All posts tagged: lawyers

China Has Big Plans for Your Future

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Democracy's Constitution / lawyers without borders

When I first visited China in the 1980’s, the tallest building in Shanghai was the fourteen story Peace Hotel; when I returned a few years later, there were over fifty skyscrapers over fifty stories. So China’s economic miracle is no  surprise to me.  But up till now, it has consisted mostly of  supplying low price goods to Western consumers at very competitive prices.  Now  China is planning to provide over a trillion dollars of  capital […]

What it Means to”Think Like a Lawyer”

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I have always been puzzled by the venerable phrase “thinking like a lawyer.” What does it mean and should we take it as a  compliment or a put-down? I think the idea is  best captured by a metaphor trial lawyers sometimes  use to describe the craft of a colleague they especially admire or an adversary they fear — he or she can “see out the front.”  It means the ability to look over a complex […]

What Lawyers Talk About

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Book/film List

If you want facts, go to Wikipedia; for truth sometimes you have to read a novel. All the traditional  differences that  divide  Democrats and Republicans are there  in    Lawrence Joseph’s   non-fiction novel Lawyerland– plus an important  new truth neither Hillary or Donald ever bothered to mention. I am talking about the book’s chapter “Cerriere’s Answer” which  features two New York labor lawyers showing us “what lawyers really talk about when they talk about law.” […]

Getting to “Hopefully”

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Book/film List / Legal Fictions / Repairing the System

Reading the slick new law novel The Neon Lawyer ( persuades me that that recent law school grads might well think that law is the most embarrassing profession. Consider, first, the reaction of peers. Imagine a newly minted lawyer meeting someone he or she hopes might become a friend. In the flow of conversation, the lawyer mentions his or her profession. The interlocutor responds with a small enigmatic smile and the comment. “How interesting!” Think […]

Doesn’t Look Like a Lawyer

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Heroes / lawyers without borders

This week 86 years ago, Mahatma Gandhi reached down and picked up a small clump of salt from an Indian beach. Because harvesting salt was a violation of British law, this mundane act changed the world as we know it. When countless thousands of poor Indians followed Gandhi’s example, the era of peaceful civil disobedience had begun. And civil disobedience was not confined to India. Other reformers all around the world, including Martin Luther King […]

Giving the Devil His Due

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Heroes / The Sjupremes

I find myself putting more faith these days in the old saying “Don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers,” especially right after the death of one of the rich and/or famous. In an attempt not to speak ill of the dead, the media rushes in to over-inflate the deceased’s accomplishments. The recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a good example. Here is an article in which The Atlantic is lavish in […]

If Bogie Had Gone to Law School

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Book/film List / Legal Fictions

The classic film noir The Maltese Falcon is coming to a theater near you next week. Its star was Humphrey Bogart playing the private detective Sam Spade. Later in Woody Allen’s romantic comedy Play It Again SAm Spade gave the Woody Allen character advice in matters of love. Spade showed the shy Woody how to make love to a woman. But I think Spade can also teach a thing or two about how to […]

Less Lawyers = More Injustice

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Repairing The Systen

Two stories have kept popping up in the legal news the past year. One is the law student debt crisis. The other is our broken criminal justice system. We need to connect the two discussions. There are lots of people to blame for the law student debt crisis. One group of culprits is the federal regulators who approved loans to students of “fly-by-night law” schools. Another is the administrators and faculty of traditionally […]

The Right Virtue at the Right Time

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Book/film List

Lawyers are notorious for being clever, finding the right story to tell at the right time to win their case.  But we must admit that sometimes lawyers become so clever they outsmart themselves. In fact, some lawyers are so good at playing professional games that they forget exactly who they are when they take off their professional masks. That’s when it’s time to take a look at Robert Bolt’s play about Thomas More A Man […]

Saul Goodman for the Defense

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Book/film List

We know that popular entertainments give a distorted picture of how real lawyers work. But these distortions sometimes can turn our attention to important aspects of lawyering we too often ignore.  I think Episode 2 of the AMC’s new series Better Call Saul  gives us a master class in the mechanics of the lawyerly art of   persuasion. Here is a link to the episode. You need only watch the first 30 minutes.             At the […]