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November 03, 2009

Karl Llewellyn: Eternally baiting fresh Siwash grads.

Karl Nickerson Llewellyn (1893–1962)

We have no great illusions, my brethren and I, about how much good it will do you to be told these things in advance...You conceive this, I take it, to be somewhat in the nature of the pep meeting to which you were first exposed when you entered college.

You expect me to tell you that you should be earnest about your work, and get your back into it for dear old Siwash, and that he who lets work slide will stumble by the way.

My guess is that he was not a fan of "going through the motions". We can safely assume he would have never Twittered (or at least not have disclosed that activity to sane and serious clients). And he would have been deeply saddened by the current professional trend of doing all things in a way to "please the professional"--rather than to advance the interests of the entity served: Client, Patient, Payer, Buyer, Customer, and Those Owed High Duties and Care.

The above of course is from the opening chapter of the The Bramble Bush: On Our Law and Its Study (1931), which sprung from a series of introductory lectures Karl Llewellyn gave to first-year law students during the 1929-30 academic year, when he was appointed the first Betts Professor of Jurisprudence at Columbia. The book's title is from a poem "The Bramble Bush" by Robert Penn Warren, excerpted here:

There was a man in our town
and he was wondrous wise:
he jumped into a bramble bush
and scratched out both his eyes--

and when he found that he was blind,
with all his might and maine,
He jumped into another one,
and scratched them in again.


(from past WAC? posts)

Posted by JD Hull at November 3, 2009 11:58 PM


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