Good Speech for 1Ls (and Others) to Hear

Anthony Casey Addresses Entering Students at University of Chicago Law School is a fine introduction to what matters in law school.

A sample:

If you believe the op-ed pieces in newspapers and the blogs spread across the Internet, you may think you are here just to learn how to read law and to prepare to take the bar exam in three years. That view is a surefire way to waste your time here. People quite ignorant of what a good lawyer does will tell you that law school should be shorter, that law school should teach students how to pass the bar, that law students learn too much theory.

I am going to let you in on a secret. The bar exam is a memory test. You had the skills to take the bar exam when you were a freshman in high school. You certainly don’t need three years to prepare for it. That is true. But passing the bar does not make someone a good lawyer. It just makes them a lawyer. And if you think that is enough, I can direct you to a thousand websites and jokes about things that went wrong when “just lawyers” were trusted with important problems.

What differentiates good lawyers – graduates from this law school – is the ability to advise clients about what those laws and documents actually mean in the real world, how they affect human interaction, and most importantly, how those effects can be changed.

To prepare you for this – and we do prepare you for this – we will teach you to explore how rules, policy, and human behavior interact. It is precisely for this reason that law school is (more than any other area of study) so interdisciplinary. You cannot understand the rights that a lender will exercise against a bankrupt corporation without understanding finance, economics, psychology, political theory, and philosophy, to name a few.

All of that is to say that the world, or at least those who are most noisy on the Internet, misunderstand both the practice and the study of law. They will tell you that lawyers create chaos and academics don’t care about the real world. Do not be taken in by this.

Spotted via Leiter.

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