Monday, December 26, 2005

Law School

I finally feel like a human being again. In particular, I can waste time with impunity. I don’t feel guilty about every second that I don’t spend studying law. I don’t even really think about my first semester in law school at this point. It’s a nice feeling.

Law school is definitely making me feel as though I am losing something. There is no time to read anything else other than law, and the law we do read is always the very practical kind – or in other words, opinions from jurisdictions all over the country that we will never practice in, so I feel like I haven’t read anything in a semester; no politics, no poetry or literature, and definitely no philosophy. I feel dumb because of it. Its true that I am technically reading when I study law, but it is not the kind of reading that improves you.

To do well in law, you only have to be good at one specific thing. You can be a complete jerk and an idiot in every sense but one and still be great at law. When I first came to law school I was amazed by how proficient and hard working everyone is (that’s actually the hardest part of law school). I attributed it to the fact that a lot of people had worked in between school, so they know about how shitty a job can be, and also the fact that most of the people in there fell within the top %20 of LSAT and GPA scores. However, now that the semester is over I think there is another reason.

For a long time I tried to figure out why I always felt like I had such an edge at my undergraduate studies, but at law school I didn’t feel like I was anything special. I think the reason for that loss of edge is that I can no longer use the things that gave me an edge at undergrad. More life experiences, more time spent dwelling on human nature and just general intuition gave me a huge advantage in philosophy and English. Now though those traits are no longer applicable, it is juts pure logic in law school. We rarely delve deep into things. Every human being we read about in these cases is suddenly no longer real. No matter what suffering we read about in a case, the person is purely a logical exercise. In a way it is the opposite of what you would do when reading a piece of literature. In literature, perhaps your first duty is to empathize with the characters. You try to understand the characters as you would people you know. You try to see every facet of the character the author has given you no matter how small. Now there is no time for that, even though we are dealing with real human beings. Jane, whose son died for such and such a reason is not a mother who lost her son but “Person A,” which “Law XYZ” applies to in a specific scenario.

Of course it is necessary to think about things in that manner, but that is all we do. You do not have to spend much time in law school to figure out why so many lawyers are horrible people. Its because law school takes your sense of humanity away. The workload is to heavy to spend time or energy actually thinking about human beings as people and not legal relations. We don’t talk about the relation between law and justice, there is just the law, and if something is legal than that is fine. Basically, everything is condoned in law school except “missing issues” or not being prepared when called on. It may be that these professors can’t speak of these things because they don’t have the ability to. I doubt many of them can leave their safe little world of logic.

I must say though that overall I am very happy with law school. I am happy to (finally) surrounded by intelligent and hard working people, and I am happy that I will finally have a trade when I am done with all of this.

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