In 1907, Roscoe Pound's "The Need of a Sociological Jurisprudence" appeared in The Green Bag, a popular journal for the legal profession. Here Pound repeated and expanded upon his criticisms of how law was taught, interpreted and implemented. He saw that lawyers and courts routinely applied and enforced eighteenth century common law rules and doctrines that did not meet the needs of twentieth century society. Moreover, these failures were recognized by laypeople, leading to popular cynicism about the law. Lawyers, judges and educators, he argued, should reexamine these rules, study the effectiveness of particular legislation and work to improve and align them with the needs of society and the economy.
"Law is no longer anything sacred or mysterious. Judicial decisions are investigated and discussed freely by historians, economists, and sociologists. The doctrines announced by the courts are debated by the press, and have even been dealt with in political platforms. Laymen know full well that they may make laws, and that knowledge of the law is no necessary prerequisite of far-reaching legislation. . . . Those who practice and those who teach the law should be in a position to command the popular ear. We must reinvestigate the theories of justice, of law, and of rights. We must seek the basis of doctrines, not in Blackstone's wisdom of our ancestors, not in the apocryphal reasons of the beginnings of legal science, not in their history, useful as that is in enabling us to appraise doctrines at their true value, but in a scientific apprehension of the relations of law to society and of the needs and interests and opinions of society of to-day. . . .
"[L]awyers should be conscious factors, not unconscious followers of popular thought, not conscious obstructors of the course of legal development. To this end it is the duty of teachers of law, while they teach scrupulously the law that the courts administer, to teach it in the spirit and from the standpoint of the political, economic, and sociological learning of to-day. It is their task to create in this country a true sociological jurisprudence, to develop a thorough understanding between the people and the law, to insure that the common law remain, what its exponents have always insisted it is -- the custom of the people, the expression of their habits of thought and action as to the relations of men with each other."