Singing Loudly: Onward Law, Onward Writers

Singing Loudly

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Onward Law, Onward Writers

I'm still not sure why I run into so many law student blogs that focus on the lawyer-wannabe's desire to become a writer? Why would anyone go to law school if they wish to be a writer? The credentials that get most people published are who you know and who you know. It doesn't matter if you went to Yale Law School or if you graduated from Johns Hopkins with an MFA in creative writer. It's all about who you know. Ask the dozens of students who leave the Iowa's Writer Workshop wthout a published manuscript. My only advise to these people is this: if you want to be a lawyer -- go to law school and if you want to be a writer -- don't.


Well, if getting published is all about who you know, you're likely to meet some well-connected and influential people at a place like Yale, no?

But generally I agree: Law school is not much more likely to make you a better or more successful writer than anything else you could do w/your life. Sure, you write in law school and law practice, but 95% of your writing is going to be highly structured and artificial and so not great practice for good fiction. It might be good preparation for poetry, structurally speaking, maybe, but not necessarily.

However, one great thing about law school/practice in terms of being a writer seems to be the stories you learn along your way. Every case is a story of life and conflict, and that's what good fiction is generally about. So a legal career could be good fodder for writing. Maybe. At least theoretically.

By Blogger ambimb, at 12:54 PM, February 12, 2006  

I'll just say that not every person who wants to write wants to be a poet, or novelist, or short story-ist. For instance, I completely missed the creative writing gene. But I love language, and using language to say something in a way the reader might not have expected. I also usually need a prompt as it were.

So maybe it's not that I want to be a "writer." Maybe it's that I want to use language to make my point better than anyone else could. Hey, guess what? If I end up in appellate law, I can do that. Heck, if I end up doing litigation, I can do that.

By Anonymous kristine, at 1:46 PM, February 12, 2006  

Kristine, good point about there being a difference between creative writing and legal writing (which Ambib also touches on). I should point out that I'm really directing this frustration at people who feel like they have nothing to learn from law school and just want to write. The blawgers who sort of scoff at the idea of being a lawyer yet they are in law school.

I have no doubt that there are plenty of talented people who can juggle both professional writing and creative writing. In fact, I think more lawyers need to focus on some hobbies or other activites, because I think this makes us better rounded individuals.

Perhaps these frustrated blawgers ought to consider the benefits that could come from both writing and practicing law.

By Anonymous Curtis, at 8:27 PM, February 12, 2006  

Maybe, you're wondering how come I landed on your blog. If so, you might want to apportion some of the blame to Evan Schaeffer's, which by the bye has a rather neat blogroll.

Anyway, upon visiting your little nook in the vast galaxy of the Internet, I surmised you'd welcome some insight concerning President William Jefferson Clinton.

I, for one, can be easily persuaded that President Clinton introduced ... ah, maybe not in so many words ... "evolutionary economics". Acting within the constraints, imposed by this new economic discipline, the man made possible the hope that the nation's national debt could be discharged.

For more details, regarding this insight of mine, one needs only click on the hyperlink below:

.he who is known as sefton

darn ol'paranoid me ... before depositing a comment here on your blog, I sent an e.mail to some 63 law school professors about the article, found at the other end of the above hyperlink.

By Blogger he who is known as sefton, at 9:29 PM, February 16, 2006  

well said...

By Blogger sandy, at 11:08 PM, February 24, 2006  

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