For this semester. we're learning "Umdah al-Fiqh" which is one of the famous beginner's texts in Hanbali school ("mazhab")
The text was authored by al-Imam Muwaffaquddin Ibnu Qudamah al-Maqdisee who was one of the most prominent scholars of Hanbali mazhab.
He is also called "Shaikh al-Mazhab" (The scholar/leader of mazhab) and in Hanbali terminology, the word "as-Shaikhan" (the two Shaikhs) refer to the Ibn Qudamah and the Ibn Taymiyyah al-Jadd (the grandfather) [who is the grandfather of Shaikh alIslam Ibnu Taymiyyah and the compiler of Muntaqa al-Akhbaar, the basis of Imam as-Shaukanee's commentary (Nailul Autoor).This is as opposed to the as-Shaikhan in Hadeeth terminology which refers to Imam alBukharee and Imam Muslim.
Going back to the Hanbali mazhab, although it is the "youngest" of the four schools of jurisprudence, it is by far, the most "flexible" of all. It is actually a "myth" to think Hanbali mazhab as very rigid and strict.
What I meant by "flexibility" is that opinions from either Imam Ahmad himself ("riwayah"/narrations") or from scholars within the mazhab itself encompass other 3 mazhabs as well.
Another characteristic of the Mazhab is that it does not restrict the "acceptable opinions within the mazhab" (wujooh) to certain numbers of scholars. Therefore the "process of Ijtihaad" within the Mazhab is an ongoing process. Opinions of the Hanbalite scholars of modern days can be considered as part of the opinons within the mazhab.
However, this does not mean that Mazhab Hanbali does not have a "standard" or "official" stance. The "official" stance of Mazhab basically revolves around 3 Hanbali scholars: al-Mardawee, alHajjawee and alBuhutee.
As a finishing note, one should aspire to learn "fiqh of mazhab" based on mazhab texts as it paves the way for you to acquire your "malakat fiqhiyyah" (Fiqh Aptitute) although one should also strive to learn "fiqh adillat" (Fiqh of the Evidences (alQuran and asSunnah) as both should come hand in hand.
It is a dangerous mistake to assume fiqh of mazhab is born out of wild and haphazard imagination of fore scholars. Rather, it is a careful and precise steps based on clear principles derived from the Quran and Sunnah!