Are Lawyers Getting Dumber?
Those hints of fall are beginning. The mornings are cooler, crisper and in the Rockies, atop the United States, dustings of snow and yellowing of Aspen stands are numerous. This means many 1Ls are either inundated in or set to begin law school orientation. The advice and well- wishes are pouring in from seemingly everywhere.
Some of that advice from Dean Frank Wu of University of California-Hastings’ College of the Law was published this past week in the Huffington Post. It’s an account of what he shared to the incoming 1Ls at Hastings Law.
First, Wu says the law profession is a service profession—an idea often difficult for newbie lawyers to accept. The traditional stereotype surrounding the legal profession is power, prestige, status, and money. Not so, says Wu. Law is a service profession,” he writes. “You serve others. That’s the meaning of representation. You act on behalf of your clients and not yourself.”
When Wu graduated from law school, he says that he expected to tell people what to do. The opposite is what actually happens. “Someone else’s interests are always above your own self-interest,” he says. Wu also says law school is a community and if done right, will be a community throughout a professional lifetime.
Next, Wu explains that education requires attentiveness, intention, and engagement. “It is not a product to be purchased, but a process to participate in,” he insists. Finally, Wu says to sell your TVs. And if you’re like most millennials, you’re thinking, that’s fine, I don’t even own a TV.’ Wu is talking about Netflix and Hulu Premium as well. That’s right, time to ditch the binge watching for the semester and be engaged in the education and classmates and professors around you.
So what about the Kung Fu part? Wu likens the transformation that takes place in law school to the transformation that happens to Keanu Reeve’s character in The Matrix. “When Mr. Anderson becomes Neo,” We writes, “he sees the code that makes up the reality around him.” And, indeed, when law students graduate they will see the law codes and how society functions around them. “You’ll wake up and say, ‘I know kung fu,’” writes Wu.
Wu closes with a very true statement, “If you have ever enjoyed arguing, there is nothing like the exhilaration of starting law school.”
Source: Huffington Post
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