Monday, December 13, 2004

A happy moment

Being a member of the D.C. Bar does not offer much daily benefit when you live outside the beltway. By far the best perk is the back page of the Washington Lawyer, the "Legal Spectator" column by Jacob Stein. (If you think you've never heard of him, you could be wrong. He was Monica Lewinsky's lawyer.) For years I've thought these essays should be collected in a book.

And so they have! Not only that: many of the essays are online (scroll down). Heck, you can download the entire contents of The Legal Spectator and More as a .pdf.

Stein on Stein:

One of these days a tired lawyer, in retreat from the quickly running statue of limitations, and hiding out in a bookstore as I have done, will discover this book. And it may just happen that one or two of the remarks that follow will remind the tired counselor that the ungrateful client, the unresponsive judge, the damnation of deadlines are all common to those of us who must extract a living from the contention of others.

So nice to be able to revisit the defendant who should have looked, the powerful Madam Rosa, Stein's take on the Holmesian gloss on legal reasoning.

It is a happy moment.

P.S. The Washington Lawyer used to have a short story contest every year. The winners were sometimes incredibly good, like the one on a day in the life of Wallace Stevens as he found the perfect word for a poem while solving a tricky problem of insurance law. I thought these should be collected in a book too and even made a phone call to offer my services as editor (my working title: "Courting Fiction"). But by then they had already decided to cancel the whole enterprise, reasoning, I could only guess, that there's enough fiction in a lawyer's life already.

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