Of Lawyers

Of Lawyers

The training of lawyers

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Four to five years of tears and hard work and of falling and resurgence—these described the life of a student of law.

Law schools are replete with stories of students braving the atmosphere of intimidation and subjugation. Examinations and recitations prepare students to cope up with extreme emotional, psychological, and physical pressures by forcing them to get mature with dispatch and become ready to deal with difficult human concerns.

 

 

A lawyer is both an adviser and advocate. As such, his training gives priority to advocacy skills and deep understanding of human affairs. Law school curricula are so designed so that students will acquire theoretical and practical knowledge needed to solve legal disputes, advocate client’s cause, advise people, and uphold law and order.

The theoretical aspect of their training falls into the public and private laws columns and the substantive and procedural laws matrices. Public law includes Constitution law, administrative law, election law, international law, criminal law, human rights and similar courses. On the other hand, private law includes family law, contracts, property, succession, torts and damages, commercial laws, and conflict of laws. The substantive matrix provides concerns both public and private laws while the procedural matrix focuses on civil procedure and criminal procedure, the law of evidence and jurisdiction.

Complementing these theoretical foundations are practical skills such as legal research, writing, and counseling that students need in their future practice of law. In addition, the law program is guided by courses on legal ethics aimed at training students to become gentlemen and fine ladies of the court.

The study of cases serve a two-fold purpose. First, it teaches student about the meaning of the law as the Supreme Court interprets it. And second, it educates them about justice as the cases show them how legal principles are used by the court to resolve legal disputes and vindicate the claims of the oppressed. This implied education on justice receives varied contexts through the teacher’s inputs and questions on social, political, and moral conjunctures that affected the decisions.

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The methodology of teaching law makes the law program distinct from other academic fields. The case-based Socratic method was first introduced by Christopher Langdell in Harvard Law School in 1870. The Socratic inquiry is a lively discourse between students and the professor who quiz them orally about the cases and principles assigned for the day. Of course, the relationship between the professor and his students is asymmetrical. Most of the time, the discourse is a one way street—with students being tested everyday by the professor who is expected to draw out whatever they learn from reading the assigned.

Law students are trained to be good writers. As such, they write a lot.

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Courtesy of https://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/jul/03/why-law-students-should-consider-writing-a-dissertation

Good law schools train students to be proficient writers. They inculcate in them the value of clear, succinct, and effective writing styles. They discourage intellectual dishonesty and pomposity in written and oral discourses. They are devoted to train future advocates to be sentinels of truth and justice.

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Law graduates are expected to exhibit diligence, persistence, open mindedness, and moral uprightness when they leave the campus. As such, law schools operate like training camps that test students by fire and turn them into shining swords and shields of justice.

The persistence of lawyers

Lawyers are known to be persistent.

They say that only those who are psychologically fit will survive law school as hose who do not have what it takes to be a lawyer will either stray away or find themselves in mental institutions. Law school is like a ninja school where candidates are forced to walk on live wires and shoot arrows while falling from a tree. This may be the reason why some lawyers earn the labels “mercenaries” or “guns for hire”: they use ninja skills to collect astronomical fees or gain power for themselves like assassins portrayed in the movies.

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Persistence runs through the veins of a “Prize-fighter” advocate. He is a less calculating advocate who loves to challenge veteran practitioners. In the eyes of the less tolerant, he is born with the natural talent for annoying the rest of the world. He files motions for the sake of filing them. He moves mountains to have the last say in court. He drives points to their absurdity. He is a pain in the neck for some people, but not to his clients who see his stunts as qualities of a champion. He is my favorite hero, sometimes.

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The cool dude of the court is the “Be Calm” advocate. He personifies coolness under pressure. He does not panic even when his clients are at the point of imminent annihilation. He is a persistent fighter who rarely shows passionate burst in court. He is seen as “domesticated” by other more talkative lawyers. He rarely engages in open court debates but when he does, he always hit the jugular vein. His training in law school may have nothing to do with his disposition. He may have learned this posture from an older idol in the legal profession. He opens his mouth less but when he does so, he earns more respect than any other advocates in court. His persistence is shown in his efficient use of court and legal processes. He keeps his ideas to himself most of the time but do not mistake his silence with his ability and trial skills. In reality, he is a silent killer–a terrorist cell in the middle of the crowd.  He is also my favorite hero, sometimes.

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The cool in the outside but revolting in the inside advocate is the “Incredible Hulk” of the legal profession. He is uncanny: he looks less stable but a truly persistent advocate. You would not like him when he’s angry. He appears timid, but when pissed off, he’ll give his adversaries a knock-out punch in their in-between. He loves to use exclamation points. He does not use linking verbs or prepositions. He knows only interjections. Never mess with him. He is more driven than prize-fighters and deeply contemplated than cool dudes. He is another of my favorite hero, sometimes.

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Courtesy of http://www.heyuguys.com/six-best-courtroom-scenes/courtroom-a-few-good-men-1/

Whatever the types, persistent advocates are trained to fight for your causes. They are trained to speak for you. They are expected to forget about their own shame just to vindicate yours. They put their names in the line and persist in spite of the absurdity of your cause. They are your best chances.

 

On the Grasshopper and Cricket

On the Grasshopper and Cricket
John Keats

The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s–he takes the lead
In summer luxury,–he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.

 

I Died for Beauty

I Died for Beauty
By Emily Dickenson

I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?
“For beauty,” I replied.
“And I for truth – the two are one;
We brethren are,” he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a-night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

William Wardsworth Longfellow

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I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

The Rhodora

Ralph Waldo Emerson

On Being Asked, Whence Is the Flower?
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IN 1 May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.

Trees
Joyce Kilmer

trees

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

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A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Tiger

William Blake, 1757-1827

tiger

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?