One of the things people don’t realize about law school is students are just as immature as always. Between gossip and giggling about cases, it’s a wonder anything gets done. One of my professors likes to say “we’re all adults here” to preface using an expletive or talking about a touchy case.
There absolutely will be touchy cases in law school. You’ll have to read about rape, brutal murders, seamen (the sailor kind, fyi), etc. To a normal adult they are things that happen on a daily basis and as awful as it may be, learning the legal ramifications of these things are important. However, let’s not forget you still have those immature students who hear the word “butt” and laugh.
It’s incredibly important that you conduct yourself in a professional manner and have a certain level of decorum when talking about these types of cases. Some will be incredibly funny and you may wonder why or how someone did something but being able to discuss a case without your immaturity getting the best of you shows that you are able to handle yourself in an appropriate manner. When in doubt of your behavior, ask yourself “are we all being adults here?”
Some cases are dumb. The courts were dumb, the outcome was dumb and by today’s standards would never fly. You read the case, expecting it to go a certain way and in the end, it goes the complete opposite. Sometimes, the cases are overturned later or the rule is changed but sometimes, they are decisions that forever change someone’s life or the circumstances the law is argued.
I think back to my undergrad Con Law class where we read Korematsu v. United States. The court decided that putting Japanese in camps during WWII was ok. Now, the case was overturned/discouraged, I can’t remember what exactly it was, years later. This whole case, you sit there saying “there is no way they can let this happen” and there they go, letting it happen. This may be a terrible example because I firmly believe it was a bad decision from the very beginning. However, the point stands that sometimes, you aren’t going to like the result.
My favorite cases are the ones where you want it to go a certain way but based on the law it simply can’t. Since it’s finals week I can’t think of an example (my brain is completely fried) but they do exist. You morally object to something in the case but there simply isn’t a good enough legal argument or evidence to support the outcome you want to see. Those are the worst cases because you see how the law does not always follow the morals we set in society but are based on giving people a full chance to prove they are not at fault for whatever the case is about.
Sometimes, the result is not what you hoped for and morally, every single thing rubs you the wrong way. Our justice system is designed with certain things in mind, protections and checks, to keep innocent people out of the judicial system. It’s a good system but there are flaws and sometimes things don’t go the way you want. The best thing you can do is learn to be the best lawyer possible to keep the innocent out of trouble and the guilty responsible for their actions.
Well, here I am law school!! I’m officially moved into (and unpacked completely) in my own apartment and start my first day of orientation tomorrow. I’m very excited to be starting this part of my life and can’t wait to see what the next few years bring me.
For orientation, we were given some reading and a few cases to brief. I took law classes in undergrad and have the basic gist of briefing but I’m really scared I’m doing this all wrong. I have no idea what is going on this case, if I’m formatting right, or if I even understand the most basic things. I’m trying to go on the rationale of “we’re all freshman and will definitely screw this up” and hope that I’m doing my best for my first ever “real” brief.
One down, a million more to go