Welcome to Law, it’s not what you thought it was

60362436It’s my first blog post, to reflect and consider module 1 of Introduction to Law, and the first two chapters of ‘The New Lawyer’.  You would think my first thoughts of what to put to paper would be a short glimpse into my experience of discovering that Law is so different, and so much more intriguing and challenging that I anticipated.  Not quite, for the sake of it, here were my first three thoughts:

  • Maybe I should change my blog format to look more professional
  • ‘The New Lawyer’ has stirred a desire to go watch Judge Dredd (yes, both the Stallone and Karl Urban iterations)
  • Atticus Finch may be a character worth reading about. I should move ‘How to Kill a Mockingbird’ up a few spots on my to-read list.

So with that revealed perhaps introducing myself will, first, answer the question as to why I have chosen Law as my field of study, and also to assist the flow on to more on-topic reflections of my first foray in to learning Law.  So at this point it’s likely useful that you check out the ‘About Me’ link.

Reading through ‘The New Lawyer’ and our study notes for module 1 there was quite a bit of content involving the myths and realities surrounding lawyers and the law.  I found it greatly informative and really loved that the textbook asked tough questions of the reader about their plans and feelings, particularly so early on in the course.  It really drives home that your academic and professional identity starts developing immediately when you embark on this field of study and as you acquire more knowledge and understanding it is likely to change and grow with that.  Of these questions the ones I found most engaging, and my thoughts and responses can be found at the end of this post.

You_keep_using_that_word_I_do_not_think_it_means_what_you_think_it_meansOne of the most intriguing things I discovered about law, is how heavy it is with theories, concepts, ideals and so forth.  I, like many new law subjects I would assume, expected studying law to be based purely around existing legislation, common law and so forth.  Discovering that the very idea of what law even is and what it should be is a topic that has been debated by theorists and philosophers alike for hundreds of years.  Liberal use of Inigo Montaya memes seems suddenly appropriate.

I also found of great use the information provided on the fields of knowledge (known as the priestly 11), training requirements, and Threshold Learning Outcomes as something I could utilise as yardsticks for my academic development.  Being able to sit down and refer to these as self-assessment tools I feel will be a benefit to me.

So as promised, below is some thoughts on the tough questions posed by ‘The New Lawyer’

Do you feel an enthusiastic connection with any of the four ‘realities’ of legal practice described above?

Of the four realities I find myself most connected to the reality that lawyers help people.  In terms of job satisfaction I have a habit of looking at my job and thinking ‘How does what I do help others?’.  As an insurance salesperson even (and you think lawyers have to deal with poor public perception) I feel I am helping people because I know the policy I am selling is a good policy, it will look after them in their time of need.

Which of the alternative career opportunities interests you the most.
Certainly academic interests me the most.  I would say it is likely many students had not thought of alternative careers in law up until this question- I know I certainly had not.  Teaching and research in particular are both activities that I feel I would enjoy and perform well at.
Are you aiming for a pass or for a higher grade? Why?
What a loaded question! I looked at this from purely a self-assessment view and am aiming to achieve a HD.  I am aiming for this as I feel your grades are indicative of not just your absorption of the facts, but the acquisition and growth of skills and understanding, which are very important attributes in field of law among many others.  Perhaps I am aiming beyond my reach, however I will put in my best, and that will have to be enough.
Identify those aspects on the list of Legal Ethical Identities that you can relate to. Can you formulate an emergent ethical identity for yourself as a lawyer using those items from the list? What needs to be added?
Those I most relate to or gravitate towards are:
  • The Public Interest lawyer
  • The Advocate and/or The Problem Solver
  • Good person and moral advocate

I did notice that I did not feel I related to any of the market orientated, or institutional status related identities, perhaps this is something I should reflect on.

Well that’s it for today feel free to comment below and engage in discussion.

Thanks!

-JP

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