Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Famed Attorney Gerry Spence Launches Blog

Famed attorney Gerry Spence has his own blog, called Gerry Spence's Blog, what else?  He wrote a July 28, 2008 article entitled Defrauding our nation’s lawyers which accuses our nations law schools of fraud. Why? Because law schools do not teach lawyers to be trial lawyers. As Gerry states:

I could teach an eighth-grader in twenty minutes how to brief a case. Yet for all three years in most law schools the casebook method of learning the law is still in.  The matriculating young lawyer is as qualified to represent a client with the education he has suffered through as a doctor who has never seen a patient, who has never held a scalpel in his hand and who learns surgery by having read text books about it and becomes skilled in surgery, if ever, after having stacked up piles of corpses who represent his pathetic learning process.

Gerry you miss the point of law school. First, not everyone wants to be a trial lawyer.  The skills of an appellate lawyer, a corporate lawyer and a labor lawyer are often different than that of a trial lawyer. To borrow your doctor analogy, heart surgeons are different than family doctors.

Second, law school is not a trade school. It is not intended to magically transform students into lawyers in three years. Pardon the pun, by law school is about learning how to think, learning how to research and learning how to write in a legal manner.

And, by the way, I would like to see you teach an 8th grader brief a case!

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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FYI...Not sure if you saw his response...


July 29, 2008 at 3:06 pm

In response to Mitchell Rubinstein:

Mitchell, I am not the one who misses the point on the pathetic legal education we provide the American lawyer.

Ask any judge what he thinks about the lawyers’ education whose miserable briefs he must read every day. Can you imagine the pain of walking in to one’s office morning after morning to face those stacks of cruel bundles of paper, those so-called “briefs” which present in the most stilted form that which proves to be little more connected to justice than the ramblings of dead minds?

Lawyers who are confined in their arguments to judges, oral or written, forget that before the judge retreated to the bench he actually thought himself to be a human being. Every investigator of human decision-making has learned that the decision is first made at the feeling level. In the law it is then translated into an intellectual rationalization called an “opinion.” The lawyer who succeeds is one who has learned how to communicate with the judge as a human being– not an unfeeling, anesthetized compendium of legalisms that have replaced the person, but one who puts his pants on one leg at a time and who has a spat with his wife over their credit card bill before he drags himself out the front door headed for his chambers.

You say the lawyer goes to law school in order to learn how to think like a lawyer. What a pity! I want him or her to learn how to think like a human being.

The sad truth is that we are training lawyers to join some kind of weird society in which a foreign language is spoken that has little to do with the human condition and that can be understood only by those who are members of this elitist club, one that has so isolated itself from society as to become essentially useless.

Justice, my friend, is a feeling.
Ask any human who has been deprived of it– if you can ask that simple question in words he can understand.
Thanks Dennis. I will post a reply.

Posted by: Dennis | Jul 31, 2008 6:50:01 AM

Well, in a law suit usually one side wins, the other loses, so there are lots of feelings produced.
Mitt Romney is a Harvard Law grad, he had lot of good feelings when he used a horde of Corporate lawyers to leverage his way to
$ 200 million, plus.
Of course, most things in life produce feelings, that is the human condition.
However, in America, the language lawyers use is English.
To sugest that lawyers in America speak, and transact in some pig-latin, just is not so.
THE ABA is an elitist club, a nitch of corporate lawyers.
Not all lawyers belong to that CLUB

Posted by: Randy | Nov 29, 2012 4:50:58 PM

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