As law schools continue to grapple with issues of relevance in the changing educational landscape, those who work for these institutions have taken to considering the raison d’etre of law school in general. One professor at Michigan Law has opined that going to law school is about more than mere professional training. It is his opinion that law school equips its graduates with “tools of inquiry” that can help law students lead “a richer and more meaningful life.”
Beyond what appears to be ivory tower intellectualism, I actually tend to agree with the professor. Law school isn’t just about learning the mechanics of lawyering. Law school is about learning to think in a particular way about problems and issues. More than any other intellectual pursuit in my life, law school taught me to explore the reasons for, motivations for, and possible outcomes of different courses of action.
Law school also gives the law student a different lens through which to view the world. The decisions and assumptions you make become colored by their potential legal consequences.
Torts class teaches you to consider what the world expects of you when dealing with other people.
Contracts class teaches you what certain parts of the bargaining process tell us about the intentions of the parties doing the bargaining. Contracts class also teaches you the importance of making your desires and intentions explicit when agreeing to anything.
These classes also teach you how the law views the world and what it assumes of the people therein. In doing so, law school gives you several different ways to examine life and its goings-on. And that can’t be a bad thing.