Bruce Springsteen and the American Lawyer

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On Thursday, Widener University School of Law in Pennsylvania hosted a symposium entitled “The Lawyer as Poet Advocate: Bruce Springsteen and the American Lawyer.”

From the flyer: “For more than three decades, Bruce Springsteen has served as America’s premiere poet advocate. He stands in the tradition of great American populist poets whose work emanates from the people while speaking of and for them. . . . Mr. Springsteen has remained committed in his music to discerning what is real and what matters.” Just like lawyers?

Oh, wait, here’s the connection: “The American lawyer can draw much from the life and work of such poets. As the American lawyer encounters his world, like the poet, words are his only weapon, and his blade can cut only as deeply as the truth contained in those words. Also like the poet, the American lawyer is called to discern what is real and what matters, certainly for his client, but also in his own life and work.” Well, I guess I agree that we are called to discern “what matters,” but as for what is “real” I’m not so sure. I do know my blade cuts far more deeply than truth. At least I hope so.

A final tidbit: “As Springsteen was growing up along the Jersey Shore, his mother insisted that he would make an excellent lawyer.” And what a loss to the world that he chose another path.