I ate my wafer...


The Library Lights

I've noticed that Blogger ate about half of my "Cockfights and law school" post...it is probably just as well, I wrote it immediately after the Contracts negotiation session, and it was not very objective. Having said that, the only worthwhile part that was lost was as follows:

The scary part is, for as much as Professor X screwed us over, and set us up to fight without reason, I actually got into it. I put on my best suit, got a haircut, and actually obsessed over the fact that my dress shirt sleeves were about 1/4" short. I dressed for it in the same manner that I used to prepare to go raise hell...The suit replaced the Real-Tree or Tigerstripe camouflage, the tie selection replaced the gloves or face covering. It was in many ways an odd experience, but to make it more so, I got into the arguments. Although I certainly knew that it was all a game, I honestly don't think I would have handled it mush differently if there had actually been a real $25 Million on the line. I'll admit it, I saw uncertainty and fear in one of the opposite team on a couple of points, so I drove the argument back to that topic and tortured him over it. I forgot we were on tape for a certain professor's evening entertainment. In some ways, the whole damn legal system has me.

From my room window, I can see the law school, rather the law library windows and their lights at night. Even though it is several hundred yards away, I can even see the stacks of books. Occasionally, late at night, I just sit and look at it, thinking about the role of the legal profession. I'll admit it, I never really thought about it before I arrived here.

The American legal system is unique, we use an adversarial system, we don't punish the loosers by awarding (typically) attorney's fees. We expect lawyers to be both sworn, ethical, agents of the court, and fiery advocates for their clients (lie by omission and misdirection all the time, but don't bend facts). We expect good, competent, and motivated lawyers to defend rapists and murderers. With the exception of Louisiana, we base our law on English Common law, not the code system (hammurabi , Romans, catholic church...). We don't require, in general, people to aid others in emergencies...A situation that the roman law/code based countries find barbaric. More than all of the other things, we have a system where we admit that specific cases make bad legal precedent, and a certain percentage of people will simply get screwed to make the rest of the system work. A couple of days of watching the news, 5 minutes on Lexis /Westlaw, or looking at the back of the phone book illustrates all of the injustice and suffering the system causes.

No law student really has time to think about all of that. Personally, I believe in the system as a whole, but at a distance; I don't think I could defend some criminals well without eroding my own soul. I don't want to defend doctors that drive by horrific car accidents from civil suits. I hate to see the little guy get screwed in a contract case, but I don't want to base contract law on protecting against some random anomaly either. But, I want other lawyers, even better ones than I to defend the distasteful criminals. I don't want the erosion of rights that seems to accompany code based law that would force doctors to assist at accidents. I think the RIAA is evil, but I vigorously want to make a career out of defending patents.

Sometimes I wonder if the reason that lawyers, especially the brightest young ones, are paid a lot of money and worked 75 hours a week is to keep them from thinking too much. For that matter, there is a certain irony in the fact that to look out my window, at the law library, I have to look past several cans of beer chilling on the sill.

(To steal an idea from another MSU student, Now Playing in WinAmp: Bob Dylan's The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Queen's Under Pressure, Semisonic's This Will be my Year, and Closing Time, Requim for a Dream Theme, and Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run)