Letters: Sister Strength
Posted Jan 01, 2013 10:39 am CST
The African Probate & Policy Initiative (“Where There’s No Will, There’s Sometimes a Way,” November) should consider using sister cities relationships to make its program more comprehensive.
I see that Arusha, Tanzania, has Durham, N.C., and Kansas City, Mo., as sister cities; and Dar es Salaam has Lansing, Mich., as a sister city. That means that lawyers and law students from Duke, the University of North Carolina, Campbell, Wake Forest, Elon, the University of Missouri, Cooley and Michigan State could all work within the sister cities partnerships to keep this program going in the long run, and at various times of the year.
Gretchen Bellamy and her team from the University of Miami School of Law deserve praise and credit for having taken this first and important step of drafting wills for Tanzanian women.
Although the courts may be sluggish in adjusting to the change, the mere existence of such documents will challenge existing traditions. And with the support of local, regional and international women’s NGOs, the necessary work on other fronts such as consciousness raising, law school instruction and judicial training add momentum to the realization of this just cause.
It was not that long ago, comparatively speaking, that women here in the U.S. suffered from equivalent deprivation. The road to change in male-dominated societies is one fraught with difficulty, obstacles and irrational resistance.
DON’T BLAME SCHOOLS
As a stalwart ABA member and supporter, it pains me that I feel compelled to write. Almost every 2012 issue of the Journal contains an article or reference portraying the legal employment market negatively and laying the blame at the feet of the nation’s law schools. Please, enough already!
No mention has been made of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicating that unemployment among lawyers was 1.5 percent in 2010. This is far below the national rate of 9.6 percent.
Our economy and society are undergoing a significant restructuring. The legal profession is not immune. Many recent graduates are thriving in this new economy because they have the entrepreneurial mindset and skills to deliver law services in ways that might be surprising and uncomfortable to those of us clinging to the traditional model of practice. The legal employment market is not disappearing; it is the traditional method of delivering legal services that is disappearing.
I believe my role as a law professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School is to teach our students how to practice law well and ethically. Trying to assess blame only delays us from acquiring the skills needed to serve our public efficiently, competently and affordably.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
“Brain Trials,” November, quotes prosecutor Zachary Weiss as saying that the case of advertising executive Herbert Weinstein “opened up a debate academically about responsibility and free will, and how we evaluate scientific evidence” in the courtroom.
I published “The Insanity Defense: Free Will, Determinism and the Legal Process” back in 1988 in The Prosecutor, the journal of the National District Attorneys Association. So perhaps this is not such a new subject after all? Although it is no less important and worthy of discussion now as then.
Your story sheds light on mental illness in general suffered by millions of people trying to live “normal” lives. So many innocent, kind-acting people walk around every day of their lives hiding from society the fact that they are suffering. They too should have the comfort to know that, through no fault of their own, their illness is just that—a misfiring in the brain.
I’ve had the pleasure to serve as a judge for moot court teams visiting Florida State University Law School, and at the end of each session judges are asked to critique the team performances and offer suggestions. In each case my very first suggestion has been to go to your university law library and seek out the ABA Journal and then look for Jim McElhaney’s column on litigation. I tell them it is better than any law school class you’ll ever take.
We are going to miss Angus’ monthly advice.