Richard Rorty died in June 2007. According to some he was the most interesting, perhaps even the most important, philosopher of his generation. His influence on legal theory, especially legal theory of the more critical and literary kind, was considerable. And yet, in comparison with his reputation in the philosophical and literary academy, for many legal academics Rorty remains a relatively hazy figure. The purpose of this paper is to provide an introduction to Rorty; to his broader philosophy of pragmatism, a philosophy as he termed it of ‘bricolage’ and ‘law cunning’, as well as to his writings which focused rather more closely on jurisprudential questions, most importantly those that addressed the nature of rights. It closes with some thoughts on Rorty's final, provocative, and timely, observations on the decline of American civil society. If lawyers and legal theorists have, in large part, neglected Rorty, it is unfortunate; for, in our present age of vaulting political pretence, rarely has the need for a strong measure of intellectual scepticism seemed to be more urgent.