A Tale of Two Clients: Thinking About Law as Language

This is a true story. It is actually three true stories. The article taken as a whole tells a story of my personal search for a new way of talking about the experience of being a lawyer, a quest which is leading me to think more and more about law as a kind of language and lawyering as a form of translation. Rather like a medieval romance, embedded within this story of a quest are two tales, about clients I have represented in the course of my clinical teaching.

As much as possible, both levels of narrative are presented in chronological order. At the level of the embedded tales, each case is presented as it developed. At the level of the story of my quest, I recount how this article was written. In creating this structure, combining embedded tales with passages of conceptual discourse, I try to recreate the dynamic relation between my lawyering experiences and my efforts to understand and talk about what they “meant.”