Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The hardest part

Law school is an institution that is heavy on normative influences. Why? Because it is preparing you for the practice of law, a very normative institution that emphasizes propriety and decorum. Which is why there is a desire and a trend in law school to conform to what everyone else is doing. To conform to how everyone else acts. To conform to how everyone else dresses. To conform to how everyone else speaks. Students who come in with varying interests and public interest orientations are channeled and molded on the singular path to jobs as document reviewers and due diligence checkers at big law firms.

But we can't be blamed, can we? Lots of us were probably nerdy in high school and our parents pushed us to achieve so that we could attend the best colleges. In college, after realizing that we are scared by numbers and that we're queasy at the sight of blood, we decided to go to law school. That we are at UCLA tells us that we did pretty well in college and that we spent $1,300 on the right LSAT prep class. In short, we've been guided along the normalizing path since we were all pimple-faced, braces-sporting teenagers.

And now in law school, we shed our personalities and our passions, so that we can become what we think the legal profession expects us to be. We're taught that we need to learn to think like a lawyer. That we need to participate in a student clinic to show our interest in public service. That we need to get to know our professors for references. That we need to do Moot Court. That we need to do Law Review. That we need to apply for clerkships. And that the true geniuses in our class will become law professors. (As a completely unrelated aside, most of my non-law school friends tell me that law students are boring.)

I'm about to set off for a 10-day Spring Break, just as I did last year. I know that most of you are all already committed to torturing yourself for Spring Break. I know that there's a part of you that wants to say "screw it" to "doing what everyone else is doing" but cannot do so because you are simply "too afraid to." I don't ask much--I merely ask you to, probably for the first time ever in your lives, do what you want and not to do what you think others expect of you.


Blogger CUTHROAT said...

Man, you are so bitter about not making law review. You're going to say you didn't try, but you are bitter about not being on it. Just about every post you make these days centers around that topic. Stop crying you baby.

8:49 AM  
Blogger The Fox said...

damn. someone finally figured out my secret. that i wrote all these posts merely because i am insecure about not being on law review.

12:01 PM  

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