The United States tends to feature greater levels of adversarial legalism than other industrialized democracies: a policymaking style that features higher reliance on litigation to address complex policy problems. This chapter examines the current state of American adversarial legalism by first defining it and then reviewing its causes and consequences. It ends by exploring the enduring political appeal of adversarial legalism despite its high costs, delays and unpredictability. This chapter maintains that three mechanisms – increasing returns, framing effects and policy feedback loops – help keep adversarial legalism in place. A central irony is that some of its features that draw the sharpest criticisms also contribute to its path dependence, as its characteristic uneven and unpredictable distribution of costs and individual assignment of blame tend to fragment interests within and across stakeholder groups, undermining the creation of broad, stable coalitions necessary for successful reforms.