Thursday, June 09, 2011

It's always amused me that Brian Leiter was "Joseph D. Jamail Centennial Chair in Law" at UT Austin. Below are two videos of Joe Jamail. Watch the first one. It's short.




"Lawyers... are the rule of law." Lawyers, not judges. Joe Jamail is a legal realist. Brian Leiter is not.

Legal realism as naturalism is empiricism in practice, and theory only as derived from and returned to practice. I never want to see Leiter in a courtroom as anything other than an advisor or an expert witness. Like Quine, he's a theoretical empiricist, and we don't live our lives in a theoretical world. We live our experience. To pretend otherwise is the politics of pretension.

Philosophers defend themselves as judges, within and above a system. Advocates defend themselves only as within a system. They're not judges they're players, and Jamail is a playa. He's a storyteller, and defends the humanities with more force than a philosopher ever would, or could. [see the previous post.]

If the videos vanish at some point: The first is "Texas-Style Deposition." Joe Jamail and others in action.
Jamail is off camera to the right. He is deposing (what I assume to be) an expert witness for the Defendant in that case, the Monsanto Corp. The guy just off screen to the left is Edward M. Carstarphen, the Defense attorney representing Monsanto. The other voice you hear ('Tucker") is either a co-plaintiff's or co-defendant's attorney. Joe begins by asking the witness if he met with the attorney for Monsanto and what was discussed. Since the attorney represents Monsanto, and not the witness, there is no attorney-client privilege over such communications. The witness doesn't answer the question truthfully. It degrades from there. Carstarphen objects and tries to instruct the witness. Since he isn't the attorney for the witness, he gets called on instructing him.
 "...Whaddya want to do about it, asshole"
"I'd like to knock you on your ass"
"Come try it. Come over here and try it you dumb son of a bitch."

The second video is Jamail at Stanford. The man who introduces him is an asshole. He begins by telling a story of Jamail bragging about the size of his collection of single malt scotches:"the biggest collection you ever heard of," at 12, while the schmuck from Stanford has 36. I was surprised at Jamail's claim, but it's clear he's still a small town lawyer who made it big. He's a billionaire, but he comes off well. He defends the honor of lawyers, plying their trade as storytellers for their clients. His humility is not an act.

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