Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Metamorphosis

How do I make it stop? Case after case, element upon element, increasingly, legal analysis is taking over my ability to calmly interact with the world. I am less tolerant of inconsistencies, I become aggravated when I see inequities, I even pick-apart situation comedies and explain to my (very annoyed) husband why this or that is inaccurate. Even inefficiencies in everyday speech frustrate me (get to the point, mom). Learning to operate within a systematic analytical framework is comfortable because it is structured and principled, but life does not always follow suit. Before I end up like Gregor Samsa, I must learn what it means to be possessed of a legal mind and not wreak havoc on my community, while being mindful not to neglect the growth and development essential to my studies.

The “problem” stems from the methods we employ to learn the law. Though the methodology itself is not the problem, it provides the fuel. Learning the law is like learning a language = immersion is best. To compound this, the law is pervasive, it touches upon nearly every area of society. To become a more proficient legal thinker, we must take the law out of the casebook and apply it to everyday situations. The result seems inevitable, an inability to remove this legal framework from otherwise normal interactions with the greater lay community. I realized this metamorphosis of the mind happened to me when I began pointing out the inequities of bike-laws and analyzing television. Despite my awareness of this transformation, I still sometimes make the mistake of launching into an oration worthy of a court room with my husband over why he should recognize the merits of efficient refrigerator organization.

I have no anecdotes, no quick-fix, but I do believe this is a necessary part of legal development. By entering this profession, we are changed. We have necessarily become something other than what we were before. We are re-training our analytical thought process to adopt a framework for legal analysis, this training is imprinting on our perception of the world in such a way that it will be impossible to go back to how we were before. It now becomes our responsibility to learn how (and when) to utilize these new skills. My observations have lead me to three conclusions: first, I may never be able to watch a television show again without noting the fallacy of a will provision still taking effect despite modification by circumstance in a state that follows the UPC, but I can learn to keep that fascinating thought to myself. Second, because this profession is based on communication, I must seek out opportunities to engage in legal discourse or it will be harder to keep the former thought to myself. Finally, I must pray that those unfortunate enough to be in proximity during my rehearsals for the grand jury have super-human patience!

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