Sunday, April 08, 2007

learning vs doing

I think one of the many reasons I'm sick of law school is that I'm anxious to try and apply what I've learned in the real world. I'm sick of all the learning. OK, that's not entirely true and spare me the platitudes about how I should be learning all my life, not just when I'm in school. I know that. I don't think I know everything. I don't think I'll ever know anything. I like learning stuff and I am confident that I will always be learning new things.

But I've spent the past three years getting ready to be a lawyer. Now I want to try being a lawyer. By no means did my three years in law school convince me that being a lawyer is the only profession I will have until I retire. I didn't discover a love of the law but neither did I learn to despise it. I'm just not sure if I learned what I was supposed to learn. Law school supposedly taught me how to think. Did I successfully learn the right way to think? I don't know. I won't know until I can actually practice law. I want to use some of what I've learned, whether that's the caselaw or blackletter law or more likely, the way of thinking that lawyers must use.

I remember kind of feeling this way way back during my first semester of law school. We spent what seemed like forever learning stuff but having no way to apply it. Then finals came. And while they were pretty miserable, it wasn't as bad as I thought. In fact, finals in later semesters were much worse because as a 1L, it was almost, sort of, a little bit exciting to be able to apply what you learned. I remember the five hour torts final, which was our first one. It was brutal. And that's putting it lightly. But afterwards I remember feeling slightly euphoric because I had all that knowledge in my brain and although I didn't know whether I got a C+ or an A+ I knew I did OK because I put down a shit load of stuff on the page.

But the novelty of exams as an actual method of testing what you know has long since worn off. I want to use what I learned in the real world. Here's hoping I actually learned something I can use, even if it's just a way of thinking...


At 10:23 AM, Blogger Vert said...

Thanks for the congrats. We're on our way to the "barzam." I still shake my head in disbelief. We're actually almost done with law school. I can remember 1L somewhat vividly.

Last semester, I was helping a 1L with a fact pattern. I recognized the fact pattern. I didn't remember anything but some of the facts. I struggled with the hypo during first semester 1L. Last semester, I looked at the black letter law and breezed through the hypo. I even explained it to the 1Ls. They were uncomfortable with the lack of certainty. They were looking for that one right answer. There were equally strong arguments and you just had to present both without getting committed to either. We've come a long way. I struggled with that 1L. One thing law school has done is force us to keep two opposite ideas in our mind at the same time and explain the differences/similiarties.

I can relate to your recent post. Good job of anticipating potential jabs too.


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