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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Statutory Poetry

Those who are subscribers to the AALS listserve, or who have had other occasion to interact with Sid Delong (Seattle) will not be surprised to see an example of his razor-sharp wit, but it was still a surprising amount of fun to see him take on the topic of “statutory poetry” in a short essay appearing in the Journal of Legal Education.  I had no idea that Sid could find poetry in the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility, 1.17, comment 13, yet he has:

This Rule applies to the sale of a law practice by representatives of a deceased, disabled, or disappeared lawyer.

Sid comments:  “[D]isappeared lawyer.’ What poignancy lies in that phrase!  The image triggers a flood of allusion: Judge Crater, the Chesire cat.  And consider the prosodic significance of the alliterative series ‘deceased, disabled, or disappeared.’  One cannot help but wonder what additional alternatives the poet considered and rejected: dissipated, diseased, demented, despondent, depressed, degenerate, dejected, defunct.”  In the rest of the essay Sid has fun with the UCC and the bankruptcy code, noting that some of his poetry analysis “confirms what many have long suspected: Revised Article 9 was drafted not by human beings at all, but by non-English speaking robots[.]”  The whole Essay is highly recommended (apparently not online except for the table of contents, but free in a faculty mailbox near you) especially if you are feeling in a mood that is either curmudgeonly or poetic (or both). 

[Miriam A. Cherry / Cross-posted at Concurring Opinions]

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