This book provides an introduction to the American legal system for a broad readership. Its focus is on law in practice, on the role of the law in American society, and how the social context affects the living law of the United States. It covers the institutions of law creation and application, law in American government, American legal culture and the legal profession, American criminal and civil justice, and civil rights. Clearly written, the book has been widely used in both undergraduate and graduate courses as an introduction to the legal system; it will be useful, too, to a general audience interested in understanding how this vital social system works. _ This new edition, which keeps the same basic structure of earlier editions, has been revised and brought up to date, reflecting the way the legal system has adapted to the complex new world of the twenty-first century.