Monday, October 09, 2006

I enjoy writing, legal or illegal. It's satisfying.

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 8 — So, continuing on the law school kick because I spent 12 hours today doing law school stuff — reading, copying and pasting (a.k.a sloppy, first-draft outlining), study grouping, briefing, and freaking out, a brief comment on the most important, yet so more least useful, class of the first year of law school: Legal Research and Writing, LRW for short.

Legal research and legal writing are admittedly different than academic, journalistic, governmental, or goof-ball-ish research and writing, all of which I've done. That said, once you learn the distinguishing charactertistics of legal research and writing, they become one of the crowd. The unique characteristics are somewhat boring: an obsession with citation, in frequency and form; a dearth of creativity, in structure and style; and an unhealthy obsession with page limits.

Once I know the confines within which I'm writing, I'm usually set (*knock on wood* or tomorrow I'll get writer's block that sticks for the rest of the semester). Now, last week in LRW, we turned in our first assignment, a "closed" memo about something (I dare not divulge any more for fear of violating the somewhat sensible, somewhat Draconian and impractical honor code — more on that another time). It was more interesting than expected, given the topic, and it was a satisfying experience to bring the project to fruition. Not as satisfying as this post or even writing reports for Mayor Bloomberg in the Big Apple or articles for publication, but satisfying in the meaningless, pathetic, irrelevant way many aspects of the first year of law school are satisfying.

So, given that satisfaction (cue the Stones, cue civil procedure professor singing this hit in class, forever attaching it to the search for "satisfaction," or execution leading to payment, of a court judgment), you might imagine how disappointed (relieved?) I was when I opened my LRW text book (the only class for which we have a "text book" with largely meaningless reading) to read the following:
A fair number of lawyers and judges profess to like writing and even say that they find the process satisfying. If you are in this fortunate group, this chapter is not addressed to you. (p.555 The Legal Writing Handbook: Analysis, Research, and Writing, 4th Ed. Oates, Laurel Currie and Anne Enquist. Aspen: New York, 2006.)
I promptly put the book down and started writing this post, seeking satisfaction, as the Stones sing you to sleep.

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