Friday, March 04, 2005

Civ Pro Blah’s.

Feeling Tired

I’ve finished my briefing for civ pro tomorrow. I am a dutiful albeit jaded “briefer” of cases. I first gloss through the case once and get my facts down, knock them into my brief, and then I go back and assimilate the analysis, law/rule, and go back and put that into my brief as well. At the end of the process I rarely feel as though I’ve assimilated much from this method, after which time I turn to my supplements.

I like Examples and Explanations the best and I think without them I’d be in real trouble. Actually, I just might be in a world of hurt as it is, but at least the E&E makes me FEEL like I’ve got a grasp on the materials. Self-teaching with E&E seems to do more for me on a deeper level than the textbook/briefing/outlining/Socratic method utilized by modern law schools. Well… usually it works well for me.

I’ve had some days lately where I’m just plain foggy, but the days I feel my best are the days I am never, ever called on. When I’m feeling dazed and “huh, what the… ok, imagine I’m a football player and you’re an aardvark and… uhm… is this Torts or Civ Pro class… was I just called on?” produces an instant “Mr. Majqa, please stand and tell us about Pigs v. Wolf.” Never fails. When I’m feeling strong, nothing. When I’m barely holding on to the threads of consciousness – it’s a guarantee I’ll get called on.

When I embarked on the law school path I was hoping to plumb the depths of law, get to the roots of reasoning and judicial enlightenment, and strengthen my mind by standing on the shoulders of intellectual legal giants, but instead I find myself playing something akin to an expensive game of Jeopardy in Hell. For many of my peers such a system works well and they take it in stride. As a cigar smoking, motorcycle riding, skydiving, Linux coding rebel… assimilation by The Law School Borg isn’t working out quite the way I had planned. I am having second thoughts. I’m not so sure I want to be assimilated after all, but … may instead… prefer to fight The Borg. No doubt being part of the collective hive has its moments and even looks at times downright nice, but surrendering my super-sized ego is proving surprisingly difficult. In fact, I’ve become rather fond of it lately.

Learning law is, I argue, a uniquely personal process wherein one size does not (or should not) fit all. The ABA has done a relatively good job homogenizing the process over the past 53 years, but in the wake of that standardization and monopolization has come a loss of apprenticeship and self-teaching of yesteryear. This system seems to produce a lot of selfish Johnny-Cochran types, but seemingly few Abe Lincolns. I lament that loss, but I also believe the Internet is starting to swing the pendulum back in the other direction – and I am increasingly inclined to help give it push as well.

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