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That is true in the perfect sense - and I mean perfect in the way that university engineers perform research. They are relatively unfettered by legal restrictions on the application of scientific principles, and have the time and freedom to explore genuinely theoretical problems.

In our industry, we solve problems using legal codes and formulas several times removed from physical boundaries (when was the last time you applied your stress concentration curves directly in solving a problem, or worked out the first moment of area by hand?). Most of my job is interpreting the thousands of pages of code material which has been written on the various areas in which I practice. Considering that the arbiter of my decision making / problem solving is going to be a non-technical person comparing my solution to the written code - and that may be a code official, judge, or a jury, depending on where in the cycle of life my project might end up - I'd say we're a lot more like lawyers than we would like to believe.

Fwiw, I find law fascinating and enjoyable - determining the merits of a case is really not much different that tracing stresses through a structure. I'd say that in engineering we have a better chance at a defined outcome, but since the last link in the chain is the soil...there still aren't any guarantees.


Stuart, Matthew wrote:
My experience has been that legal "logic" is inherently different from
engineering "logic"

Engineering principals, i.e. the laws of physics are literally
universal; the laws of man are highly variable and can be as different
as night and day even between adjoining townships.

Our chief in-house counsel is both an attorney and a PE and sits on the
NJ PE Board. Someday I'll have to write a book about my experiences.

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