: The Last Word

The Last Word

Lawyers always want to have the last word. Whether it's argumentative, controversial, eccentric or personal, this column allows one author to open a can of worms and see what wriggles out!

Thinking like a lawyer

Kate Galloway

In discussions leading up to the publication recently of the discipline standards for law, there was naturally a focus on thinking skills. Indeed many law students and practitioners would be familiar with the mantra of ‘thinking like a lawyer’. Some claim that ‘thinking like a lawyer’ is a nebulous concept, others that it is a ‘self-aggrandising sham … to justify the existence of a … special lawyer class’.

Whether or not one accepts that there is a particular mode of thought or reasoning or analysis that belongs to lawyers in particular, there is growing evidence to show that the way we teach lawyers and the way that law is practised is in fact linked to psychological distress.

(2012) 37(4) AltLJ 298

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#iitrial — Australia’s first twitter hashtag to go from trial to the High Court?

Leanne O’Donnell

On 4 February 2010, I woke at 5:00am to fly to Sydney to hear the judgment in Roadshow Films Pty Ltd v iiNet Ltd, the first trial in the world to proceed to judgment involving a suit against an internet service provider (‘ISP’) claiming copyright infringement on its part due to alleged authorisation of the copyright infringement of its users.

(2012) 37(3) AltLJ 215

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A rainbow racket

Senthorun Raj
There is no reason to put forward alternative, unhealthy, unnatural unions as some form of substitute.

Margaret Court’s recent opprobrium towards gays and lesbians during an interview with The West Australian has prompted calls to inundate the Australian Open Tennis with rainbows — a sign of solidarity against homophobia.

While further calls have been made to change the name of Margaret Court Arena, this debate has gestured to a much more troubling question: is Margaret Court alone in her thinking?

(2012) 37(1) AltLJ 71

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Losing is its own reward

Gary Sullivan

lastword-sullivan-sroth-smlIn her article ‘Changing Public Interest Law: Overcoming the law’s barriers to social change lawyering’ (2011) 36(2) Alternative Law Journal, Paula O’Brien asserts that ‘Social change lawyering is an entirely legitimate form of lawyering…’ I am not so sure. If ‘legitimate’ means always sticking within conventional ethics, and confining oneself to running cases which will likely win, then I for one could not be labelled ‘legitimate’. Against that, I reckon that the legitimacy of the law depends on it being available to all people. It is not. It probably never will be. To the extent that it is not, it is not legitimate. But I like the idea of the Rule of Law. I like Paula’s article too.

(2011) 36(4) AltLJ 293

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Bob Dylan's Legal Hurricane

Steven Castan

(Where Music, Politics and the Law crossed over and, despite the obstacles, art finally beat out the law and the world was better for it.)

Flashback to 1975. Bob Dylan is rollicking through America on his Rolling Thunder Tour whereby a cavalcade of stars and hangers-on traipse along for some fantastic shows in a carnival-like atmosphere. (Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Mick Ronson (Bowie’s lead guitarist), Joan Baez, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Kinky Friedman, playwright Sam Shepard, Allen Ginsberg, and Joni Mitchell among many others join Dylan’s merry pranksters). Dylan is back in the thick of things and his profile is as high as it had been in the mid-sixties. After years in hiding following his mysterious motorcycle crash he hit the road in 1974 for the first ever full tour with The Band, a huge money spinner that played large auditoriums. He followed this tour with the album Blood On The Tracks (1974) which beautifully and simply explored the complexities of love gone wrong. The songs were like windows into his soul, but Dylan felt the need to speak to the people through song once again. Perhaps something was missing for him. He had moved back for a while to the Village. Perhaps the ‘feel’ of Greenwich Village, a yearning for those heady days of the early 60s — that sense of improvisation, that can-do-anything youthful creative spirit — had flashed before him again and inspired him to write songs that explored public and not just private issues. Perhaps it was just a good idea at the time.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 220

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