woe unto you, lawyers!


A lusty, gusty attack on “The Law” as a curious, antiquated
institution which, through outworn procedures, technical jargon and
queer mummery, enables a group of medicine-men to dominate our social
and political lives and our business, to their own gain.


Professor of Law, Yale University

Written in 1939

“Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken away
the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves,
and them that were entering in ye hindered.” — Luke. XI, 52


1. Modern Medicine-Men
2. The Law of the Lawyers
3. The Way it Works
4. The Law at its Supremest
5. No Tax on Max
6. The Law and the Lady
7. Fairy-Tales and Facts
8. More about Legal Language
9. Incubators of the Law
10. A Touch of Social Significance
11. Let’s Lay Down the Law


No lawyer will like this book. It isn’t written for lawyers. It is
written for the average man and its purpose is to try to plant in his
head, at the least, a seed of skepticism about the whole legal
profession, its works and its ways.

In case anyone should be interested, I got my own skepticism early.
Before I ever studied law I used to argue occasionally with lawyers –
a foolish thing to do at any time. When, as frequently happened, they
couldn’t explain their legal points so that they made any sense to me
I brashly began to suspect that maybe they didn’t make any sense at
all. But I couldn’t know. One of the reasons I went to law school was
to try to find out.

At law school I was lucky. Ten of the men under whom I took courses
were sufficiently skeptical and common-sensible about the branches of
law they were teaching so that, unwittingly of course, they served
together to fortify my hunch about the phoniness of the whole legal
process. In a sense, they are the intellectual godfathers of this
book. And though all of them would doubtless strenuously disown their
godchild, I think I owe it to them to name them. Listed
alphabetically, they are:

Thurman Arnold, now Assistant Attorney-General of the United States;
Charles E. Clark, now Judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals;
William O. Douglas, now Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Felix
Frankfurter, now Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Leon Green, now
Dean of the Northwestern University Law School; Walton Hamilton,
Professor of Law at Yale University; Harold Laski, Professor of
Political Science at the London School of Economics; Richard Joyce
Smith, now a practicing attorney in New York City; Wesley Sturges, now
Director of the Distilled Spirits Institute; and the late Lee Tulin.

By the time I got through law school, I had decided that I never
wanted to practice law. I never have. I am not a member of any bar. If
anyone should want, not unreasonably, to know what on earth I am doing
– or trying to do – teaching law, he may find a hint of the answer
toward the end of Chapter IX.

When I was mulling over the notion of writing this book, I outlined my
ideas about the book, and about the law, to a lawyer who is not only
able but also extraordinarily frank and perceptive about his
profession. “Sure,” he said, “but why give the show away?” That
clinched it.




“The law is a sort of hocus-pocus science.” Charles Macklin

In TRIBAL TIMES, there were the medicine-men. In the Middle Ages,
there were the priests. Today there are the lawyers. For every age, a
group of bright boys, learned in their trade and jealous of their
learning, who blend technical competence with plain and fancy
hocus-pocus to make themselves masters of their fellow men. For every
age, a pseudo-intellectual autocracy, guarding the tricks of its trade
from the uninitiated, and running, after its own pattern, the
civilization of its day.

It is the lawyers who run our civilization for us – our governments,
our business, our private lives. Most legislators are lawyers; they
make our laws. Most presidents, governors, commissioners, along with
their advisers and brain-trusters are lawyers; they administer our
laws. All the judges are lawyers; they interpret and enforce our laws.
There is no separation of powers where the lawyers are concerned.
There is only a concentration of all government power – in the
lawyers. As the schoolboy put it, ours is “a government of lawyers,
not of men.”

It is not the businessmen, no matter how big, who run our economic
world. Again it is the lawyers, the lawyers who “advise” and direct
every time a company is formed, every time a bond or a share of stock
is issued, almost every time material is to be bought or goods to be
sold, every time a deal is made. The whole elaborate structure of
industry and finance is a lawyer-made house. We all live in it, but
the lawyers run it.

And in our private lives, we cannot buy a home or rent an apartment,
we cannot get married or try to get divorced, we cannot die and leave
our property to our children without calling on the lawyers to guide
us. To guide us, incidentally, through a maze of confusing gestures
and formalities that lawyers have created.

full book:


http://quintaldo.wordpress.com/ & http://quintaldo.stumbleupon.com/
http://www.divshare.com/download/849076-9ff (Files. Fichiers.)
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