In 1908 the Columbia Law Review published an article by Roscoe Pound, Dean of the Nebraska Law School, in which he contended that American common law had become a system of ossified rules deduced from abstract "conceptions" and applied mechanically to cases and situations regardless of their actual effects. He urged the judiciary and the legal profession to reexamine old common law rules to see if they were still viable; he warned that case law must "respond to the vital needs of present-day life" or be displaced by legislation; and he called for the development of a jurisprudence of pragmatism to replace the failed "jurisprudence of rules":
"The sociological movement in jurisprudence is a movement for pragmatism as a philosophy of law; for the adjustment of principles and doctrines to the human conditions they are to govern rather than to assumed first principles; for putting the human factor in the central place and relegating logic to its true position as an instrument. . . .
"Herein is a noble task for the legal scholars of America. To test the conception worked out in the common law by the requirements of the new juristic theory, to lay sure foundations for the ultimate legislative restatement of the law, from which judicial decision shall start afresh,---this is as great an opportunity as has fallen to the jurists of any age. . . . But the task of a judge is to make a principle living, not by deducing from it rules, to be, like the Freshman's hero, 'immortal for a great many years,' but by achieving thoroughly the less ambitious but more useful labor of giving a fresh illustration of the intelligent application of the principle to a concrete cause, producing a workable and a just result. The real genius of our common law is in this, not in an eternal case-law."