Law School Discussion

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Author Topic: Legal Reasoning  (Read 164423 times)

thisfriday

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #80 on: January 27, 2006, 01:16:04 AM »
Well, I read this thread very attentively and I just don't get why all the "surprise" by the whole law school experience ... I mean, law school is  not  a mere continuation of one's undergraduate (or even graduate) studies -- I think it more akin to "boot camp" where, in addition to certain substantive subjects and professional skills, one becomes "re-socialized," learns to "think like a lawyer," learns to cope with stress and many other things collateral to learning law, but not collateral to "lawyering." Like boot camp (or virginity's loss!), when you enter law school, your life turns a corner past which it can never again pass. Don't get me wrong, I do not regret the trip ... but it brings a permanent change. So, those of you who still have the chance, enjoy the virginity -- law school will bring a permanent change!

RU shure?!

rmrd

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #81 on: January 30, 2006, 12:31:50 PM »
LOL thisfriday! ;)

newmommie

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #82 on: February 05, 2006, 11:16:11 PM »
Please keep posting more stuff here, this thread is simply beautiful!

erstes

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #83 on: February 18, 2006, 01:59:41 PM »
Number 1 thread, hands down!

P450

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #84 on: February 20, 2006, 09:05:02 PM »

In Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four there is a particularly chilling scene in which, after the director of the Ministry of Love has subjected Winston Smith to intense physical tortures, he employs another strategy in the process of Smith's gradual re-education.

"This time it will not hurt," [O'Brien] said. "Keep your eyes fixed on mine."
   At this moment there was a devastating explosion, or what seemed like an explosion.... A terrific, painless blow had flattened [Smith] out. Also something had happened inside his head ... somewhere or other there was a large patch of emptiness, as though a piece had been taken out of his brain.
   "It will not last," said O'Brien. "Look at me in the eyes.... Just now I held up the fingers of my hand to you. You saw five fingers. Do you remember that?"
   "Yes."
   O'Brien held up the fingers of his left hand, with the thumb concealed.
   "There are five fingers there. Do you see five fingers?"
   "Yes."
   And he did see them, for a fleeting instant ... there had been a moment -- he did not know how long, thirty seconds, perhaps -- of luminous certainty, when each new suggestion of O'Brien's had filled up a patch of emptiness and become absolute truth, and when two and two could have been three as easily as five, if that were what was needed ...
   "You see now," said O'Brien, "that it is at any rate possible."


Compare this passage to Karl Llewellyn's famous description of the student's first year of law school: "The hardest job of the first year is to lop off your commonsense, to knock your ethics into temporary anesthesia. Your view of social policy, your sense of justice -- to knock these out of you along with woozy thinking, along with ideas all fuzzed along their edges."

Bot of course when we undertake the resolution of hard issues it will always be the case that the relevant legal concepts, the demands of social policy, and the ideal of justice will by necessity appear to sensitive interpreters to be "fuzzed along their edges." That very same formal, empirical, and ethical fuzziness is, after all, what makes hard issues hard. A successful legal education therefore both sharpens and desensitizes the adept's sense of analytical complexity, sharpening it so that the advocate can identify various plausible arguments, and then deadening it for the purpose of making and (especially) deciding between such arguments. This  characteristic doubleness of the legal mind produces the doubleness of the literal sophomore -- of the brilliant simpleton who understands and exploits and at appropriate times forgets -- the evidentiary problems, conceptual incommensurabilities, and ethical dilemmas that always characterize legal issues. To be trained to think like a lawyer is to be taught how to evoke all the chaotic complexity of law, and then how to repress the intolerable doubt that same evocation can produce by going on to achieve the "luminous certainty" required of the advocate or judge.   


Well, in the cold calculus of the utilitarian the American law school is a classic barrier to entry, designed to maintain a professional cartel. From a democratic viewpoint it is a seminary for the production of a mystifying priestcraft, whose obscurantist incantations help legitimate the power of the social and cultural elite. In academic terms it is a mostly fraudulent operation that teaches neither theory nor practice, but instead functions as the equivalent of a foreign service academy that would show its charges Goldfinger several hundred times before sending them forth to conduct trade talks with Austria.

Shouldn't then law school be abolished altogether? After all, no other legal system in the world requires 3 years of postgraduate schooling before one can undertake the most routine matter of client representation or courtroom advocacy. Indeed, the maverick presidential candidate Morry Taylor made a pledge to close down American law schools for 10 years, a major proposal of his quixotic campaign. Why not make the study of law an undergraduate program, or a college major followed by some sort of postgraduate apprenticeship -- this would surely be a quintessentially rationalist response to an institution that survives, and even thrives, because it fills a deep cultural need for the maintenance of some atavistic set of rituals that will obscure the inescapably troublesome and often tragic relationship between moral belief, political science and social power.

Given the rhetorical requirements of legal argument, and the practical exigencies of legal decision making, it isn't an exaggeration to say that the tasks of preparing persons to undertake zealous legal representation and render legal judgment are to some extent incompatible with maintaining strict standards of intellectual honesty. Such is the fate of, e.g., those who must prepare others to wield social power arbitrarily, and yet who must at the same time legitimate that use of power by claiming legal arguments and the decisions that flow from them are impelled by "the law," or "legal principles," or "reason" itself.

But there is no reason why that fate needs to be replicated in all other areas of social life.

madam

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #85 on: February 22, 2006, 06:50:43 PM »

Shouldn't then law school be abolished altogether? After all, no other legal system in the world requires 3 years of postgraduate schooling before one can undertake the most routine matter of client representation or courtroom advocacy. Indeed, the maverick presidential candidate Morry Taylor made a pledge to close down American law schools for 10 years, a major proposal of his quixotic campaign. Why not make the study of law an undergraduate program, or a college major followed by some sort of postgraduate apprenticeship -- this would surely be a quintessentially rationalist response to an institution that survives, and even thrives, because it fills a deep cultural need for the maintenance of some atavistic set of rituals that will obscure the inescapably troublesome and often tragic relationship between moral belief, political science and social power.


Indeed, in UK to study law you go to college, that is not after earning a bachelor's degree.

The undergraduate law degree is the most common form of entry into the legal profession, followed by a 1-year professional course and examination (the professional stage). The academic stage usually consists of an undergraduate degree which is offered in any of the 89 UK universities. Entry is decided by reference to "A-Level" points -- "A-Levels" are examinations students take in the 2 years prior to entering university and each grade is worth a different level of points. Only a few law schools interview candidates before admission and some Oxford and Cambridge Colleges also set entrance exams. There is not an LSAT or similar. The majority of programs, commonly leading to a Bachelor of Laws or a Bachelor of Arts, joint honors degree, last 3 years. The study of law at undergraduate level is, as you can see, significantly different from the US where law is a postgraduate discipline. At the end of three years students are awarded a bachelor's degree in law and they must then decide what to do next. A large proportion -- possibly around one-third -- will decide not to enter a career as a lawyer. The others must choose between becoming a barrister (essentially, a courtroom litigator) or a solicitor. Students who do not have a qualifying law degree (either because they have not studied one of the subjects listed above, or because they have read for another degree) but who nonetheless wish to enter the professions must do a one-year course called the Common Professional Examination and then they too have to choose which profession to enter.

- Solicitors

The Law Society, the professional body representing solicitors, requires those who wish to qualify to join a Legal Practice Course (LPC). If they successfully pass this they will have to obtain a Training Contract from a solicitors' firm which will provide another 2 years training, before a successful law student is finally 'admitted as a solicitor' or entered on the Roll of Solicitors. The Law Society has franchised about 10 university institutions and two private education institutions to provide the course which it supervises closely. The Legal Practice Course lasts 1 academic year. Upon successfully completing the LPC a Trainee Solicitor enters a firm and continues on-the-job-training for 2 years. This period includes formal training in advocacy.

- Barristers

The General Council of the Bar has franchised a 1-year program and examination for those wishing to become barristers. Called the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) it was introduced in 1989 to emphasise the practising skills required for court work. The course utilises practical exercises for the DRAIN competencies (Drafting, Research, Advocacy, Interviewing and Negotiation), and its early development owed much to North American experiences, especially Canada. Substantive courses in crime, common law, and taxation are taught as well as civil and criminal procedure. Upon successfully passing the Bar exams, a student can be called to the Bar by her/his Inn of Court. All those wishing to become barristers have to join one of the four Inns of Court (Gray's Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple or Lincoln's Inn), which basically involves paying a membership fee and eating a number of compulsory dinners. Call to the Bar however does not entitle a barrister to practice and s/he must then complete a further 12 months "pupillage" in a group of barristers' offices or "set of chambers". A pupil in the first 6 months of pupillage will be assigned to an experienced barrister. The system is intended to introduce the novice to the forms and procedures that constitute a barrister's work. During the 'second 6 months' a barrister can appear in court, but is technically still under the supervision of a more experienced barrister.

Thereafter a barrister wishing to practice on her own account must find a 'set of chambers' to join as a 'tenant'. The biggest hurdles for trainee barristers are obtaining a pupillage and finding a 'tenancy'.  There is a restricted number of vacancies each year for pupils and far more students pass the exams than there are pupillages. There are still fewer tenancies available and as a consequence each year many more barristers qualify than are needed to practice in the courts. Many find employment in corporations, government, or court administration.

count

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #86 on: February 23, 2006, 03:49:39 AM »
Awesome posts, madam!

tabs

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #87 on: February 28, 2006, 03:59:11 AM »
The person who started this thread and the others who supported what s/he said are obviously sidetracked people who are trying to sound interesting by trying to attack the system, being full aware that the system will never accept them for who they are and what they represent - the negation of the basic tenets of that system.

ats

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #88 on: March 02, 2006, 05:43:42 AM »
The person who started this thread and the others who supported what s/he said are obviously sidetracked people who are trying to sound interesting by trying to attack the system, being full aware that the system will never accept them for who they are and what they represent - the negation of the basic tenets of that system.

baby, it looks like people posting here are using their common sense when concluding that the legal "reasoning" method sucks greatly -- I mean, try to talk your mommy into buying the crap you study in law school -- you'd be surprised to see she'll pity you.

lemaldetoi

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Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #89 on: March 04, 2006, 09:24:54 AM »
The person who started this thread and the others who supported what s/he said are obviously sidetracked people who are trying to sound interesting by trying to attack the system, being full aware that the system will never accept them for who they are and what they represent - the negation of the basic tenets of that system.

Perhaps by meeting people like the ones who started and contributed to this thread, others less confident will find the strength to reclaim self again. It is never too late. Time has neither beginning nor end and does not expire, as mortality with last breath. Time and change have a chicken-and-egg relationship. They chase each other so closely it's hard to tell which is behind and which is ahead. Sometimes change thinks it's ahead only to find itself spitting out the dust kicked up by time's passing.

I know what many of you are thinking: these people are loose cannons on the mankind ship. Different and often labeled delinquent, they are dismissed or overlooked, after all, unless they earn recognition by working inside rather than outside the system. But what these people encourage all, I think, is to "Think for Yourself, Question Authority." Yet, be aware of the immoral outrage and mortal consequence when institutions feel threatened by individuality. Think for yourself. Proceed with caution, as proper use of brain is not endorsed by federal governments nor huge corporations involved in serious financial profit from a brainwashed ans enslaved population. Mild discomfort may occur, as confusing independent thought challenges popular views of the world.

When humans are devalued is when such people change roles, from participant to leader. There are no coincidences, no isolated incidents. Everything personal and professional ripples planet consequences. As each is a self-scripted star in their own life story, each also has the power and freedom to pen their own demise. Living according to individual truth considerably reduces the possibility to self-defeat becoming a pattern moment-to-moment, year-to-year, and life-to-life. The age of responsibility is the age of maturity. Until then, evolution of self is like the stage in metamorphosis known as larvae. More than egg, less than butterfly, looks like a worm, feeds off anything within touch, taste, or sight, and leaves dung heaps behind for others to clean-up. For some, self is directly tied to opinions of others, as larvae is tied to twig and leaf. For some, self is hidden by self-induced, self-stunning fears, thus remaining at the safe larvae stage rather than risking imago.
Birds of flight all have wings, cats of prey all have claws ... why would the Creator play Advantage-Disadvantage Roulette with Co-Creators?