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RE: Job Opportunity

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This is a very good description of the parallels to be found in the two
professions.  I would add that the final arbiter of engineering decisions is
Mother Nature and physics, while in Law it's a jury of people.  

Can an engineer's psyche handle that lack of precision?


-----Original Message-----
From: Jordan Truesdell, PE [mailto:seaint1(--nospam--at)truesdellengineering.com] 
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2007 7:06 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: Job Opportunity

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.

Jordan



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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