Hastings Law Journal


David Schuman


Law practice has begun to resemble the world in T.S. Eliot's enigmatic poem, "The Waste Land." Professor Schuman suggests that the problem is confrontation: our basic misconception is that justice requires victors and vanquished, exclusion of the opponent rather than inclusion. Lawyers increasingly are unable to contain the aggressive and combative nature of the system and too often treat insensitivity, ruthlessness, and paranoia as professional virtues; virtues which then infect their personal lives. In stark contrast, observers throughout history Would have treated this isolation and defensive living as absurd or dangerous.

This essay suggests that rather than fantasize about a Utopian alternative social context, lawyers heed the commands of The Waste Land's thunder: to give, sympathize, control. By incorporating these directives into their professional lives, the author argues that lawyers may become more connected and whole within their existing world.

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