Holmes' Prediction Theory of the law as a practical--and by analogy to forecasting in finance and other functional areas of business--comfortable, and familiar way for businesspeople to think about the law. Law is defined as a forecast of what the relevant facts proving the presence or absence of those concepts or principles will turn out to be. The basis for the forecast of concepts is a hierarchy of sources beginning with statutes, followed in sequence by an assessment of case precedent and considerations of social advantage.

Keywords: Forecasting and Prediction; Law; Theory;


Reiling, Henry B. "Law and Legal Reasoning: An Introduction." Harvard Business School Background Note 204-080, December 2003. (Revised February 2008.)