Sunday, September 18, 2005


If you are seeking, or already have a JD this blog post, by a recent Harvard grad named Jeremy, will appeal to you. The subject is about how you don't have to practice law in order to feel you are "using" your law degree to its fullest potential. However, I was most amused by the meanderings about how going to law school changes your perspectiive on just about everything. An example:
1. As I write this column, I’m sitting in my apartment. Yesterday, my landlord began to renovate the apartment directly above this one. At seven in the morning, my roommate and I started hearing the sounds of construction. The were stripping wood from the walls, dropping heavy things on the floor, etc. Dust and debris started coming through the vents. My roommate, who did not go to law school, and will serve well as the straw man throughout the rest of this column, had the following reaction: “Oh, it’s noisy and dirty. That sucks. Oh well. Nothing we can do.” My reaction, on the other hand, was: “Oh, it’s noisy and dirty. I wonder what the New York warranty of habitability says, and whether we can get a rent abatement.” See, profoundly irritating.

There's more, go read.
If you have the perspective of the "pre and post legal education brain" you'll be amused. Also, you don't need to graduate from law school to experience this phenom. Basically if you went through a few weeks of a torts class your brain is forever altered. This profound change comes somewhere around the time your torts professor tells you that, hypothetically speaking, if you hit someone with your car you should back over them to make sure they are dead because "a dead body is worth less in a civil trial than a severely injured living person". Grreeaaaat, so all those horrendous jokes about scum sucking lawyers are true. But I digress ...

I can absolutely identify with this line of thinking - and not just because I did a housing rights clinic in NY. Aside from all the lawyer jokes out there I really do think law school changes how people view the world. Your way of thinking is supposed to change - that's the entire point of law school. But it's more than that. It's almost like a warped thing. Your sense of cynicism goes up and your sense of entitlement goes way up and you enter a lifelong game of Devil's Advocate.

I remember at one point somewhere in my third year of law school I was walking out of a convenience store. Apparently there had been some sort of weed wacking/landscaping going on outside recently because there was an extension cord snaking out the front door of the store and down the sidewalk. Most people would have thought "oh I need to not trip on that" and continued on their way. I immediately ran through possible injuries in my head such as slip and fall, electrocution, etc and the accompanying causes of action. Then I ran through a list of possible defendants; the corporation that owns the chain of stores, any possible franchise owners, the landlord, the landscaping company that left the extension cord there, and all this within a few seconds as I walked back to my car ..... yes Jeremy I agree, profoundly irritating!


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