Karl N. Llewellyn (1893-1962) was born in Seattle but grew up in Brooklyn.

He attended Yale College and began Yale Law School in 1915 where he served as editor of the Yale Law Journal. He stayed on at Yale after his graduation to work on his J.D. degree and was invited to teach commercial law. His first legal position was as house counsel for the National City Bank of New York. He then joined the law firm of Shearman and Sterling. In 1923 he returned to Yale Law School as an associate professor. A year later he visited at Columbia Law School and joined their faculty in 1925, while continuing to teach at Yale. He remained at Columbia Law School until 1951.

While at Columbia, Llewellyn became one of the major jurisprudential scholars of his day, and was a major figure in the debate over Legal Realism. In a series of law review articles in 1930 and 1931, Llewellyn debated the definition and significance of the Legal Realism movement with Harvard Law School dean, Roscoe Pound. This series of articles may be regarded as the central documents of the movement and, because Legal Realism has dominated all other movements since, all jurisprudence in the United States since.

In 1951, Llewellyn moved to the University of Chicago, where he worked with his third wife, Soia Mentschikoff, on drafting the Uniform Commercial Code and spent his remaining years teaching.

I strongly recommend to first year law students: Karl Llewellyn, The Bramble Bush: On Our Law and Its Study (1930) (Dobbs Ferry, New York: Oceana Publications, 1981).

Source: N.E.H. Hull, Roscoe Pound and Karl Llewellyn: Searching for an American Jurisprudence (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).