A Response from the Visitor from Another Planet

In order to admit, as I do, that the related planets of practice and academia are conjoined, one has to realize, as I have, that the legacy of the heavily doctrinal education Edwards wants to preserve may be precisely the lawyers he upbraids – lawyers who generally do not live, work, and behave ethically (with fairness, compassion, and creativity) in a complex, heterogeneous society. This recognition in turn compels the conclusion I reach that the outsiders – with their challenges to the status quo’s values, their upstart theories and innovative pedagogies, and even their Star Trek-and-the-law scholarship – may help save Planet Practice.

I do not deny a personal stake in this debate. As a black woman practitioner scoping out academia, I have one foot in each world. Yet I am an outsider in both. Because a widening “gap” between them would be detrimental to my corpus, they had better be so close that an itch in one can be scratched in the other.

Taking the lead from Edwards’ use of anecdotal material – does he call it “narrative”? – I will share the insights gained during my year as the visitor from another planet and respond to the judge’s propositions en route. Part I is my view of “unethical practices”; Part II, of scholarship; Part III, of teaching; and Part IV, of the outsiders’ contribution.