Monday, April 25, 2005
What's Law School Like?
I get this question a lot: "What is law school like?" In a nutshell, it's pretty insane. The insane part for me is balancing work, finding time to spend with my wife, spending time with the kids, work, practicing spiritual disciplines and studying. Most of the time, one or more of these things on the preceding list is short changed.
Practically speaking, law school isn't as much about learning a zillion laws as it is about learning how to become a lawyer. For every class I read about 40-90 pages, which entails reading about 5-10 previously decided cases from jurisdictions all over the United States. As I read these cases, I'm supposed to distill from them the salient facts, determine the issue, identify the rule the court used in making its ruling, synthesize the courts analysis and conclusion. Then in class, the professor asks some fool to brief the case for the class and we discuss it. Most often, the Socratic method is used by the Professor to help us "learn" to think like a lawyer. All the Socratic method is is answering a question with a question. I don't recommend doing this with your spouse! I try not to, but in my law school induced diminished capacity, I do it without thinking about it. Ask my bride what she thinks about it...no, on second thought, don't do that, the back of my head hurts enough already.
The practical part is the easy part. The hard part is the balancing act required to pull it off. Oh I've tried to quit dozens of times. Again, I don't know if I'll make it through to the end, but law school is more about character and professional development than anything, which I guess is worth a lot in the end.