Woe unto you lawyers – Study Guide

This content comes from the publisher of U.S. of A. vs U.S.

Woe Unto You Lawyers! Study Guide

Congratulations! You have taken the first step on your educational “yellow brick road.” Please get ready for the next leg of the journey.

In 1939, just after the “Switch in Time” of 1937, Fred Rodell, a 32-year-old full professor of law at Yale Law School released “Woe Unto You, Lawyers!”. Fred Rodell began his preface “No lawyer will like this book, it isn’t written for lawyers, it is written for the average man.” Well, that was in 1939; the average man today doesn’t know or care about Fred Rodell’s book, let alone understand its contents.

You, as the reader of U.S. of A. v U.S., may be well served to consider Mr. Rodell’s thoughts in respect to that particular time, 1939. This book may be of help in enlarging your self-acquired store of knowledge. Your self-acquired knowledge and understanding may be an excellent basis to support the next part of your education. The 50 questions asked in the next open book self-examination have been constructed so as to assist you in developing further understanding of the nature and uses of politically based documents you may construct. These political documents should assist in your changed self-determined political status and resulting legal relations.

The following points should be kept in mind as you carefully read Mr. Rodell’s work. These points should be seen as giving you a flavor of the overall concepts Mr. Rodell has placed before the reader. The points that follow are in sequential order in relation to the text of the book.

First point, when you first read this quote:
“When I was mulling over the notion of writing this book, I outlined my ideas about the book, and about the law, to a lawyer who is not only able but also extraordinarily frank and perceptive about his profession. ‘Sure,’ he said, ‘but why give the show away?’ That clinched it.” F.R.

Ask yourself this question: “What is the nature of the show?” that Mr. Rodell had been accused of giving away?

The second point is:
“It is the lawyers who run our civilization for us — our governments, our business, our private lives. Most legislators are lawyers; they make our laws. Most presidents, governors, commissioners, along with their advisers and brain-trusters are lawyers; they administer our laws. All the judges are lawyers; they interpret and enforce our laws. There is no separation of powers where the lawyers are concerned. There is only a concentration of all government power — in the lawyers. As the schoolboy put it, ours is “a government of lawyers, not of men.”

The third point:
“Who is the ‘They’ that shut their eyes and leave to the lawyers the running of a large part of their lives.” If this “shut their eyes” were a fact, could lawyers appear to completely alter the political situation of a Republic and attempt to establish a legislative democracy?

Point four:
What are the “several reasons” offered by Mr. Rodell for this mass submission? Hint: We are still in Chapter One.

Point five:
After reading Mr. Rodell’s “Woe Unto You, Lawyers!” can you articulate the meaning of his statement “Briefly, The Law is carried on in a foreign language.” and “Much of the language of the law is built out of perfectly respectable English words which have been given a queer and different and exclusively legal meaning.” Here the reader would be well served to consider how the reader uses a word in contrast to how a lawyer uses the same spelled word. This concept could be of significant benefit if the reader chooses to construct political documents that may be read by lawyers. The reader will note USofAvUS specially considers this point at some depth.

Point Six:
As you read “Woe Unto You, Lawyers!” consider:
“For the lawyers’ trade is a trade built entirely on words. And so long as the lawyers carefully keep to themselves the key to what those words mean, the only way the average man can find out what is going on is to become a lawyer, or at least to study law, himself.”

You may want to read the above quote again. The burden of understanding the political and legal meaning of words is squarely upon the reader.

Point seven:
How does a lawyer think in relation to how a non-lawyer thinks?
“The reason a non-lawyer gets lost in The Law is that his mind has not been trained to think logically about abstractions, whereas the lawyer’s mind has been so trained. Hence the lawyer can leap lightly and logically from one abstraction to another, or narrow down a general proposition to apply to a particular case, with an agility that leaves the non-lawyer bewildered and behind. It is a pretty little picture.”

To The Law, time, place, space and plane are important concepts.

Point eight:
“The legal trade, in short, is nothing but a high-class racket.” Why? Mr. Rodell offers the following as a partial answer:
“And so, for that matter, are all the Corcorans and Cohens and Thurman Arnolds and the rest, whose chief value to the New Deal lies not in their political views nor even in their administrative ability but rather in their adeptness at manipulating the words of The Law so as to make things sound perfectly proper which other lawyers maintain, by manipulating different words in a different way, are terribly improper. The legal racket knows no political or social limitations.”

In Mr. Rodell’s words, please remember, reader: “The legal racket knows no political or social limitations.” It is up to you and only you, the reader, to alter the presumed political and social limitations present today.

Point nine:
“You can change the laws all you please, but you can’t change The Law. And The Law is what counts.”

Point ten:
How can you, the reader, gain better control over the law that may apply to your person?

  • Chapter 2: “To the lawyer, there is a vast difference between The Law and the laws.” “The Law” is the device based upon political presumptions that is used to control your legal person.
  • “Whereas no non-lawyer cares in the slightest degree what The Law is until it comes down to applying The Law to a specific dispute.”
  • Now the reader ought to carefully read Chapter 3, “The Way It Works.”
  • Chapter 7: “The crux of the whole matter lies in the choice of which button or buttons to push, which principle or principles or concepts to follow.”
  • Who controls the choice mentioned above? The choice depends on who establishes the essential facts to fit the desired principle. Which are the desired principles that one might want to apply? The answer is seen by understanding that principles apply to agreements.
  • Chapter 7: “At any rate, every legal agreement is drawn up in contemplation of a court fight.”
  • Chapter 9: What The Law’s apprentices rarely learn and are rarely given half a chance to find out is that the whole of The Law is nothing but a technique to be mastered, an adroitness to be achieved. That technique, reduced to its simplest terms, is the technique of using a new language.
  • Chapter 10: How do the professionals sell the law?
    “How, then, is The Law bought? How is it regularly turned to the account of those men and those companies who have money enough to pay what is costs? The Law is bought, to put the answer bluntly and briefly right at the start, by hiring the services and the advice of the smartest lawyers, of the professional soothsayers who are most adept at manipulating the principles of which The Law is made. It is bought by paying a premium, in court and out of court, to the twentieth century medicine men who can best cast spells of legal language to protect and defend the personal and financial interests of those who would be hard put to protect and defend such interests in terms of justice, undiluted by Law.”
  • Chapter 10: How does the smart person with sense enough to understand that he does not know the law gain an advantage?

    “For the other fellow — the company or the individual with money enough to afford it — has been canny enough to buy The Law in advance.”
    “The Law is usually weighted to one side from the very beginning. It is weighted by lining up beforehand, in the written terms of the transaction, the legal language that will fit right into legal principles in any lawsuit that might later arise out of the transaction.”

  • Chapter 11: “Let’s lay down the Law.” “It is never easy to tear down a widely and deeply accepted set of superstitions about the management of men’s affairs. But it is always worth trying. And, given enough support, the effort will always succeed. You can fool some of the people all the time, etc. The difficulty lies only in convincing enough people that they are being fooled.” However, a careful reading of USofAvUS will allow the reader to more easily self-educate so as to reduce the likelihood of political and legal foolery.

That leaves the question of fear and ignorance.

“If only the average man could be led to see and know the cold truth about the lawyers and their Law. With the ignorance would go the fear. With the fear would go the respect. Then indeed — and doubtless in orderly fashion too — it would be: Woe Unto You, Lawyers!”

The astute reader may want to review portions of USofAvUS before attempting the open book test questions that follow, or not. The questions are designed to assist your self-education as you may elect to establish political documents in relation to a most important political transaction, your status. Any resulting change in legal relation is the burden of the reader.

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