Friday, September 4, 2009

Imperfect human justice

I am on holidays (vacation for US readers) in the San Juan Islands of Washington state, the home of my lovely wife. Yesterday, we saw a seal eating a salmon. This morning we spent a restful time kayaking around a bay.

My holiday reading is The Associate by John Grisham. I am a big fan of his legal thrillers, but have a real dislike of his attempts at other genre's. It is amazing how Grisham paints parts of the legal profession (particularly corporate lawyers) in such a terrible light. I am struck by how dehumanising many big practices are and how so much youthful energy, idealism, and talent of top law school graduates gets wasted on dubious ventures. The novels highlight greed, infantile macho competition, deceit, arrogance, ....
The law is meant to protect the weak and punish evil. Unfortunately, it seems that sometimes it is used instead to protect the powerful and evil from being punished.

My favourite Grisham novel is The Testament, in which the protagonist, a hard-drinking lawyer becomes a Christian.

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