In his 2010 e-book entitled “The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the Legal Wilderness” (“the Song”), Hugh Duvall sings a heartfelt tune about what it means – and what it should imply – to be a lawyer. Written from the angle of a lawyer-litigator, the Music is meant to achieve two important audiences. For non-lawyers, the Music is supposed to offer “a window into the complex intellectual, emotional and ethical frontier of [the legal] profession.” For legal professionals, it’s an affirmation of all that’s good within the authorized career – a melody meant to “charge us up and to speed us on our way.” Mr. Duvall performs to each audiences with admirable aplomb.A fast and interesting learn, the Music pursues its function in a refreshingly artistic model. Every chapter (or verse) focuses on a key theme of authorized follow; and every is introduced in two components. The primary is a vignette of a narrative set in 1842 Oregon during which a girl hires a information to steer her via the backcountry looking for her husband. With the chapter’s theme as a springboard, the second half dives right into a non-fictitious account of the varied methods during which the problems introduced within the vignette have an effect on the day-to-day lives of present-day legal professionals.Inside its verses, the Music sings of the arduous realities of authorized follow. These embody the danger and problem of regulation faculty, the lengthy lonely hours of authorized follow, the anguish of a case fought and misplaced, and the betrayal of a thankless shopper. These darker notes are necessary for any regulation scholar or aspiring lawyer to listen to – particularly one bedazzled by the gloss of authorized follow because it seems on the large display screen.
Floating above the bass register are the treble notes of the extra ennobling elements of authorized follow. These embody the sanctity of the lawyer-client relationship, the humility of trustworthy service, the decorum of loyalty, and the fun of victory. These larger notes give the Music a extra edifying tenor for individuals who are unsure or in any other case cynical concerning the inherent dignity of a authorized profession, or these in any other case in want of affirmation.As a lot because the Music serves to demystify among the realities of authorized follow, on the similar time it additionally serves to enshroud it in a cloud of romanticism. For instance, laced into the narrative are some fairly rosy assumptions about what it’s that drives individuals to pursue a profession in regulation. As Mr. Duvall places it:”Ours is a profession to which we were called. We were always aware of its presence. The feeling. The thought. The notion that we would become lawyers…It was one’s essence. One’s being. There was no real choice involved at all.”It will be good if this had been true. However the actuality is that each one kinds of individuals go to regulation faculty (and finally grow to be legal professionals) for a lot lesser causes. Some go to regulation faculty to please their dad and mom. Others go as a result of they need cash, safety and status. Nonetheless others go as a result of they do not know what else to do with themselves. But as soon as on the conveyor belt, the strain to determine as a lawyer will get stronger and stronger. Years later, properly into their careers, all too many get up and understand that what they’re doing is just not their calling – that this isn’t their track.The romanticism of the Music additionally surfaces in different verses. For instance, within the verse about “passion”, Mr. Duvall notes that “[w]e cannot meet the rigorous challenges we regularly confront without passion for our work.” Legal professionals, similar to anyone else, are significantly better geared up to do their jobs when fuelled by ardour. But the reality is that on the entire legal professionals aren’t precisely recognized for his or her ardour for his or her work. In reality, many plod their weary methods via their complete careers with out a lot enthusiasm for his or her jobs in any respect.Whereas Mr. Duvall could also be romantic, he’s not blind. As he notes, many legal professionals do things like “take shortcuts to the prejudice of the client”, “make as much money as possible”, “gain attention for personal aggrandizement”, and “run a business as opposed to a law practice.” It’s clear that Mr. Duvall is totally conscious that such “imposters” exist amongst our ranks; the straightforward truth of the matter is that they don’t seem to be a part of his supposed viewers.
Whereas such “imposters” might properly not deserve admission to Mr. Duvall’s efficiency, I contend that they represent a 3rd viewers that should not solely attend, but in addition hear additional rigorously. For it’s to this viewers that the Music carries a particular – albeit implicit – message. And that message is that this:If you’re not in concord with the fundamental values of your career, you should do one thing about it or your profession and life will ever be dissonant.In listening to the Music, ought to anybody discover themselves scoffing or in any other case rolling their eyes in cynicism at its lyrics, then it could be that they belong to this third viewers. Ought to they acknowledge the particular message the Music has for them, and may they be impressed to take corrective motion, Mr. Duvall can have actually outdone himself.Bravo, Mr. Duvall!