Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sweet, There's Room For Me Yet!

Not that I hope to be a practicing attorney in the practical sense, but this columns notes a decline in the number of attorneys serving in the Legislature.

Though, as Dan Walters discusses, whether more or fewer lawyers is good or bad is an open question.

Lawyers as lawyers don't necessarily hold better qualifications for service than do others. Since lawyers are literally responsible for drafting California statutory law (the writing gets done by Legislative Counsel staff attorneys) and our code is largely unreadable and requires the interpretation of other lawyers and judges, I wonder how useful legal training on its own is - especially given the sorry, confused nature of modern legal education.

Walters doesn't address the number of lawyer-lobbyists, a sector likely growing and one seemingly predisposed to lord their J.D.s over ususpecting staffers.

The whole reason I embarked on this law school thing was to learn to speak a language frequently used in the Capitol to roll over those easily spooked by the spectre of bar cards. I took down a few lobbyists when I caught them trying to legalese me into advocating their position to my boss (who was himself an attorney).

If you speak lawyer, you know that speaking lawyer is pretty much all there is to law. In a good way and a bad way.

Overall, however, I don't foresee law schools impressing upon their pupils the importance of improving their representation in legislative bodies since most of law school is spent ignoring that troublesome, ignorant first branch of government anyway.

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