29 May 2011

WSG centenary

It is the centenary of the death of acute legal commentator and frequent litigant (contract, defamation, copyright) Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911).

The ODNB notes that -
Gilbert died of heart failure at Grim's Dyke on 29 May 1911, having swum too rapidly to save a girl who mistakenly supposed she was drowning in his artificial lake. His body was cremated, and his ashes were buried on 2 June in the churchyard of St John the Evangelist in Great Stanmore, Middlesex.

Scribbling for the Supremes

Interviews in 13 The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing (2010) [PDF] with the US Supremes about legal writing.

In response to the question "Should legal scholars concern themselves with whether lawyers and judges find their writing useful?" Chief Justice John Roberts comments -
Well, it kind of depends on what they want to do. It’s like philosophers who can write abstract dissertations that are going to be understood and read only by other academic philosophers, and if that’s what they want to do, fine. If they want to have an impact in the real world, they need to appreciate that that’s a different audience.

I think it’s extraordinary these days — the tremendous disconnect between the legal academy and the legal profession. They occupy two different universes. What the academy is doing, as far as I can tell, is largely of no use or interest to people who actually practice law. Whether it's analytic, whether it's at whatever level they’re operating, it doesn’t help the practitioners or help the judges. The academics are perfectly free to say, "Well, I'm not interested in helping the judges or the practitioners." But if they are, they're not going to do it with the type of focus they have these days.
Someone needs to do this sort of interviewing of the High Court and the Australian state/territory Supreme Courts.