Law in Contemporary Society

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ChihIFangSecondPaper 6 - 13 Jan 2012 - Main.IanSullivan
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Rodell's Pursuance of Happiness

-- By ChihIFang - 17 Apr 2010

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Pursuit of Happiness Over Tangible Rewards

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Yet even as I am writing this essay I cannot help but think this is all talk. It is easy to say that one can disregard real world constraints and pursue some lofty societal aim. Which brings me back to my original condition of absurdity – why am I in law school? Other professions (i.e. plumbing) can produce equally lucrative tangible rewards, at least in monetary terms. The fulfillment in practicing law can only stem from the work-product itself. The pursuit of happiness as a lawyer, for me, would then be the removal of a societal absurdity.
>
>
Yet even as I am writing this essay I cannot help but think this is all talk. It is easy to say that one can disregard real world constraints and pursue some lofty societal aim. Which brings me back to my original condition of absurdity – why am I in law school? Other professions (i.e. plumbing) can produce equally lucrative tangible rewards, at least in monetary terms. The fulfillment in practicing law can only stem from the work-product itself. The pursuit of happiness as a lawyer, for me, would then be the removal of a societal absurdity.
 The legal institution and its representative members did not embrace Rodell's personal philosophy--after all, he did refer to the law as "a fat man walking down the street in a high hat." In a dedication to Rodell's life, his student Charles Allan Wright described Rodell as someone who was "more interested in pursuing happiness than tangible rewards." That, I think, sums up where our legal education should guide us.

ChihIFangSecondPaper 5 - 08 Jul 2010 - Main.ChihIFang
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META TOPICPARENT name="SecondPaper"

Rodell's Pursuance of Happiness

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Introduction

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Felix Cohen, Jerome Frank, and Thurman Arnold – all representatives of American legal realism movement. Fred Rodell is another. At various points of this course, I wondered when, or if ever, we would read Rodell’s works. It seems to fit the one of the main purposes of the course, as I understand it, which is to debunk today’s legal profession’s institutional structure. Moreover, Rodell believed that the primary goal of legal education is to help future lawyers to use their minds and that the purpose of legal writing is to explain and persuade in simple, non-bullshit terms – both of which run parallel to the themes of Eben’s class.
>
>
Felix Cohen, Jerome Frank, and Thurman Arnold – all representatives of American legal realism movement. Fred Rodell is another. At various points of this course, I wondered when, or if ever, we will read Rodell’s works. It seems to fit the one of the main purposes of the course, as I understand it, to debunk today’s legal profession’s institutional structure. Moreover, Rodell believed that the primary goal of legal education is to help future lawyers to use their minds and that the purpose of legal writing is to explain and persuade in simple, non-bullshit terms – both of which run parallel to the themes of Eben’s class.

But we did not read Rodell’s works, so I read them on my own (it was more interesting than covenants and mens rea anyways). Rodell did not publish much in the first place. His essay “Goodbye to Law Review” succinctly and humorously answered why. He referred to legal scholarship as “qualitatively moribund while quantitatively mushroom-like.” I was attracted to Rodell’s writing because somewhere along my 1L year I have lost sight of what the law is. This essay explores three themes I took away from Rodell’s writings and their influences on me.

 
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<
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But we did not read Rodell’s works, so I read them on my own - it was more interesting than covenants and mens rea anyways. Rodell did not publish much in the first place. His essay “Goodbye to Law Review” succinctly and humorously answered why. He referred to legal scholarship as “qualitatively moribund while quantitatively mushroom-like.” I was attracted to Rodell’s writing because somewhere along my 1L year, I lost sight of my purpose in law school. This essay explores three themes I took away from Rodell’s writings and their influences on me.
 

The Fundamental Hypocrisy of the Law

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Rodell’s book Woe Unto You, Lawyers! pointed out the fundamental hypocrisy of the law: the law deals with very practical matters, which influence society and its everyday occurrences, yet it is taught in an extremely impractical manner. The typical structure entails reading a case, finding the holding, discussing its rationale, and applying it to the next case. The law is taught as though it is theoretical and logically coherent. Yet today, if one were to ask me what law is, I would say its full of contradictions. Opinions are made buttressed by precedents with diametrically opposed implications. The law is applied as a one-size-fits-all t-shirt, but it is stretched at the whims of different justices.
>
>
Rodell’s book Woe Unto You, Lawyers! pointed out the fundamental hypocrisy of the law: the law deals with very practical matters - matters that influence the society and its everyday occurrences - yet it is approached and taught in an extremely impractical way. In classrooms, we read a case, find the holding, discuss its rationale, and apply it to the next case. The law is taught as though it is theoretical and logically coherent. In opinions, decisions are made buttressed by precedents that have wildly different implications. The law is applied as if it was a one-size-fits-all t-shirt, stretched only by different sitting justices. The effect this hypocrisy has on law students is obvious, as can be demonstrated through my own experience.

I entered law school with no legal background. And today if one were to ask me what the law is, I would say its full of contradictions. For some reading the cases might satisfy their na´ve optimism or infuriate their idealistic bubble, for me it just leaves me more confused about the law than I was ten months ago. There is no one-size-fits-all. Liberties are considered alongside the social climate to avoid backlashes, and as Jerome Frank stated, some judicial decisions are made based on the presiding judge’s breakfast.

Yet the more I dwell on this confusion, the more I believe, for me, the contradiction might be the most attractive component of the law. The contradictions I face stem from judicial flexibility. No matter how formalistic the opinions are written or to what degree they are following the doctrine of stare decisis, the law is flexible because it is intimately connected with concurrent practical considerations. Rodell, as a legal realist, saw the law as a tool to serve social purposes and to balance competing societal interests. I believe that is achievable, precisely because the law is flexible.

 
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<
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The effect of this hypocrisy on law students is obvious, as can be demonstrated through my own experience. For some, reading the cases might satisfy their na´ve optimism or infuriate their idealistic bubble, but it leaves me more confused about the law than I was ten months ago. There is no one-size-fits-all. Liberties are considered alongside the social climate to avoid backlashes, and as Jerome Frank stated, some judicial decisions are made based on the presiding judge’s breakfast. Yet the more I dwell on this confusion, the more I believe the contradiction might be the most attractive component of the law. The contradictions I face stem from judicial flexibility. No matter how formalistic the opinions are written or to what degree they are following the doctrine of stare decisis, the law is flexible because it is intimately connected with concurrent practical considerations. Rodell, as a legal realist, saw the law as a tool to serve social purposes and to balance competing societal interests. I believe that is achievable, precisely because the law is flexible.
 

The Only Excuse for Law's Existence

Changed:
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The law responds to changing societal expectations through its flexibility. Rodell wrote that the only excuse for the law’s existence is its role as the “only alternative to force as a means of solving the myriad problems of the world.” Because the law is flexible and can adapt to the practical needs of the society, lawyers are empowered to use legal assets to respond to emerging and existing problems. Accordingly, legal education ought to teach one how to think for oneself and for society at large.
>
>
The law responds to changing societal expectations through its flexibility. Rodell wrote that the only excuse for the law’s existence is its role as the “only alternative to force as a mean of solving the myriad problems of the world.” Because the law is flexible and can adapt to the practical needs of the society, lawyers are empowered to use legal assets to respond to emerging and existing problems. Accordingly, legal education ought to teach one how to think for oneself and for the society at large.
 
Changed:
<
<
I associate the idea of thinking for oneself with Eben’s idea of the internal contradiction of our social conditions. We are shaped by our social surroundings; but at the same time, we need to have awareness of our actions, especially those actions induced by our surroundings. Furthermore, law is an extremely social profession, and lawyers interact with people from various backgrounds. Hence, it is essential to learn the experiences of other human beings. Approaching any problem or situation (legal ones included) from a unilateral perspective will result in stunted solutions. The capacity to empathize adds to the effectiveness of a lawyer’s ability to see-and-respond and to engender our capabilities to think for the society at large.
>
>
I associate the idea of thinking for oneself with Eben’s idea of the internal contradiction of our social conditions. We are shaped by our social surroundings; but at the same time, we need to have awareness of our actions, especially those actions induced by our surroundings. Furthermore, law is an extremely social profession and lawyers interact with people from various backgrounds. Hence, it is essential to learn the experiences of other human beings. Approaching any problem or situation (legal ones included) from a unilateral perspective will result in stunted solutions. The capacity to empathize adds to the effectiveness of a lawyer’s ability to see-and-respond and to engender our capabilities to think for the society at large.
 
Changed:
<
<
The constructive channel and work-product that can result from thinking for the society are unique for each individual, as every person has a different cause and passion one wants to press for. [THIS SENTENCE IS A BIT WORDY AND UNCLEAR. PARSE OUT WHAT YOU MEAN.] I personally have not figured out my purpose for my law degree. But in order for any purpose to be meaningful, it ought to be one that serves the society rather than individual gains. The overarching theme of all such constructive channels is to place the society as its priority, not any particular individual.
>
>
The constructive channel and work-product that can result from thinking for the society are unique for each individual, as every person has a different cause and passion one wants to press for. I personally have not figured out for what purpose I want to apply my law degree to. But for any purpose to be meaningful, it ought to be one that serves the society rather than individual gains. The overarching theme of all such constructive channels is to place the society as its priority, not any particular individual.
 

Pursuit of Happiness Over Tangible Rewards

Changed:
<
<
As I write this essay, I cannot help but think this is all talk. It is easy to say that one can disregard real world constraints and pursue some lofty societal aim. This brings me back to my original point that [WHAT DID YOU MEAN TO SAY HERE???] can produce equally lucrative tangible rewards, at least in monetary terms. Fulfillment from practicing law can only stem from the work-product itself. The pursuit of happiness as a lawyer, for me, would then be the removal of a societal absurdity. [IN WHAT SENSE??? IT MIGHT HELP TO EXPLAIN HOW THIS RELATES TO YOUR ESIRE TO THINK FOR YOURSELF. IS REMOVING SOCIETAL ABSURDITY PART OF YOUR PURPOSE??]
>
>
Yet even as I am writing this essay I cannot help but think this is all talk. It is easy to say that one can disregard real world constraints and pursue some lofty societal aim. Which brings me back to my original condition of absurdity – why am I in law school? Other professions (i.e. plumbing) can produce equally lucrative tangible rewards, at least in monetary terms. The fulfillment in practicing law can only stem from the work-product itself. The pursuit of happiness as a lawyer, for me, would then be the removal of a societal absurdity.
 The legal institution and its representative members did not embrace Rodell's personal philosophy--after all, he did refer to the law as "a fat man walking down the street in a high hat." In a dedication to Rodell's life, his student Charles Allan Wright described Rodell as someone who was "more interested in pursuing happiness than tangible rewards." That, I think, sums up where our legal education should guide us.

ChihIFangSecondPaper 4 - 27 Jun 2010 - Main.TemiAdeniji
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META TOPICPARENT name="SecondPaper"

Rodell's Pursuance of Happiness

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Introduction

Changed:
<
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Felix Cohen, Jerome Frank, and Thurman Arnold – all representatives of American legal realism movement. Fred Rodell is another. At various points of this course, I wondered when, or if ever, we will read Rodell’s works. It seems to fit the one of the main purposes of the course, if I have understood it correctly, which is to debunk today’s legal profession’s institutional structure. Moreover, Rodell believed that the primary goal of legal education is to help future lawyers to use their minds and the purpose of legal writing is to explain and persuade in simple, non-bullshit terms – both of which run parallel to the aims of Eben’s class.
>
>
Felix Cohen, Jerome Frank, and Thurman Arnold – all representatives of American legal realism movement. Fred Rodell is another. At various points of this course, I wondered when, or if ever, we would read Rodell’s works. It seems to fit the one of the main purposes of the course, as I understand it, which is to debunk today’s legal profession’s institutional structure. Moreover, Rodell believed that the primary goal of legal education is to help future lawyers to use their minds and that the purpose of legal writing is to explain and persuade in simple, non-bullshit terms – both of which run parallel to the themes of Eben’s class.
 
Changed:
<
<
But we did not read Rodell’s works, so I read them on my own (it was more interesting than covenants and mens rea anyways). Rodell did not publish much in the first place. His essay “Goodbye to Law Review” succinctly and humorously answered why. He referred to legal scholarship as “qualitatively moribund while quantitatively mushroom-like.” I was attracted to Rodell’s writing because somewhere along my 1L year I have lost sight of what the law is. This essay explores three themes I took away from Rodell’s writings and their influences on me.
>
>
But we did not read Rodell’s works, so I read them on my own - it was more interesting than covenants and mens rea anyways. Rodell did not publish much in the first place. His essay “Goodbye to Law Review” succinctly and humorously answered why. He referred to legal scholarship as “qualitatively moribund while quantitatively mushroom-like.” I was attracted to Rodell’s writing because somewhere along my 1L year, I lost sight of my purpose in law school. This essay explores three themes I took away from Rodell’s writings and their influences on me.
 

The Fundamental Hypocrisy of the Law

Changed:
<
<
Rodell’s book Woe Unto You, Lawyers! pointed out the fundamental hypocrisy of the law - the law deals with very practical matters, matters that influence the society and its everyday occurrences, yet it is approached and taught in an extremely impractical way. In classrooms, we read a case, find the holding, discuss its rationale, and apply it to the next case. The law is taught as if it is theoretical and logically coherent. In opinions, decisions are made buttressed by precedents that have wildly different implications. The law is applied as if it was a one-size-fits-all t-shirt, stretched only by different sitting justices. The effect this hypocrisy has on law students is obvious, as can be demonstrated through my own experience.
>
>
Rodell’s book Woe Unto You, Lawyers! pointed out the fundamental hypocrisy of the law: the law deals with very practical matters, which influence society and its everyday occurrences, yet it is taught in an extremely impractical manner. The typical structure entails reading a case, finding the holding, discussing its rationale, and applying it to the next case. The law is taught as though it is theoretical and logically coherent. Yet today, if one were to ask me what law is, I would say its full of contradictions. Opinions are made buttressed by precedents with diametrically opposed implications. The law is applied as a one-size-fits-all t-shirt, but it is stretched at the whims of different justices.
 
Changed:
<
<
I entered law school with no legal background. And today if one were to ask me what the law is, I would say its full of contradictions. For some reading the cases might satisfy their na´ve optimism or infuriate their idealistic bubble, for me it just leaves me more confused about the law than I was ten months ago. There is no one-size-fits-all. Liberties are considered alongside the social climate to avoid backlashes, and as Jerome Frank stated, some judicial decisions are made based on the presiding judge’s breakfast.

Yet the more I dwell on this confusion, the more I believe, for me, the contradiction might be the most attractive component of the law. The contradictions I face stem from judicial flexibility. No matter how formalistic the opinions are written or to what degree they are following the doctrine of stare decisis, the law is flexible because it is intimately connected with concurrent practical considerations. Rodell, as a legal realist, saw the law as a tool to serve social purposes and to balance competing societal interests. I believe that is achievable, precisely because the law is flexible.

>
>
The effect of this hypocrisy on law students is obvious, as can be demonstrated through my own experience. For some, reading the cases might satisfy their na´ve optimism or infuriate their idealistic bubble, but it leaves me more confused about the law than I was ten months ago. There is no one-size-fits-all. Liberties are considered alongside the social climate to avoid backlashes, and as Jerome Frank stated, some judicial decisions are made based on the presiding judge’s breakfast. Yet the more I dwell on this confusion, the more I believe the contradiction might be the most attractive component of the law. The contradictions I face stem from judicial flexibility. No matter how formalistic the opinions are written or to what degree they are following the doctrine of stare decisis, the law is flexible because it is intimately connected with concurrent practical considerations. Rodell, as a legal realist, saw the law as a tool to serve social purposes and to balance competing societal interests. I believe that is achievable, precisely because the law is flexible.
 

The Only Excuse for Law's Existence

Changed:
<
<
The law responds to changing societal expectations through its flexibility. Rodell wrote that the only excuse for the law’s existence is its role as the “only alternative to force as a mean of solving the myriad problems of the world.” Because the law is flexible and can contour to the practical needs of the society, lawyers are empowered to use legal assets to respond to emerging and existing problems. Accordingly, legal education ought to teach one how to think for oneself and for the society at large.
>
>
The law responds to changing societal expectations through its flexibility. Rodell wrote that the only excuse for the law’s existence is its role as the “only alternative to force as a means of solving the myriad problems of the world.” Because the law is flexible and can adapt to the practical needs of the society, lawyers are empowered to use legal assets to respond to emerging and existing problems. Accordingly, legal education ought to teach one how to think for oneself and for society at large.
 
Changed:
<
<
I associate the idea of thinking for oneself with Eben’s idea of the internal contradiction of our social conditions. We are shaped by our social surroundings; but at the same time, we need to have awareness of our actions, especially those actions induced by our surroundings. Furthermore, law is an extremely social profession and lawyers interact with people from various backgrounds. Hence, it is essential to learn the experiences of other human beings. Approaching any problem or situation (legal ones included) from a unilateral perspective will result in stunted solutions. The capacity to empathize adds to the effectiveness of a lawyer’s ability to see-and-respond and to engender our capabilities to think for the society at large.
>
>
I associate the idea of thinking for oneself with Eben’s idea of the internal contradiction of our social conditions. We are shaped by our social surroundings; but at the same time, we need to have awareness of our actions, especially those actions induced by our surroundings. Furthermore, law is an extremely social profession, and lawyers interact with people from various backgrounds. Hence, it is essential to learn the experiences of other human beings. Approaching any problem or situation (legal ones included) from a unilateral perspective will result in stunted solutions. The capacity to empathize adds to the effectiveness of a lawyer’s ability to see-and-respond and to engender our capabilities to think for the society at large.
 
Changed:
<
<
The constructive channel and work-product that can result from thinking for the society are unique for each individual, as every person has a different cause and passion one wants to press for. I personally have not figured out for what purpose I want to apply my law degree to. But for any purpose to be meaningful, it ought to be one that serves the society rather than individual gains. The overarching theme of all such constructive channels is to place the society as its priority, not any particular individual.
>
>
The constructive channel and work-product that can result from thinking for the society are unique for each individual, as every person has a different cause and passion one wants to press for. [THIS SENTENCE IS A BIT WORDY AND UNCLEAR. PARSE OUT WHAT YOU MEAN.] I personally have not figured out my purpose for my law degree. But in order for any purpose to be meaningful, it ought to be one that serves the society rather than individual gains. The overarching theme of all such constructive channels is to place the society as its priority, not any particular individual.
 
Changed:
<
<

Pursuance of Happiness Rather Than Tangible Rewards

>
>

Pursuit of Happiness Over Tangible Rewards

 
Changed:
<
<
Yet even as I am writing this essay I cannot help but think this is all talk. It is easy to say that one can disregard real world constraints and pursue some lofty societal aim. Which brings me back to my original condition of absurdity – why am I in law school? Other professions (i.e. plumbing) can produce equally lucrative tangible rewards, at least in monetary terms. The fulfillment in practicing law can only stem from the work-product itself. The pursuit of happiness as a lawyer, for me, would then be the removal of a societal absurdity.
>
>
As I write this essay, I cannot help but think this is all talk. It is easy to say that one can disregard real world constraints and pursue some lofty societal aim. This brings me back to my original point that [WHAT DID YOU MEAN TO SAY HERE???] can produce equally lucrative tangible rewards, at least in monetary terms. Fulfillment from practicing law can only stem from the work-product itself. The pursuit of happiness as a lawyer, for me, would then be the removal of a societal absurdity. [IN WHAT SENSE??? IT MIGHT HELP TO EXPLAIN HOW THIS RELATES TO YOUR ESIRE TO THINK FOR YOURSELF. IS REMOVING SOCIETAL ABSURDITY PART OF YOUR PURPOSE??]
 The legal institution and its representative members did not embrace Rodell's personal philosophy--after all, he did refer to the law as "a fat man walking down the street in a high hat." In a dedication to Rodell's life, his student Charles Allan Wright described Rodell as someone who was "more interested in pursuing happiness than tangible rewards." That, I think, sums up where our legal education should guide us.

ChihIFangSecondPaper 3 - 02 Jun 2010 - Main.ChihIFang
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META TOPICPARENT name="SecondPaper"
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Fred Rodell's Legal Realism

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Rodell's Pursuance of Happiness

 -- By ChihIFang - 17 Apr 2010

Introduction

Changed:
<
<
Felix Cohen, Jerome Frank, and Thurman Arnold; all representatives of American legal realism movement. Fred Rodell is another. At various points of this course, I wondered when, or if ever, we would read his works. It seems to fit the purpose of the course, if I have understood it correctly, to debunk today "legal profession's institutional structure." Moreover, Rodell believed that the primary goal of legal education is to help future lawyers to use their minds and the purpose of legal writing is to explain and persuade in simple, non-bullshit terms; both of which run parallel to the aims of Eben's class.
>
>
Felix Cohen, Jerome Frank, and Thurman Arnold – all representatives of American legal realism movement. Fred Rodell is another. At various points of this course, I wondered when, or if ever, we will read Rodell’s works. It seems to fit the one of the main purposes of the course, if I have understood it correctly, which is to debunk today’s legal profession’s institutional structure. Moreover, Rodell believed that the primary goal of legal education is to help future lawyers to use their minds and the purpose of legal writing is to explain and persuade in simple, non-bullshit terms – both of which run parallel to the aims of Eben’s class.
 
Changed:
<
<
***I have never heard about or read Rodell's works until seeing your essay, but upon skimming Woe Unto You, Lawyers, it seems that Rodell makes blanket statements about lawyers in general and does not make concessions for the value of a law degree. To the contrary, Eben makes it clear that you CAN use your law degree for good should you choose to by refusing to acquiesce to the established structure. It is unclear to me whether Rodell would reach the same conclusion, but correct me if I'm wrong.

But we did not read Rodell's works, so I read them on my own (it was more interesting than covenants and mens rea anyways). Rodell did not publish much in the first place. His essay "Goodbye to Law Review," succinctly and humorously explains his rationale. He referred to legal scholarship as "qualitatively moribund while quantitatively mushroom-like." I was attracted to Rodell's writing because somewhere along my 1L year, I have lost sight of what the law is. This essay explores three themes I took away from Rodell's writings and their influences on me.

>
>
But we did not read Rodell’s works, so I read them on my own (it was more interesting than covenants and mens rea anyways). Rodell did not publish much in the first place. His essay “Goodbye to Law Review” succinctly and humorously answered why. He referred to legal scholarship as “qualitatively moribund while quantitatively mushroom-like.” I was attracted to Rodell’s writing because somewhere along my 1L year I have lost sight of what the law is. This essay explores three themes I took away from Rodell’s writings and their influences on me.
 

The Fundamental Hypocrisy of the Law

Changed:
<
<
Rodell's book Woe Unto You, Lawyers! pointed out the fundamental hypocrisy of the law - the law deals with very practical matters, which influence the society and its everyday occurrences, yet it is approached and taught in an extremely impractical way. In classes, we would read a case, find the holding, discuss its rationale, and apply it to the next case. The law is taught as if though a solely theoretical endeavor. In opinions, decisions are made buttressed by precedents that have wildly different implications. The law is applied as if it was a one-size-fits-all t-shirt. The effect this hypocrisy has on law students is obvious, as can be demonstrated through my own experience.

I entered law school with no legal background. With one academic year under my belt, all I have learned is that the law is full of contradictions. For some, reading the cases might satisfy their na´ve optimism or infuriate their idealistic bubble. It only leaves me more confused about the law than I was ten months ago. I cannot reconcile with my belief that there is and cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution. Liberties are considered alongside the social climate to avoid backlashes, and as Jerome Frank once quipped, "some judicial decisions are made based on the presiding judge's breakfast."

>
>
Rodell’s book Woe Unto You, Lawyers! pointed out the fundamental hypocrisy of the law - the law deals with very practical matters, matters that influence the society and its everyday occurrences, yet it is approached and taught in an extremely impractical way. In classrooms, we read a case, find the holding, discuss its rationale, and apply it to the next case. The law is taught as if it is theoretical and logically coherent. In opinions, decisions are made buttressed by precedents that have wildly different implications. The law is applied as if it was a one-size-fits-all t-shirt, stretched only by different sitting justices. The effect this hypocrisy has on law students is obvious, as can be demonstrated through my own experience.
 
Changed:
<
<
Yet, the more I dwell on this confusion, the more I believe that the contradictions might be the most attractive component of the law. No matter how formalistic the opinions are written or to what degree they are following the doctrine of stare decisis, the law is flexible because it is intimately connected with concurrent practical considerations. Rodell, as a legal realist, saw the law as a tool to serve social purposes and to balance competing societal interests. I believe that is achievable, precisely because the law is flexible.
>
>
I entered law school with no legal background. And today if one were to ask me what the law is, I would say its full of contradictions. For some reading the cases might satisfy their na´ve optimism or infuriate their idealistic bubble, for me it just leaves me more confused about the law than I was ten months ago. There is no one-size-fits-all. Liberties are considered alongside the social climate to avoid backlashes, and as Jerome Frank stated, some judicial decisions are made based on the presiding judge’s breakfast.
 
Changed:
<
<
***It seems as though you are confounding flexibility with contradictions. To me, those are two very different ideas. It would follow that if the law were so flexible, it could avoid contradictions. Are you trying to say that flexibility is a double-edged sword that leads to contradictions in the wrong hands. Furthermore, It seems that your conclusion is that the law's flexibility can allow it to address social issues and achieve a more fair and balanced result is at odds with Rodell's thesis in Woe. He appears to be arguing the very opposite, denigrating blind adherence to legal doctrine. I'm not sure how to reconcile the two. Are you disagreeing with Rodell on this??
>
>
Yet the more I dwell on this confusion, the more I believe, for me, the contradiction might be the most attractive component of the law. The contradictions I face stem from judicial flexibility. No matter how formalistic the opinions are written or to what degree they are following the doctrine of stare decisis, the law is flexible because it is intimately connected with concurrent practical considerations. Rodell, as a legal realist, saw the law as a tool to serve social purposes and to balance competing societal interests. I believe that is achievable, precisely because the law is flexible.
 
Changed:
<
<

The Only Excuse for Law’s Existence

>
>

The Only Excuse for Law's Existence

 
Changed:
<
<
Rodell wrote that the only excuse for the law's existence is its role as the "only alternative to force as a mean of solving the myriad problems of the world." Because the law is flexible and can contour to the practical needs of the society, lawyers are empowered to use legal assets to respond to emerging and existing problems. Accordingly he believed that legal education ought to teach one how to think for oneself and for the society at large.
>
>
The law responds to changing societal expectations through its flexibility. Rodell wrote that the only excuse for the law’s existence is its role as the “only alternative to force as a mean of solving the myriad problems of the world.” Because the law is flexible and can contour to the practical needs of the society, lawyers are empowered to use legal assets to respond to emerging and existing problems. Accordingly, legal education ought to teach one how to think for oneself and for the society at large.
 
Changed:
<
<
In regards to thinking for oneself, I associate it with Eben's idea of the internal contradiction of our social conditions. People are shaped by their social surroundings, but it is also essential to have awareness and consciousness of our actions in order to work towards our purpose and pursuit of happiness.
>
>
I associate the idea of thinking for oneself with Eben’s idea of the internal contradiction of our social conditions. We are shaped by our social surroundings; but at the same time, we need to have awareness of our actions, especially those actions induced by our surroundings. Furthermore, law is an extremely social profession and lawyers interact with people from various backgrounds. Hence, it is essential to learn the experiences of other human beings. Approaching any problem or situation (legal ones included) from a unilateral perspective will result in stunted solutions. The capacity to empathize adds to the effectiveness of a lawyer’s ability to see-and-respond and to engender our capabilities to think for the society at large.
 
Changed:
<
<
In regards to thinking for society at large, it should derive from our purpose. Everyone's purpose is different. I have yet to ascertain what mine is. But for the purpose to be meaningful and to be in pursuit of individual happiness, it ought to be one that serves the society rather than individual gains.
>
>
The constructive channel and work-product that can result from thinking for the society are unique for each individual, as every person has a different cause and passion one wants to press for. I personally have not figured out for what purpose I want to apply my law degree to. But for any purpose to be meaningful, it ought to be one that serves the society rather than individual gains. The overarching theme of all such constructive channels is to place the society as its priority, not any particular individual.
 

Pursuance of Happiness Rather Than Tangible Rewards

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Yet even as I am writing this essay I cannot help but think this is all talk. It is easy to say that one can disregard real world constraints and pursue some lofty societal aim. Which brings me back to my original condition of absurdity – why am I in law school? Other professions (i.e. plumbing) can produce equally lucrative tangible rewards, at least in monetary terms. The fulfillment in practicing law can only stem from the work-product itself. The pursuit of happiness as a lawyer, for me, would then be the removal of a societal absurdity.
 The legal institution and its representative members did not embrace Rodell's personal philosophy--after all, he did refer to the law as "a fat man walking down the street in a high hat." In a dedication to Rodell's life, his student Charles Allan Wright described Rodell as someone who was "more interested in pursuing happiness than tangible rewards." That, I think, sums up where our legal education should guide us.

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Fred Rodell's Legal Realism

-- By ChihIFang - 17 Apr 2010

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Introduction

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Felix Cohen, Jerome Frank, and Thurman Arnold – all representatives of American legal realism movement. Fred Rodell is another. At various points of this course, I wondered when, or if ever, we will read Rodell’s works. It seems to fit the purpose of the course, if I have understood it correctly, to debunk today’s legal profession’s institutional structure. Moreover, Rodell believed that the primary goal of legal education is to help future lawyers to use their minds and the purpose of legal writing is to explain and persuade in simple, non-bullshit terms – both of which run parallel to the aims of Eben’s class.
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Felix Cohen, Jerome Frank, and Thurman Arnold; all representatives of American legal realism movement. Fred Rodell is another. At various points of this course, I wondered when, or if ever, we would read his works. It seems to fit the purpose of the course, if I have understood it correctly, to debunk today "legal profession's institutional structure." Moreover, Rodell believed that the primary goal of legal education is to help future lawyers to use their minds and the purpose of legal writing is to explain and persuade in simple, non-bullshit terms; both of which run parallel to the aims of Eben's class.

***I have never heard about or read Rodell's works until seeing your essay, but upon skimming Woe Unto You, Lawyers, it seems that Rodell makes blanket statements about lawyers in general and does not make concessions for the value of a law degree. To the contrary, Eben makes it clear that you CAN use your law degree for good should you choose to by refusing to acquiesce to the established structure. It is unclear to me whether Rodell would reach the same conclusion, but correct me if I'm wrong.

 
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But we did not read Rodell’s works, so I read them on my own (it was more interesting than covenants and mens rea anyways). Rodell did not publish much in the first place. His essay “Goodbye to Law Review” succinctly and humorously answered why. He referred to legal scholarship as “qualitatively moribund while quantitatively mushroom-like.” I was attracted to Rodell’s writing because somewhere along my 1L year I have lost sight of what the law is. This essay explores three themes I took away from Rodell’s writings and their influences on me.
>
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But we did not read Rodell's works, so I read them on my own (it was more interesting than covenants and mens rea anyways). Rodell did not publish much in the first place. His essay "Goodbye to Law Review," succinctly and humorously explains his rationale. He referred to legal scholarship as "qualitatively moribund while quantitatively mushroom-like." I was attracted to Rodell's writing because somewhere along my 1L year, I have lost sight of what the law is. This essay explores three themes I took away from Rodell's writings and their influences on me.
 

The Fundamental Hypocrisy of the Law

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Rodell’s book Woe Unto You, Lawyers! pointed out the fundamental hypocrisy of the law - the law deals with very practical matters, matters that influence the society and its everyday occurrences, yet it is approached and taught in an extremely impractical way. In classrooms, we read a case, find the holding, discuss its rationale, and apply it to the next case. The law is taught as if it is theoretical. In opinions, decisions are made buttressed by precedents that have wildly different implications. The law is applied as if it was a one-size-fits-all t-shirt. The effect this hypocrisy has on law students is obvious, as can be demonstrated through my own experience.
>
>
Rodell's book Woe Unto You, Lawyers! pointed out the fundamental hypocrisy of the law - the law deals with very practical matters, which influence the society and its everyday occurrences, yet it is approached and taught in an extremely impractical way. In classes, we would read a case, find the holding, discuss its rationale, and apply it to the next case. The law is taught as if though a solely theoretical endeavor. In opinions, decisions are made buttressed by precedents that have wildly different implications. The law is applied as if it was a one-size-fits-all t-shirt. The effect this hypocrisy has on law students is obvious, as can be demonstrated through my own experience.

I entered law school with no legal background. With one academic year under my belt, all I have learned is that the law is full of contradictions. For some, reading the cases might satisfy their na´ve optimism or infuriate their idealistic bubble. It only leaves me more confused about the law than I was ten months ago. I cannot reconcile with my belief that there is and cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution. Liberties are considered alongside the social climate to avoid backlashes, and as Jerome Frank once quipped, "some judicial decisions are made based on the presiding judge's breakfast."

 
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I entered law school with no legal background. And today if one were to ask me what the law is, I would say its full of contradictions. For some reading the cases might satisfy their na´ve optimism or infuriate their idealistic bubble, for me it just leaves me more confused about the law than I was ten months ago. There is no one-size-fits-all. Liberties are considered alongside the social climate to avoid backlashes, and as Jerome Frank stated, some judicial decisions are made based on the presiding judge’s breakfast.
>
>
Yet, the more I dwell on this confusion, the more I believe that the contradictions might be the most attractive component of the law. No matter how formalistic the opinions are written or to what degree they are following the doctrine of stare decisis, the law is flexible because it is intimately connected with concurrent practical considerations. Rodell, as a legal realist, saw the law as a tool to serve social purposes and to balance competing societal interests. I believe that is achievable, precisely because the law is flexible.
 
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Yet the more I dwell on this confusion, the more I believe, for me, the contradictions might be the most attractive component of the law. No matter how formalistic the opinions are written or to what degree they are following the doctrine of stare decisis, the law is flexible because it is intimately connected with concurrent practical considerations. Rodell, as a legal realist, saw the law as a tool to serve social purposes and to balance competing societal interests. I believe that is achievable, precisely because the law is flexible.
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***It seems as though you are confounding flexibility with contradictions. To me, those are two very different ideas. It would follow that if the law were so flexible, it could avoid contradictions. Are you trying to say that flexibility is a double-edged sword that leads to contradictions in the wrong hands. Furthermore, It seems that your conclusion is that the law's flexibility can allow it to address social issues and achieve a more fair and balanced result is at odds with Rodell's thesis in Woe. He appears to be arguing the very opposite, denigrating blind adherence to legal doctrine. I'm not sure how to reconcile the two. Are you disagreeing with Rodell on this??
 

The Only Excuse for Law’s Existence

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Rodell wrote that the only excuse for the law’s existence is its role as the “only alternative to force as a mean of solving the myriad problems of the world.” Because the law is flexible and can contour to the practical needs of the society, lawyers are empowered to use legal assets to respond to emerging and existing problems. Accordingly he believed that legal education ought to teach one how to think for oneself and for the society at large.
>
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Rodell wrote that the only excuse for the law's existence is its role as the "only alternative to force as a mean of solving the myriad problems of the world." Because the law is flexible and can contour to the practical needs of the society, lawyers are empowered to use legal assets to respond to emerging and existing problems. Accordingly he believed that legal education ought to teach one how to think for oneself and for the society at large.
 
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In regards to thinking for oneself, I associate it with Eben’s idea of the internal contradiction of our social conditions. As humans we are shaped by our social surroundings, but at the same time it is essential to have awareness and consciousness of our actions in order to work towards our purpose and pursuit of happiness.
>
>
In regards to thinking for oneself, I associate it with Eben's idea of the internal contradiction of our social conditions. People are shaped by their social surroundings, but it is also essential to have awareness and consciousness of our actions in order to work towards our purpose and pursuit of happiness.
 
Changed:
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In regards to thinking for society at large, it should derive from our purpose itself. Everyone’s purpose is different. I personally have not figured mine out. But for the purpose to be meaningful and to be in pursuit of individual happiness, it ought to be one that serves the society rather than individual gains.
>
>
In regards to thinking for society at large, it should derive from our purpose. Everyone's purpose is different. I have yet to ascertain what mine is. But for the purpose to be meaningful and to be in pursuit of individual happiness, it ought to be one that serves the society rather than individual gains.
 

Pursuance of Happiness Rather Than Tangible Rewards

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The legal institution and its representative members did not embrace Rodell’s personal philosophy (after all he did refer to the law as “a fat man walking down the street in a high hat”) but he was loved by his students. In a dedication to Rodell’s life, his student Charles Allan Wright described Rodell as someone who was “more interested in pursuing happiness than tangible rewards.” That, I think, sums up where our legal education should guide us.
>
>
The legal institution and its representative members did not embrace Rodell's personal philosophy--after all, he did refer to the law as "a fat man walking down the street in a high hat." In a dedication to Rodell's life, his student Charles Allan Wright described Rodell as someone who was "more interested in pursuing happiness than tangible rewards." That, I think, sums up where our legal education should guide us.
 
Added:
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>
*
 
Deleted:
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You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable. To restrict access to your paper simply delete the "#" on the next line:

# * Set ALLOWTOPICVIEW = TWikiAdminGroup, ChihIFang

Note: TWiki has strict formatting rules. Make sure you preserve the three spaces, asterisk, and extra space at the beginning of that line. If you wish to give access to any other users simply add them to the comma separated list

 \ No newline at end of file

ChihIFangSecondPaper 1 - 17 Apr 2010 - Main.ChihIFang
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Fred Rodell's Legal Realism

-- By ChihIFang - 17 Apr 2010

Introduction

Felix Cohen, Jerome Frank, and Thurman Arnold – all representatives of American legal realism movement. Fred Rodell is another. At various points of this course, I wondered when, or if ever, we will read Rodell’s works. It seems to fit the purpose of the course, if I have understood it correctly, to debunk today’s legal profession’s institutional structure. Moreover, Rodell believed that the primary goal of legal education is to help future lawyers to use their minds and the purpose of legal writing is to explain and persuade in simple, non-bullshit terms – both of which run parallel to the aims of Eben’s class.

But we did not read Rodell’s works, so I read them on my own (it was more interesting than covenants and mens rea anyways). Rodell did not publish much in the first place. His essay “Goodbye to Law Review” succinctly and humorously answered why. He referred to legal scholarship as “qualitatively moribund while quantitatively mushroom-like.” I was attracted to Rodell’s writing because somewhere along my 1L year I have lost sight of what the law is. This essay explores three themes I took away from Rodell’s writings and their influences on me.

The Fundamental Hypocrisy of the Law

Rodell’s book Woe Unto You, Lawyers! pointed out the fundamental hypocrisy of the law - the law deals with very practical matters, matters that influence the society and its everyday occurrences, yet it is approached and taught in an extremely impractical way. In classrooms, we read a case, find the holding, discuss its rationale, and apply it to the next case. The law is taught as if it is theoretical. In opinions, decisions are made buttressed by precedents that have wildly different implications. The law is applied as if it was a one-size-fits-all t-shirt. The effect this hypocrisy has on law students is obvious, as can be demonstrated through my own experience.

I entered law school with no legal background. And today if one were to ask me what the law is, I would say its full of contradictions. For some reading the cases might satisfy their na´ve optimism or infuriate their idealistic bubble, for me it just leaves me more confused about the law than I was ten months ago. There is no one-size-fits-all. Liberties are considered alongside the social climate to avoid backlashes, and as Jerome Frank stated, some judicial decisions are made based on the presiding judge’s breakfast.

Yet the more I dwell on this confusion, the more I believe, for me, the contradictions might be the most attractive component of the law. No matter how formalistic the opinions are written or to what degree they are following the doctrine of stare decisis, the law is flexible because it is intimately connected with concurrent practical considerations. Rodell, as a legal realist, saw the law as a tool to serve social purposes and to balance competing societal interests. I believe that is achievable, precisely because the law is flexible.

The Only Excuse for Law’s Existence

Rodell wrote that the only excuse for the law’s existence is its role as the “only alternative to force as a mean of solving the myriad problems of the world.” Because the law is flexible and can contour to the practical needs of the society, lawyers are empowered to use legal assets to respond to emerging and existing problems. Accordingly he believed that legal education ought to teach one how to think for oneself and for the society at large.

In regards to thinking for oneself, I associate it with Eben’s idea of the internal contradiction of our social conditions. As humans we are shaped by our social surroundings, but at the same time it is essential to have awareness and consciousness of our actions in order to work towards our purpose and pursuit of happiness.

In regards to thinking for society at large, it should derive from our purpose itself. Everyone’s purpose is different. I personally have not figured mine out. But for the purpose to be meaningful and to be in pursuit of individual happiness, it ought to be one that serves the society rather than individual gains.

Pursuance of Happiness Rather Than Tangible Rewards

The legal institution and its representative members did not embrace Rodell’s personal philosophy (after all he did refer to the law as “a fat man walking down the street in a high hat”) but he was loved by his students. In a dedication to Rodell’s life, his student Charles Allan Wright described Rodell as someone who was “more interested in pursuing happiness than tangible rewards.” That, I think, sums up where our legal education should guide us.


You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable. To restrict access to your paper simply delete the "#" on the next line:

# * Set ALLOWTOPICVIEW = TWikiAdminGroup, ChihIFang

Note: TWiki has strict formatting rules. Make sure you preserve the three spaces, asterisk, and extra space at the beginning of that line. If you wish to give access to any other users simply add them to the comma separated list


Revision 6r6 - 13 Jan 2012 - 23:34:14 - IanSullivan
Revision 5r5 - 08 Jul 2010 - 04:16:22 - ChihIFang
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Revision 3r3 - 02 Jun 2010 - 05:34:07 - ChihIFang
Revision 2r2 - 29 Apr 2010 - 23:38:04 - TemiAdeniji
Revision 1r1 - 17 Apr 2010 - 08:06:17 - ChihIFang
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