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Books, Pen, and Paper

At noon he burneth the earth, and who can abide his burning heat? Sirach 43:3

After several days of no power, cable, internet or, in some cases, even cell phone service, it was good being from the books and paper generation. Books, pens, and paper work all the time. No electricity or bandwidth needed.

At the local Starbucks yesterday I saw a young lawyer typing away on his laptop, visibly frustrated. How could tell he was a lawyer? A handful of case print outs from a commercial online legal service. He started chatting away on his cell phone (likely not AT&T), loudly, with someone that he needed to finish a legal memo but could not do so because he had no access to the internet in order to finish his research.

After he hung up, I asked the young fellow, try the George Mason School of Law library? For just about a millisecond, I noted the expression on his face. The man thought I was from the Dark Ages.  He was going to say something dumb. I could tell, but as soon as he scanned my iPad he just as quickly changed his tune.

His answer? It would take too long. Is this what the law schools are graduating these days? There is more to legal research and writing than finding the law. You need the right frame of mind as well as the law. At that point yesterday, this fellow had neither one. A pen and paper? Good luck.

A few years ago, my favorite Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, said the following at a talk at the University of Chicago School of Law:

You could fire a grapefruit out of a cannon over the best law schools in the country – and that includes Chicago – and not hit an originalist

I would add, or lawyers with common sense. It was clear that this young lawyer I saw at Starbucks was having a rough day. The heat was getting to him, literally and figuratively. I doubt new lawyers such as this fellow, could make it in this town. Not because they cannot research the “old way,” rather the frame of mind when things do not go their way.

Life is rough, but this generation does not have it as tough as say, our grandparents. In real life, non-Law and Order or Suits real world, thinking creatively is just as important as the technique. There are no short-cuts.

On another somewhat unrelated note, but still on the same education thread, we have the following video for your viewing entertainment (yes, this is a real Member of Congress in this video). Take a look at the wisdom the elected are imparting on our young ones with your tax dollars. This California Democrat helped out in the Summer 2012 Intern project:

 

 

  • afreyre

    Admit it Jason, your office interns learning salsa and merengue. Rep. Sanchez should be criticized for bad dance moves at the taxpayers’ expense.

  • In D.C., we focus on after hour Macarena parties.

  • Crabtree

    I’m graduating from law school in a couple of months and plan to make my career in law librarianship. Real legal research is a skill and an art. It takes time and dedication to learn how to do it properly. Sadly, most of my fellow students aren’t making the effort and neither are a great many practicing lawyers, judging from what I’ve seen in my various internships and visits.

  • Crabtree, congratulations. I think you’ll find mediocrity in just about every walk of life, including the professions. Avoid it and you’ll do exceptionally well.

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