15 March 2010
Hello Mr. Schmidt,
"People in this managed milieu become detached from society. Socially isolated and lacking outside references, they lose their ability to make reality checks, judge circumstances independently and, therefore, maintain a unique identity. The group becomes their dominant source of reality, and they adopt behavior and beliefs that make sense within that reality."
-- Disciplined Minds, chapter 14
Being a recent law school graduate, I can vouch for the accuracy of that statement. And this is just one reason why I am of the firm belief that the law is too important to be left solely to the monopoly of lawyers. For me, one of the reasons why this statement is accurate is because I witnessed adults becoming nervous and terrified at the thought of submitting their first legal writing assignment. In fact, I had the question posed to me why I was so calm, considering that we were about to submit our first objective memo for review. You see as 1Ls we were supposed to be terrified ("first they scare you, then they work you, then they bore you"). It was not just the fact that someone was attempting to scare me that I found repulsive, but also the fact that I had just left a Gulf Coast area devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Having survived and assisted to rebuild in the aftermath of Katrina, I could not help but be disgusted by the complete lack of perspective and reality in legal training, such as the fear being generated in anticipation of a grade on a paper, when there were people in the outside world who had legitimate fears. I knew I had to and did resist.
For this reason (and many others), I say THANK YOU for this penetrating and straightforward book. I can't tell you how much I appreciated your discussion of the real world/academic dichotomy; you are the only other person I know of so far that I have read to speak about this concept. I can't tell you how much I appreciated your discussion of resistance, since I am committed to the elimination of the monopoly that lawyers have over the law. The chapter comparing professional institutions of learning to the brainwashing of totalizing institutions is brilliant; I couldn't believe that someone was making these connections. Many of the connections you made in the book often caused me to pause and put the book down so that I could remind myself that someone else was really making these connections. My copy of your book is rapidly becoming indecipherable with all the annotations of "absolutely correct" and "thank you." This book is one of the most important books in my library.