27th September 2009
Walter Olson takes a peek.
In all the movies of recent years, there have been few surer audience-pleasing scenes than the moment in Jurassic Park where the dinosaur eats the lawyer.
When I started giving talks on problems with the American legal system, I made a point of letting audiences know that I was not (and am not) a lawyer. This started out as a simple disclaimer, a warning that they should not expect certain types of professional know-how from me. But though it may have begun as a caveat, it soon turned into an applause line. It gets me an enthusiastic response from just about every audience that’s not itself composed of lawyers: from undergraduates and retirees, from doctors and homemakers, from liberals and conservatives. I eventually refined the line into “I’m not a lawyer, I just criticize them,” which often draws a one-word response, “Good!”
Wally was two years ahead of me at Yale, and is one of the clearest thinkers and best explainers that I’ve ever met.