Intellectual Stimulation in Law

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Bronte
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Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby Bronte » Mon May 27, 2013 8:37 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:Responded to you because you mentioned novel issues without pointing out there every area of the law contains novel issues. And no, I was serious. "Universally" was your word, though.


Of course every area of the law, broadly speaking, gives rise to novel issues. The question is whether in your practice you frequently encounter those novel issues, and my point is that your practice will be more intellectually stimulating if you do. Maybe instead of "tends to involve novel issues" I should have said "frequently involves novel issues."

If your point is that all lawyers frequently encounter novel issues in their practices, thereby rendering this criterion irrelevant to OP's inquiry, I think you're wrong. Many practices are highly routinized. A lawyer that mainly handles no-asset consumer bankruptcies is not going to have a very intellectually stimulating practice. Likewise, a deal lawyer at a low-ranking big law firm that handles mostly routine transactions will encounter fewer novel issues than a deal lawyer at Wachtell.

Your original comment seems a bit naive. You stated that in litigation "the argument is 100% in the middle, where everything is novel." This statement seems to assume that all litigation involves high-stakes trial work, ignoring the mind-numbing discovery practice that sometimes characterizes the field. And try telling the average slip-and-fall lawyer that "everything is novel" in litigation. You also stated that criminal law "is necessarily engaging." But substantially less than all criminal practitioners deal with the kind of morally-ambiguous, legally-novel issues you seem to envision. Just ask a DUI attorney. I generally take a more positive view of legal practice than most posters on this site, but your post seems disconnected from reality.

utlaw2007
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby utlaw2007 » Mon May 27, 2013 9:00 pm

Also, working cases in litigation with unfavorable facts present you with very novel issues, as well, simply because you have to make those facts work for you.

I think the main factor as to whether one frequently encounters these issues is whether one has control over accepting cases or not. I frequently accept cases with very difficult facts. Most of my cases have difficult facts. Those cases can be very challenging. But I get hyper focused when working those cases. As much as I hate discovery, these types of cases, at least, make discovery tolerable, barely.

timbs4339
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Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby timbs4339 » Mon May 27, 2013 10:01 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:Also, working cases in litigation with unfavorable facts present you with very novel issues, as well, simply because you have to make those facts work for you.

I think the main factor as to whether one frequently encounters these issues is whether one has control over accepting cases or not. I frequently accept cases with very difficult facts. Most of my cases have difficult facts. Those cases can be very challenging. But I get hyper focused when working those cases. As much as I hate discovery, these types of cases, at least, make discovery tolerable, barely.


And if you have the choice to accept cases, you can probably get some pretty decent stuff. I've seen med mal trials that last two weeks with 30 witnesses and dozens of exhibits that's certainly more intellectually stimulating than being the sixth guy on the brief at Gibson who gets to check for typos and fill in parentheticals. But if you're the guy hustling for the cases with low settlement value, or employed by a legitimate settlement mill, it's cut-and-paste motions and trying to nab a quick couple K.

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megagnarley
Posts: 497
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:58 am

Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby megagnarley » Tue May 28, 2013 12:33 am

timbs4339 wrote:Yes, it's a dumb question. Almost every area of law is intellectually stimulating if practiced at the right level/experience. I see guys who are 25 year veteran litigators who can't write a cogent appellate brief because their practice is almost entirely cut-and-paste omnibus pleadings, motions, and discovery requests. Some of my friends checking typos in fund disclosures will eventually (if they make partner) be forming really complex corporate structures.


Now now. There are no dumb questions.

The only way to learn is to first expose yourself as a fool.

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quakeroats
Posts: 1399
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:34 am

Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby quakeroats » Tue May 28, 2013 1:56 am

Bronte wrote:
Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:Responded to you because you mentioned novel issues without pointing out there every area of the law contains novel issues. And no, I was serious. "Universally" was your word, though.


Of course every area of the law, broadly speaking, gives rise to novel issues. The question is whether in your practice you frequently encounter those novel issues, and my point is that your practice will be more intellectually stimulating if you do. Maybe instead of "tends to involve novel issues" I should have said "frequently involves novel issues."

If your point is that all lawyers frequently encounter novel issues in their practices, thereby rendering this criterion irrelevant to OP's inquiry, I think you're wrong. Many practices are highly routinized. A lawyer that mainly handles no-asset consumer bankruptcies is not going to have a very intellectually stimulating practice. Likewise, a deal lawyer at a low-ranking big law firm that handles mostly routine transactions will encounter fewer novel issues than a deal lawyer at Wachtell.

Your original comment seems a bit naive. You stated that in litigation "the argument is 100% in the middle, where everything is novel." This statement seems to assume that all litigation involves high-stakes trial work, ignoring the mind-numbing discovery practice that sometimes characterizes the field. And try telling the average slip-and-fall lawyer that "everything is novel" in litigation. You also stated that criminal law "is necessarily engaging." But substantially less than all criminal practitioners deal with the kind of morally-ambiguous, legally-novel issues you seem to envision. Just ask a DUI attorney. I generally take a more positive view of legal practice than most posters on this site, but your post seems disconnected from reality.


Plus, there's a whole class of intellectually interesting work for lawyers that has little to do with law. Unfortunately for litigators, this is mostly the domain of transactional lawyers.




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