Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Transubstantiation of Lawyer Reality

Do you believe? I mean do you have faith, that when a court decides someone is guilty, that person actually is guilty? What about the opposite: if innocent in a court of law that person is innocent?

I’ve been mildly but genuinely criticized in my blog for taking on the whole legal profession as it is practiced here in America, instead of concentrating on the smaller reality that law schools are dishonest and greedy. Concerning the history of law, we all know that sometimes the good guy gets executed: just read the Gospels of the Bible or about poor Socrates drinking the hemlock.

I’ve always been interested in the traditional differences between Catholics and Protestants, and one of these has been the Catholic belief that during the ritual of Communion, they actually believe that the wine and bread are transubstantiated into the blood and body of Christ. Catholics don’t talk about this or try to explain how this could be, they use their faith to believe it: not to satiate their scientific curiosity, but to make them more righteous in the eyes of the Lord.

Without trying to get into the nitty gritty of how religion functions or dysfunctions, I see a comparison to the function/dysfunction of law school. When we 1Ls were being introduced to moot court, about 20 upper classmates walked into our lecture hall, single file, all dressed the same in their natty legal outfits, sat down in a perfectly sequential choreography, never cracked a smile, never waved at acquaintances in the audience, or changed the thin-lipped expressions on their faces. The packed room of students all went silent, as if the air had just been sucked out of the room. “My God,” I whispered to the person next to me, “is this a law school or a cult?”

It’s a good question and pertains to what these youngsters apparently want to do for the rest of their lives, even if they appeared to me to be painfully na├»ve. Keep in mind, all you fresh young lawyers looking for jobs at law firms or business! Sometimes these places want your obedient, suited selves not because they are nurturing a work environment where people above all are not allowed to giggle or fart, but because they need young gullible minds to do their dirty work. In fact, some of these young gullible minds might even be coaxed into doing something that will get them disbarred or even imprisoned.

But at the end of the day, what do they really believe? What is their faith? Do they borrow from Catholicism and believe that they are actually the cream of a meritocracy crop that is smarter than anyone else in society? Are lawyers officers of the courts or special privileged members of society? Are they an esoteric cult whose brain functions rise way, way above the norm, so they can protect an otherwise hoi polloi society from themselves? What do the lawyers themselves believe?

I have been reading Vincent Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History, and have even started up a new blog about it. Bugliosi is a Los Angeles prosecutor famous for trying and convicting Charles Manson in the late 1960s. It’s one thing when the lawyer theater that goes on inside a court is so cocksure of itself that it sends a man to the lethal injection, but Bugliosi is of a breed that believes this theater is the only reality to the point where he thinks others who don’t think like him are in a fantasy world. Can lawyers, by dint of their skills and bag of tricks inside a courtroom, actually bring these methods outside of the court and actually transubstantiate lawyer theater into reality? Bugliosi believes so, as he now declares himself an historian, advanced logician, and scientist.

What about you: do you believe? Sometimes I have to thank God for apostasy.