Friday, September 29, 2006

A seamless web

Law school revolves around a constant state of ignorance. They don't teach you things, they ask you things. And you don't have answers, why? Because they never taught you. Its learning through osmosis.

My Civil Procedure class speaks of this frankly, our book refers to Civil Procedure as a "seamless web." In procedure we do not get some starting point on which we build an inverted pyramid. Instead, we get a "seamless web."

My problem, if the web is seamless, isn't it by necessity circular?

I find myself viewing knowledge in shapes. This has always been a practice I have shunned yet admired. I love the poetic imagery of the "blog o sphere." I hate the cheapening of the concept that it entails. As such, I have always been turned off by writers who refereed to the concepts learned in the first year of law school in shapes and broad generalizations.

Yet, I don't know how else to describe it. I find it baffling hard to explain what's hard about law school. It just is. It can make the most rudimentary concept utterly enthralling from the right perspective. It can make the most exciting case so mind numbing that I would prefer to suffer through the complicated and horrifying incident of the plaintiff rather than learn about its legal ramifications.

Case in point: A man drops blocks over a ledge, that is his job. The blocks are dropped some four stories down (unclear on this one, but my image is a sizable drop). As he is dropping a block, his boss (who sounds like an idiot at this point) wanders directly under the drop point. However, having begun to drop the block, the man has a choice:

Save the life of the unexpected innocent below or sacrifice his own life for a man he probably barely knows?

He chooses the latter. He falls with the block, and diverts it in mid-air.

Yet the judge's fact statement on this reads like a dictionary.

Let me write it again, because even the writing of it is intense: He falls with the block, and diverts it in mid-air.

The class discussion of this very famous case (Webb v. McGowin) was good (not nearly as good as it is in concept, but still). However, the book was mind numbing.

At the same time, I have a professor so impassioned by civil procedure we had the following discourse in class:

"What is going on here?"
"Forum shopping?"
"FORUM SHOPPING! One of the world's three great evils: crime, drugs, and forum shopping."

She said this dripping with disgust over the mere concept.

However, even explaining these little concepts, in narrative forum, begs thousands of questions. And that is what law is, thousands of questions. Its not math, it has no right answers. It has millions of questions. No question is right, because every question is relative. If everything is relative, what do you get?

A seamless web.

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