Law in Contemporary Society
Bob Dylan: Maggie's Farm, one interpretation of the song here. Sadly, no music at the start.

Class discussion of Something Split, from Lawyerland

Who is Carl Wiley? Chaos. He doesn’t believe in purpose, he believes in chaos. What does he do? 4x/year pressurized projects, tax, transactions... Consideration of the power behind the assertion that the statements of clients are true, simply because the firm has checked.

Why is Wiley good at what he does?

  • He's not an inventor of anything, he doesn't want to be --
  • He's good at splitting. He can dissociate and compartmentalize: part of him works fully on the deal, part of him remains calm and looks confident, part of him is freaking out about things falling apart.

There's always a part of your mind that everything could fall apart.

  • "risk-averse boy scout control freaks"
  • But this works in his favor. Notwithstanding, "this is seriously ironic business" (irony= awareness of the infinite plenitude of chaos)

What's the problem? Why isn't this all just great, or why aren't we all rushing off to apply * Student response: "who cares?" - Wiley forgets things, like the meal he had last week.

    • His brain's got a "toxic waste dump" in it.
    • Lose the details because you don't use them.
  • To gain working use of knowledge, you must be WORKING and using the knowledge
    • Memotech (mimotech?) - you can shove things into the short term memory but it doesn't retain.
  • He must have robust, "medium-term" memory
  • Similar to our knowledge as students; the way that we study law=cramming
      • It's Yugoslavian… * Absurd way of teaching equally matched by an absurd way of studying, teaching
      • Criminal law example, learning only about theory, murder and the MPC
      • Tangent about the language-aspects of first year classes, learning "law talk" - we've discussed this before in class. * This is not the kind of knowledge that we retained. If we had retained the info, we could walk into exams and shrewdly respond to the fact-patterns given
      • Eben's suggestions on studying:
        • Take the information in however you best learn (writing, speaking, reading, listening)
        • Exercise the memory
  • Wiley is actually doing, using the memory skills Eben is trying to help us use.
    • Why are all meetings bad? Because you can't control the flow of meetings
    • His cups of coffee (or espresso), the breaks he takes, it's all about the
  • Pay attention to the body language: how Wiley sits. He shifts around, makes motions because he is a guy that has to hold a l
    • He is consolidating the information he's receiving
  • What's the upper-downer stuff about?
    • The Epicurean upper-downer: what's the guy signaling if that's what he does? *He's wired and more than that he's feeding an addiction; if he doesn't drink it, his day falls a part with the headaches and whatnot
      • Initially, he was chasing clarity: that he could be more in control, somehow smarter or sharper, with the caffeine
  • Why does he hate it when a lawyer asks him what he does at a cocktail party *Perhaps because tax law is boring,
    • Maybe because he feels people are; waiting for him to ask the question back
    • It's the second question asked after names are gathered…
    • All people talk about is money; we ask not to know how much money but really about class (and in the middle class, money is the only way to distinguish within)
    • When people like what they do and feel a purpose, they generally willing to tell people about it
      • Wiley can't tell people anything because he essentially makes deals he forgets two weeks after they're done; distinguish quantities, but nothing that represents aspiration, meaning or purpose
    • What we do is determined by who pays us. Is this okay?
      • Consider non-profits or other work in which you do the work and the money comes as a function of what you do.
    • It might be noteworthy that the only truly minds when other lawyers ask. *You have to relate yourself to the system.
  • What's happening in the lawyer/psychiatrist piece?
    • It's a story about him, his alter ego
    • His alter ego goes the doc and doc says, "you lawyers are splitters."
      • The compartmentalization wouldn't be surprising if it were addressed to an EMT or sex worker. But lawyers, too.
      • What was the patient going to ask him?
        • What about your father? (the father was deputy secretary of state…)

Questions to ask ourselves: • Is there some integrity left in what you do? • Is being a hired gun what you set out to do? • What are the consequences of being a hired gun socially? Psychically? • What does it mean to say that the ends don't matter… • Wiley says that it doesn't matter to him but he thinks it's seriously ironic work to anticipate the chaos.

-- MiaWhite - 25 Apr 2008


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r2 - 12 Jan 2009 - 22:50:04 - IanSullivan
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