Law in Contemporary Society
The discussion of writing imitating what we read had me thinking about the video series Everything is a Remix. In four videos, it covers how various forms of creation (music, films, books, technology, etc.) are based on ideas of copying, transforming, and combining.

I found it to be an interesting look at the creation of culture and inventions. A few of the many examples include rock/rap/music sampling, Star Wars and Kill Bill, the creation of the Macintosh, and the copying of books, music, and software. (Sidenote: If you watch it, be sure to watch after the credits. The videos are about 8-10 minutes long, but the filmmaker runs the credits halfway through, and then restarts with another, equally interesting subject.)

The first video covers music, the second talks about cinema, and the third discusses inventions like the lightbulb and the personal computer. The fourth and final video discusses the evolution of ideas and the system of intellectual property, copyrights, and patents. It's a very basic introduction to the idea of "software as product" that Eben mentioned in class. While the fourth video is the most directly "legal", the basic premise of remixing echoes our discussion of creative lawyering.

We've talked about how creative lawyering involves combining an understanding of the various fields of social action. Creativity requires us to understand the basics so that we can move through the stages: copying ideas from various disciplines, transforming them into mechanisms applicable to legal frameworks, and combining them all to achieve a legal result.

-- JacquelineRios - 21 Mar 2012

Thanks for sharing this. Like you, I was particularly struck by the themes of Video 3 ("The Element of Creativity") and how it might apply to Eben's charge to us to be "creative lawyers." I've been struggling to understand what creativity means in practice as applied to law. Because so much of what we do in law school (at least during the first year) involves little more than repackaging information and dissecting the way others have approached issues, with occasional detours into dissents that professors tell us are particularly riveting or persuasive, I have assumed that I have not been doing "creative" work. An exception may be LPW, as others have addressed in their posts; however, even that course asks us to produce works which are broadly formulaic: the memo, the brief, the oral argument. Although this presents a degree of independence in which we can choose which arguments to marshal to support a point or discredit another, we are still not thinking about what the law should be or about the functional realities of judicial decisions.

As you mention, however, The Elements of Creativity shows that copying (or tinkering, or immersing oneself ideas of others that one fines compelling) is a worthy and perhaps a necessary predecessor to original thought. It is, itself, an element of creativity. To me, this correlates with Eben's statement that what we are learning right now is a legal language, which verses us in how to talk to the talk so that we can be taken seriously in future endeavors. Once we master the language, our labor input into law school goes down and we have the freedom to devote ourselves to worthier pursuits - this is when law school becomes a "part time" job. According to his theory, this is when we would have the ability to start the secondary, but more valuable, processes of transforming and combining. Eben's main point seems to be that most lawyers never move beyond copying and, more importantly, never realize that they never move beyond it.

The portion of the video after the credits discusses the idea of "multiple discoveries," which in essence means that if there had been no Darwin moment or no Freud moment, the world would not be radically different. Others were on the same path because their astounding theories were inspired by information to which their "competitor" theorists also had access. If every lawyer in this country can access the legal canon, why do so few start thinking transformatively? I believe that most people want to live in a just society, yet few of us with the means to effectuate such change actively pursue this goal. Perhaps it's a crisis of courage or a failure of imagination; perhaps it's because legal institutions never tell us or show us how to move beyond copying with a twist; maybe it's because copying (with practice and enough hornbooks) is easy for anyone who can write rhetorically, and the next steps are not.

-- JessicaWirth- 22 Mar 2012


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r4 - 22 Jan 2013 - 18:14:08 - IanSullivan
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