Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/181

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The Green Bag

their concrete entirety and not merely "their content," whatever meaning Mr. Spencer may give to that phrase. These generalizations are mental processes, it is true, but they are external to the mind of the legal investigator and are therefore objective to his thought. They are a most important part of the govern mental sequences, because presumably they are important parts of the mental operations through which the judges as governmental agents determine the sub sequent legal effects of the "case," but although the expression of these gen eralizations must be carefully studied in order that their own causative force and that of abstracted facts in the pre ceding events of the case may be appre ciated properly, they are not necessarily accurate comprehensions of the efficient causative elements in the "case" nor authoritative trustworthy guides to prog nostications of future decisions within their range. I will not trespass further on Mr. Spencer's space to explain this, but will refer the anxious mystified to my article for enlightenment. Neces sarily I am touching rather lightly and partially only a few of the points of my theory in this cursory reply. I do not expect anyone to get from it an adequate understanding. Three miscellaneous statements had better be made here to obviate possible objections. First: — Although the se quences of occurrences out of which a "case" grows and through which it is carried to completion are infinite in their details, of course not all of these details are of importance to the lawyer who con ducts the case nor to an observer of its his tory. Part of the details never come to the notice of either, and of those that do, many are discarded as immaterial by the trained intelligence. Second: — Of course the governmental consequences which follow from the actual facts of

"a case" may be brought about through failure to properly conduct the case, through inability to produce admissible evidence of the facts, or through failure to convince the triers of fact of the truth. These facts are within the range of the lawyer's field of study, and, indeed, t© some extent are dealt with in works and courses on evidence and procedure. Third : — The governmental conse quences and processes which lawyers study and with which they deal include those brought about by other govern mental agencies than the courts. For instance, a client may wish to know what will happen at the customs if he tries to import a certain commodity; or may request legal services with respect to proceedings before a commission or legislative body; but in the great majority of "cases" which are fought to a finish, the ultimate authoritative direction of consequences is given by the judgment of a court. All actions by other governmental agencies upon his "cases" also are of practical import ance to the lawyer, however, and are within his field of legal study. In my article I distinguished, briefly, but with care, some seven or eight com mon technical legal uses of the word "law." Among others I discriminated its use to denote the objective field of the lawyer's profession — concrete events and their governmental consequences and the concrete contributing causes of such consequences — from its use to denote generalized knowledge concern ing this field. I do not think the second use should be called a catachresis, not because it is a hard name to call an old acquaintance, but because the use is fully established and proper. Most em phatically, however, I do not identify the external objective material com posing the field of legal study with the legal rules derived through study of this