Law in Contemporary Society
Came across this Columbia Law Review article that touches on some themes in Lawyerland.

If it's worth peoples' time to read, Meagan, it should be possible to put in a few words your view of the idea(s) it most strikingly conveyed, and (even more important) to articulate an idea that those ideas led you to conceive for yourself.

What I really found particularly interesting about this article was near the end, in Skeel’s discussion of lawyers as confidence-men. As Skeel notes, lawyers are often viewed (for better or worse) as modern day confidence-men, manipulators of truth and spin-doctors. Not only does society frequently disparage the legal profession, lawyers themselves (as we can see from Robinson) are often their own best/worst critics. In reading Laweryland and Robinson’s rant about the state of the legal profession, I wondered whether Robinson is truly as ‘dissatisfied and cynical’ as he may seem. Despite his complaining, Robinson has not, after all, left the legal profession. I think this speaks to Robinson’s (and perhaps Joseph’s) “obsession with the nature of identity”, and the perception that one may uncover this nature through the law and the art of lawyering. Robinson is attempting to get ever closer to the ‘thaang’; to discern truths about both himself, and about civilization, society and human nature. This desire for meaning, desire to discover the human condition, to understand why we are the way we are and why we do what we do, is woven into all aspects of life – not just the legal profession. The law, however, provides a potential means for discerning meaning. It is a business of people. It is a human institution in every sense – both constructed by man and administered by man. This makes it, as Frank points out in Courts on Trial, both subjective and fallible. Legal professionals are human beings too; capable of both good and evil, and are constantly ‘metamorphosing’ – transitioning, adjusting, discovering, failing, succeeding. But simply because something in fallible does not mean that it is devoid of value. Robinson’s (and other lawyers) thirst for meaning, as Skeel notes, distinguishes lawyers from confidence men. It highlights that not all lawyers are stereotypical vapid, money-grubbing, soul-less suits. It gives me hope (however idealist it may be) that lawyering is more than that – that the experience has intrinsic value in and of itself. Even though we will all encounter both frustration and success and face both human depravity and human kindness throughout our careers, the journey won’t (at least for me) have been pointless, if I emerge with heightened insight into why we are the way we are.

-- MeaganBurrows - 06 Feb 2012


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r5 - 22 Jan 2013 - 20:05:34 - IanSullivan
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