A Lawyer Walks into a Bar

Feb 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 20-3: Tribal Athletes Fight for Their Place, Media Reviews

Camel’s Back Films (2007)

Review by Michael W. Simpson

This film follows six people from law school graduation through the California Bar exam. One of them is a Ho-Chunk woman from Wisconsin who attended law school with tribal assistance. An interesting scene conveys her reaction to a job offer from the tribe back home. This may be instructive for tribes.

Many reviews are seduced by the debate within the film over litigation, but for me the bigger story is how the legal profession has been pulled into the global corporate, money-driven system.

Young lawyers face incredible law school debt and must work for those who pay the most – large firms that serve the super rich and powerful. Even if they are not in debt, they face great expenses in preparing for and taking the bar exam. We see how the testing, which likely has little to do with the ability to practice law, perpetuates the myth of meritocracy while privileging the privileged.

With so many Native young people expressing interest in the law, this DVD would be good to share with them. Many classes could also use this film to examine professions, testing, globalization, law, and justice.

Michael W. Simpson, J.D., M.Ed., is an educator, social justice advocate, and scholar living in Tucson, AZ. He can be reached via email: mwsjd85@aol.com.

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