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S- Your thoughts are interesting on law school. I myself never went, but did consider it up to the point of taking the LSAT. When I did an internship my boss (who had her law degree but didn't practice directly) encouraged me strongly to attend law school even if I never practiced, she said the majority of law school graduates don't practice law as their career. I wonder if I'd gotten my JD what would be different.

Bill Altreuter

You really can't escape being a lawyer. You've had the training, you have the tools, and even in a social setting you can't help but bring the mode of thinking that is particular to the law into operation.

It's not an altogether bad thing-- clarity of thought is useful, and one of the nice things about law is that it has a human quality-- as Holmes pointed out, it's not merely logical.

People act as though "lawyer" is a pejorative, but they also trust lawyers-- and with good reason, for the most part. I suppose they trust sailing coaches, too, but they don't seek sailing coaches out when they are looking for someone to hold the money from the sale of their house in escrow. (Prob'ly a pun in there, but I don't want to work it out.)


Well I hope at some point you reached out and touched his arm! It was a dinner/social conversation, not a cross-examination. Wasn't it?....

The Happy Feminist

Socratic flirting is the best . . .

And there are very few true "technicalities." If you're worried about something, it surely has a substantive component.

Wow, Professor: interesting label to assign to yourself. Unless of course, you were the student? I'm sure that's what you meant. I cannot possibly picture you being so pompous as to call yourself a professor.


Ouch: Anonymous at 5:38, you got me. But I meant the comparison to be more about the doggedness of the questioner, not the wisdom or authority. I wasn't trying to lead him to any conclusions, because my own grasp of property is pretty foggy, and I respect the real-world experience he had. I just wanted to get my head around the ideas he had, with precision, so I could figure out how different the scheme he was proposing was from the existing one. No, I'm no law professor.

But I was pushing, the way my favorite Torts professor used to. With that professor, everything you said was tested, gently, and if it wasn't clear it was handed back to you to articulate again. By the comparison I meant that our conversation was more interrogatory than your usual conversation. If I'd been a litigator when I practiced I might have made a deposition analogy, but that was never my field, so the law professor as questioner was what occurred to me.

I do feel like the one whose brain got stretched, though. In a good way.

Marcin Tustin

My experience having just begun law school in England is that much of the analysis is frustratingly informal, coming as I do from a software engineering background.

In any case, I still don't understand why you feel that the label "lawyer" is pejorative - all political ideologies imply a legal framework, and the biggest problem with most ideologues is that they don't know this, and have no idea of the kind of legal framework they have in mind. This is almost certainly the number two reason why most ideologies go nowhere (the number one reason being that adherents couldn't sell a bar of gold for a fiver). Without lawyers, social reform is quite literally impossible - be proud of that.


So you want precision? It's a noble goal. But the world, or at least much of what's interesting about it, resists. This makes the law important, yet always fallen. A good thing, I think.


RN, that's another thing about the law that I found frustrating. It's always behind. The law looks backwards, and is descriptive at best, never predictive. It assumes that the world of tomorrow will be modelled on the world of today. Maybe that's right -- I struggled a lot with that assumption in law school, before coming to accept that there's some soundness in that frame. But it misses innovation and new kinds of relationships, if it can't describe them in terms that are already familiar. The most interesting work of lawyers is in finding new metaphors, I think. Finding ways to link something fundamentally new to something a judge is already comfortable with, that's already been bounded and described and made a part of the legal firmament. But it's a plodding process, too slow to keep up with the things people actually adopt in a changing world.


I was just reading a critical edition of The Sound and The Fury and much of the commentary on Faulkner's style focused on his attempts to understand/portray how the past affects the present and is carried into the future. Seems to me that most people attempt that synthesis, consciously or unconsciously, in their own lives. It doesn't shock me that the law attempts the same for the life of a whole society. But hey, it was just a dinner conversation, right?


Sort of a tautology, no: the law describes what people do and then we hope that people (past, present, or future) obey the law.

Reminds me of Borges: "A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that that patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face."


My sister gave me The Aleph and Other Stories by Borges when I travelled Greece and it was a perfect read for that trip. I was surrounded by incredibly beautiful physical landscapes and Borges was telling/warning me that I was creating my own universe.

But it's a plodding process, too slow to keep up with the things people actually adopt in a changing world.

Which is why people trained in the law often wend their way into the political sphere to introduce new law for lawyers and judges to adjudicate.


But it misses innovation and new kinds of relationships, if it can't describe them in terms that are already familiar.

Perhaps this is why you have been drawn to writing, as well. A more creative way to try to describe the world than most legal writing affords. And yet I think it is the challenge of all fields to have to use the known to create the unknown.
It also reminds me much of early pre-feminism, in the way conscribed language and roles were used as a foundation for the arguments for greater equality.
Build from what you know.

I am trying to order the article or the book "Diary of a Young Lawyer", by Maine lawyer Scheherazade (Sherry) Fowler, originally appearing in the March 2005 issue of the ABA Law Practice Management Section's "Law Practice Today" e-bulletin.

Please communicate with Me Karine Boivin Roy to inform me of the price for the book and I would like to obtain that book at my personal address, 713 - 6th Avenue in Lachine, Montreal H8S 2Y6. Thanks to you in advance.


I think that this lawyer does not quite get it. The recession decreases potential job opportunities for law school applicants. This drives their opportunity costs for attending law school down and makes them more eager to attend law school.

In fact now may be the right time for them to invest in a legal education and some of the candidates who have decided to attend might be better qualified than the usual crop of law students.

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