Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lessig Laments the State of the Law in Commencement Address

Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard Law prof, has moved from internet law guru to political Cassandra.  Today his focus is on the baleful influence of money on the law and politics.  He gave the commencement address at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.  Below is a taste.  Click on the link for the complete text. - GWC
Lessig Blog, v2:

There are plenty of lawyers in “Inc. Law” who go home at the end of the day and feel that that system works. Their clients got the process they were due. Their arguments were heard. Their interests were fairly considered. If through litigation, litigation in a federal court: With great judges. Beautiful carpet. Clean bathrooms. If through a transaction, a deal cut in conference rooms at the Four Seasons. No doubt these lawyers work hard. Insanely hard. And the system rewards them with the sense that the system works.
Not so with the law of real people. There is no one in the criminal justice system who believes that system works well. There is no one in housing law who believes this is what law was meant to be. In contracts, you read about disputes involving tens, maybe a hundred dollars. The disputes of ordinary people. These disputes are not for the courts any more. Or if they are, they are for courts that are an embarrassment to the ideals of justice from our tradition.
The law of real people doesn’t work, even if the law of corporations does.
h/t John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum 

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