The Upside to Law School Reading
I think law school is my Disneyworld. For all my trepidation about being a lawyer, I’m starting to think that spending these next three years studying law may be the best idea I’ve ever had (I’ll worry about the three decades that follow when I get there). This is for the simple reason that law school has managed to combine my two favorite things in the world: reading and crazy people. (Well, and events with free alcohol, but I’ll save that theme for another post).
Now, before anyone gets up in arms, the crazy people I’m referring to are not my classmates. At least for the time being (although I make no promises that I’ll withhold judgment come finals). Rather, I’m talking about our American ancestors who have long viewed litigation as a veritable free for all when it comes to exacting revenge or making some money. Not happy with your love game while under the influence? Go ahead and file suit. Looking to increase your collection of urine stained blankets and rusty shopping carts? Bring action against homeless people. The list is endless, and with each decade it seems to get more and more outrageous.
Unfortunately, it appears that legal fledglings don’t get to study these modern instances of insanity. But we do get to read old instances of insanity. For example, think about the worst meal you ever had at a restaurant. Maybe the chicken was undercooked, you asked for burrito but got a taco, or (ew) there was a hair in your vindaloo. Or maybe you ate a cake with a nail in it, cutting your gum, which led to a massive infection that caused you to lose three teeth. Say whaaaat? Yeah that’s right, some poor waitress sat down for her lunch break and ended up three molars short of a full stack. Need more info? Go ahead and look up Chysky v. Drake Bros. Co.
Or how about that old chair trick. You know the one: just as someone is about to sit down you whisk their chair out from under her and hope she is wearing truly embarrassing underwear. Well be careful, because if it happens to be a crotchety old lady and she breaks her hip on the way down—oh and you’re a five year old boy—WHAM! Lawsuit in your face. Read about it in Garrett v. Dailey, and you can feel as guilty as I did finding amusement at the expense of the poor old gal.
The best cases though, are awesome not because of the actual lawsuit at hand, but because judges know how to lay the smack down. When plaintiffs, defendants, or other judges make the current judge angry he may not be able to come right out and call them idiots, but a little lawyerly reading between the lines goes a long way. So far, my vote for Judge I’d most like to have lunch with goes to the Honorable Justice Cardozo, but I have reason to believe I’ll be finding many more to love as time goes on.
Long story short, they weren’t kidding when they said I’d be reading more than I ever have before. But if you don’t give up your sense of humor just because you are a big bad future lawyer now, it isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.