Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Shoveling Smoke.

"Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke".
--Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

When I got to "shoveling", I thought Justice Holmes might be going in a different direction. In any event, his comment appears more akin to the simile, "like eating soup with a fork".

A lawyer colleague put his finger on this phenomenon when he said that one of the most difficult aspects of his litigation job was that while he was working to build something for his client, the opposition was doing everything in his or her power to disassemble it. While this may present frustrations, I believe the "adversarial" process is probably the best system to ensure the court has the tools to make the best possible decision.