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I don’t know whether I’m an idealistic 1L, or a visionary of everything that is wrong with the law as it is practiced. But who cares about that? What matters is that lawyers are operating on a mantra troubling in its unneeded exclusivity: Cover your ass. This credo may amount to zealous advocacy and all that; yet is it really entirely irrelevant that law students and lawyers concerned with defending clients from lawsuits care so little about accident prevention? In my Torts class we discussed a series of hypotheticals as to who could sue whom for what. Needless to say, even those quiet, freaky-looking students had ample and creative suggestions. No one ever thought to say simple things like, “Don’t run into the street blindly, you dumb fool!” No; everyone showed that Hastings really does produce good lawyers — because everyone sufficiently worried about covering their ass. Especially distressing was the fact that almost no one seemed to notice this trend. Or perhaps they did and just don’t care. I asked the class if anyone cared that the lawyer’s priority is never deterrence of pain and suffering, but avoiding paying for that pain and suffering. Taking that “gratuitous” step of remedy via accident prevention does not deter cool, killer corporate lawyers from covering client asses, does it? Clearly, this was a dumb question. Stoopid stoopid mee. Perhaps if this were the San Francisco of the ’60s, this plea for including at least some humanity in the law would be better received. I’m not even that worried about the acts of lawyers and law students: Whether we balance public policy with advocacy. What is more important is that it all too rarely even occurs to us to weigh these considerations. It’s not too late: It’ll be years before half of us have serious drug or alcohol problems due to our profession. See, you can just avoid these problems. But maybe such a plight wouldn’t be so bad. … There are still lots of ways to sue Big Tobacco. Mitch Artman, a Hastings 1L, plans on beginning his own firm called “Anti-Shysters”. He likes law school because being around law students makes him remember to follow his dream. His e-mail address is [email protected]

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